Prevent Ants from Taking Over Your Open House

That California has a large ant population is no surprise to anyone who has lived in the state for any length of time. For real estate agents and Realtors®, these pests can be a particular problem. Prospective buyers might know in general that ants are a problem in the state, but that doesn’t mean they want to see the pests walking along the kitchen counter in a house they’re considering for purchase.

Agents who are preparing to show a house, especially as an open house, need to take steps to make the house pest-free for the showing. A combination of traditional and complementary treatments, and close attention, will do that job nicely.

Start With a Pest Control Treatment

Arrange for a pest control company to spray around the house and place baits outside in the garden. The point of this treatment and these baits, which are usually unobtrusive, is to create a barrier that will stop ants from coming inside. The baits will also help reduce the ant population.

Note that if it rains as you’re showing the house, the exterior treatment might need to be reapplied. However, don’t skip this treatment if rain is in the forecast. First, the rain might not wash it all away, and second, even a short amount of exposure could be enough to repel the ants.

Add Pleasantly Fragrant Repellents

Those exterior treatments take care of the ants outside, but now you have to deal with any that have already made it inside. They aren’t exactly going to want to cross the pest control barrier to get out. If the problem is serious inside and you don’t have much time before an open house, have the pest control company do an interior treatment, too.

After that, reinforce the pest control treatment with pleasantly fragrant repellents. Ants are so wily that they may still appear after these treatments, albeit in much smaller numbers so you’ll be able to control them.

Cinnamon and peppermint are both unattractive to ants; in fact, ants hate the scents of these spices. Place small decorative bowls full of artfully arranged crushed mint around the house or place a little powdered cinnamon at entry points, hiding the brown spice behind a plant or picture frame set on the counter. Spraying the entry points with a mix of citrus oils and water can help repel the pests, too.

Inspect the House the Morning of the Showing

The morning of the showing, walk through the house and look for signs of pests. Check plants, sinks, and baseboards. Spray with a peppermint or citrus spray to kill any live ants you find. Give yourself enough time to air out the house.

Bring Food That Isn’t as Attractive to Ants

If your open house will feature food, try to bring food that isn’t that attractive to ants. Avoid sugary sweets and aim for mildly spicy or garlicky canapes; ants don’t like garlic. If someone drops a piece of food, then, it won’t attract ants hiding out in the house.

Have a Cleaning Crew Sweep Through the Place

After the showing is over, bring in a cleaning crew who can sweep up crumbs and clean away spills. The goal is to remove as many potential food and water sources for the ants as possible.

Maybe you’ll be lucky and find that the house has no real ant problem to speak of, but you don’t really want to take a chance. Have a pest control company like Craig & Sons Termite & Pest Control, Inc., treat the house before you start showing it to potential buyers. You want the buyers to look at the features and design, not the unwelcome houseguests on the counter.