There are more than 12,000 species of ants around the world. Although the majority of them are harmless, they can carry bacteria that transmit infections and diseases. The pharaoh ant is the most common house ant likely to cause respiratory allergies and bronchial asthma.
Ants rarely walk in a straight line from a food source to their colony. Instead, most of them walk in a zigzag pattern. When tracking ants, follow and observe multiple ants, and you will spot them going back to their colonies.
Most ant colonies are found both indoors and outdoors. Some reside in wood shavings, swarms, moist indoor areas, rotten wood, aphids’ that eat your plants, and mounds of dirt.
Ants being inevitable, there are various natural solutions to get rid of them, like white vinegar, boiling water, pepper, coffee grounds, chalk, and baking soda. If these natural solutions don’t work, you can hire a professional ant exterminator.
In this article, we will discuss how to look for an ant colony and how to get rid of them, especially if they damage your furniture and other structures.
How to Look for an Ant Colony
If your house is surrounded by ants, the best way to deal with them is to locate their colony. Ants are too small and fit in tiny spaces. Thus, finding their colonies can be difficult as ants can disappear into places where it is impossible to follow them.
Although trailing ants backs to their colony is possible, it takes a lot of effort. You can find their colonies both indoors and outdoors. As soon as you find them, eliminate them before they can bite your children and incur damages and injuries.
How to Find an Ant Colony Indoors
Locating ants’ colonies inside your home is essential. You should track them down to eliminate them quickly to avoid damages to your furniture and hazards. Here are indoor areas where you may locate ant colonies.
1. Wood Shavings
Look for wood shavings, as this could be a sign of carpenter ants. Wood shavings can often be found under the beams of your attic and cellar.
Indoor swarmers can be a sign of carpenter or pharaoh ants. These kinds of ants might nest outdoors and trespass through a crack in your foundation.
3. Dead Ants
You can also find ant colonies in piles of dead ants, particularly around windows. This could be a sign of interior infestation. Take necessary actions when you locate them.
Ants need moisture, aside from picking up your food crumbs. Wet wood inside your residence can attract ants. Leaking pipes or pipes covered with moist air can attract odorous house ants and other species. You can easily track down or follow the ant trails because of the good water route.
How to Find an Ant Colony Outdoors
Finding ant colonies outdoors is quite easy because they are everywhere. Here are some places you should look for to locate ant colony:
1. Mounds of Dirt
Most ants will dig dirt from their colony, leaving a visible pile of fine dirt. Even pavements ants like to excavate dirt and leave very fine dirt residue.
Aphids emit and excrete sweet honeydew harvested in plants, and carpenter ants and other species know this. If some plants in your yard attract aphids, there might be an ant colony taking the aphids.
You should get rid first of the ants before aphids, as exterminating aphids can cause an ant invasion.
3. Rotten Wood
Ants, and especially fire and carpenter ants, love rotten wood. That is where they build their colonies. If you have any non-treated wood that has been undisturbed for years, there’s a probability they are lingering around it. Even crazy ants favor this location as their nesting and breeding place.
There is nothing more annoying than seeing tiny mounds of dirt all over your supposedly perfect yard. These formations are created by ants that have chosen your yard as the place where they will build their colony. Read our article to find out why you have so many ant hills in your yard.
12 Ways to Get Rid of Ants Your Yard
Ants are some of the insects that remain active throughout the seasons. They can invade your residence, build mounds in your backyard down to potted plants, and invade your garage and kitchen.
There are many ways to discourage and kill them and their colonies. Here are the twelve best solutions to do so:
1. Check Shrubs Regularly
Avoid planting trees and shrubs near your house’s doors and windows. Clip or trim the tree branches or bushes that are touching your house. This way, ants, and especially the carpenter ants, will not climb up from trees down your house.
Carpenter ants can damage wooden furniture and structures as they make tunnels through them.
2. Baking Soda
To annihilate an ant colony, apply an ample amount of baking soda to the ant mound. Then, spray with white vinegar.
3. Citrus Power and Pepper
Like other insects, ants don’t like the smell of citrus. So, instead of throwing peeled oranges, grapefruits, and lemons, grind them and save them for an ant invasion. You can spread these citrus fruits near entry points, potted plants, and flowerbeds to deter the ants.
Ants don’t like the smell of pepper either as it irritates them. Black or red pepper works as a good ant repellent and is a natural and safe solution to get rid of an ant invasion. It also keeps ants away if sprinkled around the baseboard and behind home appliances.
