Stop Pavement Ants – It Happened So Fast
The other night before bed, out of the corner of my eye I saw a tiny black spot on the kitchen floor that caught my attention. Instinctively, my focus was attracted to that spot because it was moving! Upon closer observation, it became clear that this was a little black ant. “How cute”, I thought, as I continued on to bed.
The next morning as I entered the kitchen, no lie, there were over 1000 of the little black specks hurrying about on the kitchen floor, making a bee-line to the stove and disappearing underneath. Actually, it was a two-lane ant highway going to and from the stove. Not so cute anymore.
I quickly did the math: If 1 tiny black ant + 8 hours = 1000+ tiny black ants undertaking a massive highway project in my kitchen, then 1000+ tiny black ants + another 8 hours could become 1 million ants established in their own thriving new major metro area in the kitchen. Now it was sounding a bit science fiction. This meant war.
Stop Pavement Ants – Where do you start?
Upon doing a little research, I found that pavement ants are pretty much attracted to all the food I love. My kitchen must seem to them like a pavement ant superstore! They have an extremely keen sense of smell and so can detect the slightest odor of food.
Stop Pavement Ants – First battle tactic.
It’s clear, then that my first line of defense against this invasion was to eliminate even the slightest food odor from my kitchen. Wow! Not so easy as it sounds. I’d need to begin by thoroughly cleaning EVERYTHING. This meant, the entire inside of the refrigerator, pulling out the refrigerator and discovering everything that’s been hiding there over the years–yuk! Same with the oven–inside, outside, underneath. Then the dishwasher, the floor, all the hidden cracks.
Stop Pavement Ants – Second battle tactic.
“If no odor of food is neutral” thought I, “why not escalate the battle by providing a repellant odor?” Is there an odor that pavement ants hate, despise, makes them want to get as far away as possible? Back to the books. And, victory! There is not one, but many odors that pavement ants hate:
Peppermint oil, lemon juice, crumbled bay leaves, mint, cinnamon, citrus, cloves, cayenne pepper, onion, orange oil mixed with vinegar and rubbing alcohol, coffee grounds, sage, catnip, cucumber peel, white pepper, Windex, and chalk. Credits: Preventing Pavement Ants in Your Home | Colonial Pest Control
“That’s what I’m talking about!”, I thought. I’ll not just clean everything, but rub it down with orange oil mixed with vinegar.
Stop Pavement Ants – Third battle tactic.
But wait! I missed something important. Pavement ants have a keen, uncanny sense of smell. Yes, they’ll sniff out any food crumbs where ever they might be. But even after everything has been thoroughly cleaned, the scent of food continues to come from any unsealed containers. Consider that bag of dog food, those cereal boxes in the cabinet, the flour and sugar bags, the pancake syrup container that has a slight drip at the spout. All are huge welcome signs to pavement ants.
So, my next line of defense will be to seal all food so tightly in containers that absolutely no odor of food can escape to welcome the pavement ants. I’ll use Tupperware or Ziploc.
Stop Pavement Ants – Fourth battle tactic.
Now I’m going to take the battle to their territory, outside the house. I’ll keep the trash can tightly sealed, and move it further away from the house. I’ll also trim back any tree branches or bushes that are touching the house (these could be pavement ant highways into the house). I’ll make a thorough inspection of my home’s exterior and seal up even the tiniest crack where pavement ants might find an entrance (window seals, the foundation…etc.)
Stop Pavement Ants – Fifth battle tactic.
I just found there are plants that actually repel pavement ants. Mint is a big one, and grows so rapidly, it will be easy to plant around the house.
In addition, during the hottest days of the Summer, when pavement ants are looking to escape to a cooler place like my house, I’ll spray a hose around the outside of my home. Pavement ants will not cross over water.
Stop Pavement Ants – Sixth battle tactic.
Remember that first ant that I discovered the evening before there were over 1,000 in my kitchen. Here’s the way it works: That ant was a scout. He discovered a food source, then created a scent trail to the source. The next 999 ants honed in on that trail right into my kitchen! The moral of the story: If you see a pavement ant scout, kill it immediately, before it has a chance to send the coordinates to the home colony!
Stop Pavement Ants – Seventh battle tactic.
I’m exhausted just thinking of all the things I need to do to stop these pavement ants in their tracks. Time to call in a professional trained soldier who stops pavement ants for a living:
Calling ApolloX Pest Control