Imagine this, you have been impatiently awaiting the arrival of the package you ordered recently, the package is small enough to fit inside your mailbox.
The long-awaited, small package is finally delivered and you bolt out of the door to retrieve it; however, when you reach into your mailbox, you feel little legs crawling on your hand, you have got ants in your mailbox, along with some white stuff too.
This is not only a startling sight but is also very annoying and inconvenient, these ants have you feeling salty about where they set up shop.
This brings us to the focus of today’s guide, which is why there are ants in your mailbox and what you can do about them. We have the probable reasons and the tools you can use to win the fight against that tiny, crawling army in your mailbox.
Why Are There Ants In My Mailbox?
Probably one of the common reasons why ants would seek out your mailbox is that it is cold outside. See, when the chilly winter weather hits, many creatures both large and small seek out places to stay warm; this includes our backyard buddies, ants.
Ants do not do so well in the cold, which is why most colonies of ants will stay inside their intricate tunnels that they dig beneath the ground. However, this is not always enough to keep the cold touch of winter at bay, which results in the ants seeking out warmer places.
One of these warmer places is your mailbox since the mailbox is typically well structured from the outside elements. A mailbox will usually have three walls, a door, a floor, and a roof; which sounds a lot like a home and what do homes do?
They keep the occupants warm and safe from the outside elements, this is no different for ants since they are looking for a place to stay warm and safe until the warmer seasons return.
Below, you will find reasons why ants have called your mailbox their home and what you can do to get them out and keep them out. Read along to find out more.
1. Environmental Conditions
As previously mentioned, the most likely and common reason why ants are in your mailbox is that they are looking for a safe and warm place. Similarly to any insect in the winter or particularly cold weather, the ants want a place to hide from the outside elements.
Your mailbox offers them protection from the chilly weather conditions, and since a mailbox typically has a standing post to keep it at a certain height, the ants have no problem scaling the post(s) and finding their way inside the mailbox.
Heavy rains or stormy weather can also drive ants out of their current living quarters and to seek out not just a dry, warm place but also higher ground.
Just like most living creatures, they do not like being caught in the rain, so if their anthill somehow gets flooded, they will look for a higher place to call home.
This, unfortunately, makes your mailbox a perfect place to escape the weather while also sheltering them. However, as convenient as it is for them, it is not so much for you.
Having ants inside your mailbox is quite frustrating and it also puts your mail and small packages at risk of damage. So let us find out how to get rid of these tiny crawlers and keep them out of your mailbox.
Fix – Evict The Ants (Including Their Larvae and Eggs)
Similarly to any insect, ants need to procreate, which means they may have eggs/larvae inside your mailbox. While it is pretty gross to think about, it is also quite likely since the ants have only a few things on their minds including taking care of their offspring.
If you were to leave any of the larvae left inside the mailbox, you will be dealing with ants in your mailbox continuously, which means you will need to get rid of the whole colony including their eggs.
Bear in mind, that there are many different kinds of ants, which means that they may try to bite/sting you while you are clearing them out.
Biting or stinging capable ants call for protective gloves for this part of the removal process and if the ants can still bite/sting through the gloves, you will be better off using a high-pressure hose.
Use the high-pressure hose to spray/flood out all of the ants including their larvae from the mailbox.
After you have cleared out all of the ants and their larvae/eggs, make sure that you wipe down the mailbox inside and out.
The irony about ants is that they do not like high water levels but they will also seek out moisture, you will want to make sure that the inside of the mailbox is completely dry so that they will not come back.
Unfortunately, this procedure will take some time and you might have to do it again if the ants come back.
It is feasible that may not be the mailbox itself instead, it may be something around the mailbox attracting the ants.
2. Food Packages
If you have ever been on a picnic or have simply dropped some food crumbs while outside, you will likely have noticed that ants are very quick to not just notice but to also form a line carrying the crumbs back to their anthill.
All living things need sustenance to survive and ants are no different, which means that if you regularly receive packages containing food; this is why ants are being attracted to your mailbox.
While ants may be simple insects, they are also highly receptive, which means that not only do they pick up on vibrations but they can also smell nourishment (food) from surprising distances.
So, if you receive packages containing food or even ingredients regularly, the smell of the food will remain on and around your mailbox, which will also attract the ants.
