Simple Solutions to Help You Get Rid of Ants for Good (2023)

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Simple Solutions to Help You Get Rid of Ants for Good (1)Cyrsiam/Shutterstock

Your home is under attack

Your home is your castle, and unfortunately it’s not immune to attack…by a large army of tiny ants. An ant invasion is annoying, but it can also be dangerous to your health and your home, depending on the type of ant you’re dealing with. And as with any pest problem, you definitely shouldn’t ignore it and just hope it goes away. So, what can you do to stop this problem in its tracks? Do battle in the smartest ways possible. We got the lowdown from bug experts on how to get rid of ants and finally evict these unwanted visitors from your home, safely and easily.

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Simple Solutions to Help You Get Rid of Ants for Good (2)Eric Isselee/Shutterstock

Know thy enemy

If you want to know how to get rid of ants, it’s helpful to know what type of ant it is. Why? Different ants require different approaches. “There are about 1,000 species of ants in North America,” says Jody Green, PhD, an urban entomologist at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Luckily, there are only about eight to ten usual suspects in a given area. And, as Green explains, “knowing the ant helps with determining what its favorite foods are and where it is likely to nest.” For example, odorous ants are attracted to sugar, while protein ants are drawn to meat and grease.

And then there are carpenter ants. These ants aren’t looking for spilled maple syrup. They’re looking for wet, soft, damaged wood to hollow out and make their colonies. “Signs of a carpenter-ant problem might include sawdust-like piles on the floor near or under damaged wood, or seeing winged reproductives that resemble wasps,” says Eric Sebring, an associate certified entomologist with Western Exterminator. While you can deal with many ant species on your own, you’ll likely need an exterminator to get rid of these industrious ants, which can cause serious (and costly) damage to your home. But before you do, make sure you know these 15 insider secrets that your exterminator might not tell you.

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Simple Solutions to Help You Get Rid of Ants for Good (3)SpeedKingz/Shutterstock

Keep your home as clean as possible

How do ants know you have food, anyway? They have an extraordinary sense of smell, which they put to good use when they’re foraging and sending scout ants from the nest to search for food. Sometimes, the food source is in your home, and it only takes one ant to discover a crumb and spread the news through the colony. The big problem is that they leave behind pheromones as they scout. “When they find a new source of food, they gather a piece of it and follow the pheromone trail back to the nest,” explains Sebring. There, the colony investigates the food to determine if it’s a viable food source. If it is, a band of scouts will follow the pheromone trail back to retrieve more. Here are some other things in your house that are attracting pests right now.

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(Video) Simple Solutions to Help You Get Rid of Ants for Good

Simple Solutions to Help You Get Rid of Ants for Good (4)Miroslav Pesek/Shutterstock

Cut out the sweets

Don’t worry: You don’t have to give up sugar. But you should make it harder for ants with a sweet tooth to discover the sugar in your pantry or on the countertop. Some ants, like odorous ants, are drawn to sugar like moths to a flame. Here’s one simple mistake you might be making: snapping the lid shut on a bottle of honey and putting it away without first wiping off the bottle. If you don’t do this, the leftover honey residue is like an open invitation to ants like this. And a closed lid on a cardboard cereal box isn’t a deterrent for a hungry, determined ant, but an airtight container is. Properly store foods with sugar in them to prevent problems. Here are some other guaranteed ways to bug-proof your kitchen.

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Simple Solutions to Help You Get Rid of Ants for Good (5)WIROJE PATHI/Shutterstock

Reduce moisture

Ever spot an ant in the bathroom and wonder how it missed the kitchen? Food isn’t the only thing that attracts ants to our homes. Ants also need water for survival. “It’s also why you may see ants in your home even in periods of extremely dry weather or drought,” says Sebring. “They are on the hunt for moisture, and because it is dry outside, your home may offer an oasis for them.” Moisture collects in areas like rotting window ledges and stagnant water from leaks. Eliminate those trouble spots, and also run the bathroom exhaust fan or use a portable dehumidifier to reduce humidity.

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Simple Solutions to Help You Get Rid of Ants for Good (6)Svineyard/Shutterstock

Lay a trap

This may be what you had in mind in terms of how to get rid of ants, and ant baits do work on the most common species you’ll encounter. That said, they don’t work on all ants. “They work based on the palatability and attractiveness of the bait, so knowing the ant and their feeding preference can really help when it comes to the control strategy,” says Green. For example, carpenter ants will give ant baits the brush-off because most store-bought options are sugar-based and they prefer protein.

