Ants – although they play an important role in the ecosystem, they can become a nuisance when they invade your home or wreak havoc on plant life. Sometimes they become not only annoying but can also pose a danger to pets as well as humans. So it’s essential for homeowners to know how to get rid of ants permanently.
Then, what do you do?
When ants invade your sweet home or destroy your green, healthy lawn, it’s time to fight back.
Luckily, you have a lot of options to get rid of ants and keep them out.
After an extensive research and test on how to get rid of ants permanently, finally, we’ve found out some of the most effective ways that you can use.
Let’s go through the different methods of ant control.
Efficient Methods How to Get Rid of Ants Permanently
The step-by-step method is convenient to follow.
Step 1: Identifying the ant species
Step 2: Learn the ant invasion sign
Step 3: Find out what’s attracting the ants
Step 4: Treating the ants
Step 1: Identifying The Ant Species
Do you know what species of ants are destroying your green lawn or invading your sweet home?
Before taking steps to battle ants, it’s essential to know what type of ants is invading your home. This is because an effective measure of one species may not be effective for another.
Generally, ants reside in colonies. Some colonies have one queen, while others have multiple queens. There are more than 12,000 known species of ants all over the world. The following are some types of ants that can be found in the United States:
Types of Ants
Carpenter Ant (Camponotus) – Several variations of this ant species exist across the United States. Because of this, their physical description can be broad. Carpenter ants are considered as structural pests. Woodland homes are especially at risk of suffering structural damage. Although they don’t eat wood, they excavate it to create nests. Worker ants measure between 6 and 13 mm. The nest of carpenter ants is usually found outside in lumber or trees. Indoors, they nest in roofs, woodwork, and other areas near moisture. Some species of carpenter ants can be aggressive and will resort to stinging if their nest is disturbed.
Fire Ant (Solenopsis) – Fire ants nest in the soil near moist areas, such as watered lawns, river banks, pond shores, and highway shoulders. The nest isn’t visible, because it is usually built under timber, rocks, or bricks. However, if they cannot find cover for nesting, fire ants may build dome-shaped mounds in open spaces, such as fields, lawns, or parks. Fire ants feed mostly on young plants and seeds. They also attack and kill small insects and animals. Fire ants are more aggressive than other native species of ants. They bite to get a grip and then sting by injecting a toxic venom called solenopsin. The sensation produced by the sting is similar to being burned by fire (this is where they got their name). The effects of the sting can be deadly to some sensitive people.
Leaf Cutter Ant (Acromyrmex and Atta) – These ant species are endemic to South America, Central America, Mexico, and southern parts of the United States. Leaf cutter ants cut and process fresh vegetation (leaves, grasses, and flowers), and can carry 20 times their body weight. In a span of a few years, the central mound of the underground nests can grow to more than 98 feet across and can contain up to 8 million ants. Leaf cutter ants are considered agricultural pests, defoliating crops and damaging farm land with their nest-making activities.
Argentine Ant (Linepithema humile) – This type of ant is commonly found in California, Hawaii, and the southeastern part of the United States. Its color is light to dark brown. The worker ants are 2.2 to 2.8 mm long and have one node. They emit a musty smell when stepped on. Argentine ants nest outdoors in a variety of areas during the winter and shadier spots during the summer. But they can also nest indoors in areas such as wall insulation. These ants don’t have the ability to sting.
Black House Ant (Monomorium minimum) – This ant species is native to North America. It has a shiny black color. These little black ants are mostly scavengers. Workers can forage in houses, but nest in soil mounds. The workers are 1 to 2 mm long while the queens are 4 to 5 mm long. Usually, a colony is small in size, with only a few thousand workers. A nest can have more than one queen.
Rover Ant (Brachymyrmex) – This type of ant is usually found in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and Mississippi. The average length for this ant is 1.6 mm. Rover ants have a medium to dark brown color. They nest outdoors under objects on the ground, grass edges, and parking lots. But they can also nest indoors in kitchens and bathrooms. Although they don’t sting, their large colony can make them a nuisance. Rover ants have a preference for sweet liquids.
