How To Get Rid of Ants (COMPLETE GUIDE)

What is the best way to get rid of ants?

A question many home owners all over the world constantly ask themselves.

They’re a nuisance and once warm weather starts rolling in, ants of all shapes and sizes can quickly invade your home. Once ants get into your home, it seems impossible to get rid of them. Ants are social insects. When one ant gets into your home, many others follow like some sort of ant party.

How to get rid of ants

This article will break down the many ways you can stop the invasion of ants into your home.

The Best Ways To Get Rid Of Ants

If you're in a hurry, below are the summarized best ways to get rid of ants and stop them from invading your home!

  1. Diatomaceous Earth (if used correctly)
  2. Liquid Dish Soap
  3. Liquid Ant Baits
  4. Vinegar
  5. Non-Repellant Insecticide Spray
  6. Outdoor Ant Repellants
  7. Wipe Down Home Surfaces
  8. Periodic Vaccuming
  9. Seal Trash Bins
  10. Seal Food Containers
  11. Seal Home Entry Ways
  12. Clean Your Gutters
  13. Address Moist Areas
  14. Clear Vegetation
  15. Remove and/or Cover Wood Piles

Why Do I Even Have Ants In The First Place?

Before I get into the ways to get rid of ants, first I want to explain why ants even want to be in your house in the first place.

Ants are just searching for food, and your home has a lot of it. It’s likely that a queen set up a colony near your home and your home is a possible food and water source for ants and their young.

Ants also get protection from predators and the elements when they’re in your home. Just like every other creature, ants seek to do a couple things:

  • Stay warm
  • Find food
  • Reproduce

It's likely that your home helps them to do that. The sad part is, ant infestations may have nothing to do with how clean or dirty your home is. Your home may just be a good place for ants to spread.

In late Spring and early summer, swarms of various ants (winged ants, sugar ants, black ants, etc) will search to find new places to build new colonies. Some homes have small openings in their siding or wood piles where certain types of ants like to live (e.g., carpenter ants). 

Want to skip all this research and hire a decent exterminator for your ant problem?

Click here to check out our exterminator search tool where we instantly send you free quotes from trusted (and thoroughly vetted) exterminators in your local area.

Or if you need immediate help contact our partners at Terminix by calling their direct line at 855-324-0823 and press "2".

(Call lines are open 9am - 4pm EST)

(Free quotes are sent instantly via email)

Want to skip all this research and hire a decent exterminator for your ant problem?

Click here to check out our exterminator search tool where we instantly send you free quotes from trusted (and thoroughly vetted) exterminators in your local area.

(Free quotes are sent instantly via email)

Or if you need immediate help contact our partners at Terminix by calling their direct line at 855-324-0823 and press "2".

(Call lines are open 9am - 4pm EST)

So What's The Best Way To Get Rid Of Ants?

1. Prevent ants from accumulating in the first place

Prevention is the single best (and least costly) way to get rid of ants in your house.

Proper sanitation techniques alone can do wonders to keep ants away from your home. Most ants in your home are simply looking for food, so the harder it is for ants to find food in your home, the less likely that they’ll stay to look.

Here are some ideas to prevent (and sometimes kill) from getting into your home:

  1. Wipe Down Home surfaces: Have you ever noticed that ants tend to walk in defined “lines” outside and in inside your home? This is because the typical “odorous” ants that you find in your home leave a scent trail so that other ants will be able to follow the same route to food sources. Use a strong disinfectant wipe to eliminate the ant trail to make it more difficult for future ants to find their way into your home.
  2. Periodic Vacuuming: Vacuuming regularly, paying close attention to baseboards and under furniture and carpets.
  3. Seal Trash Bins: Keep trash sealed and remove open garbage frequently.
  4. Seal food containers: You should store food properly with airtight containers to minimize the chance of ants (or any other pest) is attracted to the food
  5. Seal entryways: Ants like to crawl through cracks in your windows, doors and walls. Make sure you assess the siding of your house for openings.
  6. Clean your gutters:  Gutters and downspouts accumulate leaves, which provides a nice moist home for ants to thrive. 
  7. Address Other Moist Areas: In addition to gutters, you should assess your home for other moist areas in and around your house (water accumulation near your foundation, puddles, etc).
  8. Clear vegetation/shrubbery: Keep trees and shrubs from touching your house, clear brush, and move potted plants away from your house foundation (ants like to make nests there).
  9. Remove wood piles: Remove and logs or stumps from around your house. Ants LOVE rotten wood, so best to remove it and/or cover your wood with tarps before any issues arise.

