While ants are a natural part of the environment and can even help loosen soils and make them more fertile, often, they are huge pests that can get into our houses or move aphids around on our garden plants. Ants can live in extremely large colonies, averaging 3000 to 4000 individuals. These include a queen who lays eggs and many specialized workers. This can make ants more of a nuisance since there never seems to be just one ant but hundreds working together. They will even leave scent hormones to a food source, allowing other workers to find it.
Despite their teamwork, ants can be controlled in several ways. Diatomaceous earth is a very safe and organic way to exclude them from our homes since they can’t cross the white powder without cutting themselves and eventually dying. It can be placed judiciously along window sills and baseboards. Bait Stations such as Terro-traps lead the ants to poison their own colonies. This bait is taken back to the queen, destroying the whole colony without killing other beneficial insects. Outdoors, ants that are feeding on aphids can be controlled with Bifenthrin-based products such as Fertilome’s “Broad Spectrum Insecticide.” A higher concentration of the same chemical, such as Hi-Yield’s “Bug Blaster 2.4” can also be used around the foundation of a building to exclude multiple insects, including ants.