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Video:Non-Toxic Ant Removal

with Jonathon E. Stewart

Ants can be real pests, but you don't need to turn your house into a toxic waste dump to get rid of them. Check out these green tips for dealing with ant infestations, and you'll be free of them in a no time.See Transcript

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Transcript:Non-Toxic Ant Removal

Hey guys - Jonathon Stewart here for About.com. House guests can be a royal pain, especially when they've got six legs and you've got eleventy billion of them in your home. But before you go grabbing a vat of toxic ant-killer, take a look at these more sensible approaches, and you'll be insect-free before you know it. Check it out.

Understanding Ants

Ants are an important part of the outdoor ecosystem - they aerate topsoil and help to break down other organic matter, and keep other insect populations in check. So always remember that the goal is not necessarily to massacre the entire colony - although the goal is to get them out of your house. There's nothing worse than coming home or waking up to a giant infestation of ants in your kitchen. Well, maybe discovering you've got ants in your pants, but then I just wanna dance. In France.

Remove the Ants Food Source

Step one - if you happen upon an infestation, the first thing you should do is locate the ants' food source. This can be anything from honey or sugar in your cupboard, to sticky spills on your counters or near your trash. Take the offending item out of your house, and into an exterior trash bin. There's a real temptation here to whip out the flame thrower and send the remaining ants back to their creator. But know this before you do, once the food source is gone, they're not going to hang out much longer. As long as there's not another food source readily available.

Ant-Proof the Kitchen

Step two - ant-proof your kitchen. Start by putting your sugar, flour, rice, honey and anything else that might attract ants into air-tight plastic bags. Anything in the fridge should be okay - just make sure it's sealed up completely. As your ant infestation starts to break up, now it's time to figure out where they're coming from. Following their trail is pretty easy, and once you've pinpointed their entrance, you're in business.

Seal Up Ant Entry Areas

Step three - lock it up. Sealing entries to the outside with caulk is definitely advisable, though short-term solutions like petroleum jelly can work, too. Using a spray bottle with white vinegar can also help to line large surfaces, and placing cayenne pepper or cinnamon at trouble spots will help keep these insects at bay. And, if you really just need to put a few out of their misery, try using rubbing alcohol, which should kill them instantly, and won't have any lasting toxic effects for you or your family or pets. Be sure to wash the area where the ant trails were previously with soap and water.

Above all else, have a little patience - ants have been operating largely the same way for about 60 million years, so give yourself a day or two to figure out all their clever games, and you'll be good to go, ant-free.

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