Ants are common pests in the United States and throughout the world. They enter our homes and infiltrate our pantries, costing hundreds of dollars in food waste a year. Some species of ants are even destructive, while others cause painful bites or emit nasty smells when crushed.
Ant infestations in the home always begin outside, and the best way to remedy these pests is to ensure your yard is ant-free.
In today’s article, we are going to cover how to get rid of ant hills in the yard and keep them from returning. But before we begin, let’s take a moment to look at the types of ants who build ant hills in the yard.
Types Of Ants Who Build Ant Hills
Ant hills can be beneficial, but in large numbers they can wreak havoc on your lawn.
There are 10,000 different ant species throughout the world, but not all ant species build ant hills or mounds. The ants who are most commonly responsible for building those unsightly ant hills in your backyard are a few very specific species which include:
- Texas Leafcutter Ants
- Red Imported Fire Ants
- Argentine Ants
- Allegheny Ants
- Harvest Ants
- And Pyramid Ants
Though none of the above species of ants are dangerous, some can bite while others can cause serious destruction to your yard and landscaping.
That said, it’s also important to remember that some ant hills can be beneficial to your landscaping. Ant hills can provide natural aeration to the lawn and reduce problematic larvae below the surface of your turf.
However, in large numbers, ant hills can destroy lawns and gardens, as they destroy plant roots, kill grass, and can even create dangers for people walking through the yard.
When considering how to get rid of ant hills in the yard, remember that ant hill chambers can go up to 25 feet below the surface.
The below video describes the intricate workings of the inside of a fire ant mound.
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The “hill” part of the ant mound is actually just a displacement of excess dirt that ants dig up as they build their chambers. Ants don’t live on the surface of the ant mound. This is why simply destroying the ant hill doesn’t result in removing the underlying cause of the issue, which is the ant colony itself.
Ant hills are constructed by worker ants. There can be thousands of worker ants in a single colony, and many species of ants branch out from one colony to another as they become more crowded.
This can result in an ant infestation in your yard that has the potential to find its way into your home. Furthermore, your yard, garden, and landscaping could become compromised.
The good news is that working on how to get rid of ant hills in the yard not only reduces future pest control issues in your home, but it can also help increase your yard’s overall health and visual appeal.
How To Identify Ant Hills In Your Yard
Different species of ants build different types of ant mounds.
In many regions of the United States, ant season is through spring and fall. However, in warmer areas, ant season and ant hills can be a year-round problem. Sometimes ant hills look like other pest issues in the yard, and can be mistaken for rodent burrows or reptile holes.
This can make identifying ant hills a bit more complicated, which can further compound the problem as they grow and get out of control.
Identifying ant hills is the first step to knowing how to get rid of ant hills in the yard. However, not all ant hills look the same. Let’s go over the types of ant hills you may encounter in your yard or on your property.
You may have ant hills in your yard if you find:
Mounds of “Fluffy” Looking Dirt Or Soil With A Hole In The Top Center
The types of ant hills most of us are familiar with when looking for how to get rid of ant hills in the yard are the hills or mounds of fluffy looking or turned sand or soil. This soil will be a fairly distinctive hill shape with a small hole in the top where ants come and go.
These hills are typically the easiest to identify and pinpoint, as they are often surrounded by an accumulation of ants.
Small Handfuls Of Soil or Dirt That Are Shapeless
Other ant hills are not as obvious as the above. In fact, some can look like smaller scoops of dirt or soil on the surface of the ground. They may be shapeless or have small holes in numerous locations where ants enter.
Piles of Pine Needles, Dead Leaves, Or Other Debris
Ants can also make ant hills below piles of debris like pine needles, leaf litter and grass clippings that go uncleared.
These ant hills are more common in larger expanses of fields or lawns where landscaping is less tidy.
Stones Or Trees
Some species of ants don’t create ant hills specifically in the dirt, but their presence on your property can still be just as concerning and spread just as rapidly. In fact, some species of ants build ant hills or colonies inside hollowed trees and beneath stones.
Why Do I Have Ant Hills In My Yard?
Ants are attracted to food sources like insects and sugars.
