Whether you have noticed an increase in ant activity outside your home or you’ve seen signs of ants inside, you’re right to be concerned.
Ants can live in very large colonies of millions and some species can cause serious structural damage to our homes. Other types of ants can even spread illness and be problematic for our overall health and wellness.
Luckily, there are plenty of effective methods you can use to keep your property and home ant-free, and we’re here to help. Today, we are going to talk about how to get rid of ants and keep them from coming back.
Let’s get started.
How To Get Rid Of Ants – Identifying An Ant Problem
Ants live in colonies, and one ant usually leads to many.
Before you decide how to get rid of ants and which is the best method for you, you should probably make sure you have an ant problem. Obviously, if you’ve seen a multitude of ants in and out of your home then you already know you have an issue. But did you know that simply seeing one ant in your home could mean you’re in for an infestation?
That’s right. One ant usually means more. Let’s go over a few sure signs you should look for to determine if you do indeed have an ant problem.
Some common signs of an ant problem include the following:
- One or two stray ants (scout ants)
- An ant pathway in your home (a line of ants)
- An ant nest near your home or property
- Finding that ants quickly overtake any exposed food you have walked away from
- Ants crawling in and out of wood holes (a sign of carpenter ants)
- The unpleasantly sweet scent of rotting coconut (a sign of odorous house ants)
What Attracts Ants?
Ants are attracted by food sources both inside and out.
Like many pests, ants are specifically drawn into homes by food and water sources. An ant’s diet mostly consists of water and sugary foods like sodas, candies, and fruit juices. Ants are also attracted to meats, plants, seeds, fungi, other dead insects, and even pet food left out on the floor.
Unlike termites, who survive on wood, carpenter ants are also attracted to food sources. They only dig through wood to make their nests, which can lead to serious and expensive structural damage in your home.
That said, it’s still important to determine the type of ant you are dealing with. Try and remember that, while most ants are attracted by the same thing (food and water), different species of ants can cause different problems and may require different methods of removal.
Let’s talk a bit more about the best treatment methods for how to get rid of ants.
How To Get Rid Of Ants – Best Treatment Methods
The best treatment method for getting rid of ants may depend on the type of ant you are dealing with.
Because there are so many different kinds of ant species, it’s important to understand the species of ant plaguing your home and property in order to determine how to get rid of ants effectively.
For example, many experts feel that baiting carpenter ants is most effective, while others agree that using repellents, insecticides, or home remedies will work just fine for odorous house ants.
Are you wondering what the best method would be for how to get rid of ants in your home? Let’s take a look at some of the most common methods for how to get rid of ants below.
- Insecticides and Repellents
- Bait Traps
- Home remedies
The video below discusses how to identify ants from termites and goes over the different methods you can use to get rid of them.
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How To Get Rid Of Ants Using Insecticides Or Repellents
Insecticides and repellents are an effective way to help get rid of ants or control an infestation.
Insecticides can be an effective tool when it comes to how to get rid of ants. However, insecticides also use strong chemicals that can be toxic to people and pets. If you are worried about using insecticides, you can always try to use a natural repellent like an ultrasonic ant repellent plug-in or an essential oil spray repellent.
That said, not all repellents are as effective as insecticides. As we mentioned above, before you decide which method to use for how to get rid of ants in your home, try and determine the type of ant infestation you are dealing with.
Once you know, you will be able to pick the right method for you. We have listed some of our favorite insecticides and repellents for how to get rid of ants below.
Hot Shot Ant Killer Aerosol
If you are looking for how to get rid of ants using an aerosol that works both indoors and outdoors, we recommend Hot Shot ant killer. It uses the active ingredient permethrin, which is a common insecticide used to help keep many pests like spiders, silverfish, roaches, and more out of your home.
While this is an effective way to control and kill ants, keep in mind that permethrin is a toxic insecticide that should be used with caution around kiddos and pets.
Mdxconcepts Organic Home Pest Control
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An insecticide may be one of the most effective methods used when it comes to how to get rid of ants, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only method. If you are looking for a natural, organic ant repellent that works, we recommend trying Mdxconcepts Organic Home Pest Control.
