Ants are pretty cool insects. They’re one of the world’s strongest creatures in relation to their size. They work in teams, and they’re one of the longest living insects on the planet. Great! Except when they’re in your house. Because if you spot one ant, you better believe there are at least nine others hidden somewhere.
If you want to get rid of the ants in your home, we’ve got 11 ideas. Try one, or try them all. They’re sure to do the trick.
Why do ants come inside your home?
Ants are always looking for food, water, and moisture, in general. They head to your home to find these things. You’ll especially find ants in the kitchen, since they have a sweet tooth, much like you and I.
Places with a sink, like bathrooms, laundry rooms, and kitchens, provide ants with the water they need to survive.
#1: Observe the ants
This might seem like a strange place to start. Most of us want to spray them or shoo them away. But here’s why that won’t work. The queen ant never goes around looking for food. Instead, she stays in her nest to lay eggs and produce more ants.
That’s why you can spray ants until you’re blue in the face but they’ll keep coming back. Why? Because you’re not getting to the root of the problem. So, instead of sweeping and spraying them all away, observe the ants. Where are they coming from? Where do they go after they take their little goods away?
See if you can follow them back to their ant colony, and most importantly, to their queen.
#2: Use Ant Bait Stations
This step sounds a bit cruel, but if you want to get rid of the ant invasion, you have to bite the bullet and take one for the team. The working ants have one job: they go out to seek food so they can bring it back to the queen and her little baby ants.
So, instead of killing the worker ants, set up ant bait stations along their trail. This is “food” with insecticide added to it. When the queen and the young ants consume it, it will actually kill them off and stop the production of ants, in general.
#3: Watch and wait
If you use ant bait stations, you may see success, but it might not happen overnight. Depending on the size of the colony, it might take several days or up to a week to eliminate the ant colony for good.
If the ants keep coming, replace the food stations until the worker ants become fewer and far between.
#4: Spray outdoor nests
If the worker ants have a consistent trail moving from the inside of the house to the great outdoors, see if you can follow them. Yes, the neighbors might think you’re a bit crazy, but don’t let that stop you. If you find that the ants have a below-ground nest, spraying them with an appropriate insecticide spray can help to eliminate them.
#5: Clean your house
Ants enter your home because they’re looking for water, food, and moisture. So, try to make your home a disappointing place for them. After meals, be sure to sweep away crumbs and clear countertops.
And although it might seem like a bit of a chore, take some time every weekend to move your large appliances away from the wall so you can sweep underneath them, too.
If anything spills, make it a priority to clean it up right away, whether it’s crumbs, juice, grease, milk, seasonings, etc. Ants will go after just about anything.
Keep your bathrooms, washrooms and laundry rooms clean and dry. This will make them less appealing to ants seeking water and moisture.
#6: Keep trash outside
It’s great to sweep up and remove food particles from the surfaces of your home, but ants might be able to sniff them out in the garbage bag, too. So, if you can, keep the garbage outside of the house. This way, if the ants are keen on your throwaways, they’ll at least stay outside.
#7: Store food carefully
Along with keeping your house clean, be sure you’re storing food more carefully. Everything should go in an airtight container or zip lock bags so ants can’t get to it. Ripe fruits should either be eaten straight away or stored in the fridge or freezer before the ants get to them.
#8: Adhesive tape
Adhesive tape won’t get to the bottom of the problem, but it might help to keep ants away from the food and drink on your countertops, tables and side tables. Take a strip of adhesive tape and lay it on the surface, sticky side up. Try to create a border around the food item or drink. Ants have a hard time navigating over this sticky “moat” and you may find that helps in the short-term.
#9: Boric acid basters
You know the baster that you only ever use on Thanksgiving Day for the turkey? It’s time to dust that thing off and fill it with boric acid. Then blow it along the cracks or crevices where the ants accumulate. This can help deter them and eliminate them.
Just be aware that boric acid is toxic for children, pets and for adults if ingested. So, use this trick cautiously.
Remember, ants have a sweet tooth and are on the hunt for sugary goods. So, give them some pepper instead. You can take ground black pepper, whole peppercorns, cayenne pepper, etc., and sprinkle them wherever you find ants, and if possible, along their trail. They’ll get the message that this isn’t where they’ll find any sugar and they’ll look elsewhere.
If you want to avoid insecticides and potentially harmful chemicals in your home, consider lemons. Ants don’t go crazy for them. Here’s what you do.
Drop some lemon juice on the doors thresholds and windowsills. If there are usual holes, cracks or crevices where ants come and go, squirt some lemon juice down there, too. You can leave the skin of the lemon, too. This a safe and natural way to stave off the little critters without adding insecticides into your home.