HomeCare – How to get rid of Ants

 

Southern Oregon seems to be built on an ant hill and we consistently get questions about how to get rid of the little intruders. When it rains and when it’s dry they seem to invade local kitchens and certainly those nights when you don’t feel like doing the dishes before bed they take the opportunity to help you clean up.

We Googled “How to get rid of Ants” and found lots and lots of advice and ideas which we re-capped below. There are too many ideas for us to test but we mention in bold at the end of the idea if this is one we at Expert Properties have tested and found to be successful.

Adhesive Tape

Is an army of ants marching toward the cookie jar on your countertop or some sweet prize in your pantry? Create a “moat” around the object by surrounding it with adhesive tape placed sticky side up.

Boric Acid

If you’ve had it with sharing your living quarters with roaches or ants, give them the heave-ho by sprinkling boric acid along any cracks or crevices where you’ve spotted the intruder.  Note: Keep in mind that boric acid can be toxic if ingested by young children or pets. This is one solution we have tried and it has worked.

Chalk

Keep ants at bay by drawing a line around home entry points. The ants will be repelled by the calcium carbonate in the chalk, which is actually made up of ground-up and compressed shells of marine animals. Scatter powdered chalk around garden plants to repel ants and slugs.

Clean Kitchen

If your kitchen is kept very clean you typically won’t get ants beyond the scouts looking for food and sugar sources. If the scouts don’t find any food they will typically move on. Dog and Cat food can also be a great find for ants so keep those areas clean as well.

Cloves and bay leaves

Find out where they’re coming in and sprinkle ground cloves and/or crushed bay leaves in the area.  Ants absolutely can’t stand cloves and I hear they feel the same about bay leaves, they will run screaming (listen hard, they have tiny mouths).

Colony – Find the Source

Once you see ants try and follow them to find out where they are entering your home.  Once you have done that you can treat that area and try and follow them outside to their colony.  If you find the colony you have it made and can kill the eggs and the queen. We followed a line of ants to a wood pile, lifted up some logs to find thousands of eggs and a mad shuffle as the worker ants tried to carry the eggs to safety, but were quickly stopped by a can of RAID.

Cucumber

You can use cucumber to get rid of ants as they don’t like the taste of cucumber. Placing small piece of cucumber in ants affected area will force them to leave your home.

Flour

Sprinkle a line of flour along the backs of pantry shelves and wherever you see ants entering the house. Repelled by the flour, ants won’t cross over the line.

Lemons

You don’t need insecticides or ant traps to ant-proof your kitchen. Just give it the lemon treatment. First squirt some lemon juice on door thresholds and windowsills. Then squeeze lemon juice into any holes or cracks where the ants are getting in. Finally, scatter small slices of lemon peel around the outdoor entrance. The ants will get the message that they aren’t welcome. Lemons are also effective against roaches and fleas: Simply mix the juice of 4 lemons (along with the rinds) with 1/2 gallon (2 liters) water and wash your floors with it; then watch the fleas and roaches flee. They hate the smell.

Mint

Apparently ants don’t like mint and if you want another natural remedy, this one was mentioned may times. Pour dry mint or extract on their path, usually they won’t cross the area where the extract is. Keep repeating and usually they will go away.

Oranges

Get rid of the ants in your garden, on your patio, and along the foundation of your home. In a blender, make a smooth puree of a few orange peels in 1 cup warm water. Slowly pour the solution over and into anthills to send the little pests packing.

 

Pepper

Two or three of your annual visitors have invaded your kitchen. Those ants are looking for sugar. Give them some pepper instead. Cayenne pepper sprinkled in spots where the ants are looking, such as along the backs of your countertops or on your baseboards, will tell them that no sugar is ahead.

Raid

You will have to do a little work by taking everything out from under your kitchen sink. Wash everything very well with some sort of good cleaning solution, including the items you put back under there in case food or something they like has been spilled on them. Then using “Raid” Ant killer in a spray container – spray around where the pipes come up out of the floor or wall. Then put everything back in the cabinet. Spray along the floor line all the way around this area, including near your refrigerator and around your window. We have used this at Expert Properties and it has worked well.

