Saturday, January 23, 2010

Stop Ants Pestering You This Summer

Are ants pestering you in and around your home?
With summer and the warmer weather, populations of ant nests rise and they become more active. Ants are often found invading our kitchens or marching across our decks in search of food, our food; the sandwich we innocently left on the breakfast bar or the glass of coke on the barbecue.
With a little effort and some products found in good hardware stores there are ways to get rid of these pests and keep them away.

How to Get Rid of Ants and Keep Them Away
  1. Begin by taking a good look around the inside and outside of your house. Make a note of where you see ants. If you find trails of ants follow the ants that are carrying food; they will lead you to the entrances of nest sites. Mark the entrances so that they can be treated later.
    Do not spray the nests with insecticide yet!
    Spraying the nest with insecticide will only serve to spread your problem. The ants will often just move to another site. If the colony is a multi-queen species this will mean multiple new nests.
  2. To make it easier to see the ants carrying food you can sprinkle fine bread crumbs on their trail. Most often the nest is outside in sandy soil under paving stones or in cracks and crevices. Nests are usually on the sunny warm side of the house. Ants like warm dry nest sites.
  3. Your first treatment should be using ant bait, either Kiwicare NO Ants Gel or Liquid Bait.
    a. Place the bait everywhere ants have been seen travelling. The more bait points you set the more bait will be taken back to the nest and faster more effective control will be achieved. Use either Ant Bait Stations or place bait in clean containers such as bottle tops. The worker ants collect this bait and take it back to their nest where they feed it to the queens and larvae.
    b. Ants change their feeding habits depending on the needs of the colony; sometimes preferring sweet sugary bait and sometimes they want more protein. Kiwicare liquid ant bait is sugar based and the gel bait has a high level of protein. If you notice the ants are not feeding on one bait, change it for the other type.
    c. Replenish the bait regularly so that there is always fresh bait for the ants. Continue until very few or no ants are seen feeding on the bait. This may take up to two weeks in heavily infested areas.
  4. Now you can spray the interior surfaces with Kiwicare NO Ants or NO Bugs Super. Ants that walk over this insecticide surface spray will be killed, but trailing ants detect insecticide and will avoid it, so it acts as a barrier. If ants have been seen in the roof void use a Kiwicare NO Bugs Bug Bomb to treat this area.
  5. Now put a barrier around your house to stop the ants from your neighbour’s taking the place of those you have removed. Sprinkle Lawngard Prills on the surface of flowerbeds and gravel or sandy areas around the house and water in. These products slowly release a ‘curtain’ of insecticide into the ground which acts as a barrier to ants that would burrow their way into your house. Also brush Kiwicare NO Ants Ant Sand into cracks and crevices to deny ants these spaces as new nest sites.
  6. Spray or paint either NO Ants or NO Bugs Super spray around the base of the walls of your house and possible entry points such as doors, window frames, vents, downpipes etc. This will act as a surface barrier to prevent ants and other crawling insects getting into the house.
  7. For areas where it is preferred that insecticides are not used Kiwicare produces an Organic NO Insects Barrier which does not kill ants but will stop them travelling where it is used.
  8. Now deal with the nests. Sprinkle the NO Insects Lawngard Prills where nest entrances have been identified.
  9. Routinely maintain these barrier treatments and you will remain free from ant problems in your home.
This treatment regime will control the pest ant species found in New Zealand. There are however some interesting differences between the species and how best to deal with each of them. I will discuss this in my next blogs.

Have a wonderful ant free summer.

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