Finding ants in your mailbox can be a gross and frustrating experience. And to make matters worse, most people have no clue why these insects are in there!
This guide will teach you how to get rid of ants in your mailbox. You’ll also learn why they ended up there in the first place.
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Why Are There Ants In My Mailbox?
Opening your mailbox to find that it’s swarming with ants is never a pleasant thing, especially when it was ant-free not long ago. How is it that a perfectly clean mailbox is suddenly a thriving colony complete with eggs and larvae? As surprising as this may be to you, it’s a fairly common occurrence. Let’s look at some of the reasons for ants in a mailbox.
One of the biggest reasons why you have ants in your mailbox is the weather. Was it raining the day before or overnight? Ants will often seek somewhere dry and safe from the rain, and that place is often a mailbox. If it’s cold outside, your mailbox may be providing ants with a warm place to shelter.
On the flip side, if it’s overly hot and sunny, ants may see your mailbox as the perfect place to get out of the heat and bright sunshine.
While ants don’t like a soaking rainstorm, they do crave places where there is moisture. If your mailbox is a little damp, or if there is some standing water near the mailbox, then ants may be attracted to the areas in and around the mailbox.
If you’ve ever been invaded by ants at a picnic or barbeque, you’ll know how much ants are attracted to food, especially anything sweet. Ants, using something called chemosense, can detect even the tiniest scent of food from pretty far away. This means that if you have food parcels delivered to your mailbox, ants may swarm the area even after the food has been removed. Food packages left in the mailbox for even a day will most likely become an ant magnet.
How To Get Rid Of Ants In The Mailbox
Now that you have ants in your mailbox, you’ll need to get rid of them. But does one get rid of ants that have seemingly infinite reinforcements?
Between the initial shock and the sheer number of ants, this may appear to be an impossible task. Fortunately, there are a variety of methods that you can try, but you may have to experiment a bit to find what works for you. Some people find that using a combination works best!.
1. Remove The Entire Nest
The first thing you should do is remove the entire nest of ants that’s in the mailbox. We understand that this won’t be a pleasant task, but it is important if you want to deal with your ant problem. You’ll need to grab a thick pair of gloves and a high-powered garden hose because you’re going to want to remove every ant, egg and larva in the mailbox. If you don’t go through this step, any eggs or larvae you miss will just become adults, and you’ll still have ants in your mailbox.
Using the hose on the strongest jet setting, thoroughly spray the inside and outside of the mailbox. Keep checking as you go along to make sure that you spray away every ant, egg and larva. Make sure to check in all of the nooks and crannies.
When you’re done, clean out the inside with a solution of water and either bleach or vinegar. This will help to get rid of any traces of ant scent that may be left over. Remember that ants are attracted to many things, but moisture is at the top of the list. That means you should make sure that you dry the mailbox thoroughly after.
2. Resist Killing Random Ants
What you don’t want to do is to haphazardly squash some of the ants that you see in the mailbox. We realize that this is an automatic reaction to seeing so many ants, but you have to resist the temptation.
Believe it or not, randomly killing ants can actually bring more ants to your mailbox because dead ants give off a scent that attracts them. Instead, you’ll need to use a method that gets rid of the whole colony that lives in your mailbox in pretty much one shot.
3. Try Using Ant Traps
If, despite all of the above efforts, you are still seeing a few lingering ants in your mailbox, then you may want to try using an ant trap. There are plenty of different brands out there, and they are very easy to use.
The idea behind using a trap is that any ants coming into your mailbox will take the poisonous bait from the trap, bring it back to the nest and share it with other ants. Eventually, the poison in the bait will kill the other ants in the colony.
4. There’s Always Ant Spray
Grabbing a can of ant spray and using it inside the mailbox will definitely kill a lot of ants at once, but it probably won’t lead to a long term solution.
Despite your best spraying efforts, there will be some ants that survive, and they may decide to start a new nest. Plus, ant spray is very toxic and leaves a heavy residue.
Some people, thinking that it’s more natural, will spray the inside and outside of the mailbox with a tea tree oil solution. While this definitely will get rid of some of the ants, it won’t get them all. If you decide to use tea tree oil, please be aware that it is toxic to pets.
Using boric acid or borax is another common way to get rid of ants in your mailbox. People like it because it’s inexpensive and less toxic than sprays, but it is still poison, and should be used with caution.
In our opinion, the best thing to do is to call a pest control specialist. They will remove the nest in a safe way, and they will be able to give you suggestions about keeping the ants away for good.
How To Keep Them From Coming Back
Getting rid of the ants in your mailbox can be a frustrating and time consuming task. We’re sure that the last thing you want to do is to have to go through the whole process again.
If you’re wondering how to keep those pesky insects from coming back, then read on for a few helpful tips.
Keep Your Mailbox Free Of Food
In the section above, we mentioned that food packages are notorious for attracting ants to a mailbox. Even if you don’t receive food packages very often, it takes just one package left in the mailbox too long to attract ants.
Our suggestion is to remove food parcels as soon as they arrive. Check to see if there is any residue, spills or pieces of food in the mailbox. If so, then clean the mailbox right away.
Keep The Mailbox Dry
This is another point that we touched on earlier. Ants are attracted to any kind of moisture, so a damp mailbox is a potential ant nest in the making.
We know it can be a pain, but if you frequently get ants in your mailbox then it’s important to ensure that your mailbox is routinely wiped down and kept as dry as possible.
Use Some Type Of Ant Repellent
Using an ant repellent is thought to make your mailbox a less desirable place to set up a nest.
Things such as diatomaceous earth, vinegar, coffee grounds, tea tree oil and liquid hand soap are all more natural ant repellents to try. Dryer sheets placed in the mailbox are also said to work as well (although we’ve had mixed results).
Close All Entry Points
If you can, it’s important to find out how the ants are getting into your mailbox. See if you can locate any and all entry points so you can seal them up.
These could be gaps in the door, holes, or cracks. While it’s hard to keep such a small creature out of anything, you can make their job harder!
Give Double-Sided Tape A Try
As weird as it sounds, double-sided tape can be used as a temporary deterrent for ants that want to get into your mailbox. Place the tape on the mailbox pole and on the outside of the mailbox.
It’s not going to look pretty, but you’ll find lots of ants and other bugs stuck to the tape. However, be aware that the tape will need to be replaced fairly often.
Is It Important To Get Rid Of Them?
At first it may not seem like ants in your mailbox are really that big of a deal. It’s gross and annoying, but should you be super concerned?
Unfortunately, this is a problem you should take seriously because ants in your mailbox can be a sign of a much larger problem. It could mean that there is a much larger colony nearby, and ants in the mailbox can eventually turn into ants in the home.
Getting rid of ants in your mailbox isn’t challenging, you just need to follow the recommended steps and be consistent.
You’ll have an ant-free mailbox in no time!