Ant infestations are a common problem for many households. The little insects seem to come out of nowhere, covering the counter tops, hiding in cereal boxes, or flocking to a piece of dropped food the moment it hits the floor. While ants do not pose any significant health risks to humans, an ant infestation is downright gross and can lead to throwing away a number of ant accessible food items.

The following guide will help rid a household of even the most stubborn ants.

Keep Things Clean

Ants love nothing better than a dirty house. It’s important to keep all areas of the house clean and dry. This is especially true of the kitchen, which tends to be the target of many ant infestations. The kitchen is a hot spot because it is usually wet and full of left over food. In order to prevent and treat ant infestations the kitchen should be kept completely clean. This includes sweeping up food that has fallen to the floor and mopping the kitchen and dining room with a floor cleaner.

Additionally, it is important that dirty dishes are never left to sit. Scrub, rinse, and dry dishes as soon as they are used. This will prevent ants from having the opportunity to crawl all over them, scarfing up the delicious left overs. Pouring bleach down the drain and running some water behind it can prevent old bits of food from rotting in the kitchen pipes. This will help prevent attracting ants into the home.

It is also important to thoroughly vacuum anytime food is eaten on or near the carpet. This is especially relevant in households with children, because kids are likely to eat in front of the TV or traipse around the house dropping bits of snack food. Any foods or sweets left on the carpet will be a prime target for ants.

Take Out the Trash

Ants will find their way to food no matter where it is. Throwing old food into the trash can and leaving it sit will attract ants in large numbers. It’s important to either throw food directly into an outdoor trash can or take out the trash at least once a day. This will prevent the garbage can from filling with ants.

It may also be a good idea to scrub down and bleach the trash can. Sometimes juice and old food gets stuck to the insides of trash cans creating a delicious feast for insects. Taking out the trash will not always prevent ants from getting inside the cans if the bins are dirty.

Ant Houses

Those little black ant houses that can be purchased at just about any store can be effective at handling ant infestations. However, due to the fact that many of the ants die within the houses rather than take the poison back to the colony, the ant houses may not have any major or lasting effects on the infestation. It is best to look for ant houses that contain boric acid as this will be the most effective at ridding a household of ants.

Ant Baits

Ant baits are used to draw ants to a poisonous substance. This is usually achieved by mixing a sweet substance with boric acid. There are a number of commercial ant baits that be purchased from home improvement and convenience stores. The acid is a slow killer, which gives the ant plenty of time to return to its tunnels. This means that the poison will be distributed across its entire colony before taking effect. This is the best way to kill an entire colony of ants with a single step.

While ant baits are extremely effective, it’s important to remember that there could be hundreds of ant colonies near a household. Ant baits will not be a permanently solution to ant infestations, if the household is not kept clean than it won’t take long for ants from neighbouring colonies to find their way inside.