How to get rid of ants of permanently is a popular question, equally popular to “How to get rid of ants in the Kitchen”. Are you having trouble with ants in your home? If so, you’re far from alone as many people find ants moving into their houses as soon as warmer weather sets in.
If you’re tired of spotting ants crawling on your floors, walls, or getting into the food pantry you’ve come to the right place. We’ll provide some easy step-by-step instructions, and show you quickly how to get rid of ants permanently.
The Step-by-step Process: How To Get Rid of Ants
The good news is that fixing your ant problem is a relatively simple and straightforward thing to do. Once you know how to get rid of ants permanently, you’ll be able to deal with any new ant infestations that pop up.
Note: This article provides necessary steps to get rid of “common household ants”, of which there are 15-20 species found in the U.S. If however, you are dealing with the very aggressive “Fire Ants”, check out our suggestions at the bottom of the article.
Here are the steps on how to get rid of ants permanently, and prevent them from coming back in the future.
Step 1: Find and Eliminate Ant Trails
If you’ve ever observed ants, you may have noticed that they almost always follow straight lines in single-file order. This is because ants leave pheromone trails behind them to lead other ants to sources of food. If you’re seeing lines of ants coming in, the first step you need to take is to remove this trail. The best way to do this is to use a sponge and some soap to clean up the entire path of the trail, including the ants that are currently on it. Doing this will eliminate the pheromone trail and make it less likely that other ants will follow behind later.
Step 2: Set Out Baits to Kill the Colony
If you’re seeing more than a handful of ants in your house, there’s a good chance that you have a colony living in it or very close by. One of the best ways to kill the entire colony at once is to set out poisonous baits. These baits are attractive to ants because of their taste and odor, but will ultimately kill them.
When ants come out to gather food from the bait trays, they’ll bring it back to the colony, which will then die because of the poisonous food being given to it. Knowing how to kill ants that have established a colony is arguably the most crucial part of solving your ant problem once and for all.
Step 3: Spray Your Foundation and All Entry Points
If you want to know how to get rid of ants for good, there’s more to it than just killing the active colony. You also need to be able to prevent other ants from getting into your home in the future. The best way to accomplish this is to spray your foundation with a pesticide spray thoroughly.
Ants often enter through holes or cracks in your foundation, and thoroughly spraying it will keep them from accessing your house in the first place. You should also apply the spray to doorways and windows to form a barrier against ants in these locations. Make sure you use this spray when the surfaces are completely dry.
Applying it after a rainstorm or a heavy dew will keep it from sticking and drying properly, thereby limiting its effectiveness.
Step 4: Get Rid of the Ants in Your Yard
While this won’t always be the case, having ants in your house is usually a result of having an abundance of ants in your yard. A word of caution, If grabbing the Leaf Blower and blasting them off the driveway or sidewalk seems like a good solution, it really isn’t. In fact, if you do that you’ll just be spreading the colony further into your lawn – think of it as a “free flight” 🙂
To permanently fix this problem and give you added protection against future ant colonies, apply an insecticide for ants to your lawn after its next mowing. These insecticides are available both as granules that can be put into an ordinary fertilizer spreader, and as liquid concentrates, that can be screwed onto a standard garden hose for application.
Either one of these methods will work, but it’s always a good idea to wait until after mowing to apply the insecticide. This will help to ensure the pesticide reaches the ground, rather than simply getting caught on the tops of grass blades that will be removed during the next mowing.
Step 5: Maintain Your Protection
Once you’ve killed off the ants that are already in and around your home and used sprays to keep them from getting in again, you need to maintain the protection you’ve set up. The spray you used on your foundation and the insecticide you spread on your lawn should give you instructions regarding how often to reapply them. Many products last for up to three months, but be sure to check the product you’re using to be sure. It’s also worth keeping in mind that unusually heavy rain can wash away the chemicals faster, so you may want to apply a bit more frequently if you’re having a stormy year.
How to Get Rid of Ants Naturally
If you don’t care for the idea of spraying insecticides on or around your house, there are also natural ant killer options that can be effective. Following are the steps and tips you need to know about how to get rid of ants using natural methods.
