Ants in Australia
In Australia, searing temperatures drive armies of ants indoors along the coast from Cape York to South Australia.
Author of Garden Pests, Diseases and Good Bugs, Denis Crawford, says ant infiltrations are a common problem in the summer months. “Overly wet ground can certainly drive ants that nest underground to look for somewhere dry to re-establish their colony,” he says. “Houses, if they’re nearby, are as good as anywhere and sheds and so forth and even inside caravans. Generally they need a food source, so that’s one of the ways you can control them.”
“In the south they tend to be escaping dry weather and looking for moisture and food, but in ase (in northern New South Wales) they’re probably looking for drier areas and looking for food.” Generally ants are searching for sweet foods. The first step people can take to deter ants is to put sugary items in the refrigerator.
“We had them at my place last year and they were making a trail from the window coming through the tiniest gap you couldn’t see and straight across the wall to the cupboard where the maple syrup was, and the jams, the honey and all the rest of it. ” Crawford recalls. “In the end we removed the food and put it in the fridge.”
Another step to deter recurring invasions is to clean up their trails. “They [ants] tend to come in line,” Crawford says. “And if you wash that off once the ants have disappeared they tend not to be able to find their way back again because ants leave chemical trails. They leave a marker on the ground saying ‘food this way’ and if you clean that up, even if they come back, they’ll be quite confused.”
Crawford says the best solutions to clean the trails with are vinegar or lemon juice mixed with water. “They hate citric acid,” he says. “Anything that’s a little bit acidic, if you use that to wash those away, they would hate to come back across that again because of the smell.” Once the ants are out, Crawford stresses the importance of closing off the gaps where they’ve entered. “Seal the house as much as possible, you will go crazy if you try to block off 1mm holes everywhere, but do the best you can.”