When it comes to success, location is everything. Green recommends placing baits as close to the nest as possible so ants don’t even make it to your kitchen counter. A single ant on the counter may not send you over the edge, but you’ll want to know how to get rid of these other disgusting (and potentially dangerous) household bugs fast.

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Simple Solutions to Help You Get Rid of Ants for Good (7)LightField Studios/Shutterstock

Spray the trail

It’s tempting to start squishing ants as soon as you see them, but the pheromones they leave behind are easily picked up by another member of the colony. The abundance of pheromone trails makes it difficult to get rid of ants…but not impossible. To cut off the scent, fill a spray bottle with equal parts vinegar and water or lemon juice and water. “Spraying a solution of vinegar and water or lemon juice and water on an area where you see ants can disrupt their pheromone trail and make it harder for ants to find their way back,” says Sebring. Be sure to remove the food source before spraying for the best results, and keep countertops, floors, and other surfaces clean.

(Video) Get Rid of Ants: Fast, Cheap and Easy

8/17

Simple Solutions to Help You Get Rid of Ants for Good (8)Antonio Gravante/Shutterstock

Use baby powder in ant hot spots

Ants aren’t keen on the soft touch of baby powder. So, sprinkling talc or baby powder in areas where you have seen ants might discourage them from coming back. “Ants don’t like to cross the powder and get it on their bodies,” says Sebring. These true exterminator nightmares will make you cringe.

9/17

Simple Solutions to Help You Get Rid of Ants for Good (9)anna.q/Shutterstock

Sprinkle cinnamon in problem areas

Cinnamon has been touted as a natural ant repellent. Scientific research backs up the claims, but the study that looked at this technique used highly concentrated cinnamon essential oil. Sebring cautions that household cinnamon probably doesn’t have a great enough concentration to be truly effective, but he says it’s worth a shot. Sprinkle cinnamon on the areas where you have seen ants, or saturate cotton balls with cinnamon essential oil and use them to wipe down known trails and entry spots. But a word of caution: Essential oils can strip paint and stain surfaces, so test how your floor reacts in an inconspicuous area before you use it everywhere.

10/17

Simple Solutions to Help You Get Rid of Ants for Good (10)July Prokopiv/Shutterstock

Use essential oils

Studies have shown that peppermint oil can work as a natural solution for a number of pest problems, including how to get rid of ants. “Spraying peppermint oil can deter ants from coming into your home, and if you spray it directly on ants, it can kill them,” says Sebring. Other research indicates that clove essential oil can successfully kill red fire ants. Of course, the fewer chemicals you use in your home, the better.

11/17

Simple Solutions to Help You Get Rid of Ants for Good (11)via amazon.com

(Video) A Natural Way to Get Rid of Ants in Your House

Spray a pyrethrin barrier

If you prefer to use a store-bought ant repellent, Sebring says the most effective ones on the market contain pyrethrin. “There are multiple pyrethrin products that could be listed on an ingredient label, so look for products with ingredients that end with ‘thrin,’ such as bifenthrin and cypermethrin,” he explains. Look for an indoor/outdoor ant repellent that has a spray and trigger function, so that you can create a protective repellent barrier in large areas or in tight spots. Ants aren’t your only potential concern, of course. These are the sneaky signs your home may be infested with another type of pest.

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Simple Solutions to Help You Get Rid of Ants for Good (12)NB Studio/Shutterstock

Proceed with caution outside

You don’t have to destroy every anthill you see outside your house to keep the little buggers from coming inside. Green notes that ants are scavengers and decomposers, and they actually do beneficial things like prey on other insect pests and drag them away. But if you do want to get rid of an ant mound, proceed with caution if you don’t know the species, Sebring says. A larger mound may indicate a fire-ant problem, and attempts to get rid of it could result in ants swarming out of the nest to inflict painful stings. Fire-ant attacks can be extremely dangerous and even cause anaphylactic shock, which can be deadly. Keep reading to learn how to get rid of ants outdoors.

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Simple Solutions to Help You Get Rid of Ants for Good (13)Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock

Attack with soap and water

Good ol’ dish soap and water packs a powerful punch when it comes to how to get rid of ants outside. Sebring says to pour one part dishwashing soap to three parts water in a bucket. Pour the mixture directly into the opening of the mound. “The water will drown the ants, while the soap will coat them so they suffocate,” he says. Here’s how to get rid of the worst garden pests naturally.