 

Salt

If ants are beating a path to your home, intercept them by sprinkling salt across the door frame or directly on their paths. Ants will be discouraged from crossing this barrier.

 

Soapy Water

Spray soap water on the entry points of ants as well as cabinets and other areas. This is another effective home remedy to get rid of ants permanently.

 

Talcum Powder

For an effective organic ant repellent, scatter talcum powder liberally around house foundations and known points of entry, such as doors and windows. Other effective organic repellents include cream of tartar, borax, powdered sulfur, and oil of cloves. You can also try planting mint around the house foundations.

 

Terro

This is a popular ant killer and it seems to work for us at Expert Properties. You simply set Terro traps our on your kitchen sink or where ever you have ants and in theory the ants not only get poisoned but take the poison back to the nest.
www.terro.com/ants

 

Vinegar

Serve the ants on your premises with an eviction notice. Pour equal parts water and white vinegar into a spray bottle. Then spray it on anthills and around areas where you see the insects. Ants hate the smell of vinegar. It won’t take long for them to move on to better-smelling quarters. Also keep the spray bottle handy for outdoor trips or to keep ants away from picnic or children’s play areas. If you have lots of anthills around your property, try pouring full-strength vinegar over them to hasten the bugs’ departure.

 

Water Containers

Lastly, if you have a hummingbird feeder that gets invaded by ants each year we have a solution. Pierce a hole in a spray can plastic top, slip it upside down through the string that holds you hummingbird feeder, seal the hole with silicon and fill the cup with water. Ants will not walk through water so the lid will act as an ant moat.

In case you are not satisfied with the results of the above mentioned home remedies, then it is advisable to take professional help and hire an exterminator.

 

If you have any additional comments or ideas on how to get rid of ants please give us your input on our blog at http://expertprops.com/blog/ . Expert Properties specializes in Real Estate Management, Sales and Furnished Rentals.

 

 

Where to Put Your Remodeling Dollars in 2013


Where to Put Your Remodeling Dollars in 2013

At Expert Properties we often get questions from home owners and investor looking for the most return on their investment. The best source of this information comes from the National Association of Realtors who just published their 2013 Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report.

Results of the report are summarized on NAR’s consumer website www.houseLogic.com which provides information on dozens of remodeling projects; from kitchens and baths to siding replacements, including the recouped value of the project based on a national average.

Here is a quick recap of N.A.R’s Cost vs. Value Report:

  • Steel entry door replacement as the project expected to return the most money, with an estimated 85.6 percent of costs recouped upon resale. The steel entry door replacement is the least expensive project in the report, costing a little more than $1,100 on average. A majority of the top 10 most cost-effective projects nationally in terms of value recouped are exterior replacement projects; all of these are estimated to recoup more than 71 percent of costs.
  • Three different siding door replacement projects landed in the top 10, including fiber cement siding, (expected to return 79.3 percent of costs), vinyl siding (expected to return 72.9 percent of costs), and foam backed vinyl, (expected to return 71.8 percent of costs). Two additional door replacements were also among the top exterior replacement projects. The midrange and upscale garage door replacement were both expected to return more than 75 percent of all costs.
  • According to the report, two interior remodeling projects in particular can recoup substantial value at resale. A minor kitchen remodel is ranked fifth and is expected to return 75.4 percent of costs. Nationally, the average cost for the project is just under $19,000. The second interior remodeling project in the top 10 is the attic bedroom, which landed at number eight and tied with the vinyl siding replacement with 72.9 percent of costs recouped. With an average national cost of just under $48,000, the attic project adds a bedroom and bathroom within a home’s existing footprint. (The improvement project projected with the least return on investment is the home office remodel, estimated to recoup less than 44 percent).

 

  • The 2013 Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report compares construction costs with resale values for 35 midrange and upscale remodeling projects comprising additions, remodels and replacements in 81 markets across the country. Data is grouped in nine U.S. regions, following the divisions established by the U.S. Census Bureau. This is the 15th consecutive year that the report, which is produced by Remodeling Magazine, was completed in cooperation with NAR.

