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When dealing with pesky ants, homeowners often rely on the internet to provide them with do-it-yourself solutions on how to eliminate ants or just using commercially available products for convenience. Some do this to save money, while other just don’t have the time to find a better solution. But little do they know; these remedies are ineffective in dealing with the problem and deter ants only to some extent.
In the long run, the cost of these DIY solutions might be more than the price to pay for not resolving the root cause. Find out more about: 5 reasons why you should not do your own pest control.
Here are some ineffective short-term solutions that most homeowners use:
One of the most common DIY solutions used in deterring ants is the use of chalk. While many find this an “effective” way of dealing with ants, this only works because calcium carbonate masks the scent trail of ants, resulting in ants scattering towards different directions because they have lost the trail. But after a very short while, ants re-establish their scent trail and go back to work again, making this method ineffective in eliminating ants or their nest.
Related article: Fact or myth? does chalk actually work to get rid of ants?
2. Hot / Boiling Water
Another common DIY used method to eliminate ants is using hot or boiling water. Boiling water is a little more effective than using chalk, because there are chances to contact kill the ants and reducing their population while removing their scent trail. But this is just temporary and does not get rid of the ant nest or root source; sooner or later, ants will appear again.
Not only is boiling water an ineffective way to eliminate ants, it’s also a potential danger to the user who could suffer from burns or scalds if an accident happens. Water can also create a lot of moisture inside your home that could seep into wood – this could potentially attract termites into your home. Termite damage can be costly and poses a risk to your family’s health and safety.
3. Spices & herbs
Some believe that using spices like cinnamon, chili powder, cayenne and black pepper can effectively eliminate ants. Unfortunately, this just a temporary fix – these strong spices only mask the scent trail of ants, making them lost and confused. But it does not pose a permanent solution to the problem.
While this may work temporarily repelling ants, other house pests such as cockroaches may get attracted to these spices when left scattered inside your home. You’ll end up dealing with more house pest issues instead of getting rid of them.
Borax is sometimes known as boric acid or sodium tetra borate. Aside from being a DIY ant repellent, this substance is used in various ways around the household. Some common uses of Borax are: removing stain from laundry, cleaning toilet bowls, and unclogging drains. As an ant repellent, it is often used as bait. Homeowners mix Borax with sugar or honey to lure the ants in, and because the formula is toxic when ingested, they anticipate that ants will die once they ingest the borax-sugar bait. One major reason why homeowners should avoid this method is because children and pets might ingest the bait accidentally.
Ants communicate with each other using pheromones – scented chemicals produced by ants from various glands all over their bodies. These pheromones are then picked up by other ants through their antennae. When an ant finds food, it creates a scent trail back to the colony so that other ants can trace back to the food source. The scent intensifies each time the trail is travelled.
Some DIY tips suggest using vinegar to block the traces of pheromones, deterring ants from finding each other and making an ant trail. However, this can only repel the problem in localized areas. If the ant infestation is more widespread in the home with a harborage hidden somewhere, it wouldn’t work.
Most of the time, homeowners end up wasting more money by following these ineffective short-term DIY methods. And because the root cause of the problem is not resolved, these pest issues tend to escalate further, making things worst. Ants such as Pharaoh’s Ants do not respond well with off the shelve insecticides - in fact, it will worsen the problem by splitting up the colony, making it more difficult to contain the infestation.
So instead of dealing with the problem by yourself, you can minimize the hassle and problem by calling for a pest control professional who can give you long-term protection and an effective solution that is safe and sustainable.