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Simple Solutions to Help You Get Rid of Ants for Good (14)rblfmr/Shutterstock

Seal up the ant mound

To stop up a mound opening, all you need is some basic Elmer’s glue. Pouring it into the opening of the nest will force the ants to go elsewhere. Just be forewarned, says Sebring, that elsewhere could be somewhere else in your yard—or somewhere closer to your home.

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(Video) Ants in your house? Do this.

Simple Solutions to Help You Get Rid of Ants for Good (15)FotoDuets/Shutterstock

Evaporate ’em

Agricultural diatomaceous earth is a naturally occurring substance that eradicates insects—including ants. It’s essentially made from dead algae that contains microscopic particles with sharp and jagged edges. While it feels soft and powdery to us, it’s the opposite to ants. “The diatomaceous earth cuts the ant’s cuticle and results in desiccation,” says Sebring. For the best results, sprinkle it around the base of the mound. As ants leave the nest to cross the barrier, they will come into contact with the diatomaceous earth and eventually die. While this is a viable and expert-approved solution, you need to stop believing these 9 myths about ants.

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Simple Solutions to Help You Get Rid of Ants for Good (16)Cherkas/Shutterstock

Seal up even the tiniest spaces

Keep the ants from marching in by excluding them from all possible entryways. “Many times, ants will come up through cracks in the slab or by way of the expansion joint, so sealing those cracks will help keep them out of our living spaces. As for access points, doors and windows are common because there are often gaps and places that have lighting, joints, and cracks and crevices,” says Green. And don’t forget sealing around kitchen windows, outlets, garage expansion joints, weep holes, and any areas with moisture damage.

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Simple Solutions to Help You Get Rid of Ants for Good (17)hedgehog94/Shutterstock

Call an exterminator

“Ant species identification is critical to implementing effective control measures. Finding the nest is also imperative. Both of these can be tough to do without the help of a professional,” says Sebring. If you see more ants after trying the above suggestions, it may be time to call in an exterminator to identify the species and help you get rid of those pesky ants once and for all. Look for exterminators who use an integrated pest management method, an approach to pest control that minimizes the risk to people, pets, and the environment. Next, learn 13 secrets about bed bugs, termites, and other creepy pests.

Originally Published: October 18, 2019

Simple Solutions to Help You Get Rid of Ants for Good (18)

Lisa Marie Conklin

(Video) 7 Simple Solutions to Help You How to Get Rid of Ants for Good

Lisa Marie Conklin is a freelance writer covering pets, home improvement, and lifestyle. She loves that her workday is interrupted by muzzle snuggles and walks with Archer, her rescue pup. In her downtime, she's either studying for weekly trivia night, doing a jigsaw puzzle, or watching too much British TV.

FAQs

What is the solution to get rid of ants? ›

Make a solution of 1/2 teaspoon borax, 8 teaspoons sugar, and 1 cup warm water. Stir until the sugar and borax are dissolved. Saturate cotton balls and place them around your home in areas where you commonly see ants. After use, wash containers thoroughly or discard.

What keeps ants away permanently? ›

Essential Oils. Peppermint, cinnamon leaf, lemon, neem, eucalyptus, thyme oil, lemongrass oil, tea tree oil are natural ant repellants that can go a long way toward keeping ants out of your house.

How do I get rid of ants permanently overnight? ›

Salt-boil salt and water into a mixture and once cooled, pour into a spray bottle and spray nooks and corners. Oranges-half fresh orange juice and half water sprayed around your home will keep the pests out and keep your home smelling nicely. Essential Oils-used like lemon or orange juices.

How do you get rid of ants when you have tried everything? ›

Instead, mix 1 part vinegar with 3 parts water in a spray bottle for a safe way to get rid of ants in the home, then spray wherever you've seen ants in the past. This will stop outdoor nesting ants that entered the house to forage for food (ants that come inside are not necessarily trying to establish a nest).

How do you get rid of ants permanently naturally? ›

Here's how to get rid of ants at home:
  1. Chalk. One of the home remedies to get rid of ants is to use chalk. ...
  2. Lemons. Squeeze a lemon or place lemon peels in places from where the ants enter. ...
  3. Oranges. Oranges are same as lemons; they keep the ants away from visiting your house. ...
  4. Pepper. ...
  5. Salt. ...
  6. White Vinegar. ...
  7. Cinnamon. ...
  8. Peppermint.
24 Nov 2020

Does salt get rid of ants? ›

Salt Treatment For Ants

In a way, yes. Salt is a natural treatment for ants. One existing way of doing this to mix regular table salt with boiling water and waiting for it to be slightly cool enough to be poured into a spray bottle. The mix is then sprayed all over ant infested areas of the house.