Realtors® provided their insights into local markets and buyer home preferences within those markets. The 2013 national average cost-to-value ratio rose to 60.6 percent, ending a six-year decline. The ratio represents nearly a three-point improvement over 2011-2012. Lower construction costs are the principal factor in the upturn, especially when measured against stabilizing house values. In addition, the cost-to-value ratio improved nationally for every project in this year’s report and is higher than it was two years ago for both remodeling and replacement projects.

Most regions followed the national trends; however the Pacific region, consisting of Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington, once again led the nation with an average cost-value ratio of 71.2 percent. This was due mainly to strong resale values. The next best performing regions were West South Central, South Atlantic, and East South Central. These regions attribute their high ranking to construction costs that were lowest in the country. While still remaining below the national average, most remaining regions showed strong improvement over last year. These are Mountain, New England, East North Central, Middle Atlantic, and West North Central.

See the full report at www.houseLogic.com

 

5 Reasons Why NOW is the Time to Buy a Home or Investment Property!

5 Reasons Why NOW is the Time to Buy a Home or Investment Property!
Many potential buyers are still waiting in the wings, not sure that now is the time to buy a house.  They are often afraid of buying before the market has fully recovered, and are concerned that they may lose out if they jump in too early.  Here are five reasons they should buy NOW and not wait…

1) Mortgage Interest Rates are on the Rise
While no one has a crystal ball, all of the technical, fundamental, and economic indicators point to mortgage rates moving up in 2013.  All likelihood is that we have seen the best rates already, and waiting is not going to bring them back.

2) Rents are on the raise
Recently, Zillow reported that rents increased in the U.S. by 4.2% over the last year.  When compared side-by-side, the costs of owning vs. renting a home easily show the benefits of home ownership. In Jackson County we’re seeing rents rising as well as a low availability of rental homes.

3) Prices are on the Rise
Home prices in most markets are stabilized, and starting to increase.  In Jackson County we have seen the median home price of existing homes increases by 8.4% in 2012. We still have cautious lenders and homes that are selling but not appraising, though prices are still rising.

4) Mortgage Guidelines Will Continue to Tighten
With government intervention in the form of new bills passed by congress the already cautious underwriting standards, caused by the 2007 collapse of the financial industry, are poised to become even more difficult for the average buyer to qualify for a home loan.

5) Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Loans To Become Much More Expensive
Starting on June 3rd, 2013, FHA will dramatically raise the costs of FHA Mortgage Insurance, making these loans much more expensive for the consumer.

The BEST time to buy a home or investment property is a combination of low interest rates and low home prices and it’s unlikely that we will see lower prices or lower interest rates than what we have at the moment!

 

Winterization Checklist

Winterization Checklist
Now that the leaves are falling and snow and rain has returned to Southern Oregon it’s time to prepare for winter. 6 tips for winterization of your home:
1. Prevent Plumbing Freezes
Disconnect and drain garden hoses. Most frozen pipes are a result of failure to disconnect hoses or turn off shut off valves. Insulate any exposed plumbing pipes.

2. Heating System
Don’t wait until the first cold snap to discover the heat isn’t going to work. Turn your furnace on and make sure it runs. While you’re at it change the furnace filters. If you have a monitor heater make sure you have lots of heating fuel. Do not allow oil to run low – you run the risk of running out and freezing pipes.

3. Fireplace
If your home has a fireplace, be sure the chimney is cleaned and ready for ruse before lighting any fires! Inspect the flue and make sure it closes properly to eliminate drafts when fireplace Is not in use

4. Windows Air-Conditioners
You should not have any air conditioners in the windows. If you do, remove them and replace the windows in their proper positions.

5. Roof and Gutters
Check your roof for loose or broken shingles and if you rent please report it to Expert Properties. Be sure your gutters have been cleaned free of leaves, sticks and debris, so you will have proper drainage.

6. Smoke Detectors, fire extinguishers and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Test your detectors to make sure they work. Replace batteries if needed. Have spare batteries available.
Most importantly, enjoy the winter season with all its holidays, football, family and friends!