Like most insects, ants are on the hunt for a good place to live. They are seeking the ideal combination of a good food source and safe habitat.
The ideal lawn for ants is one that is dry, unhealthy, and easy to dig into. However, the first thing that typically attracts ants to a yard is going to be an ideal food source. Ants are attracted to sweet foods, including sweet smelling flowers and many other types of plants. Aphids in your garden can also increase your chances of dealing with ants, as aphids secrete a sweet substance called honeydew, which ants love.
Ants will avoid building ant hills in busy areas around the lawn, and will often stick to the outskirts of your property. However, if your property is quite large or relatively undisturbed most of the time, ant hills can crop up anywhere.
As we mentioned above, one or two ant hills in your yard are not usually an issue, and many experts even recommend leaving them alone and reaping the natural benefits that ensue. However, large numbers of ant hills can be quite damaging.
Read on for the top expert tips on how to get rid of ant hills in the yard.
Top Tips For How To Get Rid of Ant Hills In The Yard
Baited granules can help eliminate ant hills by targeting working ants and the queen.
The method you’ll use for how to get rid of ant hills in the yard will likely depend on the size of your yard and the severity of your ant problem. Luckily, there are plenty of different remedies, methods and products you can use to get rid of these yard pests and keep them from returning.
Use Natural Products
One popular method for how to get rid of ant hills in the yard is the use of natural products. You can purchase natural insecticide dusts like boric acid or Diatomaceous Earth to get rid of these pesky ant hills, or you can even use natural sprays made with botanical ingredients as opposed to chemicals.
There are pros and cons to using natural products for how to get rid of ant hills in the yard. For example, most natural products are safe to use around people and pets, and are often also environmentally friendly.
However, some natural products can be more expensive than traditional insecticides and may require more frequent applications in order to work.
Use Home Remedies
Home remedies like boiling water and essential oils have been found to work fairly well when eliminating current ant hills in the yard. We will talk about different kinds of home remedies you can use for how to get of ant hills in the yard further down.
Use Poison Bait
Bait works well when it comes to eliminating ant colonies, as this is an easy way to eradicate not only worker ants but also the queen.
There are different types of poison ant baits, and some of them can be dangerous to people and pets, so make sure you read the directions carefully when using baited granules, especially if you have curious children or pets who frequent your yard.
Use An Insecticide Spray
An insecticide spray will not only help remove current ant hill problems on your property but can help keep future ant hills from returning. In fact, many quality insecticides work for up to several months, and cover a large surface area.
However, many insecticide sprays contain harsh chemicals that are toxic to people and pets, and can even be harmful to the environment if not used as directed. Always read the labels carefully when using chemical insecticides and keep them away from children and pets.
Top Five Products For How To Get Rid Of Ant Hills In The Yard
Different types of ant hills may require different methods of removal.
Not every method or product is right for every person when it comes to how to get rid of ant hills in the yard. If you’re not sure which products would be best for you, we have listed some of our favorites below.
Take a look.
EcoRaider Ant & Crawling Insect Killer
The above yard and garden spray by EcoRaider works for not only how to get rid of ant hills in the yard but also for repelling other pests that ants are attracted to, like aphids. The spray uses all natural ingredients that are safe for people, pets and the environment, and is designed to be used both inside and out.
The spray covers a large surface area and can continue repelling ants and pests for up to four weeks, when applied correctly. The order includes a sprayer for easy application, and it can be purchased in different sizes depending on your needs or the size of your yard.
TERRO Ant Bait
As we mentioned above, poison baits work well for how to get rid of ant hills in the yard because they target the entire colony, including the hard-to-reach queen. The above baited granules by TERRO work to kill ants and other pests like roaches, earwigs, silverfish and snails, but will not harm beneficial insects like butterflies, honeybees and ladybugs.
The order covers a wide surface area and is designed to protect the perimeter of your home from pests, keeping them from getting close to your home. The granules are weather resistant and you can order this product in a pack of one or two.
However, these bait granules do not kill and prevent fire ants. If fire ants are your problem, don’t worry. We have listed a product specifically for fire ants below.