What smells do ants hate? ›

Fortunately, there are several smells that ants can't tolerate, and which may help to keep these pests out of your kitchen. Cinnamon, lavender, eucalyptus, peppermint, and garlic are just some of the scents known to disgust ants, and all can be used to your advantage.

What is the best homemade ant killer? ›

White vinegar and water: Take a spray bottle and fill it with a solution of equal parts of vinegar and water. Spray the solution on the ants and their entry points. A mixture of dish soap and water: Make a mixture of dish soap or dishwashing liquid, put in a spray bottle and shake it well. Spray it on the ants.

How long will vinegar keep ants away? ›

They may avoid an area that smells like vinegar, but they'll create a new trail to your food in a different area. Vinegar repels ants for 4–48 hours. Spraying vinegar will not repel ants permanently. Ants will create new trails around the vinegar.

What stops ants from coming in the house? ›

8 Ways to Prevent Ants from Entering Your House
  1. Take Notice of Scout Ants. ...
  2. Keep Surfaces in and Around Your Home Clean. ...
  3. Store Food in Sealed Containers. ...
  4. Seal Off Cracks & Entrances to Your Home. ...
  5. Remove Ant Trails. ...
  6. Deploy Ant Baits around Active Areas. ...
  7. Control Ant Colonies around Your Property.
8 May 2015

How do I get rid of tiny ants in my kitchen? ›

To get rid of tiny ants on the kitchen counter using diatomaceous earth, simply sprinkle some powder wherever you've noticed ant trails, in addition to their suspected entry point. Some common entry points for all types of ants include the space below doors, windows, or cracks in your walls or ceilings.

Why are my ants not going away? ›

Ants will not stay in places in which there is no available food or water. Keep all food put away and crumbs and spills cleaned up. Seal left over food and pantry foods in pest proof containers.

What will ants not cross? ›

Flour. Wondering how to get rid of ants without dangerous pesticides? Sprinkle a line of flour along the backs of pantry shelves and wherever you see ants entering the house. Repelled by the flour, ants won't cross over the line. This is the best way to get rid of ants at home.

Can you ever really get rid of ants? ›

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. Slow-acting pesticides that ants don't recognize as poison can do this.

Do ants like lemon? ›

lemon is also great natural options to repel ants that you can try at home! It turns that lemon have an acidic oil that toxic to ants and it disrupts up their trail. Squeeze lemon or place lemon peels near their points of entry to your house, such as small cracks and crevices, floor boards or window sills.

Does Epsom salt get rid of ants? ›

Epsom salt is most effective when sprayed directly onto the ants. If you only have a few, or if you could only target a few at a time, you may want to consider other options. Epsom salt can be a very effective pesticide, and it can be used against ants specifically.

Do ants like sugar? ›

Sugar is one of ants' favorite foods, but do they prefer a certain type of sugar? One thing that is interesting to note about adult ants is that they are more often attracted to sugary solutions rather than sugar itself; adult worker ants often have difficulty swallowing something that is not in liquid form.

What do ants hate most? ›

Ants generally don't like vinegar, citrus smells, or spices, and are also turned off by pepper and baby powder. Even the delicious smell of a morning brew will send ants running in the other direction.

Does cinnamon get rid of ants? ›

Cinnamon is often regarded as an effective DIY ant control option. It is believed that cinnamon acts as a natural repellent because ants cannot stand the smell. Also, if an ant inhales cinnamon, it can suffocate and die. Ground cinnamon can be sprinkled on an ant's pathway for them to inhale.

Do ants hate bleach? ›

Nothing can be more disconcerting than a line of ants tromping through your kitchen or even an entire ant colony emerging in your lawn or garden. If all you have on hand is some bleach, you might be surprised to learn that bleach can, in fact, kill and repel ants.

What homemade mixture kills ants? ›

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.

How does vinegar get rid of ants outside? ›

Mix water and White Vinegar in a misting bottle in equal proportions. Spread the solution around the vulnerable areas to an ant infestation. If you want to make the solution more concentrated, forgo the water and spread only the White Vinegar across the affected areas.

