We all can think that ants are among the most commonly seen and discussed household and outdoor pests. Ants wander in and out of the house, no matter how much you clean your indoors and outdoors.
They move in trails and communicate with each other to maintain the decorum of their track. However, identifying the ants is not easy.
A recent survey conducted by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) revealed that ants are everywhere. In fact, ants have been believed as the #1 nuisance pest in America.
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There are three kinds of ants in a colony: the Queen, the female workers, and the male ones. The male ones and the Queen have wings, whereas female workers don’t have wings. The only ant that can lay eggs is the queen ant.
The queen is the only ant that can lay eggs. The male ant’s only job is to mate with potential queen ants and they do not live very long afterwards. Once the queen reaches adulthood, she spends the rest of her life laying eggs! Based on the species, every colony may have one queen multiple queens.
Some tasks of the colony consists of taking care of the queen, eggs and babies, gathering food sources for the entire colony and construction of the anthills or piles.
Finding Ants Outdoors
Spotting ants outdoors is quite easy, because outside they always travel in trails and march along in a line. Therefore, by following those trails You can easily identify where they are headed to and their colonies by the ground holes and muddy piles mounting by ants. They are always mounting from their colonies and holes.
Finding Ants Indoors
Ants swarming inside your house is quite usual thing that you’ll be noticing. Usually places like kitchens, washrooms and dining areas are the places where the ants are mostly seen.
However, as a matter of fact you wont see an alone ant moving here and there, as there will be a trail of ants marching around in your house. Most indoor ants are carpenter ants as they make their way easily in the houses through wooden furniture and doors.
According to Ant Survey, within these structures, the following areas were found to be mainly exposed from ant:
- Kitchens (96%)
- Bathrooms (89%)
- Inside walls (73%)
- Bedrooms (61%)
- Living rooms (60%)
- Basements (54%)
- Air conditioning and heating units (37%)
- Outside, ants were reportedly pestering home and business owners on driveways, walkways and landscaped beds (91%).
Species of Ant You’re Dealing With
Identifying the types of ants in your house is dependent on a variety of factors, such as their size, manifestation, habitat and the place where you live in, i.e. your region.
An ant’s body can have one or two nodes, or “humps,” on its thorax which is useful in identifying their specify. Species vary also in their color. Some ants can bite roughly and some can sting, while there are others that can bite and sting both such as fire ants. Some common types of ants are as follows:
- Argentine Ants
- Carpenter Ants
- Odorous House Ants
- Pavement Ants
- Red Imported Fire Ants
Read all about ant species on A guide to ant species
Getting rid of both indoor and outdoor ants is a bit difficult task because these little pests find their way in or out somehow because of their tiny size. If you’re planning to avert ants from invading your home, get rid of anything that would create temptation for them in the first place.
- Cover properly and put away all your food sources, remove crumbs and juice spills from the shelves
- Clean dry and, wash all the dishes and clean out the sink on a regular basis.
- Do your best to always keep outdoors clean, unbroken, gap-proof, firmly sealed and confined from possible infestation.
Different Ways To Get Rid of Ants
However, there are multiple useful ways that can facilitate you in getting rid of ants. Following are few ones:
It is An excellent non toxic and environment friendly ant killer. Diatomaceous earth looks like a light weight white talcum powder. It’s basically a kind of sand that contains the remains of tiny, aquatic organisms called diatoms.
For using diatomaceous earth for your ant-killing purposes, sprinkle it by hand in any potential ant infestations: somewhere in the courtyard, near different cracks or holes, in the doorways, or indoors. Many people apply diatomaceous earth outdoors as a fence on the outside door to stop the pests from entering inside the house or other living areas.
Calcium carbonate in the chalk
It is one of the easiest methods for averting the ants away from the house. Crush chalk or draw a thick line on the door bottom linings, windows and shelves corners.
Ants are repelled by calcium carbonate in chalk. Although this isn’t a long term solution but repeating the trick often will make them vanish one day.
