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There’s nothing more irritating than pests, like ants, in your home. How do they get in? How do you stop them? And how to get rid of ants? All questions you might have frantically just googled to bring you here. Don’t worry – you aren’t alone.
Where Do You Start?
Let’s dive into the problem – you have ants. You find them in your kitchen, bathroom, garage, basement, or living room. At first, you want to scream – how do I get rid of ants? You might find yourself at an impromptu dance party, stomping on the intruders.
However satisfying, you know it won’t solve your problem. Ants tend to come back and then come back again. They get into everything, from your pet’s food to your bathroom, and they do not like to leave. This might not be the first year you’ve had problems – but you’ve decided it will be the last.
We’ve gathered steps to get rid of the pests in your home and answered the question, “How to get rid of ants?”ONIT Homewill help you resolve it or find the right professional in your area to help. We specialize in demystifying and simplifying home services.
What to Know About Ants
Ants are social and live in large colonies. Colonies can consist of millions of ants. Within the colony, ants have specific roles. For example, the “queen” ant’s job is to grow the colony through reproduction. The queen ant is the most crucial in the colony. Other ants, known as worker ants, can have roles within the nest or be scavengers responsible for bringing food to the colony.
This explains why you might see a line of ants coming from somewhere in your kitchen. This means an enterprising ant or more has found a food source in your home. They’ve learned that it is reliable and worth the hassle to retrieve. You may spray them or set up traps, and they appear to disappear during the day. Then they take advantage of the nighttime to re-set up shop. Next time you prepare breakfast, you see that they have beaten you to the punch.
Ants are most likely to show up in the warmer months. They often appear when you open your home again at the end of spring. You are most likely to see one of two types of ants – odorous house ants and carpenter ants.
The good news with house ants is that they generally do not cause any actual structural damage to your home. That does not mean that they are not causing damage to your food supplies or other areas, however.
Unfortunately, carpenter ants feed on decayed wood and carve tunnels in your house’s frame to get at it. They are large and can be winged, with colors ranging from red-orange to black. If they target a structural area, this could be devastating.
How To Get Rid of Ants
You may have trapped or sprayed all the ants you can see, but they keep coming back overnight. Why? The ants that you are addressing are the worker ants mentioned above. The colony anticipates that worker ants will not always make it back to the nest, so they reproduce at rapid rates to account for the expected loss. So, even though you think you may have solved the problem, they are likely taking the time to regroup and multiply.
There is only one central solution to the problem of ants – you need to address or target the queen. This will prevent the colony from reproducing. If the queen remains alive, she will continue to lay eggs, and you will continue to see ants in your home. It can be challenging to target the queen because queen ants only leave the nest if under duress. Ant nests could be within the house walls or under concrete, making them difficult for humans to access.
Don’t fear – we’ve compiled some tips on how to get rid of ants once and for all.
Track the Ants
The first step is to find the trails that worker ants are using. Though a line of ants is off-putting, it also offers you an advantage. You can identify where they are getting the food and, more importantly, where they are coming from. Ants are creative and will find entry points you didn’t know existed. This could be a window frame at the front of your house or a hole from your home to your garage.
Once an ant has found food, they leave a chemical trail behind that other worker ants will follow to continuously return to the food and bring more back to the nest. This offers you an opening in your quest on how to get rid of ants.
Use Ant Bait
The key to using ant bait effectively is to ensure that you put it in a place the ants will find. Ideally, before they get anywhere close to your kitchen or the food source. You have now set up a more accessible food source closer to the nest. The ants will bring poisoned food, your bait, to the nest. You can then move the fight to the nest and the queen.
If you resort straight to spraying pesticides indoors, it will only eliminate the visible ants, leaving the chemical trail to the food behind. As the queen ant continues to produce eggs, more ants will soon replace the ones you removed.
To get rid of ants once and for all, you need to address the problem at its source. Ant bait is edible, usually sweet and sugary carbohydrates, combined with material that is toxic to ants but not toxic to humans. There are manynatural productsthat you can combine to address ants, as well as traditional ant baits. No matter which ant bait you choose, ensure that you place it close to the ant trail but away from pets and children.
To ensure ants are attracted to the bait, keep your house clean so that it is the only sweet substance available.
Your next step is to stay patient – it may take several days for the ants to transport enough of the bait to eliminate the entire colony. Huge nests with multiple queens can take even longer.
Resist the urge to clean everything while you work to destroy the infestation. You need intact ant trails to the bait for them to continue finding it and returning it to the nest.
