If you notice a few black ants in your home, then you likely have an ant colony nearby that is using your home as a food and water source. Once the ants realize that your home is a viable place to find food and water, the ants will continue to come back. In fact, ants will leave chemical trails so that other ants in the colony can easily make their way into your home. If you want to remove these chemical trails and keep ants away from your house, then you may turn to some home remedies to drive the insects away. However, you will need to stay away from ant repellant myths in the process. Keep reading to learn about the chalk myth and what you should actually do to repel ants.
Understanding The Chalk Repellant Myth
Ants release powerful chemicals called trail pheromones to communicate to other ants within the colony. These pheromones serve two purposes. The chemicals leave a territorial marker to inform other colonies to stay away from the area. The pheromones also indicate that food and water is nearby and the path should be followed to reach them. The path is traveled by the worker ants so that food can be collected for the colony.
If ants cannot follow the pheromone trail or if it ends, then they will not be able to find the food in your home as easily. This is why people believe that ants will be repelled by creating chalk lines around the home. Specifically, the chalk is meant to disrupt the pheromone trail and stop the movement of the ants. However, ants are used to following pheromone trails that have become weak, and they are likely to move around or past the chalk to find the trail. Also, as ants continue to follow a pheromone trail numerous times, they will no longer need the trail itself to find the food and water. They will remember the path instead.
Additionally, the idea of placing chalk to repel ants likely came from the fact that there is actually an insecticide chalk product called Chinese chalk. This product looks just like a piece of ordinary chalk, but it contains a strong insecticide that can kill ants and other insects. The chalk is meant to be ground up and sprinkled around areas outside the home to kill ants. However, the chalk is not approved by the EPA, and the powerful insecticide can easily be breathed in through the nose. Also, children may mistake the chalk for blackboard chalk and use it. It is best to avoid the product if you find it sold illegally.
Repelling Ants The Correct Way
If you notice that ants have just started to enter your home, then you can work quickly to erase or remove the pheromone trails around the home to keep the ants from following the trail and making their way back into your home. Place about two cups of water and two cups of vinegar in a bucket and use the fluid to clean concrete, asphalt, stone, and other solid surfaces around the exterior of your home.
If there are bushes or patches of grass around the house, then use a hose to drench these areas with water. This will help to dilute the chemical trail so it is not as strong. You will not be able to remove the chemicals from the grass, but you can use a scent to overpower the pheromones so that ants become confused when they come close to your house. Mint odors are extremely strong and are often used to repel insects and other animals for this reason, since they hurt the nasal passages.
Gather several cotton rags and add several drops of mint or peppermint oil to each one. Place the rags at the base of your bushes or near your foundation to create a perimeter around your home.
Once you have completed the tasks to repel the ants, make sure to clean your home thoroughly so there are no crumbs on the floor. This way, ants are likely to look for another food source that is far more plentiful if they do come inside to inspect your house.
For more tips or help with getting rid of ants, contact a local pest control company like Ace Walco & Sons Termite & Pest Control.