The warming days of spring are often accompanied by ants in the home. According to Kansas State University, a few “scout” ants search for food and water, and once finding it, they will lay down a chemical trail to show others the way. If you can trace the ants back to a nest, control is simple. Spraying the nest with a labeled insecticide will take care of the problem. Unfortunately, nests are often outside the home and can be extremely difficult to find. Treating the trails is a short term tactic that will provide temporary relief but normally does not work over the long term. And, ants are so small that finding and caulking all areas where they may enter the house can be an exercise in futility. There are mainly two realistic strategies for ant control: sanitation and baits.
If your kitchen is spotless with never any crumbs, grease, other food items readily available you will likely be free of ants. Such cleanliness is just about impossible however – unless you only eat out. Ant baits are generally the most reliable means of control. The ants collect the bait and take it back to the nest where it is eaten by others and especially the queen. Gradually the colony is eliminated.
There are many commercially available baits that can be used. Or, you can brew up a home remedy. Dissolve boric acid in a watery solution of sugar or honey and place it in an area where the ants can find it. This is a bait that has proven to be effective in eliminating ants from the butterfly house here at the Garden.