Ants are a common problem for many homeowners, invading kitchens, bathrooms, gardens, and patios. Not only can they be a nuisance, but they can also cause damage to property and contaminate food. If left unchecked, ant infestations can quickly get out of control. Fortunately, there are many products and methods available for getting rid of ants. In this article, we will explore different ways to eliminate ants from common areas in the home and yard, including the kitchen, bathroom, living areas, garden, patio, and garbage and compost bins. We will also discuss prevention tips and various products, such as baits, traps, sprays, granules, electronic repellents, and chemical treatments. By the end of this article, you’ll have a better understanding of how to get rid of ants and keep them from returning.
Common Areas In and Around the Home
Now we will go over the most common areas you will find ants in and around your home. Then, together with the ant guide below this section, you should be able to identify the specific ant specie that is causing you trouble. After that we’ll go over how to get rid of ants based off the species and area located.
Ants are attracted to kitchens for several reasons. First and foremost, the kitchen is a treasure trove of food sources for these industrious insects. Additionally, kitchens often provide ants with a suitable environment for survival. Furthermore, kitchens may inadvertently offer ants entry points. Overall, the combination of accessible food, water, and shelter in the kitchen creates an attractive environment that entices ants to make themselves at home.
Bathrooms are typically moist environments due to sinks, showers, and toilets. Ants are drawn to these water sources and may explore the bathroom in search of hydration. Leaky pipes or faucets can create even more appealing water reservoirs for ants.
Ants are attracted to the scents and residues left behind by soaps, shampoos, conditioners, and other personal care products. These items often contain sweet or fragrant ingredients that can be appealing to ants, prompting them to investigate the bathroom.
Ants have a strong sense of smell, and certain scents can draw them into the bedroom. Sweet-smelling items such as fragrances, perfumes, lotions, or even fresh flowers can entice ants to explore the room.
Ants may establish satellite colonies near their main nest, and these satellite colonies can be set up in various areas of the house, including bedrooms. If the bedroom provides suitable conditions for nesting, such as a dark and undisturbed space, ants may decide to build their nests there.
Yards provide a variety of nesting opportunities for ants. They can build their nests in the soil, under rocks, in decaying wood, or even in cracks and crevices around your property. Some ant species prefer specific nesting conditions, such as sandy soil or areas with high moisture levels.
Different ant species have specific preferences for their habitats. Some ants thrive in open, sunny areas, while others prefer shady spots. Certain yard features, such as mulch beds, plantings, or structures like wooden decks or fences, may create favorable conditions for ants to establish colonies.
Ants can accidentally enter your car from the environment, such as when you park near ant trails or infested areas. They may crawl in through open windows, vents, or other openings, seeking refuge or food.
To prevent ants from entering your car, it is important to maintain cleanliness and promptly clean up any food or drink spills. Regularly vacuum your car’s interior and remove any potential food sources. Keep windows closed when parked, and inspect your vehicle for any cracks or openings that ants could use as entry points. If you suspect an ant nest in your car, it may be necessary to seek professional pest control assistance to eliminate the infestation effectively.
Types of Ants and How to Identify Them
Although there are thousands of different ant species worldwide, you are probably dealing with only 1 of a select few types. Let’s go over the most common types, how to identify them, and where they are most commonly found. If you are looking for a more complete guide, check out our information on common types of household ants.
“Black ants” is a general term used to describe various ant species with black or dark-colored bodies. While their appearance may vary depending on the species, black ants are generally recognized by their dark coloration and characteristic ant-like body structure. Their size can range, typically measuring around 1/16 to 1/2 inch in length. They have segmented bodies with distinct heads, thoraces, and abdomens.
Black ants are commonly found both indoors and outdoors.
Carpenter ants species are diverse in various colors, including red, orange, yellow, black, brown, and red-black. They measure around ½ inch in length, with a smooth and rounded thorax, heart-shaped heads, and large jaws. They lack stingers but use formic acid as an irritant.
Carpenter ants are commonly found in and around structures, preferring moist and decaying wood. Moisture and wood decay increase the likelihood of infestations.
Ghost ants are tiny ants measuring about 1/16 inch in length. They have dark-colored heads and thoraxes, while their abdomens are pale or translucent bodies, giving them a ghost-like appearance. They have segmented bodies, six legs, and elbowed antennae. Their small size and pale appearance make them difficult to spot without close inspection.
Ghost ants have a widespread global distribution but are commonly found in subtropical and tropical regions. They have been introduced to various continents from Africa through human transportation.
Fire ants are reddish-brown to reddish-black ants measuring around 1/8 to 1/4 inch in length. They have a distinctive two-segmented waist, with workers having a stinger at the end. Their bodies are covered in fine hairs, and their head features compound eyes and strong mandibles. These ants have a characteristic aggressive behavior and deliver painful stings when disturbed.
Fire ants are native to South America but have spread to other regions, including the southeastern United States such as Texas, Florida, Louisiana, and Georgia.
How to Get Rid of Ants Using Baits and Traps
Once you have identified the problem area along with the type of ant in that location, it is time for treatment. Your options for treatment include baits and traps, sprays, or professional help. Using a combination of these products can eliminate your problem before you need to get professional help from an exterminator.
Ant baits and traps are ideal for targeting entire ant colonies and eliminating the source of the problem. This is generally a long term solution and ideal for indoor use.
Best Ant Baits and Traps
TERRO Ant Killer controls ants within 2-4 weeks of treatment. When placed near indoor areas where the ants can quickly spot it, the workers consume the bait and carry the rest to their colony, where they are destroyed.
