Thief ants are a real disaster if they occur in the home. Like all the insects, they tend to live close to sources of food. It is the reason why they often appear in the kitchen, especially if you live on the ground floor. They eat greasy foods and protein so if you leave nuts, cheese and sweets open on the table – be ready to meet thief ants one day.
Why are they so Dangerous?
Working ants are small and can find their way into packages with sugar, sweets etc., becoming a nuisance for any host. Outside of the house, their main food is dead insects. It means that they are able to transfer pathogens to food, causing different illnesses. Another reason to get rid of them is biting. As a rule they don’t usually do it but if they are scared, they can bite protecting themselves. It is not pleasant, anyway.
Thief ants are the smallest type of ant. Their color can vary from light-yellow to reddish and brown. They are called “sugar ants” because of the fact that they are attracted by sweets and products containing sugar. They received the name “thief ants” because of their behavior to steal larvae from other ant colonies. They do it because the larvae of another ants are high in protein and are the best food for thief ants. Their colonies are smaller than those of the other species. Nevertheless, there can be more than two queens and thousands of workers. This is unusual for ants because they usually have only one queen. They usually nest in the wood and soil under the rocks but can live in different places inside, for example, in cracked furniture and walls. Their nests are rather difficult to find because the ants build them in hidden places.
How to Get Rid of Thief Ants
If they appear at home, the first thing that should be done is to remove all of the food including sweets and greasy food. The best way is to contact a professional who can do all of the work. But when that is not possible, you can try to get rid of the ants yourself.
- Use soap and a sponge to kill the insects when you see them;
- Try to plug up all the cracks in the floor, furniture and walls using caulk;
- Clean all the places where the food is located or can be left including the places of pet food;
- Use baits for the thief ant control.
Natural Ant Control Methods
As mentioned, the two main methods is to prevent their access to the house and remove all of the dirty dishes and food. If you don’t want to use chemicals, try natural methods.
- Barriers. They won’t kill ants but they don’t allow them to come into the kitchen. Thief ants don’t like the cinnamon, vinegar, chalk lines, lemon oil, chili pepper or baby powder. The best material to put on windows and doors is Vaseline. The most important thing is that the barrier should be placed in a line, not as dots or something else.
- Smells. Like most insects, ants hate strong smells. For example if you grow mint, lavender and clove it will prevent thief ants from coming. The oil is also effective.
- Use coffee grounds. Empty them on the hills and next to the house. Coffee has a very strong scent but it also confuses worker ants. They simply lose their ability to find food for the colony. Remember that all of these methods require patience and persistence.
- Home-made baits. You can make baits yourself. They are not toxic and easy to do. Take syrup, boric acid and a bit of flour. Make little balls of it and put it next to the hill. Another variant is to put the syrup into the bowl and put the boric acid around it so the ants will have to cross the line if they try to reach the food. This method is very effective but the bait should be kept far from children. The method requires a few weeks to take effect but it lasts for a long time.
Chemical Ant Control Methods
Chemical methods have fast and stable results only if the set of actions was done.
- Cope with outdoor hills. Any inside colony starts from the outside and the first step is to deal with the mounds. It is possible to do this by using Demon WP or Cynoff insecticide. They draw the colony and the area around the hill. Keep children and pets away until the liquid drains.
- Use baits. The insects of the destroyed colony will try to create a new one inside of the house or start sub-colonies. Use chemical bites to prevent this and to destroy the population. Considering the fact that the ants’ tastes can vary, one of the best bites is Maxforce Ant Bait Granular. It is created to fit the changing tastes of the insects. Another good product is Niban Fine Granular Bait that can be used either outdoors or indoors.
- To destroy inside colonies, spray insecticides are needed because they can reach the insects living in the wall cracks and floor voids. It is recommended to use Delta Dust Insecticide. It has a waterproof effect so you can continue to do the cleaning even after using it.
We recommend you to read: Review of the ants traps, what are the ants afraid of?
Prevention of the Invasion
- The first rule is that everything should be clean and there must be no food left in the kitchen or elsewhere.
- The second rule is to prevent their entrance and access to the house. It is easy to do using natural methods of ant control.
- Cope with outside nests using liquid boric acid or chemical methods.