Almost everyone has dealt with house ants. These uninvited and unwelcome guests will invade even the cleanest, healthiest homes. They get in through even the smallest openings in windows, doorways, and floors in search of provisions to replenish their colony’s food and water supply.
Each ant you spot leaves behind a trail of chemicals called pheromones that attract other ants in the vicinity. This natural behavior means if you see one ant, you can bet there are plenty more nearby. If left unaddressed, you could end up with multiple trails of ants invading your kitchen, bedrooms, bathrooms, and other areas. But you don’t need to call the exterminator right away. There are plenty of tricks you can utilize to keep these pests out.
From home remedies to limiting access, read on to learn how to get rid of ants in your house.
How to Get Rid of Ants Naturally
When you’re learning about how to get rid of ants in the house, it’s essential to use the safest remedies to protect your family and pets. There are plenty of safe ways to control ants in your home, from boiling water to using a little boric acid. You can also get rid of ants naturally by disrupting the ants’ pheromone trails.
Bottom line, If you make it difficult enough to find food and water, ants will head for greener pastures. Frequently wiping down ant trail areas with soap and water will remove the pheromones and break the cycle.
Here are five home remedies to get rid of ants without using harsh commercial pesticides.
1. Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous earth is silica composed of aquatic organisms called diatoms that are entirely safe for humans. The compound kills ants and other pests by absorbing the oils in their skeletons, which causes them to die from dehydration. Even though diatomaceous earth isn’t poisonous, breathing the dust or getting it on your skin could cause irritation. When you use this ant control method, be sure to follow the label’s instructions.
2. Peppermint Oil
Peppermint is a natural insect repellent that works for mosquitoes, ants, and many other pests. Mix 20 drops of peppermint essential oil and two cups of water in a clean spray bottle. Spray the solution around the baseboards and windows of your home and leave it to dry. You can also use Lavender and citrus-based essential oils and get the same results, but be sure to keep essential oils away from children and pets.
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3. White Vinegar
One of the most versatile natural cleaners in your home, distilled white vinegar is also one of the safest and most effective home remedies for ants. A spray bottle with half water and half vinegar will begin to kill ants on contact and is perfect for wiping down countertops and other hard surfaces. This natural way to get rid of ants also repels ants long after the vinegar odor has faded.
4. Boric Acid
Boric acid is a safe pest control product that kills roaches, termites, and ants when used properly. While boric acid is low toxicity, be sure to keep it away from children and pets, and wear gloves when you’re using it. To start, mix 1/2 teaspoon boric acid, eight teaspoons of sugar, and one cup of warm water. Dampen cotton balls with the solution and place them wherever you see ants. You can also make a DIY ant trap by mixing a little boric acid with corn syrup and dabbing it onto a piece of cardboard.
5. Boiling water
Survey the ground around your home to locate nearby anthills and pour boiling water onto them. While this ant control method typically won’t kill the entire colony, it will slow down the ant invasion of your home while you get to work inside. And if you’re lucky enough to kill the queen with your boiling water, you may get rid of the colony after all.
How to Keep Ants Out of Your House Room by Room
Now that you know how to get rid of ants in your house, let’s look at ways to keep them from coming back.
How to Get Rid of Ants in the Kitchen
When you spot ants in your kitchen, the first step is to find their entry point. There’s an entryway nearby, whether it’s through gaps in baseboards or a small hole under the sink. When you locate the openings, use some caulk to close that revolving ant door. Once you’ve limited their access, it’s time to do some maintenance to prevent further infestation.
Keeping your kitchen clean is the best preventive measure you can take against ants. Remove any crumbs from the floors and counters by sweeping and wiping daily. Keep your sink wiped dry when you’re not using it. Repair any leaks at the faucet or beneath the cabinet. Take out the trash daily and keep the trash can dry and clean.
How to Get Rid of Ants in the Bedroom
Getting a good night’s sleep can be challenging enough without a trail of ants trekking across your headboard. If you do find ants in the bedroom, it may be your fault; snacking in bed or keeping water on your nightstand attracts any ants that might be scouting nearby.
Follow these steps to keep ants out:
- Keep your bedroom and mattress clean and dry.
- Sweep or vacuum crumbs immediately after snacking.
- Take empty plates and bowls and silverware back to the kitchen.
- Wipe up any spills immediately. If you must keep water by your bed, use a bottle with a secure lid.
If you still have ants after removing food and water, search for their entryway. Find any openings and seal them up, just like you did in the kitchen.
How to Get Rid of Ants in the Bathroom
Your bathroom is the perfect environment for most types of house ants, and it’s hard to get rid of them once they move in.
Try the following to keep ants at bay:
- Start by wiping your sink, tub, and shower dry after use.
- Fix any leaks at the faucets or in the bathroom cabinet.
- Check around your bathroom for cracks, gaps, or holes and seal them with caulk.
Cutting off access to your bathroom and minimizing moisture will help prevent future infestations. Cleaning and disinfecting your bathroom frequently will also deter ants. Toilets will always have some moisture outside the bowl from condensation on the tank or tiny droplets on the floor, so keep your bathroom floor clean and dry. You should also frequently disinfect the outside of the toilet.
How to Get Rid of Ants in the House Once and For All
Unless you wipe out the ant colony and the queen, the colony will continue sending worker ants into your home. Tracking the ants’ movements after they exit your home will sometimes lead you directly to the nest. It may be outdoors in a tree or on the ground, but it could also be in a wall or cabinet void.
Here are some suggestions on how to get rid of ants as a last resort:
- If you find the nest outdoors, destroy it with a non-repellent insecticide. Plain repellents deter ants and often lead the colony to disband and set up housekeeping somewhere else — possibly closer to your home. When ants contact the non-repellent spray, they are unaware that they’ve been poisoned and thus will not try to relocate.
- If you find the nest in a wall or cabinet void, apply a small amount of boric acid powder directly over the nest to kill the ants inside. Use a vacuum to remove the nest and discard the contents outdoors immediately. Reapply boric acid to the emptied space and repair any damage to the wall or cracks with joint compound or caulk.
- If all else fails, hiring a reputable exterminator can help. Look for companies with a proven track record and are committed to using the least toxic products possible. Let them know if you have children, pets, or a respiratory health condition.
- Some professional exterminators use words like green, organic or eco-friendly when describing their companies. That’s not enough to ensure the pest control measures they use are safe. Ask them what products they typically use for ant treatments and which ones they don’t use before hiring them.
The next time you see pesky ants marching across your kitchen counter, you’ll know exactly how to get rid of ants in your house. If you’d like some help in keeping your home clean to deter ants and minimize the spread of germs, The Maids is standing by. Learn more about our affordable and eco-friendly residential cleaning when you get a free online estimate for your home.