Black Garden Ant (Lasius niger) – This type of ant can be a problem for gardeners. Black garden ants farm aphids for the honeydew they excrete, bringing them from plant to plant. This spreads the garden pests to new healthy plants. Black garden ants feed on spiders, insects, and other small invertebrates. They also eat ripe fruits, especially those that have thin skin such as strawberries. These ants mate on the wing (flying ants). In North America, the mating or nuptial flights usually occur during the autumn.
Sugar Ant (Tapinoma sessile) – These ants can be found in various habitats, including houses. They are brown or black in color. When crushed, they leave a smell, that’s why they are also called “stink ants.” Sugar ants are attracted to sweets and sources of water. Aside from sugary foods, they also forage for honeydew and floral nectar.
Crazy Ant (Paratrechina longicornis) – Crazy ants got their name from their behavior of dashing around erratically instead of following straight lines. They are blackish-brown with long legs and antennae. Crazy ants don’t have stingers. These ants can form colonies in both moist and dry environments. They nest in soil, plants, vegetation, and mulch. But they can also be found indoors: under carpets, wall voids, and house plants.
Step 2: Learn the Ant Invasion Sign
To control ants in your lawn, garden or home, you must be familiar with the signs of an ant invasion. The first sign is marching ribbon of hundreds of ants. The other common signs are:
Lone “rogue” ants: If you notice any single ant wandering in the lawn, plant leaves or in your home, don’t ignore it. It’s definitely not alone. There is a possibility that there is an ant colony nearby. Some colonies send out scouts to find food sources.
Ant trails: Usually, ants create trails to lead the colonies to food sources. It’s like building a paved road where ants follow one another. If you see a few of them, they are surely following an ant trail.
Ant nest entrances: An ant nest site looks like a tiny hole with dirt around the edges or a raised tiny hill. You may find the sign of ants between paving bricks or in pavement cracks.
Step 3: Find Out What’s Attracting the Ants
You may be wondering what’s attracting ants to your home. The reason: FOOD and WATER.
Ants are capable of detecting the smallest food particle from a far distance due to their strong sense of smell. If there is a food source in your home or lawn, ants will lay a trail and direct it to their colony.
It’s likely that children drop food crumbs in your yard or lawn during their playtimes. These lure ants to your lawn. In addition, ants search for water. They usually invade moist areas in the dry season. Knowing “what causes ant problems” can help prevent future infestation.
Step 4: Treating the Ants
If you can find the ant colony, you can destroy it to get rid of the problem. But the problem is, the ants may build a new colony close to the abandoned one. To remove ants from your house or lawn, take note of the following tips on how to get rid of ants permanently.
How to get rid of ants permanently? To treat ants, you have two options:
- Natural Treatment
- Non-Natural/ Chemical Treatment
If you don’t want to use expensive and potentially harmful chemicals, you can get rid of ants with everyday items around your home. It will not only kills ants but also prevent them from coming back.
If you have an ant problem, one of the following methods will definitely work for you.
- Lemon juice – To get rid of ants naturally, add 50% lemon juice and 50% water to a spray bottle. Mix and shake well. Spray on entry points and places where you see ants. The acid messes up the ants’ sense of tracking. Repeat every few days or until the ants are gone.
- Vinegar – Another way to get rid of ants naturally is by using vinegar. The smell of vinegar repels ants and masks their scent trails. Pour 1/4 cup of vinegar and 1/4 cup of water into a spray bottle. Shake the bottle and spray to kill the ants. You can also spray on nests to get rid of ants permanently. Repeat every few days if the problem persists.
- Baking soda – Mix 3/4 tablespoon of baking soda with 3/4 tablespoon powdered sugar. Put it in a jar lid. Ants can’t differentiate between powdered sugar and baking soda because they’re similar in size. The powdered sugar attracts the ants, while the baking soda kills them. It will cause a reaction in their digestive system, resulting in death. Place the jar lid containing the mixture in strategic locations. You can also place the mixture directly on surfaces where ants are prevalent.
