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Ants & Pheromone Trails

July 23, 2016 - Ants

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Ants can be incredibly difficult pests to get rid of once they have found a foothold into your home; part of the problem stems from the staggering number of individuals that can make up a single ant population. Not only that, but - thanks to their size - they can enter your property through practically any opening. Many homeowners might feel compelled to take matters into their own hands when confronted with an onslaught of ant invaders, but it’s important to know which insecticides are the most effective, and least harmful to humans, before they try to tackle the job themselves.

Boric acid is a popular insecticide choice for the do-it-yourself crowd, as it’s considered mild enough for use in household kitchens. Boric acid was initially registered as an insecticide in the 1940's for use against cockroaches, termites, fire ants, and a variety of other pests. It acts as a stomach poison when ingested by these insects and affects their metabolisms. Likewise, the dry, abrasive powder form of boric acid irritates the exoskeletons of these insects.

While ready-made boric acid compounds are available for purchase, and have proven reasonably effective against fire ants, there are a number of problems that arise when the ambitious homeowner tries to make their own version. The concentration of the boric acid to be used is very important. If it’s too weak, for example, the bait will fail to kill the ants at all; if it’s too strong, however, the acid will kill the ants before they can share the food with the queen and other workers at the hive.

Likewise, an over concentration of boric acid will simply cause the ants to ignore the bait, as they’ll detect something unsafe to consume.

Another easy at-home deterrent is to spray vinegar along your baseboards. This will remove the scent and chemical traces from other ants that have been through the area before. Simply spray the vinegar from a spray bottle, and wipe clean. In addition, make sure to clean up any spills or crumbs that may fall throughout your house.

It’s also important to note that, while boric acid is safe for use in kitchens in small, diluted quantities, it should be handled with extreme care around children and pets. Mixing containers and plastics should be washed and sanitized accordingly; the trade-off, of course, is ease of use, convenience, and the ability to be used in a home environment with less risk.

A word of warning for those homeowners trying to deal with soil-infesting ants: boric acid baits should not be applied directly to soil that’s currently yielding plant life, because heavy doses of boric acid will sterilize soil, rendering it barren.

It’s a tricky business all around, trying to deal with ants, and while boric acid baits are sometimes a viable option when dealing with small-scale infestations, your author recommends contacting your local pest control expert in order to determine what kind of pesticide is right for your specific infestation.

If ants have made unsightly appearances around your home or business, call Cantu Pest & Termite at and schedule an appointment today with one of our friendly, experienced pest control experts.