I went to get my mail the other day after a week away, and I was shocked to find a colony of ants had taken over my mailbox. I couldn’t believe that they had moved in and built a nest in the few days I was away.
I didn’t have an idea how to remove them or get them out of my mailbox, so I contacted an acquaintance who works as an exterminator to get advice on how to get rid of ants in your mailbox.
In order to rid your mailbox of ants and keep them out of your mailbox, you need to remove the ants and all the eggs and larvae, or the ants will be back to renest. Then wash the mailbox thoroughly as ants leave a trail scent that needs to be washed off so they don’t return. Then use a insecticide.
I had to remove the wooden post I had my mailbox on as the wood was rotted in some parts, and the post is the first line of defense in keeping ants away from your mailbox.
My friend gave me a lot of great advice, and after getting some supplies and a little elbow grease, I had my mailbox ant free in no time. I thought I would share the best way to get rid of ants in your mailbox in this post.
Getting Rid of Ants and Keep Them Out of the Mailbox
When you have a problem with ants in your mailbox that you need to get rid of, there are a few steps that will make getting rid of them and keeping them away from your mailbox a much easier task. Below are the steps you have to follow:
Step 1: The Removal
The first step to getting rid of the ants in your mailbox is to remove all traces of the ants from the mailbox. As unpleasant a task as it is to clear out the eggs and larvae with the rest of the colony, it has to be done.
You must get all the eggs and larvae as the ants will come back repeatedly if they think there are viable eggs to rebuild the colony.
There are several different types of ants, so when you tackle this part of the process, it would be best to wear protective gear like a long-sleeved shirt with long gloves and thick boots. Some ants can sting, and they have a powerful bite for such small insects, so it’s best to stay safe.
If you are battling to remove all of the ants from the mailbox, you can use cornflour. It is a bit messy, and it may take up to a week for all the ants to die, but it is very effective and safe if you have pets or children.
Cornflour is not a poison to our four-legged friends or us, but ants can’t digest it, and when they take it back to their nest (your mailbox in this case), they eat it; in a matter of days, all the ants will be dead.
So sprinkling the cornflour on the post at the bottom and some inside the mailbox will also help. Keep sprinkling the cornflour until you don’t see any ants moving around in or near the mailbox.
Step 2: The Cleanup
The next step is to clean the entire mailbox inside and outside. You can use dish soap, or some people use tick and flea soap to get the mailbox cleaned up. It’s important to wash the surrounding area of the mailbox as well, so include the post or wall your mailbox is mounted on and the ground surrounding the mailbox.
You have to remember that ants leave a scent trail, so they always know where their nest is and for other ants to find it, so after you have washed the mailbox out, you should take bleach that you have mixed with water and spray the entire mailbox including the surrounding areas and the post or concrete the mailbox is on.
If your mailbox is situated on a post, you need to check the post for damage and more ants. When wood posts are treated against bugs and pests, ants won’t nest in them, but the effectiveness of the protective coating on the treated wood starts to wain with time. Ants or other pests might take up residence in the post, leaving the mailbox vulnerable to becoming a new ant nest.
If you find that the post has been compromised, you might want to put in a new post that has been treated to resist insect infestation. If your post is still ok, you may want to look at the hardware store for treatment against pests that you can paint on the post after you have evicted all the ants.
Step 3: Dry It Out
The third step is to ensure the mailbox is bone dry. Any moisture will lure the ants back to the mailbox, and they will rebuild their nest. When the mailbox has dried out completely, you need to take preventative measures. We will look at these measures in more detail in the next section of the post.
How to Keep Ants Away from Your Mailbox
To keep the ants from returning to your mailbox, you need to ensure they find the area unattractive. That means you should use non-toxic substances like dryer sheets, eucalyptus oil, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper regularly in and around your mailbox to keep the ants from rebuilding their nest in the mailbox.
What Attracts Ants to Your Mailbox?
If you find that the ants keep coming back, no matter what you do, you might need to look at what attracts the ants to your mailbox, as the problem might not be the mailbox but something else your ants are attracted to.
The weather will definitely draw ants to any shelter that will stay moist. So try to keep your mailbox as dry as you can as ants like the carpenter ants are drawn to wet wood and moist conditions. They especially like to nest in places like your mailbox during the cold winter months.
Food in the Vicinity
If your mailbox is near a compost heap or refuses bins, you need to move your mailbox or where you put your refuse bins and compost heap. Ants are attracted to sugary things as well, so if you get food parcels delivered to your home, ensure they are picked up as soon as possible, or it will attract ants.
Moisture in the Mailbox
Ants love moisture; they will typically nest in an area where there is constant moisture. So if your mailbox is in a place where it gets less sun and feels clammy all the time, it will lure ants into nesting as they see it as a viable moist nesting spot.
Check the Surroundings
The area surrounding your mailbox may also hold a key as to why you can’t get rid of the ant infestation in your mailbox. You also want to check the ground around your mailbox as they might be part of a larger colony that could be close to the mailbox.
Tips to Keep Ants Out of Your Mailbox
Let’s face it; no one wants their mail to be covered in bugs. So here are some tips to keep ants out of your mailbox.
- After getting rid of the ants in your mailbox, spray bleach mixed with water to keep them away.
- When you know you are going away for more than a week, ask a neighbor or friend to keep an eye on the mailbox to ensure the ants don’t nest in your mailbox again.
- Only use borax to get rid of the ants if you are sure that there are no pets or children in the area that might come into contact with the borax as it is poisonous.
- Replace a rotted post as it might have a carpenter ant infestation, or create a cement base for your mailbox.
- When you know you have ordered food parcels, you can ask that they be delivered directly to the door and not in the mailbox to limit the scents that will attract ants.
- Remember to wear protective gear like safety glasses and gloves when working with bleach or removing the ants to keep you safe and ensure you don’t get injured.
- Don’t wait until there is a full-blown ant infestation in your mailbox before you act; take action as soon as you find the first few ants around your mailbox; it will be easier to deal with that way.
When you need to get rid of ants in your mailbox, you have to remove the ants from the mailbox, clean it out and spray it with bleach water to remove any scent that might be clinging to the mailbox and surrounding areas.
To keep the ants away, you should clean it regularly and put dryer sheets and other ant irritants near or in the mailbox to prevent them from returning.
I have a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering. When I’m not constructing or remodeling X-Ray Rooms, Cardiovascular Labs, and Pharmacies…I’m at home with my wife, two daughters and a dog. Outside of family, I love grilling and barbequing on my Big Green Egg and working on projects around the house.