Citrus peels and sprays
Ants are repelled by citrus things. You can add a few drops of lemon in warm water and spray on the areas where you see the ants in and out of the house. Or You can use peels of oranges and lemons and blend them with warm water for making a fine thick paste. Just apply it in potential entry paths of ants and the mountings in garden or patios.
Peppermint and Lavender Oil
Ant are not friendly with these two ingredients. You just have to take equally quality of peppermint and lavender oil and mix it with warm water,. You can add a few drops of boric acid to make it more effective. Just spray the mixture on window panes, door steps and stairs or any cracks in the walls. Make sure you don’t have any pets and kids crawling or playing nearby.
However, if you aren’t DIY person. You can buy ant baits and other products on amazon. It’d save you lot of time. I recently wrote a guide about Best Ant baits, you can check it out to get a curated list of products that actually works.
Cloves and Cinnamon
Cloves and cinnamon are also natural repellents for ants. Also, they are a great source of keeping your house clean and fresh. All you need to do is take equal quantity of solid cinnamon and cloves and make a fine powder.
Sprinkle the powder on the doorways, entry paths, window panes or beneath the shelves. Cinnamon and cloves are considered as spices with most strong smell therefore, they serve as effective ant repellents. For more effective results add few drops of essential oil to the power and make a paste. It will serve as excellent bait for the ants.
Peanut butter Bait
As ants are sweet lovers, then why not to give them a treat. Just add 2 tablespoons of peanut butter and 2 tablespoons of honey. Then add half a tablespoon of borax. Place a small quantity of the mixture on little pieces of cardboard, and then put the cardboard where most of the ants are observed.
Don’t forget to change the baits when they are dried out, which can happen within a few days. You should alter it at least once a week until the ant issue is under control.
Boiling water and soap
To eliminate the ant infestation, pour some boiling water on ant mounds and small hills. Repeat the action twice or thrice.
It will make the ants disappear soon once the process is repeated .If add some liquid soap in boiling water you will increase the effectiveness of method, thus eradicating the probability of recurrence of the infestation. Also, do take care of the plants nearby.
Cornmeal near Ant Trails helps
Cornmeal is another effective tried and tested domestic ingredient that can be utilized to treat small ant infestations. Ants that munch through cornmeal will undergo from digestion problem and ultimately surrender to their death due to malnourishment.
Just as a human stomach what would happen to your stomach if you eat a large bowl of cornmeal at one time. Also, for making the best use of the chances of effective results, you can mix the cornmeal with something sweeteners like powdered sugar or honey. You could also use grits as another option.
Camphor oil and ethyl alcohol
Treating the ant mounds with camphor oil and ethyl alcohol is another effective method for killing the ants. Mix 1 part camphor oil with 9 parts ethyl alcohol. Penetrate the ant mound with a plain stick or shovel, and then pour the entire solution over the ant mound. It’s very useful at killing the ants, but with this solution you may not require to treat the mound more than once for it to be fully helpful.
Baby powder and coffee
Sweet smell of baby powder attracts the ants. Add some crushed coffee beans to the baby powder and make a fine mixture. Sprinkle the powder near windows and doors. As the coffee is acidic in nature, they will burn the ants soon after they’ll consume the powder.
1. Advance 375A Granular Ant Bait
The most used and widely recommended over the internet is Advance 375A Granular ant bait is one of the best indoor and outdoor ant elimination choices for users. It targets their infestation directly thus destroying their colonies. It is basically protein-based bait that is a readymade product to utilize in controlling several types of ants both indoors and outdoors.
This bait formulation combines a mixture of foods and the delayed action insecticide, Abamectin which attracts the ants particularly.
2. Ortho Spray Insect Killer
- Effective in killing ants
- Easy and ready to use
- Harmful if swallowed
- Inhalation risk and skin irritation in contact
The Ortho Spray is for hard-to-reach places as cracks and crevices where pests crawl and hide.
The spray helps also control many other pests: ants, cockroaches, fleas, centipedes, crickets, boxelder bugs, fleas, ticks, and other listed insects.
Keeps killing American and German cockroaches and Argentine ants for up to 18 months (on non-porous surfaces).
This crack and crevice spray with FoamGuard flows like a liquid, remains in a place like a solid, and disappears in less than an hour. It will protect your home indoors and outdoor.
