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Why You Shouldn’t Kill an Ant in Your House

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

Many of us have been guilty of squishing ants that dared to invade our personal spaces, but killing ants in your home could be making your issue worse.

If it seems like more ants enter your home after you kill one, you might be wondering, “Do dead ants attract more ants?” The answer is a resounding, although maybe confusing, yes. The next time you spot an ant marching across your kitchen counter, think twice before ending its journey with a swift squish.

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These popular ant traps work better at capturing ants than your fingers.

When you squash an ant, it releases pheromones that attract other ants to the scene. This is one of nature’s clever ways of ensuring the survival of the species. When an ant dies, it releases an olfactory marker known as a death pheromone that sends a signal to the other ants. In nature, these signals help ants deal with their dead. However, in your house, it can lead to a full-blown ant invasion.

Therefore, the act of killing ants may actually backfire and bring more unwanted guests into your home in the future. It seems counterintuitive, but try to avoid squishing ants you see in your house.

So, if killing ants isn’t the solution, what’s the correct way to remove an ant? Here are a few non-lethal methods that will help you get rid of these bugs for good:

  • Catch it: Use a piece of paper to gently scoop up the ant and release it outside.
  • Trap it: Invest in humane ant traps that capture rather than kill.
  • Repel it: Try natural repellents, such as essential oils, which can deter ants without causing harm.

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Ants don't like the smell of peppermint oil, so this can keep them away naturally.

Prevention, though, is always better than a cure. To keep ants out of your house altogether, here are some steps you can take:

  • Seal cracks and crevices around your home where ants can enter.
  • Keep your home clean, especially the kitchen and dining areas.
  • Store food in sealed containers.
  • Avoid leaving pet food out for long periods.
  • Regularly dispose of garbage and make sure bins are sealed.

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Make sure those cracks are sealed around your home.

Embracing non-lethal methods for ant removal and adopting preventative measures will not only save you from a home ant invasion but will also help you live peacefully with these creatures in the future.

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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