Ants create scent trails to help them find their way back and forth from the nest to established food sources. If steady food and water sources are discovered inside your home, ants use these trails to come in and out of the house. Some ants even build a new nest in your home, setting up permanent residence that makes it easier for them to dine on crumbs, food spills and other easy sources in your home. Effective do-it-yourself ant pest control requires you to get rid of the food sources and the ant colony.
Clean your home to remove food crumbs, spills and residue. Vacuum or sweep floor surfaces and wipe down countertops, appliances and floors with a mixture made from one part water to one part white vinegar. The diluted vinegar mixture keeps the surfaces clean and free of ant-attracting food residue, while erasing the ants' scent trails.
Apply petroleum jelly around the outside of your pet's food and water bowls to prevent ants from climbing into the bowls for food and water.
Sprinkle ground cinnamon along baseboards and doorways or on windowsills to act as a scent repellent to deter ants from entering your home.
Mix 1 teaspoon dishwashing detergent with 236ml of water in a spray bottle. Spray ants with the soapy water solution to kill them on sight.
Position commercial ant bait stations in areas frequented by household ants. Set the bait stations inside cabinets, underneath appliances and in the pantry. As the ants eat the poisonous bait they will also bring some back to share with the ants who remain in the nest.
Persist with ant control methods for 4 to 6 weeks to make sure the colony has been wiped out. If ants continue to appear in great numbers, consult with a professional exterminator.
Insecticides alone are not enough to get rid of household ants. Food and water supplies must be eliminated to keep ants from coming back.