It’s much easier to keep your house ant-free if the ants have never discovered its attractions in the first place. Preventing ant infestation is much easier than eliminating an existing one, so follow these steps to keep your house ant-free.
(Bear in mind that ant infestation is largely a result of circumstances out of human control, including weather, foraging availability, and ant reproductive cycles. These tips can help, but at some point you are likely to find yourself with an ant infestation no matter what you do.)
How to prevent ant infestation
Remove any source of food that may be attractive to ants.
- Some ants, like sugar ants, prefer sweet foods, but others will go for proteins and grease. Don’t overlook any type of food!
- Put away any food and locate any spills or crumbs that may be lurking on counters, under tables, or in the garbage cans.
- Vacuum frequently.
- Consider barricading your pet’s food so ants can’t access it, by putting the dish on a plate of soapy water.
- Remember, if the ants can’t find food, they won’t be as interested in your house!
Ants love damp areas, so try to keep your sink dry and run your bathroom fan to reduce moisture after showering.
Caulk any cracks or crevices that could serve as easy entrance points for ants. You’ll never be able to completely seal off every entrance, but at least you will be able to reduce the possibilities and minimize any potential ant infestation.
Eliminate breeding grounds.
If you live in an area prone to carpenter ants, make sure any waste wood is kept well away from your house, and that any wood in your home, such as decks, roofs, etc. are kept properly sealed and/or treated.
Some research indicates that using pesticides to prevent ant infestation is of little use, at least against certain species. Sprays are generally ineffective, as they have limited staying power. However, homeowners do report success with certain products, like diatomaceous earth, so you may want to attempt a preventative application.
Ultimately, while the above measures can help, they won’t completely prevent ant infestation; the ants will come regardless, especially when the whether outside is oppressive for them. At that point, check out our articles on ant repellents or ant killers to step up your ant control tactics.