Waking up in the morning to find a trail of ants crawling across the kitchen counter is never a pleasant way to start the day. You might be inclined to spray the little intruders with a household ant spray and clean the area to get rid of them.
However, the ants might no longer be visible, but they're still there, and, chances are, they're going to be back within 24 hours. The only difference will be the location.
Ants work like a machine with perfectly functioning parts, and their sole purpose is to eat, survive and propagate. To this end, ants create nests that are much larger than the few dozens you sweep off the countertop.
This is why killing ants does not eradicate the problem. The nest is the necessary target to get the little intruders out.
Often, ants gain access through gaps and crevices, but they can make homes within the walls by fitting their tiny bodies behind electric switch plates or outlets. These locations are warm and provide the necessary environment for them to continue growing.
Ant bait is used to remove ants more effectively because worker ants pick up the bait and carry it back to the nest. This is then fed to the queen, who lives her whole life laying eggs to increase the size of the ant colony.
When using ant bait, it is important to not disturb the visible ants, as they need to be free to carry the bait back to the nest.
Spraying the ants (or the surface they are on) will only cause them to change their tracks. Ants use special scents to create a trail for food, so when their existing trail is disturbed, they simply find another.
And if they've created a nest in your walls, cellar, attic or yard, they're not likely to move the whole nest because of the trail being disrupted. Rather, they'll change their route and continue to collect crumbs and snacks from wherever they can and carry them to the existing nest.
It is very important to not disturb their trail even though seeing them walk across the kitchen floor may be irritating. Let them carry the bait to the nest — undisturbed — to take care of the whole problem. This will result in a much more effective removal of these pests.
The next time you intend to control ants in your house, think of a sustainable pest control method that will keep the ants away for a considerably long time. Ant sprays can reduce the number of ants running around, but ant baits eliminate them completely.