How Do I Get Rid of Ants?

Apr 26, 2024 | Ant Control

How Do I Get Rid of Ants

Persistent ant infestations are a common problem affecting homes and businesses alike. These resourceful insects can contaminate food, damage structures, and generally disrupt your peace of mind.

This comprehensive guide will equip you with the tools to identify the type of ant infestation you’re facing, implement effective elimination strategies, and prevent future recurrences.

Say goodbye to ant-related frustrations and reclaim your space. This guide offers a clear, actionable plan to achieve long-lasting ant control. 

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding the ant species you’re facing will help you choose the most effective control strategies.
  • Start with natural solutions. Vinegar, diatomaceous earth, and various deterrents provide eco-friendly options for disrupting ant activity and discouraging entry.
  • Consider commercial baits for larger infestations. Ant baits offer a strategic approach, targeting the nest rather than just the ants you see.
  • Locate the source of the infestation. Finding ant entry points and their potential nest site will allow you to focus your efforts and prevent future problems.
  • Consult professionals for severe cases. Persistent infestations, signs of structural damage, or the presence of stinging ants warrant calling in pest control experts.
Ants on a wooden pole

What Kind of Ants Are You Dealing With?

Before you start planning your counterattack, it’s crucial to identify the type of ant invading your space. Different ant species have varying behaviors, food preferences, and nesting habits. Understanding these factors will help you choose the most effective control methods. Here’s a look at some of the most common house-invading culprits:

  • Sugar Ants: These tiny ants, typically brown or black, have a relentless sweet tooth. You’ll often find them swarming around sugary spills, open containers of sweets, or even forgotten crumbs on the counter.
  • Carpenter Ants: These are larger ants, usually black, that can pose a serious threat to wooden structures. If left unchecked, they can tunnel through and weaken the wood in your home. Look out for small piles of sawdust, which could be a sign of their activity.
  • Pharaoh Ants: These small, yellowish ants are incredibly adaptable and can be difficult to control. They’re often found throughout the home, with a particular fondness for kitchens, bathrooms, or any areas with moisture.
  • Odorous House Ants: Medium-sized ants that emit a distinct, unpleasant odor when crushed (though try to avoid doing this!). They’re attracted to sweets but can also be found nesting outdoors, sometimes entering homes in search of food sources.
Diatomaceous earth for pest control

Getting Rid of the Ants

Now that you have a better idea of what kind of ant you’re up against, it’s time to take action! There are several ways to tackle an ant infestation, ranging from natural DIY solutions to commercial pest control products.  Let’s explore your options:

1. Natural Ant Removal Methods

If you’re looking for eco-friendly solutions or want to start with readily available household items, there are several natural options to try. These methods typically focus on disrupting ant activity or discouraging them from entering your home.

DIY Ant Killers

Some simple ingredients found in your kitchen can create surprisingly effective ant-fighting solutions. Here are a couple of options:

  • Vinegar: Mix equal parts white vinegar and water, then spray directly on ants and their trails. Vinegar disrupts the pheromone trails ants use to communicate, making it harder for them to find their way around and confusing their foraging efforts.
  • Diatomaceous Earth: This natural powder is made from fossilized algae. Sprinkle a fine layer where ants travel. It acts as a desiccant, drying out the ants’ exoskeletons. Be sure to use food-grade diatomaceous earth for safety.

Ant Deterrents

Rather than killing ants directly, deterrents use scents or substances that ants find unpleasant, encouraging them to avoid these areas. Try these natural repellents:

  • Spices: Ants dislike the strong scent of cinnamon, cloves, chili powder, and black pepper. Sprinkle these around entry points or areas where you see ant activity.
  • Citrus Peels: Similarly, the smell of lemon, orange, or grapefruit peels can help deter ants. Place peels near potential entry points or problem spots.
  • Essential Oils: Peppermint, tea tree, and lemon essential oils are known to repel ants. Dilute a few drops in water and spray affected areas, or place cotton balls soaked in the oil near ant trails.
  • Coffee Grounds: The strong smell and acidity of coffee grounds can also act as a deterrent. Scatter them around areas where you see ants.

2. Commercial Ant Control Options

When natural methods don’t seem to cut it, or if your infestation is severe, there are commercial products designed for ant control:

Ant Baits

These contain a slow-acting poison that attracts ants. Workers carry the poisoned food back to the colony, where it spreads and eventually eliminates the entire nest.  Choose baits explicitly labeled for your specific ant problem and replace them as needed.

Insecticide Sprays

These provide fast-acting results for killing ants on contact. They can also be used to create barrier treatments around your home’s perimeter. Always follow the label’s instructions carefully, and be mindful when using them around pets and children. Choose products labeled specifically for ant control.

Where are the Ants Coming From?

Getting rid of the ants you see is only one piece of the puzzle. To truly solve your ant problem, you need to find their point of entry and, ideally, locate their nest. This will help you target your control efforts and prevent future infestations.

