Do It Yourself Ant Control Tips

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Do It Yourself Ant Control Tips

flying carpenter ant in kitchen Lakewood, OH.When ants invade your home, what are your options? Many homeowners in Cleveland resort to sprays and bait purchased at the store. Some people get lucky and can knock them back with these products. Since you are reading this article, you probably are not that lucky! So what is the secret to getting rid of ants? The answer can be extremely simple or complex.

Here is my personal experience dealing with ants at my own home throughout the years. I hope that it can help you understand what you can do differently to battle your own home ant invasion. No pest problem is the same. Do whatever you can to educate yourself. Take the time to inspect and diagnose. Then start implementing control measures. Otherwise, just give us a call to quickly knock out your ant infestation at the source!

Getting Rid Of Small Ants In Spring

Although I own a pest control company, there was a time when I did not. After purchasing our first home, small ants infested the kitchen each spring. What did I do? At the time I had an infant. There was no way that I was going to spray anything inside of my home. Initially I did what most people do. I went to the store and bought some ant traps. Then I placed them in the kitchen. This was a logical solution since they kept showing up on the counter tops. By doing so, I’d knock them out for the rest of the year. Yet every spring, they would return to feed on the crumbs left behind from my daughter. It was her fault for being such a messy baby…

I honestly had no idea what kind of ants kept infesting my home. I didn’t see them outside. Besides the annual kitchen escapade, they were nonexistent for remainder of the year. One spring I said, “enough is enough”. So I tried ant bait stations. It seemed like they were so small they couldn’t even crawl up to get inside. On the other hand, perhaps they just were not interested. The product package said it guaranteed control. For 5 bucks, I was not going to seek a refund. At that point I took it to the next level. I got some ant bait stations that professionals use. Well that did not help at all.  I got determined to figure it out after that.

It was practically winter still. Obviously these ants were not coming from outside. They would just pop up through a crack in the kitchen counter. Whatever I did in the kitchen was not working. So I took my ant control to another level.

Finding The Right Ant Bait

ants eating ant gel bait.Although it seems like yesterday, this took place about 5 years ago. Back then they would sell Combat ant gel bait at the local big box store. I have not seen it on the shelves for quite some time. Nonetheless, if you are combating ants on your own, it is going to take some trial and error to find the right product. Baits are ultimately the way to go. A little bait goes a long way. The amount of actual pesticide applied is minuscule compared to liquid sprays. And it is usually far more effective.

Most people have the basic understanding of ant bait. They take it back to the nest and it kills the colony. Not all baits are created equal. Some baits kill the workers before they return to the nest. Other baits kill them slower than the colony reproduces. Like I said, it takes some trail and error in order to get it right. And it definitely takes time and patience. Even the most optimal bait, can take weeks to kill off a mature colony of ants. Patience is a virtue. And you will be well rewarded for your efforts, when done correctly. Just keep calm, and resist hosing them down with cleaning products.

Baiting Ants In The Basement

To share my personal experiences with you, I owned two homes in Lakewood, OH. In my first home, I had those tiny ants. It felt so rewarding to knock them out at the source. After a couple years dealing with spring infestations, I finally killed the colony inside of my home. Man I went through quite a few ant control products. After many failed attempts at control, I finally got smart. I started baiting my basement. It took me a few weeks using different baits down there. Then I dabbed some gel bait at the base of my chimney.

So after years of struggle and weeks of baiting the basement, I finally got those ants! Believe it or not, they had a huge nest underneath my basement floor. From just a glob (dab) of gel bait, there were hundreds of dead ants at the base of my chimney stack. And do you know what? After that, I never had another ant inside my home again. The reoccurring nightmare ended. It was such a relief! All it took was time, patience, trial and error. Funny thing is, it had nothing to do with my baby throwing her food on the ground.

Getting Rid of Carpenter Ants

After a few years, our family outgrew that home. So we sold it and moved into another Lakewood home. In this home we recurring carpenter ant infestations. Carpenter ants can be tricky. They can be finicky eaters. Sometimes ant traps work, sometimes they don’t. Their presence can be pretty random. Unlike small ants, this larger species rarely forms a significant trail to follow. As a result their nests can be tough to locate. When my wife first found them crawling around our kitchen, I set some quality ant traps/ bait stations. I strategically placed them where my kids couldn’t get to them. Needless to say, this did not help at all. After a week or more, they started going into the dining room and the living room.

