Tuesday 22 May 2018

Ants: How to stop them marching into your kitchen - and why infestations are increasing

Dublin is the most ant-infested county in Ireland, according to figures by Rentokil. Photo: Deposit photos
Dublin is the most ant-infested county in Ireland, according to figures by Rentokil. Photo: Deposit photos
Geraldine Gittens

Geraldine Gittens

Pest control firm Rentokil says it has experienced a 69pc increase in callouts to treat ant infestations since January.

A third of these calls came from Dublin, while a quarter of them came from Kerry.

The recent wet weather conditions has provided the perfect excuse for ants to seek shelter, Rentokil says.

While garden or black garden ants aren’t thought to carry diseases aren’t thought to carry diseases, according to Dr. Colm Moore, Technical Manager at Rentokil, householders don’t want them marching through their kitchens.

“The majority of ant species prefer sunny climates, [so] Ireland would traditionally not be a suitable environment for ants. However, the few species found here can be a nuisance once they re-locate in or around your home.”

The Foods Ants Love:

“Garden or Black Garden ants aren’t thought to carry diseases, however the trouble is they’ve been foraging outside, so you wouldn’t want them marching through your kitchen. The majority of black garden ants come in to your home to forage for food, in particular sweet and sticky substances.’’

Six tips to help you stop ants marching into your kitchen:

•         Clear up - food and liquid spillages immediately.

•         Sweep up - any food crumbs from under your kitchen appliances and units.

•         Store your food - in airtight containers wherever possible.

•         If you have a pet - clear away any food that isn’t eaten straight away.

•         Block off - the entry points for ants by sealing all cracks and crevices around your doors and window frames.

•         In the garden - keep your compost enclosed and make sure all rubbish bins have tightly sealed lids, particularly your recycling bins.’’

Using boiling water to get rid of ants is only a temporary solution, Dr Moore says. Vinegar can remove the trace of ant trails to confuse ants about where to go to find the rest of their colony, but it won’t kill ants, he added. And the idea that feeding ants grains will cause them to explode is a myth, he says.

Ants can re-locate their entire colony in just one day, and some ant species can build their nest inside and become permanent indoor residents.

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