Ants can be loosely sorted into three categories: sweet-loving ants, grease-loving ants and carpenter ants, who feed on a variety of both. While all three ants eat an overlapping variety of foods, in terms of pest control, they are often sorted by their primary preferences. Often found targeting pungent trash cans or leftover pet food, ants track food by smell, and in general, can be found anywhere with easy access to food and water.
Ant species with a strong preference for sugar are the easiest of the three to control. When ants have a wider variety of foods in their diet, it makes poisoned bait traps less effective, as the colony's exposure is lessened. Additionally, if chemical pest control is not working, outdoor ant mounds can be destroyed by pouring boiling water over them.
Ants also dislike certain smells, avoiding chili pepper, cinnamon, borax, salt, pepper and peppermint. While, plain water is not an efficient way to remove the smells that attract ants, wiping down counters and surfaces with a combination of vinegar and water or soapy water will increase effectiveness. Additionally, particularly in areas that are prone to ants, do not leave food in the garbage can for several days, as the process of garbage breaking down causes it to release an even stronger and more attractive odor.