Are you fed up with seeing those pesky crawling insects, aka ants in your house? Once a few ants invade your home, it doesn’t take long before they become a swarm. Suddenly, you have ants crawling everywhere, even on your skin.

Getting rid of ants from your house is not an easy task, especially if the problem has persisted for long. If you still have ants in your house, call in the pest control experts for extermination help. They’ll know what to do.

It’s time to exterminate these pests. Here are ten steps on how to get rid of ants in the house:

1. Know the species

The first step in how to get rid of ants in the house is learning the different species. Chances are they are pavement ants. However, closely monitor them and establish their characteristics. Some of the most common ants include acrobat ant (crematogaster), carpenter ant (Camponotus), odorous house ant (tapinoma sessile), pavement ant (tetramorium caespitum), pharaoh ant (Monomorium pharaonis), and the thief ant (Solenopsis molesta).

2. Establish where they are entering the house from

Ants don’t come from nowhere. Find out where they are entering your house. You can do this by simply monitoring their movements. They could enter through an open door, cracks in the structure of the house, or through windows. You will mostly find them on window frames, the inner walls of your home, indoor or in concealed places. After identifying their point of entry, clean and seal it.

3. Establish their Source

Besides knowing where they are entering your house from, find out where they are originating from; their source. Somewhere not too far from your home is a nest, and you can trace it by following their movements.

Finding the source of ants is easy since they leave a scent trail starting from the nest to the source of food. They follow the same path as they troop between the colony and your kitchen, or wherever they are in the house.

4. Set up a pre-bait

Now that you know their source, the next step is to get rid of the pesky ants as quickly as possible. The best approach is to use their movement to trace their colony and poison them there. To do this effectively, set up a pre-bait to get as many of them in one place as possible, then poison them. The more of these pesky ants you have carrying the poison back to the nest, the better. You will eliminate more ants this way.

Don’t be alarmed to see a sudden invasion of ants in your kitchen; they are attracted by the poisoned chalice, the pre-bait. The pre-bait can be fried food, sweet, sticky food (think syrup or honey), fried meat or chips. Experiment with various baits to see which one is most effective at particular times of the year. Once you get the right bait, lace it with the appropriate poison.

Avoid leaving other food sources around to ensure the ants have access to the bait only. It might take a while for the bait to fully eradicate the nest, eggs, larvae and the cocoons. However, should you come across a swarm of ants several weeks down the line, you may need to use different bait, or contact the pest control specialists.

5. Use a mixture of liquid soap and water

If you’re not comfortable using toxic baits, a soapy solution can equally do the job. Get a spray bottle and mix liquid soap and water in it. Next, spray the swarming ants with the solution and watch them die, then clear them away.

6. Eliminate the scent trails

To prevent future re-infestation after eliminating the ants, find the scent trails left by the ants and erase them using rags that have been soaked in bleach or a disinfectant (water alone won’t work). You may also use vinegar and water to erase the trail. The aim is to obliterate the trail, not killing ants (by now, they should be dead anyway).

7. Use solutions that repel ants

You can create solutions at home that repel ants. For instance, ants hate citrus smells. To create an ants repellant, blend cucumber rinds, orange peels and lemon juice with warm water. Next, soak a rag into the solution and wipe down the surfaces with it. You may also mop the floor using the same solution. Other ant repellants include herbs and spices such as garlic, chilli pepper or cayenne, mint, basil, black pepper or cloves.

8. Diatomaceous earth and caulk

Taking preventive measures is key to ridding your house of ants. Use diatomaceous earth to seal up small holes and cracks, or apply it wherever you see ant activity. You can spray it on the walls. You can also seal all ants’ entry points and cracks around windows and doors using caulk.

9. Get rid of food crumbs and rubbish

Ants are drawn to your house by food and debris. Otherwise, they won’t bother. Make sure there’s not too much food lying around uncovered. Also, dispose of rubbish appropriately in sealed containers as it attracts ants as well. Make ants attraction areas such as the kitchen tidy and clean throughout. The cutlery and crockery should be thoroughly cleaned to rid them of food residues.

The floor should also be free of food scraps and crumbs that often hide in the edges or corners of your kitchen. Vacuuming also gets rid of tiny food crumbs that attract ants. Don’t just empty the rubbish bins, wash and dry them before using them again. Adding baking soda to the rubbish also repels ants.