How To Get Rid Of Ants For Good
While there are more than 12,000 known species, only a handful of ants are a threat to your home. Ants spoil food, spread bacteria, and can pass viral diseases. Getting rid of ants with the right know-how. This guide will show you how to recognize different types of ants and how to get rid of them.
If an ant can find or eats human or household waste, it can easily spread the harmful bacteria to other sensitive areas of your home. The two most common ants found in homes are Carpenter ants and Sugar ants.
This article shows you how to get rid of ants quickly. Here, you’ll learn how to:
- Make your own traps.
- Identify what kind of infestation you have.
- Effectively bait and kill ants in your home.
Ants are attracted to three things: sugar, fat, and protein. This makes it easy for you to make an ant-killing DIY with items in your home. To kill ants, create a trap with an attractive bait. Your trap should have something that’ll attract your specific infestation. Later in the article, you’ll learn how to distinguish between common ant species.
Be sure to put your bait in the right place. Pay attention to where the ants are coming from. Follow the trail and look for cracks and openings in your home.
Now that you know where the trail is, keep the area clean.
Here are some proven DIY baits:
This bait works best to attract moisture-loving ants like Sugar ants, Ghost ants, and Moisture ants. Combine all of the ingredients below in a saucepan. Bring to a boil for three minutes and allow it to cool completely. The mixture should thicken as it cools.
- 1 cup water
- 2 tbsp. borax
- 2 cups sugar
This borax and sugar paste acts similarly to other liquid baits you’ll find in stores. If your sugar mixture isn’t attracting ants, test out a similar bait using jam, jelly, or honey.
Apply the mixture near different points of entry; on the floor, windows, and other places you find ants. Place the bait on a paper plate, a piece of cardboard or in a small dish for easy clean-up.
If your bait is attracting ants but doesn’t kill the ants, add more borax to the mix.
This bait works best with protein or fat-loving ants like Thief ants, Pharaoh ants, and Fire ants. To make this bait, combine the following into a paste:
- 2 tbsp. borax
- Peanut butter
Spread the paste on a paper plate, piece of cardboard, or a small plate. Place the bait along the ant trail, in high-traffic areas, and points of entry.
Apply the mixture near different points of entry; on the floor, windows, and other places you find ants. Place the bait on a piece of cardboard or in a small dish for easy clean-up.
If your bait is attracting ants but doesn’t kill the ants, add more borax to the mix.
This mix is great to kill ants but could be an issue if you have a dog. Use caution and monitor your bait if you decide to use peanut butter as ant bait.
Secure Your Home
Although borax is safe to use in your home, it can be harmful to ingest. Be sure that pets and children don’t get into any of these ant baits.
Ants leave pheromone trails so the rest of the colony knows where to go. Crushing ants without cleaning up afterward only attracts more ants. Use vinegar and water to clean high-traffic areas and destroy the ant’s pheromone trail. Continue to wipe down the ant trails with vinegar while baiting the ants.
After you’ve baited the ants and cleaned out the point of entry, it’s time to protect against the ants re-entering your home.
Mint and Cinnamon
Peppermint and cinnamon are natural insect repellents. Planting mint around entryways, or placing a few drops of peppermint essential oil around suspected areas will create a protective barrier but beware as this is often harmful to household pets like dogs and cats!
An alternative is to sprinkle cinnamon in former entry areas. Ants hate it, and your home will smell amazing!
The most effective way to kill an infestation is to identify your infestation and use the correct bait. This next section shows you some common ants that can infest your home.
Also Read: 5 Natural Pest Control DIYs
Carpenter ants are the most common ants found in North America. They get the name “carpenter” because they excavate wood to create nests and tunnels. Carpenter ants are easily mistaken for termites. Be sure to also read our guide on the difference between these two species if you think you have an infestation.
The nests are typically outside in trees or around lumber. Inside, carpenter ants gather near roofs and wooden structures near moisture or water. Homes in woodlands are at risk for structural damage. Some species are aggressive and will sting or bite if their nest is disturbed.
Carpenter ants have powerful jaws and their bites can be painful. They may also inject formic acid into the bite wound, creating a burning sensation.
However, this pain will subside and does not pose a significant health threat.
These ants feed on honeydew-producing insects such as aphids. You may have another infestation already in your home if you have carpenter ants, specifically. Use protein-based baits to trap and kill carpenter ants.
Be sure to regularly inspect and maintain:
- crawl spaces
- branches and other plants that extend to your house’s exterior
Sugar Ants or Argentine Ants
Sugar ants, also known as Odor ants carry helminth eggs and other infections that are dangerous to human health. You can contract streptococcus, staphylococcus, and dysentery from a sugar ant infestation. Sugar ants are a huge threat to those with weaker immune systems.
These ants react to the smell of blood. Sugar ants can even get under bandages and infect wounds. Although these ants do not bite, their reputation for spreading diseases makes this fact concerning.
They’re called odorous ants because they have a coconut or rum-like smell when crushed. They’re considered one of the most common house ants.