This ant killing spray uses natural ingredients that are safe to use both indoors and out, so whether you have an ant problem on your sidewalk or in your kitchen, you’ll be able to use this spray confidently.
However, you may need to spray it multiple times for it to be effective in killing out the colony or use it in conjunction with baited traps.
This natural repellent also works to get rid of stink bugs, silverfish, spiders, fleas, roaches, earwigs, and more.
TBI Pro Ultrasonic Pest Repellent Wall Plug-In
We are big fans of pest repellent plug-ins for those wondering how to get rid of ants naturally because they are a safe, harm-free way for home owners like yourself to repel ants from entering the home without having to use insecticides or poisons.
The ultrasonic plug-ins above can reach as far as 4,000 square feet and they also help to reduce infestations of roaches, mice, mosquitoes, rats, and more. Because this product uses sound to get rid of pests, it is safe to use in homes with children and pets.
Amdro Ant Block Granule
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Another repellent product we like for how to get rid of ants outside are these ant block granules by Amdro.
The granulas work similar to some baited traps below, however, they are specifically designed to control and eliminate ant colonies outside of your home that could potentially cause problems inside if they aren’t stopped.
The baited granules attract ants, who confuse them for food and bring them to their colony. To use this effectively, you should sprinkle these granules around your home. If done right, this product can last for up to three months.
That said, these granules are toxic and should be used with caution in and around homes where children and pets play.
Boric Acid Ant and Roach Killer
Next on our list of how to get rid of ants using insecticides and repellents is boric acid. This is one of our favorite methods of pest control because it is a natural way to help repel and kill pests and keep your home ant free.
Boric acid uses a naturally occurring chemical poison called boric that is found in water, rocks and plants. While it is safe for the environment in small doses and while it is a very effective pest control method, it can be harmful to pets and children if ingested, so use it with caution.
Diatomaceous Earth Powder
Looking for how to get rid of ants naturally using a powder repellent? Similar to Boric Acid, Diatomaceous Earth is a popular pest control method many homeowners use because it’s effective and natural. It uses a powdered form of fossilized algae to penetrate the exoskeleton of pests like ants, roaches, spiders, and even bed bugs, dehydrating them and killing them.
Diatomaceous Earth is safe to use in homes with children and pets and is safe for the environment, so you can use it in your garden, around your home, and anywhere you notice ant activity.
How To Get Rid Of Ants Using Bait Traps
Bait Traps can help control the number of ants on your property and even eliminate the ant colony.
Baits and baited traps are some of the most popular tools experts use when looking into how to get rid of ants effectively. The reason many experts like baited traps is because they allow ants to take poison back to the colony, which helps eliminate ants at the source.
However, many baited traps use toxic poisons which can be dangerous to use in homes with children and pets. That said, these methods are highly effective and we do recommend them to those looking for how to get rid of ants and ant colonies.
We have listed some of our favorite baited traps below.
TERRO Liquid Ant Bait Killer
For those wondering how to get rid of ants using a bait trap, we like this liquid bait trap by TERRO. It is an effective and easy method to use, as you simply set the bait trap and leave it to do its thing.
It lures ants into the trap and encourages them to take the bait back to their colony. This helps not only kill the worker ants you see around your home, but it will also help eliminate the colony once and for all.
Use these bait traps with caution, though, because they do contain toxic chemicals and can be dangerous for children and pets.
Ortho Home Defense Liquid Ant Bait
Another baited trap we like for how to get rid of ants is the Ortho Home Defense trap. Similar to other ant traps on this list, this baited trap uses lures and encourages ants to take the poison back to their colony, effectively killing and eliminating ant problems.
This order includes six bait stations that are to be placed along baseboards, in the garage, or anywhere else you are noticing ant problems.
Again, this bait does contain toxic chemicals to kill ants and should be used with caution around children and pets.
TERRO Adhesive Strips
Another product we like by TERRO for how to get rid of ants using traps are adhesive strips, which are baited and use lures to attract and kill the ants.
