I am ashamed to admit this…. it but there was a time where my house was literally infested with ants. When I took over the household chore of sweeping and mopping, I was often overwhelmed at the sheer amount of moving ants that would be crawling on my kitchen floors, counters and dining table.
My dustpan were filled with them and even after sweeping, when I mopped the floor, I would see also lots of ants floating on the water. It made me feel very bad because I don’t really like to kill ants or anything for that matter.
When I watched YouTube videos related to cleaning and organization, I am so inspired when I see homes that are so clutter free and the fact that their house was not ant infested like mine. That they could actually place a non air tight tupperware of cookies and it would not be filled with ants within a few hours or the very next day.
I made the strong determination to get rid of the ant infestation. After some simple changes changes and I do not see lots of ants moving around. Yes, we still have the occasional few but no longer ant infested as it did.
Note: I did not use pest control because I do not want to have chemicals sprayed in my home. I also did it without using insecticide sprays which may be harmful to humans and my pets.
Most important practices if you wish to stop the ant infestation in your home:
PRINCIPLE: REMOVE THEIR SOURCES OF FOOD AND EDIBLE DEBRIS FROM YOUR KITCHEN COUNTERS, FLOORS AND DINING TABLE.
Here are what I did to manage the ants infestation:
1. I made sure that I left no food debris lying around in my kitchen counter, dining table and floor.
Each time after I finished having a meal, I would wipe my dining table. After cooking I also ensured no food debris are left – even a grain of rice would attract ants. If there is any food that dropped in the floor, I would pick it up (now I understand why my grandma would pick up even a grain of rice that dropped on the floor).
The same goes for all wrappers or plastic used to store bread, chocolates, buns, cakes, etc are disposed off instead of leaving them lying around. This is because the food debris will continue to attract ants.
All this takes only a shortwhile to do and becomes automatic once you are used to doing it.
2. Food that attract ants such as biscuits, cakes, pastries- I place a plate of water, then followed by a bowl to put them.
That prevents the ants from crawling up to the food because the base contained a plate with water. I would change the water once every few days. I guess honey are now no longer 100% pure because honey is supposed to be an ant repellent and I’ve had ants crawled and even get into a few bottles of the honey (a few different brands already) – hence I also need to put a plastic container with water to surround the honey.
3. Long term food such as white or brown sugar, cake mixes- I would store them in plastic containers that are airtight.
From past experience, I have seen ants managed to get into the thick plastic packaging of the sugar or cake mix. I used to wonder how they did that. After putting the sugar in such storage containers, I don’t have ants crawling around counters or cabinets where I store these items.
4. Clear the dishes- try not to leave it in the sink for too long
There is something about piling dirty dishes that can really make a person overwhelmed. I feel that way when I see dirty dishes, pots and pans filling up my entire kitchen sink. Usually, I would do the dishes after preparing the food, in between cooking and after so that these dishes do not pile.
I know some people may leave their dishes overnight- try not to do it because while you are asleep, bugs like ants, cockroaches, lizards and even rats would help themselves to the leftovers. You would always have ants infestation if you tend to leave your dishes overnight or food unattended at counters or dining table.
5. Wipe kitchen counters, dining table, sweep and mop the kitchen at the end of the day.
Wiping is to help clear off debris. Sometimes we do not see any scraps of food on the floor and at night, the bugs would come and help themselves. Also when you cook, there would be vapors and oil stuck to the floor which may also attract these bugs.
At the end of the day, I would sweep and then mop with a mild disinfectant.
6. Always, always take out the trash at the end of each day.
I make it a point to have the trash taken out at night. Even if the trash is not full, I still bundle and throw it at the dustbin outside my house. To avoid wasting too much plastic, I would use smaller plastic bags because I could estimate the amount of trash we have each day.
Sometimes after taking out the trash and I decided to have an apple or orange, I would wrap it up in a used plastic and tie with a rubber band before throwing in my kitchen trash bin.
I started becoming very particular about this after getting a few nasty surprises. There are times I used to sleep very late and at 2am in the morning when I go into the kitchen, I have seen a few roaches jumping out of my trashbin and running for their dear lives. Few times I saw the trash past midnight and wanted to throw it when a few house lizards jumped out- the sudden movement scared the heck out of me. These are the ‘activities’ that goes on in your trashbin if you fail to take out your trash at night- a feast for the bugs.
During the day, I would cover the trashbin with a cardboard egg cartoon. It helps to keep out flies.
How long did it take for me to see results:
It is important for you to know that by practicing the steps above, you would not see IMMEDIATE results like in a day or two.
The ants have been coming and they are used to coming for food. If you cut off their food source, they would need to go elsewhere for food but it will take time for the realization to sink in for them.
In about 2 weeks the ants infestation stopped because there was no food for them to eat. They got the hint.
It has been more than 6 months now and I am in maintenance mode. I do my best not to get sloppy because I do not want to go back to the days of the ants infestation. After a while of automatic wiping and washing dirty plates and utensils, you would become used to it, doing it almost like autopilot.