Getting rid of ants can sometimes take a fairly long time and its rather hard to find a source of information that will show you exactly how to free yourself from these pests naturally. In this article, The Bug Squad has compiled only the best methods and tips that will help you kill ants for good. Ant control doesn’t need to be a hard task and this DIY guide will get you going in the right direction without incurring much cost.
I am going to break down this guide into four sections. The first section is about stopping a army of ants (ant deterrents) from invading your home, the second one will discuss actual removal methods, the third will elaborate on preventive measures (two steps) and the last one will outline various tips and warnings for effective ant control. Please make sure you follow each step correctly to ensure the fastest removal at the highest success rate. If you enjoy the article, please share it with your friends so they can also benefit from the information. Lets get started!
How to Deal With Ants in Your Home
The first thing to note is that a colony of ants are not usually the cause for disease and while you still might be afraid of them, the worst that they may do is give you a little bite that you will hardly feel (with the exception of fire ants). However, I completely understand that they can get rather annoying. I remember washing the dishes after moving into a new place and often seeing these little bugs running up and down the hairline cracks in the wall tiles. Personally, I always prefer natural remedies for any type of pest control and getting rid of ants was no different. Let’s take a quick look at where these little pests come from before we look at the removal process.
Contrary to popular belief, ants are not little creatures sent from outer space to terrorize children. Feel a bit better? Thought so Most of the time, they are just looking for food and want to just go about their business without being bothered. Ants can be found in a variety of places, ranging from offices to homes to even hospitals. I recently found a massive ant nest in my outdoor garden shed and had to apply the steps I’ve listed in this article to get rid of them. Here are a few places you can look for them:
- Surfaces in your kitchen and bedrooms. If they are in the office, check your desks and look for any old lunchboxes that may have been left behind by the staff.
- Inside and near electrical wall sockets.
- Behind and around basins, taps and pipes.
- Underneath furniture and behind picture frames.
- Inside cracks in your walls, ceilings and other small areas.
Ants are also attracted to an area that offers suitable shelter and protection for their queen and their colony as a whole. According to studies, ants are also commonly found near sources of water, especially in dry regions around the world! Ants tend to gravitate towards anything sugary or sweet, so if you are fighting an ant invasion, it’s a good idea to look for any spilt sugar, soda drinks or even certain types of fruit juice.
Keeping that in mind, before we start any of the removal steps, I recommend taking some time to just clean up your house. Regardless of how small your house is, this is not a 5 minute job. Take the time to clean the entire place, under furniture, behind couches, under the fridge and any other place where they may be hiding or they will just keep on coming back. I always prefer to stick to long term solutions and when it comes to killing ants, you should as well otherwise you will be disappointed. Some ant remedies are deterrents while others are actually used to get rid of them. However, before we investigate those steps, let’s take a quick look at the different types of ants so we know what we are up against.
Identifying Different Types of Ants and Species
According to recent studies, there are over 20 000 species of ants worldwide and each colony can contain anything from 30 to a couple thousand ants. Each nest consists of the following ranks:
- Fertile Ant Males – These ants (more than one) are responsible for impregnating Her Majesty the Queen ant. They are also called “Drones”.
- Fertile Ant Female – This ant is the ruler of the nest. All the other ants actively protect, feed and serve her. She is also responsible for making eggs and thus is a critical part of the colony. She is often called the “Queen” ant.
- Soldier Ants – These guys are the military for the nest. They protect and ensure that order is kept.
- Worker Ants – These ants actively look for food and are responsible for building the nest and helping the colony.
- Scout Ants – They look for suitable places to start or expand a colony and leave pheromone behind them for other ants to follow.
There are a number of species of ants and to fight them effectively, it’s important to know all the different types. Here is a list of the most common ones. Feel free to browse Wikipedia for more! The Fire ant (Solenopsis Invicta) are usually found in gardens or abandoned shelters and have a very painful bite. The Argentine ant (Linepithema Humile) are usually found outside in soil and anthills and can really mess up your lawn. The sugar ant (sometimes called pavement or house ants (Tetramorium Caespitum) are the most common and are often found in your home and in your living spaces. The Odorous house ant (Tapinoma Sessile) are usually found in soil mounds or near your geyser as they are attracted to the warmth.
