Ants are one of the most prevalent pests in California. Ants can become a nuisance when it starts to rain. While spraying chemicals inside the house may seem effective, it won’t prevent more ants from entering your home, which is essential for control. Focus management efforts on excluding ants from the house.
Make your house less attractive to ants:
■ Caulk cracks and crevices;
■ Store attractive food in closed containers;
■ Clean up grease and spills;
■ Look for and remove indoor nesting sites, such as inside potted plants;
■ Remove sweet food sources next to your house such as aphid-infested bushes and ripened fruit on trees;
When ants invade your house, take these steps:
■ Sponge invaders with soapy water as soon as they enter;
■ Plug up ant entryways with caulk;
■ Remove infested potted plants;
■ Clean up food sources;
■ Rely on baits to control the ant colony;
■ Indoor sprays are not usually necessary.
How and why baits work best:
When using bait, place it along ant trails and at nest openings. Worker ants will be attracted to the bait and take it back to the nest where the entire colony will be killed. The bait must be slow-acting so workers won’t be killed before they get back to the nest. It may take several weeks for results to be evident. Baits in bait stations or ant stakes are easiest to use and safest for the environment.
For more information go to www.ipm.ucanr.edu.
— Contributed by The Master Gardeners of Colusa County. They can be contacted by phone (530) 458-0570, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at the office 100 Sunrise Blvd., Ste. E, Colusa.