Tips for Keeping Red Ants Away from Your Home

While not all ants are bad – some of them do good things for the environment by eating the larvae of fleas, bed bugs, flies and silverfish – red ants are a different story, particularly fire ants outside the city or in rural areas. You need to keep them out of the garden, and certainly your home. Here are 5 helpful tips for getting rid of red ants:

Look out for scouts

Forever in search of new food sources, red ants will send out a single ant as a scout. So if you see even one single ant around, take care to remove it quickly. Once the scout ant has found some food source, it will head back to the nest, leaving behind a trail of pheromones which will act as a guide for all the other food gathering ants. Sooner or later you will see a whole line of ants crawling along the same exact path.

Search out the nest

If red ants have invaded your house, the surest way to get rid of them is by finding and destroying the nest. However, this is not always possible as some ant nests are inaccessible or difficult to locate. If you are able to locate the nest, consider treating it with insecticide, especially if the infestation is extensive.

Natural remedies

If you prefer to go the natural route, boiling water is one of the most common home remedies for killing ants. Just follow the ant trail and pour boiling water into the trail entrance. It will kill any ant that comes in contact with it. Another way is to sprinkle some corn meal around the trail entrance. Ants will eat the corn meal and it will expand in their stomachs and kill them.

Protect your home

While ants in the home may be merely unpleasant, some ant species, such as red ants and fire ants, can do real damage. Similar to termites, fire ants will destroy wood. While they do not eat wood like termites do, they bore into it to enlarge their nests. Left untreated, damage can be substantial over time. Red ants or fire ants can be killed by leaving out poisonous bait for them, which they will drag back into their nest.

Ants in your garden

Even if your home is ant-free, you may still be confronted with them in your garden. A number of options are available, both natural and chemical, to help you get rid of ants, whether they have invaded your rock garden, your flower beds or your paths. Consider natural methods first, especially if you have young children or pets running around. Coffee grounds spread around your garden are an effective deterrent, as is cinnamon sprinkled about your plants.

A Good Paint Job Will Greatly Beautify Your Bathroom

Bathrooms have surpassed kitchens as the most frequently remodeled room in the house. Replacing the tile or fixtures calls for a professional, but if you just want a new look, a coat of fresh paint can do the trick. Because bathrooms are exposed to moisture and high humidity, there are a few tricks to getting a good paint job, including using a paint that resists mildew. Depending on the size of your bathroom, you may want to paint it a lighter color to open it up or a darker color to add intimacy. But whichever color you choose, make sure you pick the right paint and prep the room properly.

Pick the right finish

Interior paints come in flat/matte, satin/eggshell, and semi-gloss finishes. For a bathroom, satin or semi-gloss paints are a good choice. Semi-gloss paints, commonly used for trim, are generally the easiest to clean, and formulated to stand up to stains. But they reflect light, may highlight imperfections in the wall, and are more likely than satin to become dull when they’ve been scrubbed. If you’re painting an area that will be scrubbed a lot, or you’ve patched any cracks or have sheetrock seams you’d rather not accentuate, consider a satin finish.

Wash the walls

Whether you see it or not, mildew may be on your walls and can bleed through the new paint or prevent it from adhering properly. Before painting, clean the walls with bleach and water. Then rinse clean and wait for them to dry completely before painting.

Use self-priming paint

With many of today’s paints, you can skip applying separate coats of primer and paint and use a one-coat self-priming paint. But don’t overspread the paint. If you use a roller, you should be able to cover about a 2-foot-square section of wall before dipping the roller again.

Protect areas you don’t want to paint

With all the nooks and crannies, small bathrooms can be a challenge to paint. Apply painter’s tape to the edges of areas you don’t want painted. Use a sash brush with a tapered tip. Unlike those on a flat brush, the bristles are cut at a diagonal, making the brush easier to control.

Apply and let dry

Regardless of some manufacturers’ claims, you should give any newly painted bathroom a full 24 hours to dry before using the shower. Otherwise, the paint may become soft and run.

Smart Solutions for Junk Drawers

Keeping the clutter under control often seems like a never-ending battle anywhere in your home, especially in the kitchen and pantry. But with a few repurposed materials and a bit of creativity, you can transform those junk drawers into an organizational oasis.

Cereal Boxes

With some pretty paper and several empty cereal boxes, you can make these cute and colorful drawer organizers in a snap, crackle, and pop. Use your drawer as a guide to determine the height of the dividers, cut them to size, and wrap and tape with the paper of your choice.

Cubed Categorization

A plastic ice cube tray from the dollar store gives you 12 great ways to keep track of the small stuff. From pins and beads to spare keys and loose change, everything can be kept at eye level. Many drawers will accommodate two trays nestled side by side.

Nightly Recharge

With the average household harboring multiple electronic devices, the junk drawers of today are seeing as many plugs as they are pencils. Organize your drawer as a recharging station by running a power strip through a drawer. The result is a quiet place for your phones and tablets to recharge while you get some sleep.

Menu Magic

Because they come in many sizes and shapes, to-go menus can be the bane of a junk drawer’s existence. The answer is simple: Move the take-out department to the inside of a cabinet door. A wall-mounted acrylic brochure holder, available at any office supply store, will do the trick nicely.

Souped-Up Storage

After you’ve had your fill of soup, why not use the cans to hold a lot of loose clutter and miscellany? This idea moves the junk out of the drawer and onto a wall: Hot-glue magnets to metal cans and then stick them to a steel cookie sheet and hang wherever you like. Individual holders can be easily taken on and off to access the contents as needed.

A Fishy Can Fix

Arranged snugly in rows, tuna fish or sardine cans are just the right height to fit in a drawer. If the standard six-ounce size doesn’t work for your situation, try smaller cans from products like green chilies, condensed milk, or even milk.

Stuck on Organization

Versatile velcro eliminates the sliding factor inside a larger storage area whenever the drawers are opened and closed. Simply place a velcro dot underneath each corner of a basket or box to keep it securely in place.

Tidy Tins

A muffin or cupcake pan is right at home in a desk drawer, storing all sorts of small office supplies like paper clips. Also use a pan to organize craft items like beads and thread; the tray can do double duty as a craft station when you pull it out for use.

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