Got Ants? 3 Tips to Keeping Them out of Your Knoxville Home

When you spot a few ants crawling around at your Knoxville, Tennessee, home, you may know that it's not easy to get rid of them. Ants live in colonies, so while you may see only a couple here and there, the ants are multiplying and setting up camp nearby. It's crucial to start taking steps right away to eliminate the ants and stop them from coming back.

Determine What They Want

Before you start getting rid of the ants, take a look around your home to see why they think it's such a great place to set up their colony. If you have pet food out at all times for free-feeding animals, the ants may have unlimited access to food. A floor with a lot of crumbs that doesn't get swept often is another prime location. Ants are just like any other type of insect or animal: they are looking for a place where they can get food and water while staying protected from predators and harsh weather conditions.

When you understand why ants might be living in or near your home, you can take some steps to clean up the space and get rid of unlimited access to food. If the ants don't have what they need, they'll be forced to move on to another place to live.

Figure Out the Type of Ants

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To get rid of them properly, it's also important to determine which type of ants you have. Black ants usually live in colonies outside but come inside to find meat, sugar, and starchy foods. If you can follow the trail, the ants might lead you right to the colony, giving you the chance to eliminate it at the source. After you eliminate the colony, you need to look at holes or gaps in exterior walls, doors, and windows, which allow ants back in. Seal the entry points to prevent ants from getting into your home.

Carpenter ants typically live in moist wood, so you might find their nests in wood used to construct your deck, patio, or even the frame of your house. Carpenter ants may also have several nests set up, so following a trail to eliminate one nest might not solve the problem. Getting rid of carpenter ants usually requires the assistance of a professional pest control expert.

Clean Regularly

Even a kitchen that looks clean at first glance can be attractive to returning ants. A few granules of sugar on a counter or crumbs behind the stove may go undetected, but this constitutes a feast for a colony of ants. Vacuum areas where you and your family prepare and eat food at least once every other day. Invest in sealable trash containers, to limit the ants' access to food, and use your disposal unit to eliminate food waste instead of leaving it in the garbage can.

There are also natural repellants you can use, such as peppermint or cinnamon oil, lemon juice, vinegar, and coffee grounds. Ants dislike the strong scents of these products so using them may keep the insects away.

With a few simple steps, you can get rid of the pesky ants in your Knoxville home.