Pest expert on the popular ant-deterrents to avoid as they ‘won’t work long term

This Morning: Expert on how to 'banish ants for good'

Pest expert, Vicki Simms joined Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby on today’s edition of This Morning to discuss the best ways to get rid of ants that have entered the house. She also shared her opinion on how effective household products like cinnamon and talcum powder are at removing ants. 

Vicki said the warmer weather means “the worker ants are out to find food to feed the queen”. 

If there are ants outside, she recommends “leaving them alone” as they “are not going to cause you harm”. If there are ants inside a house, she said they are “looking for a sugary substance”. 

The black garden ant is the most common and can be removed from inside the home in a few steps. 

The pharaoh ant is a tropical specie, and if this is found inside the home, Vicki said not to try and remove them yourself, instead get a pest professional to help. 

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1. Strong smells – mint, citrus or cinnamon 

Finding a smell an ant dislike is a natural way to remove them from inside a house, but Vicki said none of these suggestions “have been scientifically proven”. 

Some suggest sprinkling cinnamon on surfaces where ants have congregated as the ants will work towards a sweeter surrounding. 

Citrus peel from lemons, limes and oranges are said to block trail ants use to communicate with each other. 

White vinegar and coffee have also been recommended to deter ants, but Vicki doesn’t agree: “They will stop ants as a temporary measure, but not a long-term solution.” 

She said there are “7,000 ants in a nest at any one time” and will simply find another way to get to the food source. 

2. Talcum powder 

Sprinkling talcum powder is said to make ants turn around because they are unable to climb through it. 

It is also a safe product for families with pets and children, but Vicki argued “ants are well known to carry more than 20 times their body weight” when something is in their way. 

She tried talcum powder herself on a trail of ants outside and said: “It confused them, but the ants then called other workers to come and help them bypass the talcum powder.” 

3. Find the food source 

Vicki advised “watching the ant, they will tell you where they are going and take you to the food source and go back to their nest.” 

Ants are usually looking for sugary substances, so wipe up sticky patches and make sure items like sugar are well sealed. 

4. Block entrance points 

Find where the ants are coming in and out and seal the spot up. 

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