As a homeowner, learning how to get rid of ants can make your day-to-day living better. Having guests at home is an enjoyable experience. Of course, this not true if your visitors are pesky ants who cause discomfort to your family. Seeing these insects crawl all over your home can be annoying. Having them infest your food is also a great inconvenience. Not to mention, these crawlers are persistent and can have painful bites that will make you itch for hours on end.
If you’re tired of having ant infestations in your home, this guide can help provide you with tips on how to kill ants and get rid of them in 15 natural ways that actually work.
The Ant Species
There are over 12,000 species of ants in the world. A greater number of this population do not pose a great danger to people. Although this is the case, ants are not completely harmless. They can carry disease-causing germs and bacteria that may transfer to your belongings or food. Moreover, ants can bite you when they are disturbed or when they feel threatened. Ant bites are not usually toxic or poisonous but they can cause great discomfort.
Known for being social creatures, ants emit pheromones that they use to interact with other members of their colony. One of the common uses for ant pheromones is for indicating danger. Ants also use these to point out food sources near their nest. Due to this, these pesky insects usually appear in huge numbers and can easily overwhelm people who try to get rid of them.
Common Types of Ants in Your Home
Indeed, ants are among the most common insects that thrive in private households. A homeowner’s fight against these pesky bacteria carriers may seem hard at first, but it’s not impossible. Before heading into battle, you must first learn what you’re up against.
Here are the three most common types of ants in your home:
Carpenter ants are dark brown or black in color. These ants are fond of nesting in rotten wood structures and furniture. They like to create tunnel pathways inside wood materials lying around your house. This can induce damage and cause the wood’s structural integrity to weaken. If you see carpenter ants, try to be careful because they have strong jaws and can give you painful insect bites.
Odorous House Ants
Odorous house ants are among the most common species of ants that can be found in people’s homes. Like carpenter ants, these are typically dark brown or black. They usually go indoors to look for a place to stay dry. Odorous house ants love eating dead bugs and sweet foods. These ants acquired their name from the unique smell that they emit when they are squished.
This species is usually found in concrete or asphalt surfaces. Pavement ants like coming into homes to scourge for food such as meat and sugar. This species is hard to get rid of because they usually go back to assert dominance and mark their territory.
Now that you have a good idea of the ants that can be found in your home, here are safe and natural ways to get rid of them effectively.
15 Natural Ways to Get Rid of Ants
1. Keep your home clean
Ants are known for their strong sense of smell. They can spot and track food from long distances. They can also create scent trails when they do find food. Through these scent trails, ants can have their colony’s members follow them to where the food source is.
One of the best ways on how to get rid of ants in the house is to keep your home clean at all times. Picking up crumbs, cleaning up juice spills, and ensuring that there’s no trash lying around will go a long way in keeping ants at bay.
2. Use ant-proof food storage
Ants love to scavenge for food and are most attracted by scents from sugar and meat. Merely ensuring that containers are shut may not always be enough. A great tip on how to get rid of ants naturally is to store your food properly. For a better chance of avoiding ant infestations, use airtight containers with lids. Using these for food storage is a great way to cut off their food source in the future.
3. Consider renovating your house
Having a house renovation tip on how to get rid of ants permanently may be more costly than other natural remedies, but it can make a huge difference. To avoid infestations, you can replace rotten wood structures that can attract these pesky insects. Sealing crevices where they can enter your home can also help eliminate the chances of having ants that can bite you at night.
4. Don’t forget to clean outside
What most people fail to realize is that aside from cleaning inside your home, tidying your outdoor areas is also a helpful way to eliminate ants. Clean up trash and debris in your yard to avoid ant trails. If there are clinging vines on your home’s walls, you should cut these off or trail them to another area so that ants can’t enter your home by crawling on them. Moreover, using natural pesticides for outdoor ant nests is also a good way to exterminate them while keeping your plants safe.
5. Clear out ant nests
To avoid any further hassles of having ant infestations in your house, the next best course of action to take is to find and clear out ant nests. Spotting ant nests may be quite challenging, so hiring a professional exterminator can help with this problem. On the other hand, if you were able to successfully locate the nest on your own, you can whip up a Borax ant killer to eliminate the pesky crawlers right away. By mixing Borax with sugar and a little bit of water, you can have your own homemade ant trap that can ensnare and eventually kill ants.
6. Target moisture spots in your home
Aside from food, moisture can also attract ants into your house. Ants thrive in humid areas such as your bathroom and basement where they can acquire their water resources. Eliminating moisture spots in your home is an effective and natural way to get rid of ants for good. Make sure that there are no idle water leaks in your house. You can also try to combat moisture build-up inside your home by using a dehumidifier.