What kills ants instantly outside? ›

Step 1: Combine 1 tablespoon of liquid dish soap or ¼ cup of Castile soap for every quart of water. You can add canola oil, olive oil, or vegetable oil to make the mixture even more effective. Step 2: Spray soapy water directly on any ants you see outside the nest to kill them on contact.

Why do ants suddenly appear? ›

Whenever there's a sudden ant infestation, the most likely cause of it is that there's food somewhere in your house for them. Most ants are opportunistic feeders; they'll eat just about anything. But they usually prefer sweets.

Does vinegar attract ants? ›

No, we have found no evidence of any ants attracted to vinegar. While it may contain some elements that might be edible by ants, the strong smell appears to be enough to repel rather than attract ants.

What do ants hate most? ›

Ants generally don't like vinegar, citrus smells, or spices, and are also turned off by pepper and baby powder. Even the delicious smell of a morning brew will send ants running in the other direction.

What stops ants from coming in the house? ›

8 Ways to Prevent Ants from Entering Your House
  1. Take Notice of Scout Ants. ...
  2. Keep Surfaces in and Around Your Home Clean. ...
  3. Store Food in Sealed Containers. ...
  4. Seal Off Cracks & Entrances to Your Home. ...
  5. Remove Ant Trails. ...
  6. Deploy Ant Baits around Active Areas. ...
  7. Control Ant Colonies around Your Property.
8 May 2015

What smells do ants hate? ›

Fortunately, there are several smells that ants can't tolerate, and which may help to keep these pests out of your kitchen. Cinnamon, lavender, eucalyptus, peppermint, and garlic are just some of the scents known to disgust ants, and all can be used to your advantage.

Do ants hate vinegar? ›

Ants hate Vinegar. The smell of Vinegar will cause them to stay away from it or permanently leave the house. Ants crawl in a straight line, marching towards the food sources. The Vinegar solution will interfere with these pheromones, and the ants will get lost.

What is the best homemade ant killer? ›

White vinegar and water: Take a spray bottle and fill it with a solution of equal parts of vinegar and water. Spray the solution on the ants and their entry points. A mixture of dish soap and water: Make a mixture of dish soap or dishwashing liquid, put in a spray bottle and shake it well. Spray it on the ants.

What will ants not cross? ›

Flour. Wondering how to get rid of ants without dangerous pesticides? Sprinkle a line of flour along the backs of pantry shelves and wherever you see ants entering the house. Repelled by the flour, ants won't cross over the line. This is the best way to get rid of ants at home.

How long will vinegar keep ants away? ›

They may avoid an area that smells like vinegar, but they'll create a new trail to your food in a different area. Vinegar repels ants for 4–48 hours. Spraying vinegar will not repel ants permanently. Ants will create new trails around the vinegar.

How do I get rid of tiny ants in my kitchen? ›

To get rid of tiny ants on the kitchen counter using diatomaceous earth, simply sprinkle some powder wherever you've noticed ant trails, in addition to their suspected entry point. Some common entry points for all types of ants include the space below doors, windows, or cracks in your walls or ceilings.

Why do ants suddenly appear? ›

Whenever there's a sudden ant infestation, the most likely cause of it is that there's food somewhere in your house for them. Most ants are opportunistic feeders; they'll eat just about anything. But they usually prefer sweets.

Does cinnamon get rid of ants? ›

Cinnamon is often regarded as an effective DIY ant control option. It is believed that cinnamon acts as a natural repellent because ants cannot stand the smell. Also, if an ant inhales cinnamon, it can suffocate and die. Ground cinnamon can be sprinkled on an ant's pathway for them to inhale.

Do ants hate bleach? ›

Nothing can be more disconcerting than a line of ants tromping through your kitchen or even an entire ant colony emerging in your lawn or garden. If all you have on hand is some bleach, you might be surprised to learn that bleach can, in fact, kill and repel ants.

Does Lysol repel ants? ›

While it is not the best solution to getting rid of an ant infestation, Lysol can offer a quick and short-term remedy. The chemical contains a scent that repels ants and interferes with their pheromone secretion.

Do ants hate lemon? ›

Lemon Juice

The smell of the lemons masks the scent trails that they use to get to and from food, and also generally deters them from taking up residence. Try sprinkling some lemon juice in and around the area where you're seeing ants, or putting a few slices of lemon peel in your cupboard.

How do I find where ants are coming from? ›

How to Find Ants in Your House - Ant Inspection | DoMyOwn.com

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