Ants are hardworking little animals. You lead a fascinating life. However, they are not particularly popular with us humans. Especially not when an ant trail runs through our living room or kitchen. Or when they lay their eggs between our patio and path slabs. It’s also not exciting when the ants fly out and hundreds or thousands of ants get lost in rooms, sheds and wherever else, always looking for a new location. Learn all about ant control here.
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So ants are not tolerated. But what can be done about them? First of all, it depends on how many ants there are that have entered forbidden territory. Individual insects are mostly workers looking for food and water. They are absolutely harmless as long as they don’t find what they are looking for. Then the single ant quickly becomes an ant street. Here it usually helps to remove what is so interesting for the insects. It’s different with winged ants, but it’s not really that bad either.
Despite all the trouble with the ants, there is one thing to consider: where should they go? I found an interesting article. It reports that when the insects are driven away, they are forced to seek a new territory. It’s usually right next door. But there is usually another people there. The result is a bloody war. Though a great ant lover himself, the writer recommends that killing the ants quickly is more humane than exposing them to such carnage. With that in mind, just think about it!!!
Which species of ants are causing us trouble?
You have to know that there are about 100 different species of ants in Germany. None of these species belong in the house. They are hygiene pests. They can transmit germs and bacteria and need to get out of the house. We mainly distinguish the pharaoh ants, the lawn ants, the black-grey road ants and the carpenter ants.
- Pharaoh ants – are among the most dangerous ants. They are small, only 2 to 3 mm long. The workers are amber-yellow with a darker tip of the abdomen, while the males are black-brown. They have pale yellow antennae and legs. These ants love moist warmth and high protein foods. However, they do not like the cold. There are several queens in the state. The nests are mostly in wall cracks and heating shafts. The dangerous thing about the species is that more and more daughter colonies are formed. The pharaoh ant transmits diseases and spreads dangerous pathogens.
- Lawn Ants – are among the most common ants. They are 2 to 7 mm long. The workers are brown to dark brown, the males are slightly darker and always significantly larger. These ants build nests in the ground, mostly in sunny and sandy places. A clear sign of such a nest is the cone-like ejection of earth. Lawn ants swarm in June and July. These ants prefer sugary food. They like to invade kitchens. They are not as dangerous to our health as pharaoh ants and they contaminate the land they use.
- Carpenter Ants – are between 2 and 5mm in size. They are mostly more or less black and often have a slightly reddish tint. The workers cannot fly. The rest of the state has a nuptial flight between May and August. The ants usually lay their nests in the ground, sometimes in buildings or hollow trees. In houses they prefer the staircase area, wooden floors, window wood and the like. The nests can be recognized by their cardboard-like black-brown mass. They are usually spongy but brittle. It is also traversed by fungal threads. Daughter colonies are also possible here. The danger with carpenter ants is, of course, damage to the wood. In addition, the insects spread throughout the house when looking for food.
- Black-brown road ants – are very common. They are 3 to 9 mm long. The animals are dark brown to black, with legs and antennae sometimes appearing reddish. These ants like to build their nests under stones, terrace slabs and tree stumps, always on the sunny side. The road ants form conspicuous ant streets. Their swarming time is also between May and August. Garden ants like sugary food and sometimes enter houses in search of it. They contaminate houses and apartments, but are not disease carriers.
ants in the house
Ants are storage pests. They particularly love foods high in sugar and protein. The worst thing about an infestation is that they can transmit germs. In addition, it is disgusting when such a road runs through the kitchen or pantry. Germs and pathogens are mainly transmitted by the pharaoh ant.
Ant nests are usually not indoors, but outdoors. This makes ant control quite easy. You have to “obstruct” their way. As already written, these are often individual animals. If they find food, there will be more of them. It is imperative that all food is cleared away so that ants cannot get to it. The ants then usually disappear on their own. If not, suction will help.
Prevention is important. It is important to prevent ants from being attracted. It is therefore important that all food is put away. Also the food of pets and also fruit bowls. Dishes that you have used yourself should be put in the dishwasher or rinsed off immediately. Store all food in airtight containers, including in the refrigerator. Ants also penetrate through the refrigerator seals.
- Also seal all joints in the masonry
- Check windows and doors for leaks.
- Clear away rubbish and rubbish and collect only in sealed containers.
- Air regularly!
Many home remedies are advertised against ants. However, most do not help, e.g. baking powder, oil, salt and others. Baking soda used to be a good choice, but the composition has changed. Others only help in the short term, such as the often recommended chalk line. At first the insects don’t go over it, but the effect wears off very quickly. But there are home remedies that really have a good effect.
- Mix baking soda with powdered sugar and sprinkle on the ant trail. The ants ingest this mixture and die.
- Ants don’t like tea tree oil diluted with water. However, it can also be uncomfortable for us humans because of the strong inherent odor. Not everyone likes it the same way.