7. Spray with vinegar
One of the most helpful tips on how to get rid of sugar ants and other ant species is to fend them off with vinegar. Making a vinegar ant spray can repel, as well as kill ants. You can use it on the surfaces where you often find them crawling beside each other. Although the vinegar smell can be quite strong at first, it eventually wears out for humans. On the other hand, ants will still be able to detect the scent even after the vinegar has dried out.
8. Sprinkle pepper to repel ants
Pepper is one of the most common household spices that can also help on how to get rid of black ants in your home. If ants love the smell of sweet food, they loathe the smell of pepper, which makes it a great ant repellent that is both cheap and effective. To repel these pesky insects, don’t forget to first mop or wipe the surface that you intend to spray pepper on. Then, you can proceed with sprinkling black pepper or cayenne pepper on ant hot spots in your house or around entry areas. Pepper cannot kill ants, but it can help in keeping these unwanted guests away.
9. Kill ants with peppermint
Most ant sprays or pesticides give off an unpleasant smell and contain harmful chemicals that can affect plants, pets, and members of your family. To avoid these effects, you may opt to use a homemade ant killer such as peppermint oil spray. This essential oil can be sprayed on windows and various surfaces where ants tend to go to.
Peppermint is also a great repellent for other insects like mosquitoes that can carry bacteria, bite you persistently, and disturb your good night’s sleep. Aside from exterminating ants, learning how to get rid of bed bugs fast for a peaceful sleep can also make your home a more comfortable place for you and your loved ones to live in.
10. Wipe surfaces with lemon juice
Another natural ant repellent that can be conveniently found in your home is lemon. Wiping counter tops, tables, and even floors with lemon juice is a great tip on how to get rid of fire ants that may cause discomfort and painful insect bites.
Lemon juice helps eliminate scent trails that may attract ants into your loving home. Compared to other ant repellents, lemon has a more pleasant scent and faster drying time, making it more convenient to use.
11. Use tea tree oil to kill ants
There are a lot of everyday uses for tea tree oil. Aside from medicinal purposes, tea tree oil is also a natural ant poison that you can use against these pesky little insects. You can dip cotton pads or balls into this essential oil and put them on entryways and ant hot spots. If the smell of tea tree oil is too intense for you, you can mix it with water or peppermint to reduce its strong scent.
Take note that tea tree oil is harmful to animals, especially cats. If you have pets at home, opt for a pet safe ant killer instead.
12. Sprinkle ants with powder
It is known that ants love sweet scents and sugary foods, while they dislike sour and bitter ones. Aside from these, they are also not fond of powder or talc. Ants breathe through their skin, so sprinkling them with powdery materials obstructs their respiratory pathways. If you use baby powder as your ant repellent, you can safely and effectively kill these bugs in no time without putting risks to your own health.
13. Wash ant hotspots with soap or detergent
The best way to get rid of ants is still through the use of ingredients or materials that are inexpensive and readily available in your house. Washing ant-prone spots in your home with soap or detergent is a great way to get rid of ants effectively. Soap products can clean the surfaces of your house while also getting rid of the smell of ant pheromones. Make sure to always wipe and clean ant hotspots and entry points in your house to minimize the chances of these pesky insects from getting inside and bothering you.
14. Pour boiling water to kill ants
Boiling water is a low-cost and effective ant killer that can be made and found in the comforts of your own home. Pouring boiling water into ant holes will kill the ants instantly. Ant holes are usually found in your yard or other outdoor areas near your house. For a better chance of eliminating ant infestations, make sure that you treat all ant holes in your area. This is important because the tunnels that ants build underground usually go for long lengths and can be hard to infiltrate.
15. Use an ant trap or ant bait
Among the thousands of ant species, carpenter ants are one of the hardest to spot and kill since they like making smooth tunnels inside rotten wood materials. To deal with this problem, you may use ant traps to kill carpenter ants and other ant species as well. Various ant traps and ant baits are offered in the market where you can select one that suits your needs best.
If you are not fond of using liquid traps, you may use ant baits and ant granules. These methods may take some time before showing significant results but, they are very effective in trapping and killing pesky ants. If you want to immediately eliminate the ants in your home, you can use ant sprays or insecticides that will kill them right away. Do note that ant poison is still very much dangerous for children and pets, so opting for a more safe and natural method to get rid of ants can be a less harmful approach to getting rid of ants.
Ants may not be as harmful as other insects, but they can be the most persistent and hard to get rid of. Although ant infestations cannot be completely eradicated, minimizing the chances for them to arise goes a long way to help improve the comfort of your home and enhance the quality of your everyday living.