Keep in mind, that ants absolutely love anything sweet or that contains sugar, whether it is food or a sugary beverage, ants will sniff it out quickly and head to the source. This means if you get sugary snacks or drinks delivered to your mailbox, it will attract the ants.
Fix – Deploy Ant Poison
When you think about what use for poison against ants, the first thing that may come to mind is solutions such as boric acid or borax and you are not wrong since these are very effective against ants.
However, these forms of extermination chemicals are not only dangerous for bugs and ants but also for you as well, as they can cause severe skin irritation if they are not handled properly.
Not to mention that these chemicals are also impactful on the environment, which means that they should be your very last solution to the problem.
Bear in mind, that if these are dangerous for you and the environment, it also means that they are not safe for use around your pets or children. If you must resort to using these ant-killing chemicals, make sure you wear a mask and protective gloves and also contain the mailbox so that the dangerous fumes are not dispersed.
3. Wet Mailbox
As previously mentioned, ants are interesting little creatures and the irony of their behavior is that they do not like high water levels; however, they will also seek out damp areas since for them it usually means easy digging.
No insect enjoys being flooded but ants also need to be able to drink water, which means they will pursue small bodies of water. With this information in mind, it is critical to keep your mailbox as dry as possible since the moisture could attract the ants.
So, when it rains, you will want to make sure that your mailbox is dry as possible, with the inside being the priority.
Remember, as we previously pointed out, ants are highly receptive; which means that they rely heavily on a scent. This also means that they use a “smell trail” to go out, find food, return to their home base and inform other ants in the colony of where to go.
This behavior is what makes them so difficult to completely get rid of since any ants that escaped will come back to the smell.
Fix – Clean Your Mailbox
After you have cleared out all of the ants and their eggs/larvae from your mailbox, you will want to also wash the mailbox as we have previously depicted; however, you should also clean your mailbox in detail.
You will need to completely get rid of the ant’s “smell trail”, as this can also draw in other groups of ants to the smell.
You do not want to remove all of the ants just to have another batch move into your mailbox, which means destroying any trace of the scent trail that may be lingering.
In order to get rid of the “smell trail” entirely, you will want to clean virtually every inch of the mailbox while using something that will remove/cover the smell.
You should use water for cleaning but also use something pungent to get rid of their “smell trail.” A couple of things you can use with the water are the following:
- Apple cider vinegar
4. Attractions Near Your Mailbox
It only makes sense to focus on the mailbox itself; however, you should also consider what is around the mailbox. You should make sure there are no food crumbs or anything like that nearby the mailbox, which also includes trash that may contain food waste.
Also, make sure that if you have compost, that the mailbox is not anywhere near the compost pile. Make sure there is no standing water below or around your mailbox, as this could attract ants.
Fix – Clear/Clean Around Mailbox
If there are any food crumbs, waste, or otherwise nearby your mailbox, you will have to clean/clear out all of it so that the ants will not be attracted to the area. This includes trash with potential food waste inside of bags.
If you have a compost pile, make sure that the compost is a reasonable distance from your mailbox. Also, if there are any small bodies of water under or nearby the mailbox, be sure to either get rid of the water or fill in the puddles with dirt/rocks.
5. Ants Are Bad Neighbors
The ant problem you are experiencing with your mailbox may not be centralized to just your mailbox.
Ants procreate fast and can spread out over large areas, which means that they could be invading the entire neighborhood. This is not uncommon since ants are invasive and seek out anywhere there is food.
Fix – Talk To Your Neighbors
If you believe that ants are abundant in your whole neighborhood, you will want to talk with your neighbors to see if they have had a problem with ants.
It very well could be a large colony attempting to move into the neighborhood, which means that you may have to work together with your neighbors to find a suitable solution for the ant issue.
Ants are certainly incredible insects but they are also destructive and downright annoying. So, when you find ants in your mailbox, you will want to act quickly to get them out and gone for good.
Luckily, with this guide, you should have no problem finding an answer to the ant problem. Remember, to make sure not to have food or food waste anywhere near your mailbox as to avoid having ants following the smell.
Also, if you regularly receive food packages in your mailbox, make sure to keep up on cleaning the mailbox and using strong scents to cover any lingering food smells.
Remember, ants rely heavily on their smell so if you provide no way for them to smell what you may be receiving in your mailbox, you should have no issues in the future.
If you found this guide useful, consider sharing it with a friend or family member that could also use some help with an ants problem.