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How to Get Rid of Ants

Few pests are harder to get rid of than ants once they've established themselves in your home. If you're tired of stumbling upon a swarm of ants on a regular basis, you'll need to make a concentrated effort to keep these uninvited guests away. This article will review every course of action available to you - why it works, whether it's safe around pets and kids, and how to do it properly.

Ants are hard to get rid of

1. Shut down the ant buffet. The reason ants are coming into your humble abode is because it's a free-for-all (or at least it was at some point in the past, and they're hoping it might be again). The cleaner you keep the house, the less they'll have to eat, and the more they'll look elsewhere for goodies.

Wipe down all surfaces. Tables and counter tops should be regularly sprayed and cleaned with a mild bleach or vinegar solution. Sweep, mop and vacuum regularly.

Put food in air-tight containers. This has the added bonus of keeping the food fresher.

Keep the sink clean: no dirty dishes, no standing water for ants to drink, no food in the drain.

P ut pet food bowls in a slightly larger bowl and add some water to the larger bowl, creating a moat around the pet food that the ants can't cross (too bad you can't put one of those around your house!).

Scout ant searching for a food source

2. Squish the scouts. Colonies regularly send out lone ants to check for food sources. If you see an individual ant strolling across your coffee table, don't let it make it back to the nest alive. It'll tell the colony where you spilled the apple juice. If the scout made it back to the nest and brought back some friends, they'll be following a scent trail, single file. Unless you're ready to bait them as described below, kill them all. Quickly.

• Spray the trail with all purpose cleaner or a bleach solution, then wipe it up with a wet paper towel. Only do this if you can get them all, however, because spraying like a mad man might encourage them to split up, go home, and establish new colonies.

• For a less hands-on solution, vacuum them all up, then vacuum some talcum powder or diatomaceous earth to finish them off.

3. Barricade your home. Since ants are tiny, they can find thousands of tiny doorways into your residence. Some of them of are easy to identify; others will only be discovered when there's a parade of ants of marching through them.

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