Use Pesticide or Other Sprays Outdoors
If you identify and locate the outdoor nest, you can also target it. This is an excellent time to hire a professional. Professionals use liquid pesticides or other materials that will soak down into the nest to locate the queen. They have specially designed spray canisters that ensure the pesticide is delivered effectively. Equipment can make all the difference if you have a recurrent ant problem that you cannot get rid of on your own.
Even if you are still determining exactly where the outdoor nest is, you can tell the exterminator where you see them coming in so that they can target that spot, window, or whatever it may be. Exterminators have experience identifying ants and can help make sure you are targeting the right nest.
How to Get Rid of Ants Once and for All
You may have tried some of the above steps, but they might not have worked. This can come down to what you do after the infestation is gone. It is vital to keep your house clear and clean throughout the year so that ants cannot find food sources in your home. Even if one nest is killed, you could have another the following year if you are still supplying an attractive food source, such as cat food in open bowls on the ground.
The best way to prevent future ants is to avoid crumbs and spills from settling so that you deny ants food substances they would want.
If you have tried bait or pesticide on your own before with no success, you will want to hire a professional. Professional exterminators can apply broader techniques based on their experience and equipment.
ContactONIT Home at 1- 833- 433-0331. We can help you find the right exterminator. Save time researching as ONIT Home has partnered with top companies and professionals to get you insider pricing and discounts so you can get rid of pests in your home without going over budget.
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"Mix equal parts of vinegar and water, place the mixture in a spray bottle, and spray on the ants directly," says Barrett. "The mixture will kill them and you can clean the area by collecting the dead ants using a wet wipe or damp cloth," they add.Can you ever completely get rid of ants? ›
Diatomaceous Earth is one of the most effective ant-killers out there, and placing them in the ant entryways can solve the problem of “how to get rid of ants permanently”. Diatomaceous Earth is made from remains of diatoms. Basically, by sprinkling them, ants dry and die.How do I get rid of 100% ants? ›
“The most effective method for controlling an ant infestation is using ant baits. Set them out anywhere you see ants and expect a party,” Gangloff-Kaufmann says. “If you still see ants around the house, try a few different brands of baits until you find one that's appealing to this particular colony.”Do more ants come if you kill one? ›
These are chemicals that send signals to other ants. Pheromones send messages of a food source, sexual desire, and death. It is advised not to squash ants, doing so will only release pheromones and trigger more ants to come to the location and cause more trouble to you and your family.Does Windex kill ants? ›
Home Ant Control Tips
Windex, the glass cleaner, is a known insect killer. When you have an ant swarm in your house, spray them all with Windex and they will die nearly instantly. Windex can also eliminate some of the scent trails that ants follow to find food.
Fact is, there is no single “ant season.” Ants may choose to enter buildings at any time of year seeking shelter from the elements, whether that means rain and cold or dry heat. And, of course, food and moisture are always attractants.What causes ants to go away? ›
Vinegar mixed with water: wipe your floors and surfaces with this solution and this should deter a colony of ants. Boiling water: pouring boiling water into an ants nest. Peppermint: wiping this around any entrances the ants use to get inside your home can put a stop to the problem.Will ants eventually go away if there is no food? ›
If you've got an ant problem, no matter what other steps you take, it'll never really go away until the ants can no longer find a source of food. That's why the first step is always to move all food items in your home into sealed containers that ants can't rip their way into.Why do hundreds of ants suddenly appear? ›
Ants usually come indoors in search of food or nesting habitat. Even small amounts of food, like pet food crumbs, can attract hordes of industrious ants. Ants are one of Earth's most successful animals, and comprise more than 13,000 species.How long does it take to get rid of ants with vinegar? ›
Use this white vinegar solution to spray all entry points of your home, try to spry all windows, doors, baseboards and the common paths that ants would travel within your home. Give about an hour for this solution to take effect, then after a few hours the ants should be dead.
You're Leaving Out Food
They are often looking for easy food sources, which is why infestations are extremely common in kitchens and places where leftover food resides. This is one of the main causes of ant infestations, but luckily, it's also one of the easiest to remedy!
