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.
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.