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Get Rid of Ants in the House

Updated on September 29, 2014

How to Get Rid of House Ants

How to get rid of ants is one of those questions we all ask eventually. Ants in the house are so common, it would be odd if you didn't find them from time to time. The warmer weather brings about a flurry of ant activity, and that's when we suddenly notice these ants in our house!

House ants can appear on your counters, in your food cabinets, inside the garbage can. Anywhere there is a food source is a possible location for a raid by a colony of ants.

Ants are attracted to a food source, and all too often we make it very easy for them to come into our homes. They will come through the windows, doors, and anywhere else they can sneak in.

My brother warned me to cut back my bushes and tree branches and not allow them to touch my house. This gives ants easy access to the house. Why make it easier? We cut back the trees that were brushing our roof, and also the bushes that were touching the house. This may make it harder to let the ants enter through the roof or chimney or any other place they care to. Ants are determined and well organized insects, so depriving them of a bridge to march across is a good idea.

Ant Photo by Sanchom on Flickr

Ants in the kitchen
Ants in the kitchen

Getting Rid of Ants Part One-

How to Keep Ants Out of the House

While it is difficult to keep ants out of the house, there are steps you can take to minimize the chances of an ant infestation. If you are proactive and takes certain steps before ants become a problem, you can ward off hungry swarms of them later.

A few years ago I left a bag of pita chips in my sunroom for a day or two. They were open, but closed with one of those snack bags clips. I never imagined the problem it would cause. Because I left them on the table by a window, I alerted the ants that it was dinner time. Within a day or so I had swarms of ants coming in through the windows and eating my pita chips. Lesson learned!

Never leave any food item in an unsealed container. Had I placed the chips in a zip lock bag, I could have avoided all those house ants!

As with cockroaches, ants will find any scrap, crumb, drop, or morsel of food left behind. You have to be diligent in your house cleaning if you want to avoid house ants.

First, as I said, make sure any food items such as cookies, chips or other sweet things are sealed in a zip lock or similar container. Keeping unwrapped food is an invitation to an ant party. Ants are particularly attracted to sweets. A little spilled juice or soda on the floor or counter needs to be removed immediately.

Dishes left overnight in the sink can also attract ants. Any can or bottle that has been emptied needs to be washed out thoroughly so that they don't attract house ants. Leaving any food on the counter that is just covered by plastic wrap may not be safe from ants.

In warmer weather, make sure to keep foods that may attract ants in the fridge. A cake dish with a cover will not dissuade house ants. That sugary smell will call out to them like a beacon.

I recently had some cat food cans on my counter that apparently I didn't rinse very well, and low and behold there came the ants!

Make a habit of sweeping or vacuuming the areas where you eat. If you have children, be cautious of where they are eating as well. Empty food wrappers have food remaining that will attract house ants, so they need to be disposed of and not left in the child's room.

If you have pets, be aware that their food will attract ants as well. I feed one of my cats under a window in the sunroom. That's where she eats, on the counter. So as a matter of daily routine, there are tiny remains of a meal there on the counter, and the ants know it. Tiny little ants were all over my counter where my kitty eats. The meat attracted them, as well as maybe the water bowl.

I had to clean the entire counter area and wipe away all traces of food and crumbs and bits that I can't see, but the ants seem to find.

If you routinely bring food outside of your house, on a deck or patio, the ants will easily find you. We always manage to drop or spill something, don't we? Try to not make a trail from your deck back into your house!

Sugar Cube Ants photo by Lindspetrol on Flickr

Ants in Kitchen Get Rid Of
Ants in Kitchen Get Rid Of

Getting Rid of House Ants Part 2

Killing House Ants NATURALLY

So what do you do if you find that despite all your efforts, you still have house ants? How do you get rid of ants in the house?

Getting rid of ants can be accomplished in a number of ways, some toxic, some natural and organic. You can spend some money to get rid of ants by using ant traps or ant sprays. Boric acid is a potent insecticide, but it takes a while to work. Who the heck wants to wait when you have house ants?

Or, you can do what I did.