4. Ant Chalk
To deter and eliminate ants, draw a chalk line in between and in front of exterior doors, windows, cabinets, round tables, and other areas through which they could go. Ants will not cross a chalk line. However, make sure not to draw a chalk line near food and prevent kids from reaching it.
5. Coffee Grounds
You may also sprinkle coffee ground around your house, entry points, and on the edge of flower and garden beds. With this barrier, ants won’t cross over again in your residence.
6. DIY Ant Spray and Peppermint Essential Oil
To create your ant deterrents, mix 4 oz. water, 2 tbsp. of vodka, 15 drops of peppermint essential oil, and 5 drops of cinnamon essential oil. Put it in a spray bottle, shake well, and spray as needed, whether indoors or outdoors. It can also be a good room freshener.
Several drops of peppermint essential oil on cotton balls help discourage ants in the kitchen and bathroom. You can place them in cabinets, pantry, near garbage containers, on countertops, and in other areas that draw ants.
7. Bait Ants with Borax
Mix equal parts of powder Borax laundry booster and powdered sugar. Sugar draws ants, so they’ll take the mixture to their colony and ingest it. You can add a tablespoon to a jar lid and wait for ants to find it.
Make sure the mixture is out of children’s and pets’ reach. If you don’t have Borax, you can try combining equal parts of baking soda and powdered sugar instead.
8. Diatomaceous Earth
Although not a poison, diatomaceous earth kills ants and other bugs. It is a type of silica that comprises of fossilized remains of diatoms or aquatic organisms. Diatomaceous earth works by absorbing oils of ants’ skeletons, then dries them out.
Avoid breathing and getting diatomaceous earth onto your skin as it can irritate you. Carefully follow the instructions on the packaging or sprinkle the powder where there’s an ants colony.
9. Glass Cleaner and Liquid Detergent
To discourage ants, you can use a mixture of glass cleaner with liquid detergent. It can also erase the pheromone scent that ants leave behind wherever they walk. Spray a good amount where ants reside and wipe down to leave as little remains of the mixture as possible.
You can also use a hand soap if you do not have a glass cleaner in your household. Pour a little amount on ant traces and entry points in your home. Soapy water also removes pheromones’ scent, without which ants are unable to connect.
10. White Vinegar
You can either wipe ants out with 50-50 vinegar and water solution or straight vinegar. White vinegar discourages and kills ants. You can dilute it to clean the hard surfaces, floors, and countertops in your house. Even if the vinegar solution dried out, an ant can still smell it, although it isn’t detectable by most people.
11. Boiling Water
If you spot an ant colony in your backyard or indoors, you can pour boiling water directly onto it. This solution is highly effective and instantly kills ants. However, pouring boiling water won’t kill the entire colony. So, you have to do it again until you’re sure that you annihilate them all.
12. Cut Off Their Food Source
Sweets and other food sources attract ants into your household. To discourage and kill them, start by eliminating the source of the invasion. With this, ensure you have removed the food sources that are available for them to infest.
Keeping food containers and plastic bags tightly sealed is the most elementary thing to do. Remember that ants are drawn to sweet and starchy things like cornmeal, honey, and sugar.
Don’t forget to clean your house for there might be crumbs under and around standing appliances in your kitchen, or even in cushions, garbage cans, and areas where your family eats and prepares food.
Pet food can also attract ants. After your pet eats, remove the bowls immediately and wash them to eliminate the scent of the food.
If these natural options don’t work, you can use pesticides and commercial products made to abolish ants.
Most people prefer bait traps that contain pesticides over sprays. The ants pick up bait traps and bring them back to their colonies. When these bait traps are eaten, they can instantly kill ants within the colony. Finally, if nothing works, you can call a professional ant exterminator.
Ants are common home invaders across the globe. They are mostly harmless, but they are also capable of destruction. Ants seem hard to eliminate because of their size, but it is not impossible. As we have mentioned in this article, there are natural and safe solutions that are proven to kill and discourage ants over time.
If you start noticing ants in your home or in your yard, the first thing that you have to do is locate the colony. This may take some time, but once you find what you are looking for, it’s time to put the solutions that we shared to the test. If the infestation is bigger than what you can handle with home remedies, then it’s time to call a professional ant exterminator.
Once your ant infestation is dealt with, you have to make sure that they won’t come back to haunt you again. Keep your house and yard ant-free by eliminating the things that can attract ants to your property, such as aphids in your garden and loose food in your kitchen. As long as ants don’t have a reason to be in your property, they won’t bother you again.