Many of our clients contact us looking for “an ant spray” at their home. While we don’t actually come out to your house to spray for ants, we do offer services with a variety of protocols such as baiting if you have an active ant problem and preventative services that are designed to keep ants outside of your home. There are also DIY solutions that may control ants that are explained further below. However, these are also typically not “sprays” and are primarily designed to repel ants and keep them out of your home for a short period of time.
If you are you looking for an “ant spray” this typically means that you are looking for ways to get rid of ants in your home. In this post, our pest professionals break down ant biology, identification, ant DIY methods, and store-bought products to help you control the infestation in your home.
Common ants around your home
Odorous house ants
Photo Credit: Greenway Pest Solutions
Odorous House Ants are also relatively small and dark brown or black in color. They can be confused with pavement ants, but their most distinctive feature is the strong coconut or pine scent they give off when crushed. They live in mobile colonies that can be very large at times but broken down into smaller colonies as they expand. This rapid and sporadic reproduction makes odorous house ant populations very difficult to predict and control. Although they will not cause any structural damage, they can be a health hazard as they search for food and invade your kitchen or dog bowls.
Just like their name suggests, pavement ants live the edges of sidewalks and driveways. They make small piles of dirt of sand as they burrow between concrete edges which you have seen around your home or neighborhood. Pavement ants are very small and can be brown or black in color.
Carpenter ants are larger than most nuisance ants and described as “big black ants” by most of our clients. They live in large nests, all stemming from a single mating queen. To expand and survive, carpenter ants have a complex caste system with different roles and functions. Being master decomposers, they attack moist wood including dead or decaying trees and fallen bark. Carpenter ants do not eat wood. They strictly burrow through the wood to make a series of tunnels to travel and keep safe from predators and shelter from the outside elements.
Flying ants are an invasive type of ant that can swarm in hundreds of thousands on your property. They are often confused with termite swarmers because of their physical similarities.
Photo Credit: http://www.homepest.net/
Winged Ant – Front wings larger than hind wings. Wings attached to most individuals.
Termite – All four wings equal in length. Wings shed from many individuals.
Winged Ant – Three distinct body segments (head, thorax & abdomen).
Termite – Appears to only have two body segments (head & broadly joined thorax/abdomen).
Winged Ant – Elbow shaped
Termite – Straight and look like a string of beads
Swarms of winged ants only last a few hours to a few days, but burst in large numbers during this time, making them impossible to control once the swarm has begun. Winged ants behave in this way to propel reproductive ants as far as possible to grow the colony. The multitude of the winged ant population may be alarming, but they do not cause any structural damage to your home.
Photo Credit: http://www.myrmecos.net
Citronella ants are large orange or yellow ants measuring about 4mm-8mm long. They get their name from the distinct scent of citronella and lemon when crushed. Similar to flying ants, they organize their nest into castes including workers, swarmers, and a queen. Citronella ants do not cause any structural damage to homes.
Why do I have ants?
Ants can be attracted to your home for a variety of reasons. Just like any other pest, ants are constantly in search of food and a safe place to grow their colony and reproduce. When your home becomes conducive to ant activity, it can quickly escalate. There are several ways that you can help get rid of ants once they have made their way into your home including DIY practices and store-bought items.
DIY ant sprays
Homemade ant repellents and sprays can be effective if used in the correct dosage and in the right locations. Without proper usage, you are unlikely to control any ants in your home. Have you heard of using ant spray safe for indoors? Common ingredients for homemade ant spray include:
- Whole cloves
- Chalk lines
- Essential oils
To learn more about DIY best practices and tips, visit our blog post here.
Store-bought ant repellent
Walking down the aisles of stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s looking for an ant remedy can be overwhelming. With all of the options claiming to be the best product, how can you tell what actually works? We narrowed down the top store bought ant repellents so you don’t have to.
Food-grade safe Diatomaceous Earth (DE)
Diatomaceous Earth is a powder made to kill ants and other “crawling insects” within 48 hours. By ingesting and simply coming into contact with the powder, ants ingest the product into their bodies immediately. Safer Brand explains the science behind Diatomaceous Earth:
“This dust-like powder is made from crushed fossilized algae, aka diatoms that come from freshwater sources. It feels like a fine powder when we rub it in our hands, but these tiny diatoms are very sharp to insects with delicate exoskeletons. When applied, insects cross through the powder or ingest it, effectively cutting their exoskeleton and causing them to dehydrate and die within 48 hours.”
Photo Credit: Home Depot
Terro Liquid Ant Baits are pre-filled liquid units that you can place directly in the areas where creating trails are and are most active. Unlike other treatments, this approach uses a slow bait method. This means that the product does not kill ants on contact, rather it lures the ants in to take the bait and bring it back to their colony. Terro Liquid Ant Baits can take up to 2 weeks to completely control the ant infestation in your home.
Photo Credit: Amdro
Amdro Liquid Ant Killer Bait Stations are small traps that you can buy at big box stores both indoor and outdoor use. They are designed to eliminate the following ants.
- Acrobat Ants
- Argentine Ants
- Bigheaded Ants
- Cornfield Ants
- Crazy Ants
- Ghost Ants
- Little Black Ants
- Odorous House Ants
- Pavement Ants
- White-Footed Ants
Units are placed in areas where ants are known to gather, and where children and pets are least likely to find. This includes under sinks, near plumbing fixtures, and in cabinets.
Please note that this product is not intended for elimination of carpenter ants or fire ants.
What is the best option for my pets and kids?
Cooper Pest Solutions offers several ant removal and prevention services for your home. The materials and methods utilized in our programs are carefully selected by our Vice President and Doctor of Entomology, Richard Cooper, with your family and pets in mind.
One-Time Ant Control Program
Cooper's One-Time Ant Control Program targets active ant infestations and immediately tackles the root of the issue. This service controls and eliminates small black ants such as nuisance ants that are typically found in kitchens and bathrooms.
Schedule service online today for fast technician dispatch. No consultation or estimate is needed to get started.
This service does not include carpenter ant control.
Cooper’s Carpenter Ant System
By tracking the trails that carpenter ants are using at your home, Cooper’s Carpenter Ant System can be customized to fight ants using their biology and behaviors against them. Unlike most companies, we bait carpenter ants where they are most active. Once they find the bait, they will bring it back to the colony to feed. This system is cutting edge and the most effective in the industry today.
Home Traditional Service
Our Home Traditional Service is a program designed to keep your home pest-free all year long. Nuisance ants will be covered under this program with unlimited service calls throughout the year. Carpenter ants are not covered under the Home Traditional Service.
Home Intensive Service
The Home Intensive Service provides the same goals as the Home Traditional Service: to keep your home pest-free all year. Along with over 20 common household pests, you are also covered for nuisance ants and carpenter ants.
Green Pest Services
Cooper’s revolutionary new Green Pest Services use botanical, organic, eco-friendly and natural materials to solve your toughest pest problems. In addition to coverage for over 20 pests, our Green Pest Services eliminate nuisance ants.
To learn how Cooper can help you control ants in your home, please give us a call at 1-800-949-2667, or fill out the form on our website.