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How to get rid of pharaoh ants naturally? We get this question asked a lot. Besides and hiring an exterminator in Toronto to get rid of pharaoh ants, there are many suggested DIY methods for exterminating the pests. The success rate for most of these methods vary so hiring professional services remains the only guaranteed way to get rid of pharaoh ants permanently. However, over the years there are some methods that stand out from the others.
Many people facing a pharaoh ant infestation wonder whether it is possible to get rid of pharaoh ants naturally, or rather DIY. The more important question is whether you should do the extermination yourself. Any professional exterminator would answer to the negative. It may seem like a partisan opinion but there is a strong basis as to why you should leave the ant extermination to a professional.
Diatomaceous earth for pharaoh ants extermination
The material is a naturally occurring sedimentary rock and is used in a wide range of products such as polishers, toothpaste, and is used as a mild abrasive filtration aid. It is not harmful for humans but when ants eat from it, it can dry them out by absorbing the fats and the oils of the pharaoh ant essentially speeding up the process. It is important to leave it in places where they are expecting to find food such as baseboards in cabinets, pantries. It also helps to place DE on the floor along the base of kitchen appliances such as refrigerators.
Are pharaoh ants dangerous?
Pharaoh ants are thought to originally come from Egypt, Africa where they supposedly historically knew as being extremely disruptive. Today, their modern-descendants are nothing but just annoying. Their bites are not painful but can sting a bit. They are quite aggressive by nature as they will attack their assailants. They are dangerous in the sense that they are able to contaminate food, transmit viruses that can cause diseases such as treptococcus and salmonella. Pharaoh Ants can also establish multiple colonies.
Pharaoh ants in an apartment building
Pharaoh ants pose a big problem when it comes to apartments since they have a preference for warmth which can be found in apartments. Their diet is a bit peculiar as they seem to be attracted to oily and sweet foods. They usually nestle themselves behind baseboards, cupboards, and cabinets, and this is why the kitchen is their favorite spot to be in since it provides the ants all the necessities. It is not surprising that the kitchen is at the cross-roads of many insects and pests alike as the kitchen is one of the main parts of a house that is essential for its inhabitants. Due to their transparent color, pharaoh ants are able to blend in with their environment thus making them hard to spot. To rid a private residence of ants or business, it is urged to hire professional intervention.
Do pharaoh ants eat wood?
Pharao ants do not eat wood. This is a misconception due to the similar damage that is caused by termites. Carpenter ants and Pharaoh ants create intricate tunnels with the help of their mandibles. This means that they will excavate the tunnel piece by piece and spit it out. The material that is spit out out is called “frass”. Frass resembles fine wood dust and is mixed with fecal material, body parts, and other material as well. Frass can be found directly beneath an entry-point and is a major indication of an active infestation.
DIY Pharaoh Ant Pest Control
The only way to get rid of pharaoh ants is through baiting. The first step is to pinpoint the area of most ant activity. This most likely won’t lead you to the colony itself but rather lets you know where the ants are getting their food from.
The next step is to clean your home thoroughly to remove as many food sources as possible. These may include crumbs on the kitchen floor and open food containers. The idea is to limit the ant’s source of food to the bait.
Finally, bait the ants. Pharaoh ants prefer sweet foods including jelly, honey and sugar. Place the food in the area(s) you identified as having the largest ant activity. Add the bait or insecticide you can buy over the counter. The bait may be grease-fat based or sugar based. The worker ants will begin to collect the poisoned food and take it back to the nest for other ants to feed.
The insecticides typically work in one of two ways. One variety contains a slow-acting poison that actually kills the ants. The worker ants may feed on the poison on site but it takes time to work so they have enough time to reach the nest with the poison. Another variety may sterilize the queen or queens, making them infertile and so the colony dies off naturally in a few weeks to a few months.
Natural DIY Pharaoh Ant Remedies
These natural solutions work by destroying or poisoning the ant colony so make sure that you know where the nest is located before you begin treatment. You can find the nest by putting out favourite ant food such as honey, sugar, syrup or meats and follow them back to the nest when they come out to forage.