In nature, they are often found nesting in acorns and in yard debris like leaf piles. In urban settings, sugar ants can construct “supercolonies” that go for miles. To trap and kill sugar ants, use sweeter baits like sugar, jellies, jam, and fatty foods.
As their name suggests, pavement ants can carve colonies and nests in pavements. They are small, black-brown insects. Pavement ants will have lighter legs and antennae. They can also be distinguished by looking closely at the grooves in their spine along their body.
During the cold winter months, pavement ants nest closer to homes near heat sources. They are commonly found on the East Coast, Mid-West, West Coast, and sometimes found in the South. Look for pavement ants in and around heat sources in your home if you live in these areas.
If provoked, pavement ants will bite and sting. Although it may be painful and annoying, it does not have serious side effects. Wash any affected areas thoroughly if you are bitten by an ant.
Much like carpenter ants, pavement ants pose a threat to your home’s structure. Many homeowners find damage to their home’s foundation, excavated sand, and uprooted patio stones.
You can bait and kill pavement ants with sweets, fruit, greasy foods, and even pet food. With these ants, typical repellent risks scattering the colony, so it’s best to call an exterminator if you think you have an infestation.
Ghost ants are adaptable and have large, thousand-member colonies. They enter homes through sidewalks, patios, and foundations. They’re often harder to spot, as they travel along carpet edges and electrical wires inside walls.
Ghost ants are attracted to moisture, so they can often be found in a home’s water source. These ants also give off a sweet smell when crushed like sugar ants. If you spot ghost ants, you can bait and kill them with sweet foods.
Pharaoh ants are adaptable and will establish new colonies if the previous one is disturbed. They are commonly found in food establishments and other commercial buildings like hotels, grocery stores, and hospitals. These ants can be especially dangerous as they are known to spread disease and other food-borne illnesses. Pharoh ants are known to enter wounds, IV bottles, and even in the mouths of sleeping patients.
These ants nest in warm, humid areas near food and water sources. Once inside your home, they build nests and tunnels in walls, baseboards, furniture, and under floors. To bait and kill pharaoh ants, use sweets, oils, and proteins.
To find an emergency exterminator in your area, call (833) 431-0401 immediately.
Moisture ants are typically yellow to light brown. As their name suggests, they are attracted to moist places and need lots of water to survive. You can find them in the water sources and leaks in your home. They are typically found in the Pacific Northwest and Northern Midwest.
These ants can further decay wood structures. It is important to distinguish these ants from sugar and carpenter ants because treatment is much different and may not be as effective.
Signs of Moisture ants include:
- A frothy substance coming out of the walls.
- Clods of soil around water pipes, wooden sill plates, or wall studs.
- The lemony or citronella scent.
Remember that since moisture ants often hide in hard-to-reach places, you’ll need to be strategic about where you put your trap. Place the bait and trap near sources of water. To kill moisture ants, use sugary baits, or try any common liquid bait for ants.
Also Read: Review: The Top 5 Terro Ant Baits
Many people may already have a few Rover nests in their homes. Rover ants are very common but very hard to spot.
These are the smallest type of ant and only have small nests, making it incredibly hard to find them. Rover ants typically live in cities and can be found crawling around cinder blocks, structural foundations, electrical outlets, wall voids, and light sockets.
Although these ants do not bite humans, they can transmit diseases and bacteria. Rover ants love to eat aphids and other tiny bugs you might see around your plants. To kill Rover ants, use sweets substances.
Fire ants live in garden debris such as leaf piles. They dig large nests in the ground that must be moist, yet have lots of sunlight. You can spot fire ant nests in gardens, lawns, parks, fields, and meadows. Fire ants close to food sources for convenience. Although they prefer warmer climates, colder environments can also have fire ant infestations.
It is vital to take extreme caution with Fire ants, as their bites can be very painful and possibly fatal to small animals. Fire ants bite and release venom through their stinger, creating a burning sensation. Most people only have a mild reaction to the bite, but recent studies show that their venom may actually affect the nervous system.
Seek medical attention immediately if you experience the following after a Fire ant bite:
- Trouble breathing
- Swelling of the tongue or throat
- Loss of consciousness
Fire ants love protein-filled baits. To kill fire ants in your home, use peanut butter bait.
Crazy ants get their name for their erratic, aimless, and “crazy” movements when disturbed. These are by far the most difficult ants to track and control. They can be identified by their large legs and “longhorn” antennae.
Although these ants do not have a painful bite, they are known to swarm on humans and electronics. Crazy ant workers typically die off when temperatures drop. Crazy ant queens then reproduce larger colonies the following spring.
These ants are attracted to both sweets and protein. They are predators, foragers, and scavengers, but some colonies only desire protein during the summer months. Bait Crazy ants with both sweets and protein.
Some states have restrictions on which insecticides can be used to kill them. Because of this restriction and their erratic behavior, it’s best to call an experienced exterminator at (833) 431-0401 if you find Crazy ants around your home.