The sweet signs of summer: patios packed with sun worshipers, birds singing, flies buzzing, ants crawling. As much as we all love summer, those pesky insects can put a damper on things. It’s even more annoying when those insects decide to set up camp in your home.
If you are one of many homeowners with ant and fly woes, here’s how to get rid of them for good.
Why Do You Have Ants?
Ants like to make themselves at home in many different places. Because they are foragers, they send out worker ants to look for a food source. When they find it, they let the team back home know about it when they carry the food to the colony. The colony follows a scent or pheromone trail back to your place to get more food.
Unfortunately, ants in the house are pretty happy eating whatever you eat, since they are omnivores. Whether you are non-GMO, gluten-free or a vegan, there will more than likely be something ants love in your pantry, stuck to your kitchen counter, or on your floor. Ants also need water. If there’s dampness in your home, leaks, or even warm water they can access in the sink, they will find it.
How Do They Enter the House?
If you just bought your home, you might not realize the ants in the house have always been there. In fact, many homeowners are frustrated by the annual appearance of their ant tenants without realizing they are nesting somewhere in the house.
An ant problem can happen pretty quickly because they are extremely industrious little buggers. They can find an entry point into your home easily from these spots:
- Foundation gaps
- Cracks and crevices around window and door frames
- Under your carpet, laminate, or hardwood floors
- Under your subflooring
- Through your windows
- Along utility lines
- Through water and natural gas lines
- In house plants
- On articles brought into the house from outside
- On firewood
What Types of Ants Are There?
There are actually more than 100 ant species that call Canada home. However, the ones that most commonly choose to call your house home are pavement, sand, Pharaoh, carpenter, and the dreaded odorous house ants.
Carpenter ants like to use wood for nesting. Although they don’t eat wood, a carpenter ant colony will burrow into the wood in your foundation, support beams, and roof. Fire ants are also becoming more common in some areas of Canada.
How to Get Rid of the Ants in the House
Most ants are not necessarily harmful, but they sure can give you the “heebie-jeebies” when you see them crawling around your floors and kitchen counter. There are some ways to eliminate ants and keep them away, including:
- Immediately wipe up any spills that might attract ants, especially sugary liquids
- Avoid leaving dirty dishes and glasses lying around the house or in the sink
- Avoid letting water, even in small amounts, sit in your sinks
- Pack up all the food in your pantry in sealed containers, especially sugar
- Wipe all your sweet condiment containers clean after use, especially things such as honey, syrup, jam, and ketchup
- Sweep after every meal to remove all signs of crumbs from your floors
- Remove all signs of food from your counters after food preparation
- Avoid leaving fresh fruit and vegetables on the counter
- Take care of any plumbing issues that could be leaving pools of water anywhere in the home
- Avoid allowing dampness in your home
- Use ant traps or liquid ant bait, instead of dangerous ant sprays to repel ants as they are filled with chemicals
- Avoid using aphid killers in your garden as the aphids provide food for ants and help to keep them outside, instead of in your home
Why Do You Have House Flies?
House flies are even more annoying than ants. They are attracted to warm air currents coming from your house. If they detect odours on those currents, all the better, as this means food to them.
Pet feces and garbage odours are especially appealing to flies. Unfortunately, most of us do have garbage odours in the home thanks to composting. Smells can attract flies, but they also wander into the home through open windows, doors, torn screens, and gaps.
How to Get Rid of House Flies?
House flies are a pain to get rid of, but you can reduce their presence by trying the following:
- Keep your garbage sealed tight, especially your compost
- Clean your garbage containers regularly to remove all traces of food
- Follow all the rules about food and clean up for ants
- Repair all torn screens and never leave doors and windows open without screen protection
- Use fly strips to trap them
Why Do You Have Fruit Flies?
Fruit flies can fly into your home, but more commonly, they will use fruit and veggies as their preferred mode of transportation. They can reproduce fast, and it just takes one piece of produce to generate hundreds of eggs. Once in the home, fruit flies will use other produce to reproduce but can also use the slime that collects in your drain pipe just below your kitchen sink. That is why they also go by the name “drain flies.”
How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies?
First and foremost, clean all fruit and vegetables thoroughly as soon as you bring them into the house to remove any possible eggs. Store fresh produce in the fridge. If you must store fruit and veggies on the counter, keep them wrapped tightly in a bag or container. You can also try these home remedies:
- Place cider vinegar, a piece of old fruit or old wine in a dish, cover with plastic wrap and poke holes in it to attract and trap the flies
- Keep your kitchen clean, especially your kitchen sink and drain
- Follow all the same food rules as ants
- Buy fruit fly traps
- Set a candle in a tray with cider vinegar, old wine, or stale fruit in a dark room and light the candle to create a zapper (make sure you use a sturdy candle holder and keep an eye on the candle)
- Use a fly strip for major infestations
Although we welcome summer, we don’t welcome the bugs that come with it. These pest control tips should help you stop those tiresome bugs from settling in for the season.