I got an email from Bill who is having a problem with ants. We can usually tell that the ants have made it into our house when the cats are looking very intently at one spot on the kitchen floor and then slowly reach out a paw.
While researching the Extension website to find a good answer for Bill’s question I found out that there are a lot of different types of ants that like to check out your kitchen.
There are Carpenter Ants, Acrobat Ants, Field Ants. Grease Ants, Larger Yellow Ants, Odorous House Ants and Pavement Ants. I’m sure there are more, but those are the ones that popped up in my search. These are not pretty creatures when looked at closely.
For more information on the different types of ants click here.
My reading mentions that there are several kinds of carpenter ants, not just the big black ones. Some are reddish brown or two-toned and can be small. According to the Department of Entomology at Iowa State, the “one main consistent characteristic of all carpenter ants is a smoothly rounded outline of the thorax when viewed from the side”. Some of the other ants don’t usually come into the house, but they have been known to.
The first thing to do in order to keep the ants out of the house is make sure that all crumbs are cleaned up and that dishes aren’t left laying around. Rinse out bottles and cans. I know that this doesn’t always work.
If you see ants, watch them to see where they are coming from. This will tell you where you need to focus your attack. Everyone has a different technique when battling ants. I expect you to tell me yours. Whatever you do, DO NOT use an insecticide indoors that is not meant for indoor use and don’t use them around children or pets. Dwayne has sprayed his “ant stuff” along the doors outside of our house. That usually works, but not always. A couple of years ago we tried to use cayenne pepper in the house. We placed some along the path the ants were taking and we put a pile of it near where they seemed to be coming in. It didn’t stop them all, but it certainly cut down on the line. Of course the cats didn’t like the cayenne much… and their line of play things disappeared!
I have heard of people using soapy water, cucumber peels or slices, mint tea bags, cloves and any number of other ways to keep the ants at bay. Or at least out of your kitchen.
What is your treatment? Let me, and Bill, know!
Posted under Pests
This post was written by Eileen Loan on June 10, 2009