Benjamin Franklin said, “houseguests, like fish, smell after three days.” We’d like to say that ants are one of the least welcome houseguests. Don’t even give them three days to take a stronghold. During the warmer months in Tulsa, OK, ants are on the prowl, looking for food and water sources. By the time you see them on your counter, they could have a nest with hundreds more under your house. We recommend professional pest management to identify and treat a home with an ant infestation, but prevention is better than cure. Here are five tips to help keep pests out of your home.

In this article we’ll be looking at the following methods of prevention:

Keep your home clean

Ants love sugars and proteins, but they’ll just about eat anything they can find. Wipe up spills quickly, especially soda, honey or syrup. Keep your food in the pantry in airtight containers. Using a vinegar-based or lemon-juice cleaner can deter ants, because they don’t like the smell.

Clean up moisture and damp areas

Ants, cockroaches, mice and other pests look for even tiny drops of water to stay alive. Fix leaks under the sink. Replace water-damaged materials, because carpenter ants can easily tunnel through damaged wood. Look for areas where moisture accumulates and fix these places.

Keep ants outdoors.

You may not like aphids, but many ants feed on the honeydew excreted by the aphids. When you spray your outdoor plants, you’re killing off their food source. You might be driving ants to your home in search of new food sources. Use aphid-killing spikes on houseplants but be cautious about killing off the insects in your yard. Ants aerate the soil and are a food source for birds.

Avoid barrier sprays

Insect barrier sprays are often ineffective against pests and contain harmful chemicals for humans and the environment. When you see a few ants, you might be able to stomp on them to get rid of them because they may simply be scouts. Ants that travel in a line are most likely the ones that have created a nest. Before killing the ants, see if you can trace them back to the nest so you know where to target eradication methods.

Correctly identify ants in your Tulsa home.

Carpenter ants and termites are often mistaken for each other. There are about 1,000 types of ants in Oklahoma that could be infesting your home. Instead of trying different baits or pesticides, talk to your professional pest management company about what type of ants you have and what is the best way to take care of them. Commercial pest companies have environmentally friendly pesticides and knowledge about best practices in using these products. Many times, homeowners use too much pesticide which won’t be effective, either.

Natural solutions can work, but if you have a colony living in your home, it could take weeks for all signs of the pests to leave. Prevent pests by using natural remedies, but if you have an infestation, don’t try to deal with it on your own. Professional pest control technicians can help.