Saturday, June 20, 2015

Are Ants Taking Over at your House?

Here are a few ideas on naturally controlling ant invasions

Unless you are an ant lover, you probably would prefer to see no ants in your bird room or anywhere else in your home.  In fact you probably also prefer not to have them hanging around your home on the outside either.

There are many articles online to help you identify which species of ant you are trying to rid yourself of.  However, I prefer to focus on how to get rid of them.  Getting rid of ants naturally is the way to go if you have birds, other pets, or even small children in the home.

There are commercial ant baits that do work, but I prefer not to use them around my birds and cats, as birds and cats are very inquisitive creatures that love to check out anything new in the room.  Birds are quite capable of cracking open ant baits to see what is inside, and I find my cats love to bat the ant baits around the room to see how far they will slide.

 One easy way to help prevent ants from climbing up your bird's cage is to put all cage legs in a small container of water.  Ants do not like water, they do not swim.  However you will need to check daily to be sure there is still water in the bowls.  Although this helps keep the ants out of the cage, it doesn't get rid of them.  It is however a quick fix to keep ants out of your bird's cage.

Method 1: Mix a soapy water solution in a spray bottle.  Doesn't take much liquid soap or dish detergent.  Spray the ants.  This will kill them almost instantly.  The soapy water mixture also eliminates scent trails of the ants helping with newcomers.  You can also spray this mixture on your bird's cage legs (but not on your bird) and around baseboards of the room as well.  You may need to repeat daily if you have a lot of ants invading.

Method 2: Mix a solution of 50/50 vinegar and water, and with a spray bottle, spray the ants.  This will kill them and vinegar is not harmful to your birds or other animals (of course don't spray it on your bird or other pets).  Doesn't especially smell good, but it does work.  Vinegar and water is also a great cleaning and disinfecting solution for cleaning your bird's cage too. Just rinse after cleaning. 
Method 3:  Cucumber peels repeal the ants, so you can chop up some big cucumber slices and spread around the bird cage tray.  You will need to do this fresh daily as your bird if able, may decide to taste or enjoy the cucumbers as well.  Cucumbers are fine for the bird and most love the cucumber seeds as well.  However you don't want your bird eating day old stale cucumbers.

Method 4: Mix up a solution of water with some lemon juice and spray around the room corners or baseboard.  Ants don't seem to like lemons very much either.  Your room will probably also smell lemony good.  Clean and reapply as often as needed.

Method 5: You can sprinkle corn meal around the corners and baseboards of the room to keep ants out as well.  Or sprinkle a circle around your bird's cage.  Corn meal is safe for pets and children, but not so attractive sprinkled all over your floor.  Cornmeal seems to work well outside the home, especially poured on top of ant beds or mounds.  If using outside, you will need to repeat after any rain.

Method 6: I'm sure everyone has seen the spray bottle of Bird Mite Spray you can buy at many pet stores.  I do not ever recommend spraying your bird with this yucky stuff.  If your bird has mites, lice, or anything else these sprays claim to take care of, your bird needs to go to the avian vet.  Your bird does not need this chemical sprayed on him or her.  Why do I even mention this product then you ask?  Because this Bird Mite Spray stuff kills ants.  Kills them quick and is actually safe to spray on your birds cage, trays, papers, or all around the floor.  Just remember to not spray directly on your bird.  It does have to be repeated every day or two to stay active.

A note about using Diatomaceous Earth as a deterrent.  

Yes, Diatomaceous Earth does kill ants, slugs, roaches, grasshopper, earwigs, and fleas.  However the dust can be an irritant to birds, children, pets, or anyone with asthma or other breathing issues.  I prefer not to use this inside the home.  It can be safely used around the outside of the home with good results.

Hopefully some of these suggestions will help you with your ant problem this summer.  For more information please check out our Pinterest Board "Bug and Pest Control Naturally".  

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