Mix borax powder or boric acid with sugar, syrup, peanut butter, or another food that attracts ants. Use both liquid and solid bait foods so the adult ants and larvae will eat them. Place the baited borax or boric acid near a place where you've seen lots of ants.What smell makes ants go away? ›
Peppermint is a natural insect repellant. You can plant mint around your home or use the essential oil of peppermint as a natural remedy for control of ants. Ants hate the smell, and your home will smell minty fresh! Plant mint around entryways and the perimeter of your home.What do ants hate? ›
Ants hate the smell of strong citrus fruits. Save your orange, lemon and grapefruit peels and scatter them around entry points. It's a natural way to deter ants without harming them.Should you kill every ant you see? ›
All types of ants live in colonies that consist of hundreds or even millions of individual ants, with one or more egg-laying queens. For permanent control, you need to get rid of the whole colony, including the queens and grubs that are growing into the next generation of worker ants.What happens if you kill a queen ant? ›
So, what happens when a queen ant dies? The answer is straightforward, the colony will eventually die as well. Ants don't flee to another territory or nest if their queen passes away. Instead, they continue bringing resources back to their settlement until they die of old age or external causes.How do you find where ants are coming from? ›
Use your flashlight to look for ants behind or under refrigerators, stoves, microwaves, dishwashers, sinks, and cabinets. Ants may also be found in or around floor drains, inside the motor areas of refrigerators and microwaves, behind wall paper, and in cracks and crevices in cabinets and around walls.Does Dawn soap get rid of ants? ›
Getting rid of ants is easy with Dawn Dish Soap. Spray a mixture of water and Dawn directly onto countertops, floors, sinks, or wherever the ants seem to be. This will leave behind a residue that ants refuse to walk across. It is also safe for kids and pets, so you don't have to worry about any harsh chemicals.Can peroxide kill ants? ›
For ants, hydrogen peroxide is fatal, but when placed between a rock and a hard place, scientists found they'll drink the substance to cure themselves, New Scientist reports.What soap gets rid of ants? ›
If you have ants or other bugs around the house, pour a 50/50 mixture of Blue Dawn dish soap and water into an empty spray bottle and keep it handy. When you see the insects, spray them with the mixture.
You will probably see fewer ants after the first visit, but it can sometimes take between one to two weeks – sometimes longer – to eliminate ants, depending on the size and location of the colony.How many years can an ant leave? ›
Males, for example, only live for a few weeks and die after mating with a queen. The female workers can live for several months. Queen ants, on the other hand, can live for decades. In some species, the queens can live to be 30 years old.How do I get rid of ants when nothing works? ›
Mix one part vinegar and one part water into a spray bottle and spray the solution onto the ants and nests. You can also eliminate ant trails by spraying lemon juice on their tracks although lemon juice has a short duration period of effectiveness.What are ants afraid of? ›
Cayenne pepper or black pepper are hated by ants. You can also make a solution of pepper and water and spray it near the entrant areas. The pepper wouldn't kill the ants but definitely deter them from returning to your house. Make sure you clean the area where you want to spray the pepper solution.Can you starve an ant colony? ›
After 24-h starvation three of the baits did not result in any queen deaths, with only Exterm-an-Ant producing an average of 25% mortality. In contrast, 100% queen and worker mortality was observed in colonies starved for 48 h and given Xstinguish or Exterm-an-Ant.Do ants come back after killing them? ›
The colony is still alive.
For this reason, it's common to kill a dozen or more ants in your home only to return and find that a dozen or more have taken their place. To be effective, extermination must consist of more than simply killing ants as they are found.
Use Zip-Lock Bags
If you open a bag of food and don't seal it properly, it won't take ants long to find it and alert the rest of the colony, and you will have a problem on your hands before you know it.
Try combining three parts powdered sugar with one part boric acid. The sugar will lure the ants in and the boric acid will kill them, Pereira says. Liquid is better—adult ants prefer to drink their food—so water this stuff down a little. “I recommend this to a lot of people,” Pereira says.What keeps ants away? ›
Salt, baby powder, lemon juice, chalk, vinegar, bay leaves, cinnamon, or peppermint oil are a few items that you have around your home that will stop ants from coming inside. Lay these out in areas where you see ants, and they'll stop using that area as an entrance into your house.What liquid kills ants instantly? ›
Vinegar: Wiping ants with a solution of equal parts of vinegar and water or only vinegar may work the best. Spray the mixture of a cup of water, a cup of vinegar, and tea tree oil (5-10 drops) on ants. White vinegar kills and repels the ants. Apple cider vinegar and water solution spray can also help.
If you see ants in your home, mix up a solution of 50-50 vinegar and water and wipe the ants up with it. This kills existing ants and repels future ants by leaving a lingering scent of vinegar that works as a natural ant repellant.