The active ingredient is Bifenthrin. It is a pyrethroid insecticide. It is widely used against ant infestations, including the invasive red fire ant, by influencing its nervous system.
Safety precaution measures are always needed with pesticides. Always wear gloves, a face mask when spraying. Just make sure to keep pets and children out until the spray has dried.
It has high toxicity to aquatic organisms. Keep out of reach of children.
3. Eco Defense Organic Pest Control spray
As the name suggests, this product is an environmentally friendly ant killer. You can use it both indoors and outdoors beside ants and other ordinary pests. This product is completely safe to use if you have small kids and pets around.
It is an odorless spray and kills the ants within few minutes of the spray. But it may not be useful for eliminating the colony in one spray application. You might have to respray on alternate days for complete elimination of the ants.
4. Spectracide Fire Ant Shield Mound Destroyer Granules
Regardless of the name of this product, that specifies it especially for fire ants, it can also be used on all kinds of ants easily. It can certainly be utilized for killing all sorts of ant’s colonies. Its granules penetrate in small and large colonies and are effective from the first use.
It also prohibits ants from making another colony or nest nearby the one that is destroyed by these granules. Therefore, you can say that this product can radically restrain infestation issues . however, the only drawback of this product is that it is not an indoor use product.
5. Terro Liquid Ant Bait
Terro Company is best known for its effective pesticides and ant killers in the market. Other then their marvelous sprays they have these liquid baits available in the market. Terro Liquid Ant Bait serves as a slow poison for these ants and destroys their entire colonies once consumed.
This product as a bait which first attracts the ants and other pests and slowly reacts. Again, as the other liquid baits, it is also not safe to use around kids and pets. You need to be very careful while using these kinds of products.
6. Raid Ant & Roach Killer
Ant baits can be a useful solution against ants long-term, however they call for some patience. So if you don’t want to wait for long another effective method for getting rid of ants is killer sprays for ants. One of the most discussed and winner sprays is Raid Ant & Roach Killer.
It’s active ingredients include Imiprothrin and cypermethrin, the two most frequently used chemical pesticides.
Raid is very easy to use for an immediate effect. You just need to shake it well, hold it upright and spray it on the ants affected areas. It has a very soft odor that fades away quickly, thus being very less irritating for the users.
As its effect is immediate, it is not the best solution for the longer term but a pure satisfaction for the people who simply cannot tolerate ants or other crawling insects around.. Raid spray comes with instructions for spraying away from people, pets, food and dishes; also it recommends for washing hands soon after use. For deals check Amazon as its available in a pack of 3 , 6 and 12 for user convenience.
7. Advion Ant Gel
If you are facing some serious ant’s infestation problem, then it is time to spend some extra bugs on professional ant killing gel. Advion ant gel includes active ingredient Indoxacarb, which is a strong chemical pesticide developed by DuPont. The application of gel is not very scientific.
It comes preloaded in applicator tube, it is then recommended to be applied on areas where you can see the potential ant attractions or sides of the walls and doors. It also has a very minimal odor that makes it less annoying. Its results are also long term just like the bait.
Read More: Advion Gel bait Review
However, like other pesticides available in the market, it should be kept back from kids and pets who may try to swallow it, and also users should stay away from directly using it with bare hands, its contact with skin, eyes, or even clothing.
Also, keep in mind that the bait and gels are intended to draw the ant’s attention; you might see more of them than you did before at first hand. So you need to be very tolerant and should not jump straight away to spraying, which will then alert other ants to stay away and hunt for food in other areas of the house.
Hiring A Professional
However if You have tried all of the above options or you don’t want to get your hands dirty and put handy efforts in killing these little annoying pests, you might think to hire a professional pest exterminator.
However, it also depends on the level of infestation and type of ants you are dealing with. As, the killing or eliminating solutions may vary from kinds and level of ant infestations inside and outside of the house and level of expertise required.
Don’t forget to always invest in residual sprays and baits to aim ants where they live and ramble, and protect your houses interior and the exterior to avert ants from making your house their home.