Ortho Fire Ant Killer Granules
Fire ants tend to be trickier than other species of ants when it comes to how to get rid of ant hills in the yard. Luckily, many pest control brands have come up with a solution. The above bait granules by Ortho are specifically designed to fight a fire ant infestation on your property and can last up to 6 months if applied correctly.
The granules cover up to 5,000 square feet and help get rid of worker ants and queens, thus eradicating ant mounds.
Just keep in mind that this product does use chemical insecticide, so make sure you read the instructions carefully and only use this product as directed.
Diatomaceous Earth Crawling Insect Killer
Also known as DE, Diatomaceous Earth is an organic powder compound derived from fossilized algae. It has many uses around the home, but is especially effective when used as an organic form of pest control.
The above Diatomaceous Earth is designed specifically to manage crawling insect pests like ants, bed bugs, earwigs, and spiders. It works by penetrating the pest’s exoskeleton, which dehydrates and kills them.
In order for Diatomaceous Earth to work most effectively, it should be reapplied if it gets wet and will need to be applied directly around and onto the ant hill. Diatomaceous Earth is perfectly safe for people, pets and the environment, though it will likely need to be used in conjunction with other forms of pest control for how to get rid of ant hills in the yard, especially if you are dealing with a severe infestation.
Wondercide Outdoor Pest Control Spray
Last on our list of favorite products for how to get rid of ant hills in the yard is an all natural outdoor perimeter spray by Wondercide. This spray uses essential oils like lemongrass oil, rosemary oil, cedar oil and peppermint oil to repel pests like ants, roaches, spiders, aphids, ticks and fleas.
This is an outdoor perimeter and yard spray that works to protect patios, gardens and lawns. It can be sprayed directly on garden plants and foliage. It is also safe to use in yards where people and pets frequent without a wait time after applied.
How To Get Rid Of Ant Hills In The Yard Using Home Remedies
Pouring boiling water into an ant hill can help destroy the colony and the chambers below the mound.
Would you prefer to try your hand at do it yourself pest control remedies when it comes to how to get rid of ant hills in the yard? If so, you’ll be happy to learn there are plenty of ingredients you can use to get rid of ant hills.
Many of these ingredients are kitchen and medicine cabinet staples, and are likely already in your home pantry.
How To Get Rid Of Ant Hills In The Yard Using Essential Oils
Many people find that essential oils work well for pest control, and they can be especially helpful in how to get rid of ant hills in the yard when used correctly. The best essential oils for how to get rid of ant hills in the yard include:
- Peppermint Oil
- Lavender Oil
- Lemongrass Oil
- Citrus Oil
- Tea Tree Oil
- And Cedarwood Oil
You can even make your own essential oil ant-repellent spray to help keep ants out of your yard and home by following the instructions below.
- 15 – 25 drops of the essential oil of your choice above
- 2 cups of water
- 1 spray bottle
Combine the above ingredients into the spray bottle and shake the bottle to mix the solution well. Spray this natural ant-repellent anywhere you have noticed or suspect ant activity both indoors and out.
Just be careful before spraying this repellent directly on garden plants without doing some research first as some essential oils may irritate or damage ornamental plants.
How To Get Rid Of Ant Hills In The Yard Using Boiling Water
If you find a particularly large ant hill in your yard, you can use boiling water to quickly and effectively get rid of the hill and all the ants inside.
Simply boil water in a large pot and immediately pour the water into the ant hill, aiming for the entry hole. You may need to do this several times to ensure you kill all the ants inside the colony while also destroying the chambers below the surface of your turf.
How To Get Rid Of Ant Hills In The Yard Using Artificial Sweetener
This method works quite effectively, especially considering ants are so attracted to sweet food sources. Artificial sugars contain certain ingredients that are toxic to ants, so sprinkling some of this sugar around their ant hill can help eradicate the colony.
We should note, however, that many artificial sugars can also be toxic to dogs, especially if they contain xylitol, so we suggest you refrain from using this method if you have pets.
How To Get Rid Of Ant Hills In The Yard Using Cinnamon, Chalk, and Cayenne Pepper
Both cinnamon and chalk powder are drying substances that ants like to avoid, while cayenne pepper is drying as well as irritating. To repel ants and keep them from returning to your yard, try sprinkling one of the above substances around and even directly onto the ant hills.
