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How to Get Rid of Ants? Effective Ant Control Guide

how to get rid of ants

Ants are one of the most common pests that people encounter. If you have ever had ants in your home, then you know how annoying they can be!

You might also find them crawling on your kitchen countertop or biting the dog's food bowl.

It is important to take steps to get rid of ants as soon as possible because they spread diseases and contaminate food supplies.

In this guide, you will learn what are the types of ants and how to get rid of ants inside and outside your home.

Ant Identification - What Do Ants Look Like?


While there are approximately 25 different ant species known to infest houses, they all have similar features such as antennae and six legs, while their size may vary by species.

Ants are sociable insects that live in colonies with hundreds of thousands of individuals, so you'll most likely encounter more than one at a time.

Ants generally infest kitchens and bathrooms because these areas usually offer food and water.

Type of Ants?

One of the most important steps in getting rid of these insects is to identify the type of ant that has invaded your home.

There are more than 12,000 species of ants around the world, but only a handful of them are considered pests.

Once you know what type of ant you're dealing with, you can develop a more targeted plan for getting rid of them.

Pavement Ants

The pavement ant is one of the most common types of ants in the United States and can be found in all 50 states.

The thorax of this species is brown-black and has two spines at the end, making it easy to distinguish from other spiders. These ants, are also known as "sugar ants".

Acrobat Ants

Acrobat Ants

The colors of Acrobat ants vary from yellow-brown to brown, red-black, and all-black. They mostly nest in wooded areas that are moist and have undergone damage, but occasionally they also nest in foam panel insulation.

This species of worker ant will lift its abdomen over its head when threatened, resembling a scorpion.

The "acrobat ant" got its name from the way it runs with its belly in the air, which makes it look like it's tumbling.

Carpenter Ants

carpenter ants

Carpenter ants can be red, black, brown, or a mix of two or more colors for a heftier ant of 5/8-inch.

Carpenter ants love to hide in damaged or wet wood, so check any tree stumps, firewood heaps, sickly trees, ancient patio furniture, and any other outdoor structures.

Finally, these insects are a problem to termites since they break down wood for nourishment and create tunnels in damp wood to build their nests like other ants.

Ghost Ants

ghost ant

Because ghost ant colonies have several queens and are often very mobile, with many nests making up the colony, control can be difficult.

This is especially true when treating a specific species, as the pharaoh ant and ghost ants do.

These insects expand their entire colony by budding, much like termites.

Pharaoh Ants

pharaoh ants

The queen of the colony will be a part of one or many colonies. Some colonies can have numerous nests, and there may be thousands to hundreds of thousands of ants within them.

A queen and her workers leave the old ant nest and journey to a new location to start a new colony, which is called budding.

Argentine Ants

Argentine ants are tiny, between 2.2 and 2.8 millimeters long, and have one node on their bodies. Their color ranges from light to dark brown.

Outdoors, nest in a variety of areas depending on the season. In winter, they tend to go for colder spots, while in summer they'll choose shadier locations. Indoors, you might find them hiding out in wall insulation or other small spaces.

Pepper Ants

The color of the pepper ant varies from light to dark brown. These ants have three nodes on their bodies and range in size from about two to three millimeters long.

The most distinguishing feature of the pepper ant is its ability to spray formic acid, which is how it got its name. This acidic spray can cause a burning sensation on human skin and is sometimes used as an insecticide.

Odorous House Ants

odorous house ants

The odorous house ant is not picky about its living situation and will nest under rocks or logs, in the nests of other animals, or inside homes in walls, windows, and insulation.

Field Ants

Ants of the genus Myrmica build mounds up to 6 feet in diameter and 2 feet tall on grass. They may also nest in firewood and other similar piles.

Read Also: How to Get Rid of Ghost Ants

Signs of Ant Infestation

ant infestation

Ants are one of the most common household pests, and they can be very difficult to get rid of once they establish themselves in your home.

If you think you may have an ant infestation, there are a few telltale signs to look for.

  1. First, they typically travel in large groups, so if you see a line of ants marching across your countertop or floor, it’s a good indication that you have an infestation.
  2. Secondly, these insects often leave behind small piles of sawdust-like material called frass. Frass is a byproduct of the ants’ nesting activity, and it can be a good indicator of where the nest is located.
  3. A tiny pile of earth or mud may serve as a nest. Some ant species prefer to live in wall cracks or other quiet, dark nooks, making them more challenging to detect.
  4. Finally, if you see ants with wings, these are male and female reproductive ants, and they are capable of starting new colonies.