LIke the other baited traps on this list, the product works by allowing ants to take the poison back to the colony, helping to eliminate your ant problem at its source. The adhesive strips also help you to apply these traps wherever you need, which comes in handy when you have seen signs of ants in cabinets, beneath your refrigerator, or along baseboards.
Home Plus Ant Traps
Are you wondering how to get rid of ants indoors and outdoors using traps? We like these versatile ant killing traps, which use baits to lure and kill ants and the whole colony.
Specifically designed to target the queen, these baited ant traps can help to eliminate ant problems in as little as 24 hours. This product is also kid and pet safe and uses four food attractants to help attract and kill as many ants as possible.
How To Get Rid Of Ants Using Home Remedies
Cinnamon is an excellent natural deterrent to help get rid of ants.
Ants can be a real problem when they invade your home. The good news is you don’t always need to turn to insecticides, repellents, or traps to get rid of them. Ants are sensitive to a number of natural and safe products you may already have hanging out in your pantry.
Wondering how to get rid of ants using home remedies? Take a look at some of our favorite, natural, and safe home remedies you can use to control and stop an ant invasion.
The following ingredients repel ants:
- Citrus Fruits
- Salt Or Pepper
- White Vinegar
- Essential Oils
- Castile Soap
Below are some recipes that really work for those of you looking at how to get rid of ants the natural way by using home remedies.
Essential Oil Spray
- 1 spray bottle
- 1/4 cup of water
- 15 drops of tea tree oil
- 15 drops of peppermint oil
- 7 drops of citrus oil
Directions: Mix well and spray anywhere you notice ant activity.
White Vinegar Spray
- 1 spray bottle
- 1 cup of white vinegar
- 1 cup of water
Directions: Mix well and spray anywhere you notice ant activity.
Chalk, Cinnamon, or Cornmeal Deterrents
- 1 package of common white powdered chalk OR
- 1 canister of cinnamon spice OR
- 1 package of cornmeal
Directions: Sprinkle ground white chalk, cinnamon, or cornmeal anywhere you have noticed ant activity or near all entry and exit points. Ants don’t like chalk and wont walk through it, so this makes a wonderful perimeter protectant. Ants are also uttered by cinnamon, which can disrupt the pheromone scent left by ants to attract other ants. Cornmeal is also a natural repellent that ants don’t like.
What Are Ants? Facts You Should Know
Ant colonies have a queen, just like bees and termites.
Ants are certainly a nuisance and it’s no wonder, when you consider the fact that there are at least one million ants on earth to every human being. Ants also live in large colonies, which means an ant invasion in your home or on your property can be quite problematic.
That said, ants are a beneficial insect and they play an important role in our ecosystem. So, if you’re wondering how to get rid of ants, it may help to learn a thing or two about their lifestyle, their habits, and more.
Let’s take a look at some interesting facts about ants.
- Ants are most active in warmer climates and warmer months
Ants are most active during the spring and summer, when the weather is warm and they are safe to be out and about scouting for food. If you live in a warmer climate, however, ants can be problematic all year round. Interestingly, ants are also most active during sunrise and sunset.
- There are over 12,000 ant species in the world and 1,000 different ant species in the United States.
That’s a lot of ants! Still, most ants don’t cause problems for humans and these insects play a very important role in our ecosystem. Ants are natural decomposers who help recycle plant waste and dead animals.
They are also a major food source for wildlife. Try and remember that when you’re looking at how to get rid of ants.
- Ants are found on every continent except Antarctica
The only way you’ll be escaping ants for good is if you travel to Antarctica. Ants are native to most everywhere in the world, and in the places they are not native, they are still congregating due to hitching rides from human travelers.
- Ants are ancient insects
Ants have been around for as long as dinosaurs, making them about 120 million years old.
- Ants are related to bees
Ants belong in the Formicidae family, and are related to bees and wasps. That said, it’s no surprise these guys live in large colonies and work for a queen. However, ants are not natural pollinators and are instead natural decomposers, much like termites. And while ants may look like termites and often be confused for them, the two insects are not closely related at all.
