Ants are a big problem around here. Sometimes we can’t even tell what attracted them as they wander randomly around. It can be pretty frustrating when it’s not something that can just be cleaned.
We’ve blocked a fair number of holes, but they keep coming in. It’s great when you can seal the holes, though.
Cleaning is the most basic way to control ants, of course. No food or drink to attract them means they lose interest. I find it can be hard sometimes with kids to keep up, as little bits of food do end up in the most random of places. But the cleaner you keep things, in general, the less of an ant problem you will have.
That said, the day we moved into this house we got an ant trail going to a box full of clean clothes in a bedroom. Never did figure out what attracted them. Sometimes ants are just random, I guess.
If pet food is an issue, think about how much you put in, and keep the dishes clean. You may also want to consider putting the food bowl in the middle of a slightly larger container filled with soapy water.
My favorite method for any place the kids can’t go is the corn syrup and borax mix. The ants love it and it slows them down pretty well. You can buy this as Terro if you prefer.
Some ants prefer greasy foods to sweet.
The ant problem in this area is such that slowing them down is about the best we can hope for. We joke a bit about the entire city being built on an ant hill.
Once a particular trail has been poisoned by the borax, vinegar is great for breaking up the scent trail. I clean regularly with vinegar anyhow, so it’s nice to not have to buy anything special.
Some say diatomaceous earth works too. I’ve also seen recommendations for using dry grits, active dry yeast, baking soda or cream of wheat.
Peppermint oil and cinnamon oil are also supposed to discourage them.
If you know the location of a nest, pour boiling water over it… obviously with all kids and pets well away. You may need more than one pot of boiling water to really do the job.
Depending on where you live, you may just be out of luck on getting rid of ants for more than a short time, but you can limit the trouble they give you.