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Spring. The days are longer, the garden starts budding. It’s glorious… until you spot the first ant crawling along your windowsill. Or perhaps you lift a houseplant to find piles of displaced dirt.

Ants. They’ve made their way into your home once again.

Spring isn’t the only time ants make it into houses. Sometimes they’re triggered by an impending rainstorm. Other times they find a dropped piece of candy and send out a call. Whatever causes their arrival, one thing is clear: once they’re inside, it sometimes seems impossible to get rid of them.

There are a few things you can try to both mitigate the risk and also get rid of ants once they’ve made it inside. One of the keys to dealing with it is understanding when it’s time to call a professional. But, first, a few of the self-help tips.

  1. Try to find where ants are making their way in. This is easier said than done, as the entry point can sometimes be behind cabinets or other hard-to-reach places. But if you’re lucky, you’ll be able to find the tiny hope and plug it up with a bit of caulk to stop them from getting inside.
  2. Clean everything. Ants are drawn to good, and even things as small as crumbs seem appetizing to them. Scrubbing every single surface of even the smallest bit of food can make it unappealing for them to come inside.
  3. Spread essential oils everywhere along the path where you’ve seen ants. Strong smells like peppermint and tea tree oil disrupt the signals ants send to each other to indicate where there’s food. The downside of this method is that you should not spread these oils where you prepare food. Additionally, the smell dissipates quickly. You’ll need to reapply, sometimes for weeks, if you opt to use this method to rid your home of ants.

The truth, however, is that most do-it-yourself methods of trying to get rid of ants fail. If you’ve ever found yourself in the midst of a full-on ant invasion, you know that you can try all of the above and more, and still go into the kitchen in the morning to find that they’ve redoubled their efforts overnight. It can be demoralizing and overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be. The fastest and simplest way to get rid of ants is to call a professional. They have access to baits and other tools not accessible to the general public and can make the problem go away almost immediately. So if you’ve tried everything but haven’t been able to get rid of your ants, the solution may be one short phone call away.

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