How To Get Rid Of Ants at Home

Few things are more annoying than having ants invade your home. They seem to show up overnight and can quickly colonize your kitchen counters, floors, and anywhere with access to food crumbs or moisture.

While harmless in small numbers, an ant infestation can be unsanitary and difficult to eliminate once they get established.

The good news is that with some diligence, there are effective ways to get rid of ants in your house using a combination of ant baits, repellents, and by eliminating their access to food sources.

Identify The Type of Ant

The first step is to identify what type of ant you are dealing with. This will help determine the best method to get rid of them.

Some of the most common household ant invaders are carpenter ants, pavement ants, odorous house ants, and sugar ants.

You can identify them by their trails, nesting locations, and scent when crushed. For example, odorous house ants give off an unpleasant smell when squished.

Use Ant Baits

One of the most effective ways to eliminate ants is with baiting.

Ant baits contain a combination of food sources that attract ants, like sugars or proteins, mixed with a slow-acting insecticide.

Worker ants take the bait back to the colony where it is eaten and shared, gradually killing off the entire colony including the queen.

Look for ant bait stations or gels that can be placed along ant trails and near nests.

Popular ant bait brands are Terro, Advion, and Optigard. Place fresh bait in problem areas and be patient, as it can take a couple of weeks to fully eradicate a large colony.

Ensure kids and pets don’t have access to the baits.

Try Natural Repellents

For minor ant issues or if you want to use more natural methods, you can try some homemade ant repellents and deterrents. Some effective options include:

  • Vinegar – Wipe down counters, floors, and entry points with undiluted white vinegar which helps remove ant scents and repels them.
  • Essential Oils – Concentrated peppermint, tea tree, or citrus oils can deter ants once cleaned and reapplied periodically.
  • Chalk – Drawing lines with chalk or scattering chalk powder creates a barrier that ants won’t cross.
  • Coffee Grounds – Ants dislike the strong smell of coffee grounds which can be sprinkled liberally around problem areas.
  • Cinnamon – This strong spice scent helps repel ants when sprinkled around baseboards, cabinets, and other entry points.

These natural methods can help in minor ant invasions but may not eliminate large, well-established colonies.

Remove Food Sources

A key part of getting rid of ants is sealing off their access to food and moisture sources inside your home. Take the following steps:

  • Wipe down all surfaces to remove any food residues, crumbs, or spills with a vinegar solution.
  • Store food in sealed containers, never leaving food out uncovered.
  • Fix any sources of moisture by repairing leaks and eliminating condensation.
  • Take out the trash frequently and keep garbage cans clean and sealed.
  • Inspect for any cracks or entry points around baseboards, walls, and windows and caulk them to prevent new ant trails.

Locate and Eliminate Nests

Although baits can sometimes take care of a colony’s nest, you may need to take additional measures for serious infestations or carpenter ants that nest directly inside wall spaces or woodwork.

Use a flashlight at night when ants are active to follow trails back to their nest openings.

You can try using insecticidal dusts or aerosol sprays directly into nest openings to fully eliminate the colony.

For carpenter ants or large nests behind walls, it may require professional pest control to inject insecticide treatments into the nest and wall cavities.

Be Persistent

It can take some time and diligence to fully get rid of an ant infestation in your home.

Stick with the baits, keep eliminating food sources, and reapply repellents when you see new trails beginning.

With some perseverance, you can successfully get those pesky ants to move elsewhere without chemicals or calling an exterminator.

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