1. Boric Acid
This is an active ingredient in most effective pharaoh ant baits so it might be a great DIY solution. Boric acid is available over the counter in most hardware stores. You can mix it with water in a spray bottle and spray the nest directly. Alternatively, contaminate the ant’s food with boric acid. The worker ants will carry the poison back to the nest which will be consumed by the entire colony. Keep up the treatment for as long as the ants continue to forage.
Boric acid is not dangerous for pets and humans in small quantities although it can still lead to minor symptoms if ingested accidentally.
2. Baking Soda and Sugar Bait
Mix equal amounts baking soda and sugar and place the mixture where the ants like to forage. Although baking soda is not necessarily a poison, the rationale is that the baking soda will react with the formic acid present in pharaoh ants. Sugar in this mixture is used for bait. The result is a reaction producing excess CO2 that kills the ants. This rationale isn’t backed by reputable scientific studies but some people who claim to use this method say it works. Others even claim that the reaction causes the ants to explode.
3. Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous earth is not harmful or poisonous to humans and pets humans. The rationale here is the compound absorbs fats and oils on the ant’s exoskeleton causing it to dry out and die. The diatomaceous earth doesn’t even have to be consumed by the ant to be effective. The compound’s abrasive sharp edges help to speed up the process.
Mix equal part vinegar and water and spray the mixture where you notice pharaoh ant activity especially windowsills and doorways. The vinegar is supposed to repel ants.
You can also keep the ants from coming in the house in the first place. This is an effective solution if you are sure that the ant’s nest is located outside. Inspect the entire house top to bottom and seal with caulk any gaps, holes and crevices where you think the ant can enter.
6. Cinnamon Oil
Cinnamon oil is believed to have insecticide properties while others claim that pharaoh ants are repelled by the smell of cinnamon. Sprinkle ground cinnamon on high-traffic areas. Do not begin the treatment until you are positive that you have identified all the existing nests. Haphazard treatment can cause the ants to break up and form multiple satellite colonies making the problem even worse. Follow foraging ants back to their nest to find out where they live rather than spraying them directly. The reason why baits are so effective is that the workers carry back poisoned food to feed the entire nest.
Finally, make sure that you have correctly identified pharaoh ants and not confusing them with pavement ants, termites or some other species. Successful extermination relies mainly on using the correct treatment for the correct type of pest.
Why You Should Hire a Professional Exterminator
Baiting sounds deceptively simple but is actually a complex and often drawn-out process. Exterminating the ants yourself may cause them to scatter, queens separate and go on to form individual colonies. This situation leaves you with a worse infestation. A professional exterminator is able to take all the factors into account including identifying the ant, picking out the best bait, identifying optimum baiting locations and more. Pharaoh ants are often confused with other species so there is always the chance that you are treating an infestation other than the one you actually have.
Over-the-counter products are often less effective than what professional exterminators use. Additionally, there are strict pesticide regulations in Toronto and Ontario that limit what you can do to fight the infestation. The baiting technique is particularly necessary especially if dealing with pharaoh ants in an apartment or condo. There is only a small that you can get rid of a pharaoh ant infestation yourself all factors considered. It is best to leave the job to a professional Toronto exterminator who provides a warranty for his work.
Hire a Professional Exterminator To Get Rid of Pharaoh Ants
Many of these remedies are either hit or miss or simply do not work. Pest control companies like The Exterminators Inc. invest heavily in equipment, licensed exterminators and potent chemical and would be happy to cut massive operational costs in these areas if natural remedies worked as effective as their proponents claim.
It is also crucial that you find all of the ant nests and treat successfully the first time around. pharaoh ants will bud when disturbed; which means queens scatter with surviving workers and eggs to form new colonies. Considering that a single nest can contain multiple queens, there is great potential for making the infestation exponentially worse.
The only guarantee to get rid of pharaoh ants permanently in Toronto is to hire an exterminator. The professional will also figure out how they are getting into the house and what’s attracting them in the first place so you don’t have to deal with this problem again in the future. Ask for a warranty of at least six months before work begins.
Article Updated: August 6th, 2018