In hot weather, ants head for potted plants, pet food and kitchen counters in search of food and water. To keep them away, be meticulous about cleanliness, plug tiny entry points and wash walls and counters where ants have marched with soapy water. To eliminate colonies, use bait stations with insecticides that foraging ants carry back to the nest. Over time these small doses will eliminate the colony. For free information on ants and other summer insect pests, visit www.ipm.ucdavis.edu.