If you see any of these signs, it’s important to take action quickly to kill ants before they cause further damage or spread to other areas of your home.

What Attracts Ants To My Home?

The big reason insects are so plentiful has to do with being able to eat practically any food and live almost anywhere I think. Three major causes exist:


Ants eat everything humans do. Although they will eat leftovers like pet food, and lemon juice, their attention is primarily on sweet treats.

The ants can also find sticky jam stains on their counters and a few drops of honey on their lollies are excellent sources of nutrients.

And after the ant finds its source, it creates a scented pheromone trail that attracts all members of its colonisation. It'll lead to an epidemic within seconds.

A team of scout ants searches for food using pheromones.


Ants require food or water. Contrary to many other species, however, the ant does not drink just “if necessary”.

The colonists take water back from the colonies and re-use it for future use. After finding the best water source they will create a smell trail for the rest of the colony.

Broken pipes can also attract nearby ants.


Although the ants are small enough to survive virtually anywhere, they prefer to establish colonies in warm homes whenever possible.

If ants have found access points in your house (a crack in your insulation, caulk, etc) it's ok to enter the room.

How Long Can an Ant Infestation Last?

How long can an ant infestation last? Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to this question. In most cases, ant colonies will eventually die out on their own, but this process can take several months - or even years.

And in the meantime, they can cause a great deal of damage to your home. They can contaminate food, ruin carpets, and damage woodwork.

If you suspect that you have an ant problem, it is important to take action immediately.

How to Get Rid of Fire Ants?

fire ants

Fire ants are a species of ant that is known for their aggressive behavior and painful sting. If you have fire ants in your home, it’s important to take action immediately to get rid of them.

The first step is to locate the fire ant mound. Fire ants typically build their nests in open areas, such as yards or fields.

Once you’ve located the mound, you can begin to treat it with cayenne pepper or insecticide. There are a variety of products available that are effective against fire ants.

Will Essential Oils Get Rid of Ants?

Essential oils are a popular natural remedy for all sorts of pests, including ants. People have been using natural oils to ward off ants for centuries, and there are many recipes available online.

But does this home remedy actually work? The answer is, it depends. Some oils, such as peppermint oil, and tea tree oil, can deter ants.

However, other oils, such as citrus oil, can actually attract ants. And even if an essential oil does repel ants, it will only work for a short period of time before the ants become desensitized to the scent.

So if you're looking for a long-term solution to your ant problem, you're better off calling an exterminator.

See Also: How to Get Rid of Ants in the Bathroom

11 Home Remedies on How To Get Rid Of Ants In The House Naturally

Do you have an ant problem? If so, you're not alone. Ants are one of the most common household pests in the United States.

There are ants in this house. How should you go forward? See some natural home remedies for eliminating an ant:

1. Diatomaceous earth

diatomaceous earth

Diatomaceous Earth is the silica dust derived from the pulverized fossils of the old diatom. DE doesn't contain poison.

Instead, it destroys the insects by pulling oil out of their bones and drying them. To kill ants, spray a drop in the powder where you see ants coming in and out.

DE may cause skin irritation and respiratory discomfort and may need reapplication.

2. Detergents

Home washable items are useful in keeping ants away. Keep in mind that aphids do not possess eyesight and use smelly pheromone trails to travel.

The cleaning products of a dishwasher will eliminate these trails and ant colonies from growing and surviving.

For best results, combine detergent and water and wash surfaces with soapy water. This helps to kill ants. The same is true of glass cleaning from retailers.

3. Pepper

powdered pepper

The smells in the ant's body help navigate the world. Sprinkle pepper all over your floorboards or appliances. The ants will no longer be able to smell their way around and will eventually die off.

Make sure to vacuum or sweep the pepper up afterward, as inhaling it can irritate your lungs.

4. Essential Oils

Essential Oils

Lemongrass, peppermint essential oil, and tea tree oil contain natural ant repellants that will prevent them from entering your property.

Peppermint is an insect repellent, which can help you get rid of ants.

The best results are achieved by mixing a little essential oil like peppermint oil in two cups of water and applying this mixture around baseboards, windows, and stairways of your house.

5. White vinegar

white vinegar

Just mix equal parts water and white vinegar in a spray bottle and use it to wipe down surfaces where you've seen ants.

The vinegar is also effective at repelling ants and keeping them from coming back.

You can also use this vinegar as an ant bait by mixing it with some sugar or honey and placing it in a bowl near where you've seen the ants.

