Ants | Posted: June 30, 2021

Do DIY Ant Treatments Work?

Ants are one of the most common insect pests to find in the home, since they are so small that they can easily find a way indoors. Fortunately, most species of ants are relatively harmless except when it comes to potentially contaminating food. Still, nobody wants to allow an ant infestation to continue in their home. Here are some common remedies that people use to eradicate their ant problems.

Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth is a fine, granular substance meant to treat insect infestations by disrupting their bodily functions. As ants crawl over a layer of diatomaceous earth, particularly the type known as “food-grade,” it sticks to them and abrades their exoskeletons, causing tiny wounds. This solution injures them and also makes it difficult for them to eat or stay hydrated, which will eventually lead to their death. Diatomaceous earth can work as an effective ant repellant, but it is limited in effectiveness to the area where it is applied. It will not completely eradicate an ant colony as it only affects ants it comes in contact with, though it will get rid of a few stray individuals.

Borax and Boric Acid

Borax and boric acid, when used, work similarly to diatomaceous earth to kill ants. Most commonly used as a cleaning agent, products with borax or boric acid inhibit ants’ ability to physically function in a similar way to diatomaceous earth. If ants ingest a product with one of these substances in it, the substance damages their insides and interferes with digestion, eventually killing them. Boric acid is also used in many formulations of ant baits.

Ant Baits

There are many forms of ant traps and baits. Some traps contain sweet, sticky, sugar/carb or protein-based gels that attract ants and then immobilize them, causing them to eventually die. These are some of the most common types of ant traps that people purchase because they are cheap, easy to use, and can be placed pretty much anywhere, including countertops, windowsills, tables, and mantels. Most people place them near the scene of an ant infestation but a little out of the way so ants will divert their search for food to them instead and get stuck.

Other types of baits include various formulations of boric acid or diatomaceous earth contained in a granular, powder-based product that is meant to trap or kill as many ants as possible. These traps can be laid out as bait stations, waiting for ants to walk onto them and be killed.

Different types of baits work better for different species of ants, and the product you use will likely tell you which kinds they work best for. However, it’s important to note that these baits often only kill a small number of ants at a time, and only the ants that search for food or guard the nest. If your infestation is large, it will not kill all of the ants infesting your home.

Ant Sprays

There are many pesticide sprays you can use to kill ants available at home improvement stores. Some people even use white vinegar or combinations of essential oils in spray bottles to get rid of ant trails. Once such sprays are applied, ants could die instantly. You may even be able to spray entry points with these substances in order to prevent ants from trying to use that route again.

The efficacy of ant spray really depends on how you use it. If you spray a trail of ants, you’ll only discourage them from continuing to use that pathway to find food sources. Since ants use pheromones to communicate, they’ll often simply start a new food-finding path elsewhere. However, if you use ant spray outdoors around a house or on an ant hill, you’re far more likely to discourage an ant invasion or even destroy an ant nest. However, it’s usually best to leave these sorts of treatments to the professionals.

Pest control companies use specialized ant sprays and other treatments to destroy nests and discourage ants from trying to invade homes from the outside. These sprays are formulated for professional use and are not always available to consumers. However, pest control technicians’ methods are effective where most DIY treatments are not, getting at the source of the infestation and completely putting an end to it. If you have a major carpenter ant infestation and they’re causing a great deal of damage to your property, the best thing to do is to call the professionals.


Professional Ant Control

Ants are not the toughest pest to eradicate, but they are persistent and can continue to be an annoyance unless properly dealt with. If your infestation is minor, you may be able to get rid of them with a simple DIY treatment. If not, however, it may be time to call a pest control company and invest in a professional solution. At Dodson Pest Control, we have over 75 years of experience handling ant and other pest problems. Contact us today for a free inspection!

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