Luckily, there are a number of ways to remove ants from your home. Read on to learn how to get rid of ants naturally or with sprays and traps, plus the benefits of both methods.
Maybe you’ve noticed an ant in your home. Or a few. It may not seem like a big deal, but the bad news is that where there’s one ant, there’s a colony and thousands more. While most ants are relatively harmless, some ants can bite, cause allergic reactions, contaminate food, and cause structural damage.
Where Do Ants Come From?Sometimes ants come indoors because of changes in weather or due to heavy rainfall. Other times, ants are attracted to food crumbs and spills. Certain ant species prefer damp environments, so water-damaged areas, especially wood, make an ideal setting. Bare spots in the yard are the perfect place for ant hills, while bushes that touch the exterior of your home can provide a bridge for ants to enter.
Types of AntsWhile ants look very similar to termites, ants are differentiated by their slender waist, bent antennae and six long legs. The most common ants you’re likely to find are black ants, carpenter ants and flying ants.
The small black ants you commonly see are actually dark brown to black in colour and are found in yards and wooded areas. Carpenter ants can be red, black, or a combination of both colours. They are larger than black ants and are typically found in areas with excess water or rotting wood. Flying ants, as the name suggest, sprout wings during mating season. They can be mistaken for termites, but termites wings have a uniform shape whereas flying ant wings are short in the front and long in the back.
How to Get Rid of Ants NaturallyMany people prefer trying natural home remedies for ants first vs. traps and sprays which contain chemicals. Here are some of the best methods.
White VinegarFill a spray bottle with straight or diluted vinegar to saturate ants and to clean countertops, window sills and other surfaces. Acidic vinegar kills ants and their scent trails, preventing other ants from following the path into your home.
Essential OilsEssential oils like peppermint, tea tree, citrus and eucalyptus repel ants. Saturate cotton balls with a mix of essential oil and water and place in crevices and doorways. Some essential oils are toxic to pets, so be mindful of which ones you use.
SpicesCinnamon, mint and pepper irritate ants and can drive them away. Scatter these spices where you see heavy ant activity or on windows and doorways.
Other Home RemediesOther home remedies may contain chemicals, but they’re still cost effective because you can use household ingredients you already on hand.
Diatomaceous EarthDiatomaceous earth (DE) is a type of silica that kills ants by drying them out. Use food-grade DE powder and sprinkle it wherever you see ants, or in hard-to-reach areas like cabinets and under appliances. Make sure you avoid getting DE on your body as it can irritate the skin.
BoraxBorax is also effective at removing ants. Mix borax with warm water and sugar to use as bait. Although borax has low toxicity, it should not be used in areas accessible to children and pets. Like DE, it’s best used in hard-to-reach areas.
Indoor SpraysIndoor ant sprays or foam kill ants on contact. Spray directly onto ants or use it on cracks, crevices, baseboards and other surfaces to destroy ant trails.
Outdoor SpraysSome sprays are specially designed for outdoor use. Use outdoor ant sprays on your lawn, trees and shrubs and the exterior of your home. It’s best to spray when ants are most active, such as early morning or late afternoon. You can also use ant liquid directly on ant hills.
Ant TrapsEasy to use, ant traps and bait stations can be placed wherever you notice ant activity. The bait attracts ants and they carry the poison back to the nest where it infects and kills the colony. While most traps are safe to use in the home, be mindful of placing them near pets.
GranulesDesigned for outdoor use only, granules can be placed where you notice ant hills and activity. Like ant traps, the granules act as bait, which the ants carry as food back to the colony. The poison usually kills them within a few days.
Ant Prevention TipsThe best way to get rid of ants is to prevent them. Here are a few steps you can take to avoid an ant problem:
- Do a deep clean focusing on hard-to-reach areas like cabinets, crevices and under appliances
- Wipe up crumbs and spills immediately
- Use ant spray on window sills, baseboards and doorways as a protective barrier
- Seal holes and cracks with caulking
- Fix water-damaged or damp areas of your home, especially decks and basements
- Maintain your lawn to prevent bare spots and ant hills
- Trim back plants, bushes and shrubs surrounding your home
While most ants are not dangerous, they become a nuisance once indoors. A few preventative measures can keep ants out, and there a number of different natural and non-natural methods that can help get rid of ants for good. Check out our range of ant traps, bait and sprays to keep your home ant-free!