Are Ants Dangerous To People And Pets?
Carpenter ants can cause structural damage while other types of ants may be hazardous to our health.
While ants are generally harmless, different species can cause problems and even health issues in large numbers.
Let’s take a look at the most common types of ants you may encounter and look at the risks of each species.
Carpenter ants are perhaps the most problematic in large numbers. They are similar to termites in the way they destroy and dig through wood, meaning they can cause serious and expensive structural damage to your home and property.
You’ve probably seen pavement ants out and about during the spring and summer. They like to congregate along sidewalks in cracks and crevices, and are generally harmless. However, these tiny black ants can sting (though they rarely do) and can transmit germs that lead to illnesses if they get into our food.
Odorous House Ants
Odorous house ants are called odorous for a reason. These ants produce a strong, sweet smelling odor that is very unpleasant. The strength of the scent depends on the level of infestation you have. While odorous house ants are not harmful to humans and pets, they are unpleasant due to their foul smell.
How To Get Rid Of Ants For Good- When Should I Call A Professional?
Ants can be difficult to get rid of. Sometimes a severe ant problem may require a professional exterminator.
Are you wondering how to get rid of ants or are you concerned you may need a professional? The good news is that most ant infestations don’t require professional exterminators. For the most part, if you follow simple remedies and use effective treatment methods early on, you can stem an ant problem before it gets out of control.
However, there are times when the above methods and treatments may not work and it will be time to call in a professional exterminator. Most experts agree that if you have focused on how to get rid of ants and have had several ant infestation problems in the same home or building, it’s time to call in the pros.
Professionals will be able to determine what the underlying cause of your ant problem is and help eliminate them at the source. Oftentimes an unresolved ant problem means you have not been able to eradicate the ant colony, or that you have not been able to seal entry or exit points to your home properly so the ants keep returning.
Once you figure out how to get rid of ants effectively, it’s important you follow the below steps to keep ants from coming back.
Tips On Preventing Future Ant Problems
Taking preventative measures are key to helping keep your home and property ant-free.
You can help keep ants from returning by following the below steps:
- Don’t leave out dirty dishes
Leaving dirty dishes in the sink can attract scout ants, who will then alert other ants in their colony to your home. Remember, ants are after food sources and one ant means many more to come.
- Clean up crumbs and left over food
Cleaning up crumbs and left over food is just as important as making sure you are taking care of dirty dishes. This also includes pet food. Leaving any food out overnight is a surefire way to attract ants and even other pests like roaches or mice.
- Seal cereals and pantry foods in airtight containers
Sealing food in airtight containers will help eliminate ants who come around searching for food. If they can’t smell it they won’t be attracted to it, and they won’t alert other ants that there are food sources nearby.
- Vacuum, sweep, and clean often
Vacuuming, sweeping, and routine cleaning will not only help eliminate any crumbs or food sources left behind, but it will also help eliminate any pheromone trails a scout ant may leave to alert other ants in his colony of food.
- Wipe down surfaces with citrus-scented cleaner or vinegar sprays
Ants are repelled by citrus smells and vinegar sprays, so wiping down hard surfaces, table tops, counters, etc will help reduce and eliminate ant problems in the future.
- Caulk and seal entry and exit points or cracks and crevices.
Make sure you are doing your part to keep ants from getting in your home in the first place. While ants can’t generally smell food very far (up to three meters at most) they send out scout ants that report back or leave an ant pathway to alert others to your home. If ants can’t get into your home, they can’t leave a pathway to alert other ants, thus reducing your chances of an ant infestation.
- Control or remove ant colonies outside near your property
Most ant infestations begin with an outside colony of ants. You can help reduce the chances of having an infestation in your home if you control any colonies you find near your property.
- Apply an ant repellent barrier around your property
Applying an ant repellent like diatomaceous earth, chalk powder, or boric acid around your home can help reduce the chances of ants entering and causing problems in the future.
What do you think? Would you prefer to use insecticides, home remedies, or call a professional when dealing with how to get rid of ants? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.
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.