Advion Ant Gel is consumed by the workers as well as taken back to the colony to be shared, providing a high kill rate, eliminating the colony in a short period of time.
Using Sprays to Get Rid of Ants
Ant sprays are most efficient when you need the problem to go away immediately. Sprays generally kill on contact and can provide instant relief from ants that are present on surfaces, walls, or floors.
Ant sprays are commonly used outdoors to create a barrier or to treat ant nests near the perimeter of the house. They can help prevent ants from entering the home by creating a deterrent barrier around windows, doors, or other potential entry points.
Best Ant Sprays
Ortho Home Defense Insect Killer for Indoor & Perimeter with Comfort Wand kills ants and the formula is odor free, won’t stain, and keeps ants out.
Creates a bug barrier that will kill bugs you have and prevents new bugs for up to 12 months.
A preventative and a treatment, this spray is a natural pest repellent, and kills ants. Safe alternative to conventional pesticide sprays, baits, ant granules, zappers or foggers.
No artificial colors, fragrances. Made in the USA from powerful, sustainable plant powered ingredients. Cruelty free and biodegradable.
Ant Infestation Prevention
Now that you have hopefully identified and eliminated your ant problem, it is time to move on to preventing the problem from happening again. As we have learned from above, ants are attracted to damp conditions that offer warmth and darkness for nesting. They are also attracted to snacks, food, and any sort of crumbs.
Inside Your Home
- Keep Food Sealed: Store food in airtight containers to prevent ants from detecting and accessing it.
- Clean Regularly: Wipe down countertops, sweep floors, and clean up crumbs promptly.
- Empty Trash Regularly: Ensure trash cans are sealed and emptied regularly.
- Fix Leaks: Repair any plumbing leaks to eliminate a water source that may attract ants.
- Pet Food: If you have pets, don’t leave their food out overnight. Pick up their dishes after they finish eating.
- Use Ant Baits: Place ant baits or traps in areas where ants are commonly seen.
Outside Your Home
- Seal Entry Points: Seal cracks, gaps, and openings in doors, windows, and the foundation where ants can enter.
- Trim Vegetation: Trim trees and shrubs that touch your house to prevent ants from using them as a bridge.
- Clean Up Yard Debris: Remove dead leaves, logs, and other organic debris from your yard where ants may nest.
- Keep Garbage Secure: Use tightly sealed garbage bins and keep them away from the house.
- Ant-Repellent Plants: Consider planting ant-repellent plants like mint or tansy around the perimeter of your home.
- Remove Standing Water: Eliminate sources of standing water that ants can use for drinking.
- Use Natural Repellents: Consider using natural repellents like vinegar, lemon juice, or cinnamon near ant-prone areas.
- Ant Deterrents: Sprinkle diatomaceous earth or talcum powder along ant trails or entry points as a deterrent.
- Professional Help: If you have a severe ant infestation, consider seeking help from a pest control professional.
Remember that different species of ants may require slightly different prevention strategies, so it’s essential to identify the type of ant you’re dealing with and tailor your approach accordingly.
When to Seek Professional Help
When it comes to dealing with ant infestations, sometimes the do-it-yourself approach isn’t enough. There are certain scenarios where calling in professional pest control services becomes not just a convenience but a necessity. Here are key situations when seeking expert assistance for ant extermination is highly recommended:
Large or Persistent Infestations: If you have a massive or recurring ant infestation that over-the-counter products or DIY methods have not been able to control, it’s time to call a professional pest control service.
Multiple Ant Species: If you’re dealing with multiple species of ants in your home or yard, identifying and effectively treating each species can be challenging. Pest control experts can differentiate between species and apply appropriate treatments.
Structural Damage: Ants, such as carpenter ants, can cause structural damage by tunneling through wood. If you suspect significant structural damage, a professional inspection and treatment are essential to prevent further harm to your property.
Health Concerns: Certain ant species, like red imported fire ants, can deliver painful stings that may trigger severe allergic reactions in some individuals. If you have an infestation of aggressive or stinging ants near your home or in areas frequented by people or pets, professional intervention is crucial.
Unique Infestation Locations: If ants have infested unusual or hard-to-reach areas, such as inside walls, crawlspaces, or electrical systems, professional pest control experts have the tools and knowledge to address these situations safely and effectively.
Commercial Properties: For businesses, especially those in the food industry, health regulations and reputation management are essential. A professional pest control service can help maintain a pest-free environment and meet compliance requirements.
Risk of Reinfestation: Professionals can provide ongoing pest management plans to reduce the risk of future ant infestations, addressing not only the current problem but also preventing recurrences.
Environmental Concerns: Pest control experts can use environmentally friendly methods and products to minimize the environmental impact of ant extermination while effectively eliminating the infestation.
Lack of Success with DIY Methods: If you’ve tried various DIY methods without success or if you’re unsure about the type of ant infestation you’re dealing with, it’s advisable to consult with a professional who can accurately diagnose the issue and implement an effective solution.
When considering professional pest control services, be sure to choose a reputable and licensed pest control company with experience in ant extermination. They will assess the situation, recommend appropriate treatments, and help you maintain a pest-free environment in the long term.
In conclusion, successfully dealing with ants involves understanding their types, knowing where they commonly appear, and utilizing a range of methods including baits, traps, sprays, and prevention strategies.
Remember that while many ant infestations can be managed with DIY methods, there are situations where professional help is essential to ensure complete eradication and prevent future problems.
By following the advice and strategies outlined in this guide, you’ll know how to get rid of ants in your home and yard. With a combination of knowledge, persistence, and, if necessary, the assistance of professional pest control services, you can reclaim your space and enjoy a pest-free environment.