How to Get Rid of Ants Without Harming Pets

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Ants might be infamous for ruining picnics, but they can also invade your home and leave you with the creepy crawlies. When you also have pets in the home, you need safe ways to get rid of the ants without hurting your furry family members. Toxic ant killers are the biggest risk to your pets, so finding alternatives help you evict the ants without making your pets sick.

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Why Ants Get In

It's common to find ants in your home, especially in the kitchen. They enter your home to find food and shelter. Your home offers those things, especially if you have food that's easily accessible in the form of crumbs or containers that aren't sealed well. Ants can make their way into your home through very small gaps or cracks.

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Ants are easy to identify with their three distinct body sections, bent antennae, and pinched waists. Some ants have wings, with larger forewings and smaller hindwings. If you're not sure whether you have ants or a termite infestation, look for the pinched or constricted waist as termites don't have that feature. Other differences for termites include straight antennae and four equally sized wings.

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Find and Seal Entries

Follow the line of ants to see if you can identify the entry point inside your home. Then head outdoors to see if you can spot ants coming into your home. Exterior doors and windows are common spots where ants can get into your home. They can sometimes enter where the siding starts along your foundation. Look for cracks, seams, holes, and other easy entry points. Seal those areas with caulk to close off the access point and keep ants out of your home.

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Preventing and eliminating ants in gardens near your home and sealing entrances can reduce the number of ants in your home. Remove vegetation and mulch within 6 inches of your home. Avoid toxic chemical controls outdoors, especially if your pets spend time outside as they can ingest the poison. Diatomaceous earth is a chalky powdered substance you can sprinkle outdoors or indoors that's generally safe for pets and humans, although it can be messy when used indoors. Sprinkling it around your home may kill some ants before they make it indoors.

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Keep Things Clean

Crumbs in your kitchen serve as an open invitation and the ideal food source for ants. Cleaning up crumbs and washing dishes immediately following meals can help keep ants away. Keep opened food in airtight containers.

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If you have ants in your home, clean the areas where you see them frequently using soapy water or a mix of vinegar and water. This removes the scent trails the ants leave to guide other ants to the food.

Get Rid of Ants Safely

You can usually use DIY pest control to get rid of ants, but it's important to choose safe, effective methods that you can use around your pets. Avoid ant sprays, which only kill the ants you spray directly. You'll constantly have to spray to kill the ants, and you still might not get them all. Toxic sprays are also more difficult to control and can stick around on surfaces where your pets might come into contact with them.

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Ant bait in an enclosed container is a safer option when you need chemicals to tackle the ants because the container keeps the ant killer away from pets. The ideal location is along a trail where the ants frequently walk. However, you also want it in an area that your pets can't reach since they could chew on the container if it's easily accessible. Keep them away from your pet's food area, toys, and other areas where your pets hang out frequently.

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The food attractant in these products tempts the foraging ants, and they'll bring the bait back to the nest for the queen and other ants to eat. It takes some time to kill the entire colony, but it's typically much more effective than spraying the ants that you see.

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