The most obvious way to try and find the source is to follow the ant trail. Watch where they’re entering your home and where they seem to be headed. Look around windows, doors, baseboards, and any visible cracks or holes. Ants often follow established trails, so pay attention to areas of moisture (some species prefer damp areas), crumbs or food spills, or signs of potential nesting like sawdust from carpenter ants.

If your indoor search isn’t yielding results, expand your investigation outdoors. Ants don’t always nest inside your house. They could be coming from a nearby tree, your yard, or even under your home’s foundation.

Important Tip: Once you find the entry point, don’t just deal with the ants you can see. Focus on sealing that entry point to prevent new ants from simply finding the same way inside. 

Further Reading: Why Are There Ants In My House?

Preventive Measures

The best way to deal with ants is to stop them from invading in the first place! A few simple habits and proactive steps will go a long way in protecting your home from future ant problems.

Cleaning and Food Storage

Ants are attracted to food sources, so keeping your home clean and storing food properly is essential. Here’s what you need to focus on:

  • Cleanliness is key: Wipe up spills and messes immediately, especially sweet or sticky ones. Don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink overnight, and keep your counters and floors free from crumbs and food debris.
  • Proper food sealing: Store food in airtight containers to prevent ants from smelling and accessing it. This applies to pantry staples, sweets, and even pet food. Consider storing pet food in a sealed container overnight.
  • Trash Management: Empty kitchen and bathroom trash bins frequently. Use trash cans with tight-fitting lids, especially if discarding food scraps.

Sealing Entry Points

Even tiny cracks and gaps can act as gateways for ants. Thoroughly inspect your home – inside and out – for potential entry points. Here’s how to seal them:

  • Caulking and Sealants: Use caulk to fill cracks and gaps around windows, doors, pipes, and baseboards. Choose a caulk appropriate for the material you’re sealing (e.g., silicone caulk for bathrooms).
  • Weatherstripping: Replace damaged weatherstripping around doors and windows to create a tight seal.
  • Expanding Foam: For larger gaps or holes, consider using expanding foam sealant. Be sure to follow the product’s directions carefully.
  • Other Materials: In a pinch, you can temporarily block entry points with items like petroleum jelly, steel wool, or even duct tape.

Keep in mind that ant control is an ongoing process. Regularly inspect your home for new cracks or potential entry points and make repairs promptly.

Two professional pest control experts in blue uniform

When to Call a Professional

While many ant infestations can be managed with DIY methods and preventative strategies, there are times when professional ant control services are the best course of action. Consider calling in the experts if:

DIY Methods Fail

If you’ve tried natural remedies and over-the-counter products, and diligently implemented preventive measures, but ants keep coming back, it may be time for professional intervention. Pest control experts have access to stronger treatment options and the experience to find and eliminate the root of the problem.

Large-Scale Infestations

When you find multiple ant trails, frequent sightings throughout your home, or evidence of numerous nests, you’re probably dealing with a large and established ant colony. This requires a more comprehensive approach than DIY methods typically provide.

Dealing with Carpenter Ants

If you suspect carpenter ants, it’s crucial to contact a pest control professional immediately. These ants can cause significant structural damage to your home if not promptly addressed.

Presence of Stinging Ants

While most house ants are just a nuisance, some species, like fire ants, can deliver painful stings. If you suspect stinging ants, a professional can identify them and ensure safe and effective removal.

Peace of Mind

If dealing with an ant infestation is causing you stress or you’re unsure of the best way to proceed, consulting a pest professional can provide peace of mind. They can assess the situation, identify the ant species, and implement a targeted, comprehensive solution.

Wrapping Up 

While ant infestations can be a persistent problem, a thorough understanding of ant behavior and the strategic use of control methods will empower you to effectively manage them. Prioritize preventative measures to minimize future infestations. Should DIY solutions prove insufficient, consult a pest control professional for additional support and tailored solutions. By following the tactics outlined in this guide, you can achieve a long-term, ant-free environment.

Ant Problem Out of Control? We Can Help!

Don’t let ants continue to invade your space. If you’re struggling with a persistent ant infestation, tired of DIY methods, or suspect larger issues like carpenter ants,  let the experienced professionals at Arrest A Pest take control. We offer tailored solutions to eliminate ants and keep them from coming back.

Request an appointment today at (760) 777-2763 for fast, effective relief from those pesky ants!

Adam Judnich

Adam Judnich

Owner @ Arrest A Pest

Serving the entire Coachella Valley

Arrest A Pest is your top-rated pest and bug control solution in the Coachella Valley! As a family-owned and operated business, our technicians grew up in the Coachella Valley and have a deep understanding of the pests in our area.

We understand that every pest infestation is an emergency, and we offer quick, safe, and thorough pest solutions and preventions for your home or business. No matter what pests are invading your space, our technicians are armed with state-of-the-art technology designed to rid your home or business of pests and help you stay pest-free long into the future.

Contact us today to schedule your FREE evaluation and let our team send the pests packing!

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