Nobody likes an uninvited party guest, especially when it has six legs. Ants are notorious for appearing where they're least welcome, and picnics with lots of people and enticing food are especially vulnerable to pest invasion.
This year, don't let your Memorial Day festivities be interrupted by pests; with a little prevention, you can keep ants away from your food and guests.
Why Do Ants Love Picnics?
Ants are social insects, and they are constantly on the search for high-energy foods to take back to the colony and feed their queen. Since many favorite summertime foods are loaded with sugar and fat, ants are eager to get a piece of the meal for themselves.
Unfortunately, they can ruin your meal in the process. No one wants to find ants in the lemonade or deal with the itchy after-effects of ant bites. Worst of all, ants leave behind pheromone trails that will guide their friends back to your home, putting your kitchen or dining area at risk of ant invasion.
Tips for Keeping Ants Away
Unlike flies and mosquitoes, which can often be repelled with a simple fan or citronella candle, ants can be quite persistent. Here are a few tips for keeping them away from your Memorial Day BBQ spread:
- Avoid leaving food out and uncovered. Whenever possible, keep lids on all of your food. Place your trash containers far away from the festivities, and be sure that the trash can has a locking lid as well.
- Keep food away from the ground. Ants live in subterranean colonies, so setting up a picnic blanket nearby is an invitation for trouble. Opt for tables and chairs that will add an additional barrier between you and the ants.
- Consider floating your table. Place the feet of your picnic table in filled buckets of water. Ants climbing the sides of the bucket will be unable to cross the "moat" and make it up onto the table.
- Use a natural insect repellent. Cinnamon, clove, peppermint and garlic oil can all be effective for keeping ants away. Many people also say that dryer sheets can be an effective repellent for insects. Just rub down the table and chair legs with the dryer sheets or place them on the counter where ants are likely to travel on their way to food.
- Lay out traps. If you'll be holding your barbecue at home, you might want to prepare in advance by laying out a strong ant bait. This will kill nearby colonies and help your home and yard stay ant-free.
Ants can be particularly difficult to eradicate. Unless the queen ant is killed, the colony will persist, replenishing swarms to invade your home. That's why it's usually best to leave ant removal to the professionals. If you're planning a holiday barbecue and want to skip the unwanted guests, be sure to call Termagon for all of your pest control needs!