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Preventing Pavement Ants in Your Home

By Chris Williams on December 27, 2010.

Pavement ants are a tiny insect but often a huge problem. They travel by the thousands and can almost instantly invade your home. You went to sleep with one pavement ant on the counter and woke up with the entire kitchen covered in little black pests. This has happened to everyone, and over the years people have developed several strategies for preventing pavement ants from raiding your home.

There are several basic methods for prevention reviewed then followed up by more advanced strategies and some unique methods people have discovered that work for solving an ant problem. Do not wait until the pavement ants have won the war to begin fighting, start using these tips immediately and keep your home ant-free.

The Basics: It is not a big secret that pavement ants are attracted to your food and also like to escape the summer heat by venturing into your home. Since you know the main causes of ant infestations, you can take specific and deliberate actions to prevent any problems in the first place. Follow these steps to prevent pavement ants from entering your home.

  • Seal all your food: Leaving food on the counter or loosely sealing containers that are in your pantry will be an open invitation for an ant invasion. Put your food in containers with tight lids or a zip lock bag to be sure there isn’t anything attracting pavement ants while you are sleeping.
  • Clean thoroughly: The kitchen can often have nooks and crannies that never thoroughly get cleaned. If you are serious about preventing pavement ants, you will need to wipe up the entire kitchen at night to remove any crumbs or liquids that may have spilled during the day. Even that small bread crumb is enough incentive for the pavement ants to come marching in.
  • Location of ant attractors: If you have flowers and plants inside or near your home that pavement ants seem to love, move them as far away from your house as possible. You can use those flowers to line your fence, not the wall of your house. Other attractors include trash cans and wood, both of which should be placed in areas far away from your kitchen and house if possible.
  • Seal ant entrances: It might not be possible to find all of the tiny entrances pavement ants will use, but sealing any holes or cracks you can find will help prevent an ant problem. Check everything from window seals to the foundations of your home. Also, check for any tree branches coming into contact with your home and cut them back so pavement ants don’t jump from the tree to your house.
  • Use water during heat waves: Pavement ants will likely try harder to enter your home during heat waves. When the temperature rises, be especially cautious about cleaning up well and preventing pavement ants. Pavement ants won’t cross over water so you can spray a hose around the exterior of your home to help fend off the pests.
  • Kill the scouts: If you see one lone ranger wandering around the exterior of your house or inside, you must kill him. He is scouting for a larger colony attack on your house and is leaving a scent trail behind so he can find his way back to report on his findings. If you are starting to see a lot of scouts, prepare for a war about to be waged between your home and the pavement ants.

Advanced Strategies: Although the above tips will generally keep you free and clear of any ant infestations, sometimes more advanced measures are required in areas with large ant populations. There are several household items that can be used to fend off pavement ants and multiple options for killing them once you have a problem.

  • Scent repellants: People have discovered that pavement ants hate certain scents of common household items. The following is a list of some well known remedies to repel pavement ants: peppermint oil, lemon juice, crumbled bay leaves, mint, cinnamon, citrus, cloves, cayenne pepper, onion, orange oil mixed with vinegar and rubbing alcohol, coffee grounds, sage, catnip, cucumber peel, white pepper, Windex, and chalk. Take any of these substances and spread them around the foundation of your house. You can use one, or try all of them. Of course the more the merrier if you have an extreme ant situation.
  • Clean with vinegar: Vinegar has the same scent repellant qualities as citrus and when you use it to clean your house you are adding more obstacles for pavement ants to get around.
  • Plants: If you like having plants around the outside of your house, use plants that will repel pavement ants like mint. This adds one extra barrier of entry that pavement ants hate.
  • Diatomaceous earth: Spread this around the foundation of your home and it will dehydrate the pavement ants and eventually kill them if they try and cross through it.

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