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Effective Ant Killer

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When ants invade a home, it can seem like the little critters are everywhere. You more than likely want an effective ant killer--and you want it now! Ants just aren't one of those creatures most people want to peacefully cohabitate with.

A variety of natural ant treatments are often recommended, but these don't really work to kill the ants. They may block or delay ants, but few do anything to harm the ants themselves. It never hurts to try a natural method before turning to chemical insecticides, though.

Several food items are very unpleasant to ants, and they will do whatever they can to avoid these spicy or hot foods. It can help to sprinkle a heavy line of these items around any areas where ants have been observed entering the home.

  • cinnamon
  • red chili pepper
  • dried, crushed mint leaves
  • paprika

If ants are entering around windows or other above-the-floor locations, it may help to draw a thick line with chalk around their entrance. Many people report that ants won't cross a line like this but will search for a way around it. If they cannot find a route that leads into your house, all the better.

Chalk lines and sprinkled food deterrents will need to be reapplied frequently, especially for the first month. Other natural items are also unpleasant for ants and may help discourage them from entering your home.

  • citrus peels
  • vinegar
  • mint leaves

The citrus peels or mint leaves can be placed in cabinets, the pantry, or perhaps even in the basement or crawl space. Some homeowners have reported that spraying plain white vinegar on kitchen counters and allowing it to air dry will prevent ants from visiting those areas again.

If none of these efforts to deter ants works for you, it will probably be necessary to turn to a chemical ant killer. A variety of applications are available, but most contain the same insecticide, usually borax. Very effective against sugar ants and other types of ants, these ant killers are almost certain to end your infestation. The insecticide may be suspended in:

  • liquid
  • gel
  • powder
  • granules

Depending on severity of the ant infestation and where you have observed the insects, it may necessary to use a combination of these treatments. Liquid ant killers are often sprayed under cabinets, behind appliances, around windows and doors, and around the perimeter of a home. They work to kill ants on contact, and most also offer residual protection to continue affecting ants that crawl across a sprayed surface. The residual protection is not as fast-acting as initial contact, however, and this type of ant insecticide will need to be reapplied periodically.

Gel ant killers are often used in the form of bait. Ant baits may be "pre-set," meaning that the gel insecticide is present within a small, closed plastic container. The gel contains a sugary food source that attracts sugar-eating ants. The ants can crawl into small openings in the container where they eat some of the bait and then carry some back into the nest to feed the other ants.

Other ant baits will need to be made just before use. These come with both a bottle of thin gel bait and small pieces of cardboard that the gel can be dripped onto.

Either type of bait is usually very effective in killing the entire ant colony, but fresh baits will need to be set out very often until the colony is destroyed. This may take several weeks or even a few months, depending on how large the colony is. It's a good idea to continue setting out new baits until you have observed no ants for at least three weeks.

Powder and granule ant killers are most often used outside. They may be sprinkled around the perimeter of the house or applied directly to an ant nest.

Even the best ant killer must be used according to its label directions, or it will be ineffective. It's important to follow all precautions, warnings, and instructions when using any type of insecticide.

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