2. If your too late, identify the type of ant you have 

Your local university extension office will help you ID the ant in your home if you send a picture of your pests to them.

Different types of ants have different nesting habits. Learning what type of ants that you have will give you an idea of where the ants are living and what you need to do to keep them out of your home.

These are the most common types of ants you’ll find in your home, depending on where you live:

Odorous ants

1. Odorous ants: One of the most common ant invaders and among the first pests to show up in the spring. They’re about one-eighth of an inch or smaller and are attracted to food sources.

Removal Difficulty: Easy

Best Way To Remove? Ant Baiting

pavement ants

2. Pavement ants: Brown to black and about 1/10th of an inch long, will set up colonies near driveways or patios and then send out scouts to search for food in your home. They eat meat, grease, seeds, dead or live insects, and can sting and bite if disturbed. Watch out!

Removal Difficulty:Easy

Best Way To Remove? Ant Baiting

Ghost Ants

3. Ghost ants: Primarily found in Florida, ghost ants are milky white with a dark head and back and are extremely tiny (1/32 of an inch long). They love anything sweet and tend to be found in kitchens, but do not have stingers and rarely bite. Cleanliness is key to keep ghost ants out of your home.

Removal Difficulty:Easy

Best Way To Remove? Ant Baiting

Click Here For Our Removal Guide

carpenter ants

4. Carpenter ants: Black and up to half an inch long, look for protein rather than sugar, and will eat through wood to find nesting locations. Small piles of wood shavings called "frass" found under windows or door frames are signs of carpenter ants.

Removal Difficulty:Hard

Best Way To Remove? Spray/Baiting

Click Here For Our Removal Guide

Moisture ant

5. Moisture ants: About 4 to 4.5 mm long — and are usually an indication of excessive water somewhere. Either can be a problem in bathrooms.

Removal Difficulty:Hard

Best Way To Remove? Ant Bait/Excess Water Removal

Rover ant

6. Rover ants: Nest in the southern half of the United States. Colonies build in soil and leaf litter, often under covering objects like rocks. They can have many colonies in the same area making it difficult to eliminate them completely.

Removal Difficulty:Hard

Best Way To Remove? Find Home Openings And Seal

argentine ants

7. Argentine ants: Found in California especially, argentine ants are a dull brown color and typically live outside. They usually are an outdoor pest problem, but may come indoors to scavenge for food before returning to their nests. These ants will not nest in walls or other household structures the way that other ant species might.

Removal Difficulty:Easy

Best Way To Remove? Ant Baiting

fire ants

8. Fire ants: Fire ants build mounds in almost any type of soil, but they prefer open sunny areas. Their mounds can grow 18 to 24 inches in height if the soil conditions are right. They construct mounds in rotting logs and around stumps and trees. Colonies can also occur in or under buildings. The ants themselves are reddish brown in color and roughly 1/8 to 1/4 inch in length and they have a painful bite.

Removal Difficulty:Medium

Best Way To Remove? Broadcast Bait

Click Here For Our Removal Guide

Crazy Ants2

9. Crazy ants: A wildly invasive species of ant. Crazy ants earned their name because of their frantic and erratic movement. They are a reddish-brown color and are about 1/8th of an inch in length. Crazy ants are highly adaptable, living in both moist and dry habitats. They do not build nests or mounds, but instead live in yard waste, tree cavities, plants, soil under trash or stones, and inside electrical equipment and buildings.  Because of their erratic movements, it's difficult to track where the colony is held up.