The Pharaoh ant (Monomorium Pharaonis) are usually found inside cupboards, furniture and electrical wall sockets. Velvety tree ant (Liometopum Occidentale) can be found near rotten branches and broken trees. And lastly, carpenter ants (Camponotus Spp) are commonly found burrowing out pieces of wood, including your furniture and other parts of your house. To learn how to get rid of carpenter ants in your house, check out that guide as its a slightly different process due to where they live. However, to keep things simple, for the following steps we are going to look at a general approach on how to get rid of ants that usually works for most ant problems. Without further delay, let’s look at 5 steps that will get your house ant free as quick as possible.
Section 1: Preventing Ants From Getting in Your Home
It’s always important to be proactive in your approach to getting rid of ants. Firstly, most of the time, ants can be controlled simply by making it clear (using ant deterrents) that they are not wanted in your home. Additionally, ants serve a vital part of the ecosystem so I try and make an effort to prevent the infestation in the first place or make my house an unpleasant place to live for the ants before I start stomping on every little black insect I see. While it is still your decision, I highly recommend this course of action so please don’t skip this section as there are many added benefits.
Step 1: Seal up potential entry points that ants may be using.
Step 2: Keep ants away by using a natural ant barriers to keep those ant invasions away!
Step 3: Preventative measures for ants and information about your pets.
Step 1: Use fibrous materials to seal off any entrance in your home that ants could be using. This is usually done by using a caulking gun, as shown in the picture. This process has been around for a long time and effectively keeps bugs out and even keeps your heat in, which lowers your carbon footprint and reduces your electricity bill. Places that you should be targeting is cracks in the walls, floorboards, etc.
Step 2: Many people recommend using a mineral called “Talc” that comes from rocks that are processed and milled. While it does keep ants away, it is toxic and has properties that closely resemble asbestos, which is known to cause cancer (carcinogen) after prolonged exposure. However, please don’t panic. Notice I mentioned “prolonged exposure”. You will not get cancer by just touching the stuff but it’s definitely not recommended to use it over a long period of time. I find that a salt mixture is sufficient in most cases. Here are a few more natural remedies for ants:
- Lavender, mint, chillies, cinnamon and eucalyptus (crushed)
- Diatomaceous earth (this is great), camphor, vaseline and baby powder
- Double sided adhesive tape, powdered chalk and charcoal
- Flour, vinegar, cucumber slices, lemons and oranges
Step 3: Its time to clean up! Grab a mob and whatever cleaning utensils you can find and give everything a good scrub. Remember that those ants came into your home looking for food and its your job to ensure that there is nothing available for them to eat! Make sure that you look under the fridge (kids often kick fallen grapes, raisins, etc that fall from their hands, trust me I have seen it) and behind your rubbish bin. Its important to do this and will ensure that they don’t come back again.
NB: If you have pets and find that you always have ants around their bowl, place it inside a larger bowl and fill it with water. This create a moat which ants cannot cross and until they learn to swim, this is a very effective remedy. If you don’t want to do this, make sure you put your pet’s food away after they are finished eating.
Section 2: Start Getting Rid of Ants as Fast as Possible
Step 1: Suck those ants up!
Step 2: Force a relocation of the colony or kill them on the spot!
Step 3: Set up a homemade ant trap
Step 4: Purchase ant fumigation or hire exterminators
Step 1: The easiest way to kill ants that are running around your home like rampaging orcs is to suck them up with a vacuum cleaner. Don’t worry, you don’t need those expensive gimmicky models that you see on TV, just a cheap one will work just as well. Proceed to stalk your house with it and attack any unsuspecting ants you see doing their daily errands. Depending on the size of your home, this may take about an hour. Perhaps take the opportunity to do some spring cleaning. Don’t say you will do it some other time, you know you won’t If you followed my first recommendation, you should have already cleaned the house fairly well and giving it a good vacuum will do wonders!
Step 2: Next, look for any ant trails that may be leading off to the nest. Follow this and try and figure out where their source is. If you find it, use a soapy mixture of dish washing liquid and hot water and flush them out. I have found that using a bleach mixture or an all-purpose cleaner also works wonders so perhaps give that a try as well. It’s also a good idea to pour about 10 liters of boiling water down the ant hill or nest (unless they are fire ants!) as this will kill them quickly.
Step 3: I have found that ant traps work fairly well as well. There are a number that you can purchase but I recommend making your own as this is the most affordable option. There are many different types but to keep things simple, the easiest and fastest method is to mix a decent amount of Boric acid with peanut butter in a metal pot and place it on a biscuit inside of a cardboard box. Close the box up, punch a number of holes into it and place it in a problem area. The Boric acid kills ants on contact, the peanut butter attracts them and the box makes disposal easy.
