Why You Should Avoid Squishing Ants In Your Home At All Costs

Finding an ant in your home can be alarming: It's not so much about noticing one single ant, as the thought that if there is a lone ant searching your home for food, there is likely a large colony nearby. And if so, the hope is that the colony isn't in your house, but somewhere outside of your home. If you want to keep it that way, the worst thing you can do is crush that solitary ant.

When you squash an ant, bodily fluid seeps out (via Lifehacker). That fluid from the ant's body produces pheromones, which signal to its entire colony to come to find them. This biological process actually helps keep ant colonies safe from disease, as ants will remove dead ant bodies from the colony and leave them in places where the dead ant can't contaminate the rest of the colony.

Consequently, it's a common occurrence to find one ant, crush it, and later find a large line or pile of ants invading the area where the ant was squashed.

How to keep ants out of your home

To protect against an ant colony invading your home, if you do crush an ant, quickly remove the body and then clean up the area, thereby eliminating the scent of the pheromones. Use vinegar, baking soda and water, or cinnamon to sanitize the spot.

There are also easy ways to get rid of ants in your home that don't include crushing them and thereby calling in the troops to further invade your home. In fact, there are a few ways to kill and ward off ants that don't even require using toxic chemicals (via Healthline).

To deter ants from settling around your home, use ground black or red pepper, peppermint, tea tree oil, or lemon eucalyptus oil. These agents will make the scent of your home unwelcome to ants. White vinegar is not only a deterrent but will also kill ants. Simply mix equal parts of white vinegar and water and then spray along countertops and floors to keep ants away — the ants will be able to smell the scent long after we do. You can also spray this mix directly on ants, scoop them up with a paper towel, and throw it away, which will also clean the area.