- Essential oil – When an ant discovers food, it marks a path from the food to its nest through pheromones. With the help of their antennae, other ants can smell and follow this path. Essential oils work by disrupting scent trails. Place a few drops of essential oil on a cotton ball and wipe it on baseboards and other entry points. Alternatively, you can put essential oil in a spray bottle and use it as a spray. Wipe or spray essential oil every few days until the ants are gone.
- Diatomaceous earth – This is an off-white talc-like powder, and is the fossilized remains of phytoplankton. Diatomaceous earth (DE) is odorless and non-staining, so you can use it indoors. However, you should use food-grade DE, not the kind used on swimming pools. Sprinkle a thin layer in window sills, beneath the refrigerator, under cabinets, and other areas where ants are likely to be. DE don’t kill ants instantly; it can take a week before you can see results.
- Cayenne pepper and water– Ants hate cayenne pepper. Spray the ant invaded area with a solution of cayenne pepper and water. The pepper won’t kill ants but will surely deter them from returning.
- Coffee grounds – Put some coffee grounds on cracks and entry points. It doesn’t kill ants. It just drives them away.
- Soapy water – Use a spray bottle filled with liquid dish soap and water. Spray the solution directly to kill ants. Also, look outside and search for ant hills. Find an opening and spray to get rid of ants.
- Chalk– Sprinkle powdered chalk on the ant trail or draw lines with chalk across the trail. Ants don’t like chalk and will not cross over that line. It will help keep them at bay.
- Borax, water, and sugar – Make a thin paste out of borax, sugar, and water. Put it in areas where ants usually frequent. The worker ants will take it to their nest. When they eat it, it will kill the ants, including the queen. However, borax is toxic so you should keep it away from pets and small children.
NON- NATURAL/ CHEMICAL TREATMENT
Another way to get rid of ants permanently is through the use of non-natural methods or chemical treatments. Here are two options for you:
Use ant bait
Various types of commercial ant baits are available on the market. Follow the instructions carefully. The ants take back the baits to their nests, thinking these are food particles, share with other ants and they die slowly. Although this is a slow process and takes time to have a full effect, it permanently eliminates ants.
Use ant spray
Like ant bait, a lot of pesticide sprays are also available that use various types of chemicals such as bifenthrin, carbaryl, pyrethroid. You should spray the ant killer directly to the nest, wall or pavements, and then spot treat where you’ll find them.
HOW TO FIND THE ANT NEST
One way how to get rid of ants permanently is to destroy and remove their nest. It’s important to do this, especially if you have carpenter ants, which can cause damage to your house. However, finding the nest is not always easy. Ants usually prefer areas that are soft and spongy. Check areas with water damage such as attics, bathrooms and exterior walls.
Cut small holes in damaged walls to locate the ant nest. If you find the nest, spray it with an insecticide containing permethrin, bifenthrin, or deltamethrin. Replace damaged wood and make sure to fix any water leaks. In case you can’t track down the ant nest, you can opt to hire a pest control service to take care of your ant problem.
PREVENTION IS THE BEST CURE: HOW TO KEEP ANTS AWAY
To keep ants out of your home or yard, you should follow some preventive measures:
- Keep your lawn grass trimmed and healthy.
- Eliminate insects, such as aphids, that ants like.
- Destroy trash containers and other objects like this.
- Plant flowers like marigold, which ants don’t like.
- Apply essential oils, such as peppermint oil that repels ants.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON HOW TO GET RID OF ANTS
When more than 12,000 species of ants exist in the world, it might be challenging how to get rid of ants permanently. But, we hope that we’ve offered you a great way to start.
The tips that we’ve discussed in our article have taught you how to get rid of ants. To become effective, you just have to follow them properly.
Thankfully, you won’t have to suffer long!