6. Baking soda (or borax)

baking soda

Neither ant nor baking soda has A common chemistry. Baking soda and borax are effective and kill ants.

Mix equal parts baking soda, borax, and confectionary sugar and place in shallow containers for the ants to reach.

7. Chalk

Ants don't like crossing lines of chalk, so drawing a line around areas where you don't want them can help to keep them away and also help remove their trails.

Just make sure to renew the lines every few days, as they will eventually fade away.

8. Oranges or lemons

Both oranges and lemons contain citrus oils which can be used to repel ants including biting red ants naturally.

Simply cut an orange or lemon in half and place the halves near areas where you've seen ants entering your home. The citrus scent will deter them and keep them away.

9. Salt

Another effective way to get rid of ants is to mix equal parts salt and sugar and place it in a bowl near where the ants are coming into your home.

The sugar will attract the ants while the salt will kill them when they eat it.

Just make sure that pets or small children can't reach the bowls so that they don't accidentally consume the mixture themselves.

10. Cornstarch

Cornstarch can also be used as an ant killer by mixing it with an equal amount of baking soda and sugar.

Place the mixture in a bowl near where you've seen ants and they'll be drawn to it and killed by the cornstarch when they try to eat it.

11. Boric acid

Boric acid

Boric acid is a naturally occurring element that is found in Borax, which is commonly to kill ants.

To use boric acid as an ant killer, mix one tablespoon of it with three tablespoons of sugar and one tablespoon of water until it forms a paste-like consistency.

Place this mixture on a piece of wax paper or foil and set it near where you've seen ants.

How to Get Rid of Ants in Plants?

Did you know that ants can also damage your plants? These tiny insects can strip the leaves and stems of plants, causing them to wilt and die.

If you've noticed ants on your plants, there are a few things you can do to get rid of them.

  1. Start by removing any dead leaves or debris from around the plant. This will remove the food source that ants are attracted to.
  2. Next, try spraying the plant with a mixture of water and dish soap. This will create a barrier that ants will not be able to cross and also kills ants.
  3. Finally, consider using an ant bait station to lure ants away from your plants

If you have a serious ant problem, you may need to call in a professional exterminator.

How to Get Rid of Ants in My Kitchen?

There are a few things you can do to get rid of ants in your kitchen.

  1. First, try to identify where they are coming from. If you can find the colony, you can treat it directly. Otherwise, you'll need to focus on sealing up any openings that ants could be used to get into your home.
  2. Once you've done that, you can set out ant traps or baits. Ants will be attracted to the bait and will take it back to the colony, which will help to eliminate the whole problem.
  3. Finally, make sure to keep your kitchen clean and free of crumbs or other food sources that might attract ants.

How to get rid of ants in the garden?

Ant nests can be discovered in the backyard, so you will probably need to address the source of your problem first. In any event, the destruction of nests is only the last resort.

Ants play a vital part within ecosystems and aid humans in eating other pests such as bed bugs.

Pour boiling water down ant holes in your garden will kill ants effectively and immediately.

You might want to try a couple of insect repellents on the lawn of your house before obtaining professional help.

Call a Professional Exterminator to Treat Ants

pest control expert

If you've tried all of the DIY methods and you're still struggling with an ant problem, it might be time to call in a professional.

Exterminators can help to identify the source of your problem and come up with a plan to get rid of ants for good.

They will also be able to provide you with advice on how to prevent ants from coming back in the future. If you're struggling with an ant problem, don't hesitate to reach out to a professional for help.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the fastest way to get rid of ants?

Put 1/4 cup of vinegar in 1 cup spray bottle containing water. Spray it on ants and then sprinkle it directly over their slopes.

Simple solutions for this spray are soap and distilled dishwashing soap. Contact with any of these sprays kills an ant very rapidly.

What scent will keep ants away?

Put cinnamon, lime, peppers, or onions in the area where they are visible. You should take care of your foundations as well.

Placed bay branches or lids on cabinets or storage boxes may also prevent ants from growing.


In summary, ants can be a nuisance, but we hope this guide has given you some ideas on how to get rid of them.

Remember, the best way to keep ants away is to remove any food or water sources that might be attracting them.

If you have a serious problem, call in a professional exterminator for help. Thanks for reading!

About The Author:

Meet Mark Calhoun, a seasoned pest control expert in the realm our pest control company. With over 10 years of dedicated experience and Managing Editor. His primary mission is to furnish you with precise and invaluable DIY insights, ensuring your home remains pest-free while aiding you in distinguishing various household pests.
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