Hunting Carpenter Ants At Night

Knowing that carpenter ants are nocturnal, I hunted them after the kids went to bed. So just after dusk, on a warm calm night, I went out with my flashlight. It was really interesting. I found them trailing up the foundation wall right under the siding. This was a pretty active trail in the back of the home! The search continued. Believe it or not, there were more carpenter ants on my front porch. They were moving into a tiny hole where the porch floor met the siding. So I dabbed some ant killing gel bait on the trails. They ate it like ice cream. A few dabs of properly applied bait was all it took.

Getting Rid Of Carpenter Ants Inside Of A Garage

Well even though this knocked out the nests inside of my home, I totally missed the nest inside of my garage. One night I was in there organizing. This buzzing noise kept occurring, followed by a thud. I couldn’t write it off as a fluke. Then a black flying ant knocked me in the head. As a result I closed the garage door and got the ladder out. It was shocking to see a giant colony of carpenter ants on top of the garage door frame.

They moved so fast it seemed like they were on fast-forward. Flying ants were all over the wood. Worker ants were in a flurry around them. So I slowed a lot of them down with some gel bait. They lined up to suckle on the sweet nectar. It was like cows at a feeding trough. I couldn’t believe my eyes that such a mature colony has been living in my garage undetected. Below is a short video showing what I found.


Large ant colony in sidewalk- Lakewood, OH.So in conclusion, controlling ants requires some strategy. For one thing, there is usually a pretty healthy colony outside, whenever you get ants inside. Not many people really take the time to inspect. Instead they place products where they actually see the ants. This is usually in the kitchen or bathroom. Spraying the ten ants that show up every day is not going to destroy the thousands of ants in the colony. Likewise, you might actually be drawing ants into these areas, by using bait alone.

I hope that sharing my experiences, can help you get rid of ants at your home. If you are struggling with an ant infestation, contact us. Our ant control services come with a 60 day warranty. Otherwise try our seasonal pest control plan for year-round protection.

By |2018-03-25T22:43:22+00:00March 25th, 2018|Ant Articles, Tips and Tricks Articles|0 Comments

About the Author:

The Owner of Lakewood Exterminating is Shawn Payne- a formally educated Horticulturist with nearly two decades experience. Shawn began his career in the Green Industry in Autumn 1998, when he was just 15 years old. He has a Certificate in Horticulture from the Polaris Career Center, where he was named Outstanding Student his senior year.  During Spring of 1999, Polaris Career Center provided Shawn the opportunity to work at Sunset Memorial Park under the care of Wayne Jewell. Wayne trained Shawn in advanced pruning techniques and how to apply pesticides properly. Shawn graduated with a 3.11 GPA in Nursery Management and Landscape Construction and Contracting from the Ohio State Agricultural Technical Institute in 2003. During his time at the Institute; Shawn balanced studying for his dual degrees with tutoring a Student in Entomology (insects), and mentoring the School's Botany class. Shawn also traveled abroad to Myerscough College to study horticulture in the United Kingdom. Since graduation, Shawn has worked for the Davey Resource Group and as a Gardener for the City of Cleveland. He took care of the Cultural Gardens and the Rockefeller Park Greenhouse while working for the City of Cleveland. Shawn was hired in September 2008 to be mainly responsible for the pest control, animal trapping, and weed control at NASA Glenn Research Center. He multi-tasked grounds-keeping duties: Landscaping, heavy equipment operation, snow-removal, lawn mowing, tree removal, pruning, general construction, street repair, water line repair, and much more on site from 2008-2016. During his time at NASA Glenn Research Center Shawn and his former Partner brought their two wonderful daughters into the world. After the birth of their first child, Shawn started his business- Advantage Landscape Services. This was to provide security to his family due to multiple threats of budget cuts at his full-time job. After his former Employer lost the maintenance contract in late 2015- Shawn's Supervisor was let go, and his main duties as the Lab's Pesticide Applicator were outsourced to two separate companies. With a wife, a 2 year old, and 4 year old daughter to provide for: Shawn transformed his part-time landscaping business into a full-time pest control business. Since business has been established, they have gained over 50 reviews on Google- everyone of them 5 stars.