Getting Rid Of Ants For Good: Destroying An Ant's Scent Trail

Ants can be one of the biggest pains to get rid of in your home or garden. Part of the reason for this is due to ants' scent trails. Ants actually use a scent for guiding themselves and communicating with one another. Destroying that scent trail can actually be your key to getting rid of your ant problem permanently. 

What Is An Ant Scent Trail?

Although humans can't smell it, ants leave a scent trail behind, which is composed of complex chemical pheromones. Ants tend to travel in single file lines and there's a reason for this. The ant at the head of the trail (often times called a general or leader ant), actually emits an odor that the other ants can detect on the soil and neighboring foliage. This allows the leader ant to essentially communicate with other ants, telling them where to go. The scent trail is actually quite potent for an insect with such a tiny stature.

A leader or general ant can emit the scent for upwards of 700 ft. This is actually the primary way that ants communicate with one another. A scent trail is not merely used for giving orders regarding where to travel. A scent can dictate any number of actions necessary for the colony's survival, including where to forage for food. Unluckily for you, "where to forage for food" usually means your pantry! 

Determine Where The Scent Trail Is

Ants will usually invade your home in order to rob you of your precious perishable goods. Although their scent trail is undetectable by the human nose, you can use another one of your senses to help guide you to their trail: vision. First and foremost, be watchful of your food pantry or cabinets where you tend to store food; if you notice any ants, be on the lookout for more. The ant has invariably left behind a scent trail to signal his six-legged buddies along for help carrying food back to the colony. What you should definitely be on the lookout for from here on out is a single file line of ants. Whenever you see a single file line, you've detected the source of the scent trail. Now to get rid of those suckers!

Destroying The Scent Trail

Now that you've discovered the location of the scent trail, it's time to destroy it once and for all. There are a number of options that you can take for this procedure. All of them are actually very cheap and involve household items you probably have laying about your kitchen or storage area. The first option is to fill a spray bottle full of vinegar and spray along where you believe the trail to be. Vinegar will neutralize the odor that the ants emit, and they'll scatter in a confused scurry.

Baking soda and water combined form a past that can be scrubbed along the path of the trail, which will get rid of it for good (and has the added bonus of actually acting as a cleaner for your tile). Cinnamon is actually a type of food that ants abhor. Chalk up a bit of cinnamon in your hand and place it along the trail, and ants will have no choice but to evacuate the premises. Even chalk can act as a neutralizer to the ants' trail, causing them to have to look for food elsewhere.

If you have destroyed the ant's scent trail, ensured that you aren't leaving crumbs around, and have blocked off entrances to your home, but you find yourself still with a house full of ants, it may be time to go to sites for a professional from a pest control company to help you combat your problem.