Another simple trap method is to use cornstarch to eliminate ants. Simply sprinkle it around areas that are infested with a colony of ants and wait for them to carry the corn starch off to their nest. Since ants have trouble digesting starch due to its high fibre content, they will eventually swell up and die. Although I find this method does take a little longer then others, its extremely effective and is a proven method for ant control.
NB: Please make sure that you keep your pets away from the box as it can be dangerous if they consume a large amount of it. Also, try and keep it off your fingers. It’s not going to cause instantaneous rigamortis or anything serious but it’s definitely not good for your skin. If you want to buy a trap, make sure that its ingredients are on the Organic Materials Review or the USDA-National Organic Program if you want to use it to get rid of ants safely.
Step 4: Lastly, but often a necessary step, its recommended that you hire some professional help. The easiest way to do it is to contact your local exterminator. If you are renting, it’s a good idea to give your landlord a call as it’s often their responsibility to fix up your ant problem, especially when it comes to caulking (read above for the explanation) and fixing cracks, etc. If you would like to ask any questions about these steps, please feel free to leave a comment below and I will personally answer it for you!
Section 3: Keep Ants Away by Being Proactive!
Step 1: They say prevention is the best cure and when it comes to ant control, this principle is no different. It’s the responsibility of your household to all do their part to help out. When food is eaten or prepared, take a little bit of time to clean up immediately and try your best not to leave it for the next day. Another common mistake is spilling a bit of soda or juice on the floor on your way to watch TV or something and forgetting to wipe it up because after a while, it seems to evaporate. Well the liquid may be gone but the sugar is not and this can easily cause an entire colony to set up camp! It’s also important to keep up regular mopping of the floor, sweeping up dirt, vacuuming regularly and wiping of counters and surfaces.
Step 2: A good proactive step to preventing ant infestations is to put a small lavender, mint or pot plant near your kitchen window and a few other places where you think ants could be sneaking in. Not only will this give your home an amazing aroma, it’s also a natural ant deterrent and will keep them away from your living areas. This doesn’t mean that you can ignore the previous step but at least it will minimize entry points for ants in your kitchen and home. A few of my friends have also had much success with using Vaseline on their window panes (usually outside). This also prevents ants from getting in so give that a try if you don’t have much success with the pot plant.
A Few Additional Tips for Effective Ant Control
- Make sure that you clean up around your house before starting to exterminate ants otherwise you will be fighting a losing battle.
- While you fight the ant infestation, it’s always useful to utilize some ant deterrents to assist with the battle. (See information above)
- Refrigerate your leftovers or keep food in sealed plastic containers so it doesn’t attract ants.
- A few sources have told me that Windex is a great option for killing ants. It seems that “Robert De Niro” was right about that spray in his movie, it really does cure or fix anything.
- If you are determined to purchase an ant trap, try Terro ant traps as they work very well. If you need a more industrial strength option, try a granular ant bait that contains Niban. Just be careful however, as baits like Maxforce are highly toxic!
- If you do set up my DIY ant trap or purchase one from the shop, don’t put any ant deterrents (listed above) near them otherwise ants will avoid the very place where you want to trap them!
- If you see a queen ant, kill her to force that colony of ants to leave your home or garden.
A Few Warnings For Treating Ant Infestations
- As previously mentioned, be careful with some ant poisons as they are fairly toxic. Keep these substances away from children and pets.
- While most ants are not dangerous, I recommend staying away from fire ants as there are cases where people are allergic to their bites, not to mention that in comparison to other ants, their bites are rather painful!
- When preparing your ant traps, it’s recommended that you wear gloves and to ensure you don’t inhale the fumes. My homemade trap isn’t highly toxic, but it’s definitely not for swallowing
In conclusion, getting rid of and killing ants is fairly easy when you know how. While it may take some time and effort, you can completely free yourself from ant problems without spending a large amount of money. The first step should always to stabilize the situation and prevent more ants from pouring into your home. Once that has been achieved, follow the steps in this article to eliminate them quickly before moving on to a more proactive stance, which stops these ants from coming back. Thank you for taking the time to read this article and I would appreciate it if you shared it with your friends. Not only will they benefit from the information but it will also assist with the popularity of this article. If you have any questions, please use the comment section below and I will try my best to get back to you within 24 hours. So what are your experiences with ant control and getting rid of them? Let me know your thoughts! P.S: If you are having any flea problems or are suffering with fruit fly infestations, be sure to check out these articles for effective solutions! Thanks