- Other odor-intensive substances also help, because they have a very sensitive olfactory system.
- Dissolve camphor in alcohol and spray over the animals. One part camphor and 9 parts alcohol.
- Mix deer horn salt with sugar. That kills the ants. However, it is expensive if you need a lot of it.
- Cinnamon blocks an ant trail for a few days, but needs to be renewed afterwards.
- I also read that copper coins should help against ants. You just have to place some pennies on the ant trail. I can’t really imagine that. If it helps, what’s stopping the ants from going around the outside? But it seems to work in the ground. A good explanation at: www.dghtserver.de/foren/showthread.php?t=75559
There are also a number of different ants in the house on the market.
Chemical agents should only be used in exceptional cases. But sometimes you can’t do without it. But then you have to follow the instructions on the product exactly. Children should not come into contact with things. You also have to be very careful with pets.
- Ant eating baits usually help reliably. However, they are not effective against all ant species.
- Sprays with the active ingredients Phoxim, Chlorpyrifos, Fipronil. The problem is that many of these funds only had a temporary use permit. This was not extended for some. That means they are no longer available, or you only get remaining stock. Once they’re sold, that’s it. So you have to find out what’s on the market at the moment.
- For example, ant-eating paint was a good remedy, but was withdrawn from the market in 2013.
What if nothing helps?
During my research, I read incredible things. Homeowners, for example, had to deal with masses of ants that had nested in cork sheets under their floor slab for the house. The entire floor had to be opened up, the heating removed, the concrete opened up, everything flamed, meaning endless work and endless ants, you can’t do that alone. Pest controllers and construction experts are competent contacts.
Pest controllers use biocides. These are highly toxic. They should be left to a professional to deal with.
Ants in the garden and in the lawn
Ants in the garden are extremely useful. They loosen the soil by digging tunnels and thus promote the growth of plants. In addition, they bring biomass into the soil, a fertilizer that also ensures growth. The bad thing, however, is that ants like to build their nests under terrace slabs and under paving stones. Stones and slabs sometimes lose their hold as a result. They wobble, slip and become a risk of accidents. So these ants are not directly dangerous to our health unless they are pharaoh ants.
There are a number of ways to get rid of ants in the garden.
- The most humane method is relocation. You make the people a little uncomfortable first, preferably with a lot of water. Then you offer them a dry place, an overturned flowerpot filled with earth or wood shavings. They usually resettle voluntarily after a few days. The important thing is that the queen is there. The pot is relocated.
- Ant nests in flower pots, balcony boxes and the like are best removed with water as well. The vessel is repeatedly submerged in water. The ants usually leave and look for a new home. If not, you have to put the whole vessel in the water.
- Because of their sensitive olfactory system, ants can be repelled with a stench. Slurry is ideal if you can tolerate the smell yourself. Everything that stinks is an advantage, i.e. nettle manure, wormwood manure and the like. Mix about 500 grams of plants in 10 liters of water. Leave this broth for 14 days. Then rinse into the building or between the stones, into the joints.
- Essential oils work in a similar way, but they evaporate quite quickly.
- Bait traps are very effective. But that kills the ants and the whole country. The bait is carried into the burrow and distributed. That’s how everyone dies. Here, too, you have to look at which active ingredient is currently approved.
- Sprays should be used with caution. Chloryrifos-based drugs in particular often cause side effects in humans. If you have children or pets, you should not use them at all. In Germany it is probably still permitted, but in many other countries it is forbidden because of the damage it can cause to newborns or fetuses. A distinction is made between contact, ingestion and respiratory poisons.
- Means based on Phoxim reliably kill. But they are no longer allowed, since 2007.
- Means with Fibronil are probably still approved. This is also used in flea and mite repellents for pets. However, Fibronil is extremely dangerous to bees and should not be used in the garden!
- Drugs with deltamethrin have also been out of the running and no longer approved since December 2013, or the approval is suspended.
- Copper coins are harmless to humans. They can be placed under patio slabs and distributed in the greenhouse. In the garden itself, too many are needed to bring success.
You can do all kinds of things against ants. I think you don’t have to kill them right away, at least not the whole bunch. In the house, order and hygiene help to ensure that a stray ant looking for food does not turn into an ant trail. I would suck away individual ants. They don’t bother me in the garden, unless they make the terrace slabs shake. Then they will be relocated. It works, takes little effort and protects the ants, the environment and our wallet. We only use chemicals in exceptional cases. However, I have read of cases where relocation was not possible. You can’t relocate millions of ants.
The difficulty with ant control is that about 80 percent of the active ingredients were banned at the end of 2013. So if it has to be chemical against ants, first find out what is permitted. Stick to the instructions for use and look up what the agents do in humans, in pets and in nature! This often helps to make the right decision.