Removal Difficulty:Hard

Best Way To Remove? Sprays/Baiting

Fun Fact: 

What’s super crazy about crazy ants is their odd attraction to electrical equipment. It’s estimated that every year, crazy ants cause more than $146 million in electrical damage.

If you have tiny, black ants, or odorous ants, getting rid of them will be much easier than other types of ants.

Tiny, black ants tend to leave their colony only to scavenge for food like sugar, meat and starches. If you can follow the tiny, black ants to their colony outdoors, you’ll be able to take care of the ant problem at its source. Then, you can seal off all entry points so that remaining ants can’t get into your home.

Carpenter ants prefer to nest in moist wood and these ants can cause even more wood damage.

Since moist wood tends to already exist in damaged locations of your home, like places with leaks or exposed foundations, a more complicated extermination plan will need to be developed with a pest control professional to get rid of carpenter ants.

3. Once you've identified you ant, the next thing to do is kill it

There are both natural ways to kill ants and more aggressive ways to kill ants. A combination of remedies will be the best way to get rid of ants and keep them away. Here are the best ways to get rid of ants:

1. Diatomaceous Earth – Spread around the corners of rooms, cabinets, and other nooks and crannies where ants crawl or tend to enter you home. The granules dry the ants out and creates a repellant barrier. Diatomaceous Earth is also great for control of other insects. Below is a video on Diatomaceous Earth and how to apply it. Click here for our in-depth diatomaceous earth guide.

2. Liquid Dish soap: Spritz ants with a mixture of 2 Tbs. of soap in 1 pint of water. It will kill the ants you see effectively, but other measures will need to be taken to prevent more ants from getting into your home.

3. Liquid Ant Baits & ant gels: Works by luring ants with a sweetened poison. The ants eat the gel and once the ants return to their colony, the ants will die and other ants will cannibalize the dead ant, further spreading the poison. Click here for our ant bait guide.

4. Use vinegar to block ant’s path: Vinegar will kill ants on the spot and keep them away for a limited time by masking the ant’s trail so other ants won’t be able to find their way in.

5. Non-repellant insecticides, sprays: Works indoors and outdoors (if the nest is exposed), and kills ants on contact.

6. Outdoor ant repellants: Made strong to withstand the elements outdoors, and tend to be a long-lasting toxin.

If You Can't Stop The Them, Are Ants In The House Harmful?

Ants tend to be harmless in your home. They don’t carry disease like other pests, but they are very persistent creatures. Most ants that you find in your home are mostly just a nuisance and aesthetically displeasing, if anything.

"People spend a lot of money on year-round pesticides," says Deborah M. Gordon, associate professor of biological sciences and lead author of the study published about ant infestation by Stanford researchers, "but it's not the pesticide that keeps ants out of your home, it's the weather."

If you find ants in your home, don’t worry! Most people will find ants in their home at some time or another. Controlling your ant problem in your home is your best bet, and using a combination of the above techniques during the peak ant infestation months will help to keep your ant problem under control.

Want to skip all this research and just hire a decent exterminator for your ant problem?

Click here to check out our exterminator search tool where we instantly send you free quotes from trusted (and thoroughly vetted) exterminators in your local area. 

(Process takes about 30 seconds)

How do I get rid of ants permanently? Is it possible?

​I would say that it is relatively impossible to permanently stop ants from coming into your home.

It’s important to know that once ants get into your home, they won’t go away on their own. You’ll have to hire a professional to take care of the ant problem or you’ll have to learn to get rid of ants yourself.

The good news is, you can get rid of most ant problems yourself as I noted above!

I hope you enjoyed this article on how to get rid of ants.

Questions/concerns? Leave a comment down below.

Other Ant Guides

Curious about other ant related guides? Check out our other detailed guides to help you deal with your pest problems.

If you give an ant a cookie, it will eat it.If you give an ant a dead insect, it might[...]
Looking for the best ant killers for the kitchen?Well, you're in the right place!In this guide you'll learn:Our top tips[...]

2 thoughts on “Ant Guides

Leave a Comment