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How to Get Rid of Ants in Your Home

Ants inside a home
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Ants are fascinating little creatures to observe in nature, but they are a nuisance when they invade your homes. If you’ve ever had an ant problem, you know how frustrating it can be. Not only do they seem to appear out of thin air, but they also seem to multiply quickly, making it difficult (or even impossible) to get rid of them. Fortunately, there are several ways to get rid of ants in your home without calling in a professional.

Identify the Ant Species

An ant on a leaf outside
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The first thing you’ll want to do when getting rid of ants in your home is identify the species of ant you are dealing with. Different species of ants have different nesting habits and food preferences, so it’s essential to know what you’re dealing with. Some common ant species found in homes include pavement ants, carpenter ants, and pharaoh ants.

Pavement ants are small brown or black ants that often nest outdoors but can invade homes in search of food. Carpenter ants are larger and can cause damage to wooden structures in your home. Pharaoh ants are small light brown or sometimes yellow ants that nest in warm, humid places like wall voids and behind baseboards.

That all being said, it is not always necessary to identify the species of ant to get rid of it. If you are dealing with a small infestation, you may be able to eliminate it using general ant control methods such as baiting or spraying. It’s okay to try some of the methods below first if you aren’t sure what type of ants you’re dealing with.

Ants of North America: A Guide to the Genera

Learn more about ants so you can identify them when you see them.

Locate the Ant Trails

A trail of ants on the sidewalk
Dario Lo Presti/Shutterstock.com

Once you’ve identified the species of ant in your home, the next step is to locate their trails. Ants leave pheromone trails to guide other ants to food sources. Following these trails can help you find the source of the problem and eliminate it. Look for ants in areas where you’ve seen them before, which might be around windows, doors, and baseboards.

You can also try placing a small amount of food or sugar water in an area where you have seen ants and watch where they go. Once you have located the trail, you can follow it to try to find the nest. Ants often nest in moist, dark places, so check areas such as under appliances, in wall voids, or in crawl spaces.

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Get up to 12 months of protection against ants, roaches and spiders indoors on nonporous surfaces.

Seal Entry Points

A man caulks a doorway

One way to prevent ants from entering your home is to seal all possible entry points. Ants can squeeze through the tiniest gaps you can imagine, so make sure to check for cracks and gaps around windows, doors, and pipes. Seal any openings with caulk or weather stripping. Additionally, consider installing door sweeps to prevent ants from crawling under doors.

Another important step is to keep your yard and the area around your home free of debris and vegetation. Ants can use overhanging tree branches and shrubs as bridges to enter your home, so trimming them back can help reduce the risk of infestation. Taking these steps to seal entry points can help keep ants out and prevent future infestations.

Red Devil 0846 Window & Door Siliconized Acrylic Caulk

Seal up doors and cracks around your home.

Keep Your Home Clean

Someone sweeping their floor
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Ants are attracted to food and moisture, so keeping your home clean and dry is essential in preventing an ant problem. Wipe down countertops, sweep floors, and take out the trash regularly. Store food in airtight containers and clean up any spills or crumbs immediately. Also, make sure to fix any leaky pipes or faucets to prevent excess moisture.

Broom and Dustpan Set

An easy way to keep your home clean.

Use Natural Ant Deterrents

Ants drinking sugar water
Cassandra Madsen/Shutterstock.com

There are several natural ant deterrents that can be used to repel ants without adding chemicals or toxins to your environment. Some of these natural remedies include:

  • Cinnamon: Ants dislike the smell of cinnamon, so sprinkling cinnamon powder or using cinnamon oil can be an effective deterrent.
  • Peppermint: Peppermint oil is a natural insect repellent that can effectively deter ants and other bugs.
  • Vinegar: A solution of equal parts vinegar and water can be used to wipe down surfaces and repel ants.
  • Baking soda: Baking soda mixed with powdered sugar can be a powerful ant-repellent.
  • Borax: Borax can be mixed with sugar and water to create a bait that ants will carry back to their nest, killing off other ants.

It is important to note that natural remedies may not be as effective as chemical pesticides and may require more frequent application. If natural options aren’t enough, you can use pesticides and commercially prepared products to eradicate ants.

NaturoBliss Peppermint Essential Oil

Dab this around the parts of your home experiencing an ant infestation.

Use Ant Baits

An ant trap on a counter

Ant baits are an effective way to eliminate ant colonies. Ants are attracted to the bait, which contains a slow-acting poison. When the ants bring the bait back to their colony, it kills the entire colony. Place the ant bait in areas where you’ve seen ants, but make sure to keep them out of reach of children and pets.

When using ant baits, it’s essential to be patient. It can take several days or even weeks for the bait to work, so resist the urge to switch to a different method if you don’t see immediate results. Additionally, it’s important not to disturb the ants while they are feeding on the bait as this can cause them to move their colony to a new location.

TERRO T300B Liquid Ant Killer

Popular ant baits that can get rid of pests in your home.

Call in a Professional

An exterminator

If you’ve tried all the above methods and still have an ant problem, it may be time to call in a professional pest control service. Professional pest control services have access to stronger pesticides and can target the source of the ant problem more effectively.

When choosing a pest control service, make sure to do your research and choose a reputable company. Look for a company that is licensed and insured and has a good reputation in your area. Additionally, you’ll want to ask for references and read online reviews to get an idea of their track record before booking.

Raid Essentials Ant Spider

Child- and pet-safe ant spray.

Getting rid of ants in your home can be a frustrating process, but there are several steps you can take to eliminate them and go back to enjoying an ant-free home.

Anne Taylor Anne Taylor
Anne Taylor is a writer with a BA in Journalism and a passion for storytelling. Her work has been published on a variety of websites including Mental Floss and Well + Good, and she recently published her first novel, What it Takes to Lose. When she's not writing, Anne loves to travel (19 countries and counting), spend time outside, and play with her dog, Pepper. Read Full Bio »
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