Step 1: Use Natural Ant Spray
As consumers have become more health-conscious in recent years, companies have begun offering natural alternatives to more traditional pesticides. Natural ant sprays can be just as effective as harsher chemical sprays while at the same time being safer for you and your family. Like standard sprays, you can use these sprays to kill ants directly or to create a barrier at entry points around your home. Another option for killing ants naturally is to apply diatomaceous earth on and around entry points. This mineral powder dehydrates ants and ultimately kills them and is completely non-toxic to humans.
Step 2: Try Using (5) Natural Alternatives to Poison Baits
If you want a natural poison or ant deterrent spray to use in place of a more traditional one, the easiest thing to do is to make it yourself.
- Powdered sugar makes the best base for homemade bait, as it is something that ants will almost always recognize as food and take back to their colonies. With the sugar, mix in borax in a ratio of about one part for every three parts of powdered sugar. Add several tablespoons to a jar lid, and set out in high traffic areas. This mixture will trick the ants into taking borax, which is toxic to them, back to their colonies.
- No Borax? just substitute baking soda for Borax, mix with powdered sugar as noted above.
- Sprinkle baking soda on the ant mound than douse or spray it with full-strength white vinegar.
- Essential Oil: To repel ants in the bathroom or in your kitchen, use peppermint essential oil by putting several drops on a cotton ball, then placing them on countertops, cabinets, garbage cans, or anywhere ants are attracted.
- Homemade spray – Mix equal parts lemon juice and white vinegar in a spray bottle and spray your window sills and around entry doors to the house. You can also use this formula to spray ants found inside your house.
Step 3: Deter Ants by Overwhelming Their Olfactory Senses
A final component of how to get rid of ants in your yard is to find a way of deterring them from entering your home in search of food. Since ants use pheromone trails to find previously identified food sources, you can use their biology to your advantage by merely overwhelming their sense of smell. By coating entry points with a strong-smelling substance, such as vinegar or cinnamon, you can make it effectively impossible for them to pick up on pheromone trails. This, in turn, will keep most ants from entering your home in search of food. This kind of natural ant repellent will keep ants outside of your home without doing them any actual harm.
How to Get Rid of Fire Ants
Fire ants are those mean little red ants you normally find in warmer climates, such as the southern states of the U.S. Like other ant species, once you know how the colony survives you’ll better understand how to get rid of it.
If you, your family or your pet, have ever been unfortunate enough to actually step on a Fire Ant colony, you know how painful these insects can be – and how to get rid of ants permanently like these. A fire ant bite or sting can quickly become infected and even lead to permanent scarring.
(2) Quick Options to get rid of a Fire Ant Colony
Fire ants are extremely territorial and will attack anything that gets near their nest. To kill the ant colony you will need to treat it with a specific fire ant insecticide.
Use a Granular treatment
Scott’s, Ortho, and Martins all make granular powder treatments, which you simply sprinkle over the fire ant mound. The Queen ant dies normally in about 3 days, and the treatment will be in effect up to 6 months.
Note: Be extremely careful when using insecticides, as some can be harmful or fatal to plants or animals if ingested.
Use “Fire Ant” Bait
“Amdro” brand ant bait acts as bait or food that the workers simply carry back to the queen, and in the same way, kill the queen and the colony is doomed. Without the queen to lay new eggs, the colony fades away. “Advion” works similarly, but as a gel that you inject in sidewalk cracks or near a colony. Experiment with either of these “Ant Baits” or one of the quick-acting Fire Ant Treatments
Whether you choose to use traditional pesticides or more natural methods, getting rid of ants isn’t particularly difficult. With just a little know-how and a few materials, you can get rid of ants that are already in your house and keep new ones from coming in. If you are using toxic chemicals, just be sure to always read the instructions and handle them with the appropriate care. Home pesticides can be perfectly safe when used properly, but you should still be cautious and follow all instructions provided by the manufacturer.
Have some other tips on getting rid of Ants permanently? Leave us a comment below!
References & Additional Resources
- Identifying and Removing Ants – University of Minnesota
- How to Avoid insecticide poisoning in dogs and cats – Petcarerx.com
- What happens when a Queen ant dies? – Sciencing.com
- Blow Ant Piles Away a Cordless Leaf Blower – Besthomegear.com
- How To Get Rid of Gnats Indoors – Besthomegear.com
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