Ants are not welcome guests in the house. However, you can almost always fight them effectively in a gentle way and without poison.
In the warm summer half of the year, they become active again: the ants ( Formicidae ) are on the move looking for food, shelter, and material to build their nests. The interior of our houses and apartments often has a lot to offer them. If you have an ant plague, you can acquire knowledge here for a successful fight. In the following, you will find out when it makes sense to fight ants and how they can be controlled safely with home remedies or ant products.
When does it make sense to fight ants?
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Every day, ants perform several important tasks unnoticed, from which we humans benefit. But unfortunately, they also like to invade our living space – although you can of course look at it the other way round. If ants suddenly appear more frequently in the house or apartment – perhaps even in sensitive areas such as the kitchen or bedroom – then it is time to act. In this case, it makes sense from a hygienic and partly also from a health point of view to take measures to combat or drive away. All ants can cause a painful, burning skin reaction with their bite. This is uncomfortable, but not dangerous. We introduce you to three ants who are interested in living with us humans.
|Small native ant, red-brown
|Group of different small black ants
|Worldwide widespread cultural follower
|Looking for leftover food, supplies, sweets in the house
|Above all, look for sweets around the house
|With us only indoors; build nests in warm, moist areas
|Can create nests in the house
|Seldom build nests in the house, and trails possible
|Omnivores, proteins, and sugars preferred
|Are relatively aggressive and bite quickly
|Not very aggressive
|Hygiene pests in hospitals, kitchens, private houses
|Penetrate storage container
|Diet: Mainly honeydew from aphids
|Preference for narrow cracks: PC cases, catheters, bandages, storage containers
|Presence unsavory and unsanitary
|Presence unsavory and unsanitary
|Hygiene pest, carrier of diseases
Although ants are much more common in the garden or on the balcony, they usually don’t bother us there. If they don’t get in our way, they are even a fascinating sight. However, if you are bothered too much by them on the terrace, you still have a few options to do something about it.
Note: Many of our native ants are not only extremely useful but also protected by the species protection law for the same reason. They should therefore really only be combated if they massively invade the human comfort zone.
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Fighting ants: Instructions in 4 steps
You can get rid of ants in the following steps:
- Remove potential food sources; Store food in sealed cans; Secure storage cupboards and refrigerators with barriers made of adhesive tape.
- Find entrances for the ants into the house and seal them with silicone, plaster of Paris, or clay; remove any nests in the house – or have an expert come for this; However, nests in the house are quite rare.
- Rooms where ants crawled need to be mopped .; the use of a strong-smelling cleaner is optimal for this; Vinegar essence or lemon vinegar cover the scent traces of the ant trails.
- Then an ant remedy is used: At the ants’ former entrances, at potential new entrances, on walkways, and around former or still existing food sources; we recommend our Plantura ant remedy, which can be used in living spaces.
Tip: The use of specific nematodes, such as the Steinernema feltiae species, is ideal for combating ants in damp places, for example, planters. For example, you can use our Gardender SF nematodes against fungus gnats, codling moths, and ants on terraces or in greenhouses.
In the house, if the infestation is low, you can first try to control ants with home remedies. If you are wondering why the ants appeared in your house or apartment, you will find them in this article. If the home remedies have failed, professional resources or perhaps even an exterminator will be needed to defeat the ant’s plague.
Fight ants with home remedies
Once you have discovered the first scouts, their origin should be traced back immediately and the access closed with silicone. In any case, you should prevent the intruders from returning home: If ants return to the nest, this leads to more and more visitors and the creation of an ant trail. For example, you can put adhesive barriers around your food source to collect the small animals efficiently and with little effort.
Or you can suck the animals around with a vacuum cleaner and whitewash the scent trail with a strong-smelling cleaning agent, with which you wipe the affected areas. Many strongly fragrant herbs or spices also disturb the olfactory orientation of the ants: Lavender, marjoram, thyme, cinnamon, tea tree oil or citrus fruit peels can help in any form.
Note – baking powder with powdered sugar against ants: Using baking powder and sugar against ants is relatively effective. However, this is not necessarily the most animal-friendly way to defend yourself. If ants ingest the mixture, it foams up in their stomach and they perish because of their internal injuries. The high pH value of the powder also corrodes the insects’ limbs upon contact. But other animals also like to nibble on the sweet powder.
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Fight ants with nematodes
If you have problems with ants in more humid places such as the terrace, lawns, in the greenhouse, or planters and window boxes, certain types of nematodes can be used to combat the ants. For example, our Gander SF nematodes are well suited against sciarid gnats, codling moths, and ants. The tiny nematodes of the genus Steinernema feltiae parasitize the ants’ larvae and thus induce the ants to move their nests further away.
In contrast to InsectoSec, these are living organisms that are natural enemies of ants. This is also the reason for the difference between the two remedies in terms of scope. Nematodes need a moist, not too cold environment to survive. One advantage of nematodes over synthetic insecticides is that they are harmless to humans as well as other animals and plants. So you don’t have to worry about pets or small children. The exact application of our useful nematodes against ants can be found in the enclosed package insert.
Fighting ants in the garden
If ants become annoying or aggressive in outdoor areas, we recommend some very practical measures first.
Measures against ants in the garden:
- Avoid creating food sources.
- Clean the surfaces regularly.
- Grout paved areas with paving joint mortar or chippings; both cannot be penetrated by ants so that no nests are formed on the surface.
- Ants should only be fought in the garden if they are a major nuisance due to their bites or the robbery of food. Ants are not pests of plants and therefore do not have to be fought on plants or in the bed. Because it is rather humid in the garden, nematodes such as our Gardender SF nematodes are ideally suited against ants, fungus gnats, and codling moths.
Fight ants with poison
Chemically acting biocides against ants have many side effects that you should neither expect yourself nor the environment. We list some products below and give you the information in keywords. Because we are very critical of the effects of these poisons that are harmful to the environment and people, we contrast them with the Gardender ant remedy that we recommend. Our Gardender SF nematodes also have no harmful effects on the environment.
Comparison of different biocides:
- The DFNT Anti Ant Spray is toxic to aquatic organisms – with long-term effects. It can also cause allergic reactions in humans.
- Compo Ant-Free contains the substance tetramethrin, which is toxic not only to all insects but also to humans.
- The Loxiran-S ant agent from Neudorff contains pyrethrins from chrysanthemums, which despite their natural origin damage aquatic organisms and do not protect beneficial insects.
- The Celaflor ant remedy is very toxic to aquatic organisms – with long-term effects; it can cause allergic reactions in humans; the active ingredient fipronil is not beneficial to beneficial organisms and (in relatively high doses) is also dangerous for mammals and thus also for humans.
Fighting ants: The exterminator
It is time to consult a professional if pharaoh ants infest your home, the nest is simply impossible to find, or you discover small piles of the crushed building fabric in your rooms. Such an “exterminator” is a better option than reaching for the poison bottle yourself. A responsible pest controller will determine the type of ants, deduce where the nest is, and target or remove it. He can also better find the origin of the insects.
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