Homeowners who made it through this spring’s ant-breakout period undisturbed may have experienced a recurring midsummer irritant: the August ant escalation. Why some colonies choose August to go on the march may be a question best left for high school science teachers—regardless of their motivation, this time of year seems to supercharge the minuscule pests, resulting in armies marching into kitchens. How should you get rid of the invaders, now that they are here?
In any case, the universal local homeowner impulse is to just do something…but what? Googling the popular “How do I get rid of summer ants?” yields 4.7 million helpful hints—many of them paid ads for ant bait products. But many area homeowners are reluctant to resort to a chemical solution. Fortunately, Realtor.com has a video offering, How to Get Ants Out of Your Home—for Good. According to the presentation, getting rid of ants is a “relatively simple three-step” process:
- Since ants are good at climbing trees, shrubs, and vines, cut the foliage. Doing away with greenery that touches the house disrupts their freeways into your home.
- Sprinkle diatomaceous earth around the house. Swimming pool owners may recognize the white powdery stuff, which is used in pool filters, but that’s not the right kind: only “food grade” is recommended. It’s non-toxic to people, pets, and the garden—but when ants have to march over it, they dry out and die.
- Seal with caulk any entrances ants are using—including cracks around windows, door frames, and floorboards.
Admittedly, that third step might not always be as “relatively simple” as the first two—it could require professional help if large areas are in need of repair (but in that case, they really should be attended to for other than ant-infestation reasons). Not mentioned in the video is one other ant-deterrence step which is repeatedly cited in Google’s 4.7 million suggestions—remove any food or water that’s attracting the ants. But you don’t need Google to know that. Midsummer in is prime time for enjoying the outdoors—not for inviting its subterranean denizens indoors.