For best results, try sprinkling cinnamon, cayenne or chalk powder on the ant hills at least two or three times a week.
How To Get Rid Of Ant Hills In The Yard – When To Call A Professional
Most people can get rid of ant hills on their own, but sometimes professional help is needed.
Once they get out of control, ant hills can be difficult to remedy. However, most people find they can be successful when following the above methods for how to get rid of ant hills in the yard. Still, if you find you can’t get rid of these pests no matter the methods you use, it may be time to contact a professional for help.
Most pest control experts charge around $100 to $500 for how to get rid of ant hills in the yard, though this price can vary depending on your location and the severity of your infestation.
Once you have managed to get rid of the ants and their ant hills, your next step should be focused on ways to keep these ant hills from reappearing.
With that in mind, let’s go over some preventative measures you can take to keep ants and ant hills at bay in the future.
How To Get Rid Of Ant Hills In the Yard and Keep Them From Returning
A healthy lawn has less likelihood of becoming infested with ant hills and other pests.
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to keep ants and their ant hills off your property 100% of the time. The good news is that, in small numbers, both ants and ant hills can be beneficial to your yard.
You can help control ants without completely eliminating them by following the below ant-repellent tips and tricks.
Keep Your Lawn Healthy
A healthy lawn is much less likely to suffer from pest infestations like ants and ant hills. In fact, lawns that are lush and well covered by grass are not ideal for ants who build ant hills. You can also keep up with your landscaping and use cedar mulch instead of traditional mulch to repel ants and other pests.
Remove Excess Debris Around Your Yard
Removing debris from around your property is one way you can work on how to get rid of ant hills in the yard. However, keeping your yard tidy and free of debris can keep these pests from returning in the future.
Reduce debris around your property like dead trees, leaf debris and tree branches. It also helps to remove unnecessary clutter like buckets, used tires, gardening tools, etc.
Pick Up Fallen Fruits From Surrounding Fruit Trees
Ants are attracted to sweet food sources, and fruits from surrounding trees will not only attract ants that could result in ant hills, but other pests as well. Pick up fallen fruits as often as possible to avoid dealing with ants as well as pests like fleas, gnats, raccoons and rodents.
Control Rid Of Aphids and Other Garden Pests
Ants not only eat sweets but also feed on other insects. Pests like aphids and lawn grubs can supply a tasty meal to ant colonies. As you work on how to get rid of ant hills in the yard you should also work to remove other garden and lawn pests as well.
Plant Ant-Repellent Plants
Companion planting ant-repellent plants in your yard and around the perimeter of your home is a great way to protect your property from ants and their ant mounds year-round. Some of the best ant repellent plants include garlic, mint, lavender, rosemary, tansy, thyme, marigolds, lemongrass, catnip, peppermint, garden mint, pennyroyal, and common yarrow plants.
Of course, we always suggest doing research before companion planting in your garden or yard to keep pests away. Some common plants that work as pest repellents are also toxic to dogs and cats, so keep this in mind if you have pets who frequently play in your yard.
Keep Outdoor Garbage Bins Sealed and Stored Securely
Many pests are attracted to garbage, and ants are no exception. To help keep them from being attracted to your yard or property, we suggest keeping your outdoor garbage bins properly sealed and stored until trash day.
You might even consider spraying your bins with ammonia to help mask the smell of foods that may tempt pests like ants, raccoons, rodents and possums.
Use A Quality Pest Control Regiment Year-Round
Last but not least, we always suggest practicing a quality pest control regiment that can protect your home and yard from ants and other pests all year-round.
Whether you use natural products, home remedies, insecticides or professionals, protecting your home from pests not only saves you money in the long run, but also helps to keep your property looking it’s best and your family and loved ones safe and healthy.
We hope this has been a helpful guide on how to get rid of ant hills in the yard. Best of luck and thanks for reading!
Jack founded our blog after two decades of working in the pest control industry. His vast experience dealing with a wide array of pests allows him to diagnose issues quickly and get to the heart of pest problems quickly and effectively. He has serviced more than 2,000 homes over his career and there is hardly any pest situation that he has not seen before.