I don't use pesticides in my home. In fact, I employ

all natural pest control for spiders and all other insects at all times. Seeing as conventional pesticides have such a devastating health effect on human and animal life, I choose organic and safe pest control methods.

Here is my RECIPE for ALL NATURAL Ant Killing Spray- Insecticidal Soap.

I devised my own natural ant killing spray. All I did was take an empty spray bottle and fill it about half way with water. I then added in about six tablespoons of Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Liquid Soap, and about cup of white vinegar.

The next time I saw ants on my counter I sprayed them. These were the little tiny ants you usually find. Literally, within ten seconds or less they were dead. No toxic pesticides to endanger your family and pets! Isn't that amazing?

Ants #2 photo by Cauchisavona on Flickr

Natural Ant Killing Spray Ingredients - Kill House Ants- NON TOXIC METHOD RECIPE

I was stunned at how well it worked.

In fact, the news about getting rid of house ants gets even better. Since I sprayed this stuff on my counters and around the window sill, not one ant has been back! Apparently the scent can be detected by the ants for weeks after spraying.

So, just get yourself some Dr. Bronners Liquid Peppermint Soap and make your own non toxic ant killer in minutes and watch those ants die!

I just realized that Dr. Bronner also has an ORGANIC line of his soaps! This is even better for those of you who wish to use an organic home made ant killing recipe.

I've included links to some of Dr. Bronner's liquid soaps on Amazon. The prices are usually better and they have all the sizes.

ANOTHER Thought- But I admit I have not tried this on the ants YET. CITRUS, and in particular ORANGE OIL is used as a natural pesticide. Dr. Bronner's Soaps include an orange oil variety. I imagine that this mixed with the peppermint scent might make an amazing all purpose bug killing insecticide- while retaining all natural and organic properties.

How do YOU get rid of Ants?

If you have ants in your home you are getting rid of them by some method. So tell me, what do you do to get rid of ants?

How do YOU get Rid of ANTS in your house?

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ANT Identification Guide

Which Kind of Ants Do You Have in Your House?

There are about twelve thousand or more species of ants in the world. In the northeast, one of the most common ants is the Carpenter Ant. They are one of the largest ants, and usually infest homes and buildings. They range from 3/8ths of an inch to inch long, and are either black or red in color. They appear different from other ants because they have a pronounced waist dividing their front section from the rear. Carpenter ants consume sources of protein and sweets. Although they don’t eat wood, they may cause damage by creating tunnels.

Pavement Ants commonly infect houses in the northeast. Nesting in colonies under sidewalks, building slabs and large rocks, they will also enter houses through cracks in the structure. They are 1/8 to 1/16th inch long and can be dark brown or black. They will eat a great variety of foods from sugars and fruits, to dead insects and grease.

Pharaoh Ants, very tiny and brown, can be found wherever there is food. They live in the eastern half of the United States, and the coastal Northwest. They especially love sugary foods.

Odorous Ants are found throughout the United States. They give off an obnoxious odor when crushed. Black to dark brown, they are about one tenth of an inch long. They make nests inside walls, around hot water pipes and heaters, in kitchen cabinets, and around sinks. They feed on foods that include sweets and meat, although their favorite food is honeydew and insects.

Thief Ants in the southeast United States are very tiny, with the worker ant hardly large than 1/16th of an inch long. They vary in color from yellow to light brown, and feed on greasy foods, proteins, dead insects and rodents. They are called thief ants because they will steal food and larva from other ant nests, traveling within cabinets and walls, and creeping along baseboards.

Photo by Nicvanas on Flickr
Photo by Nicvanas on Flickr

8 Interesting Ant Facts

Things you may not know about ants

They are the Einsteins of the insect world. Just look at how well they organize their colonies and function as a unit. They have more brain cells than any other bug, and put them to good use in their quest to take over the world, one kitchen at a time.

There are so many ants worldwide that if you put them all together, they would roughly equal the same biomass as all combined humans. Wow!

The Queen is mega important to the entire colony. While individual worker ants may only live about two months or so, a queen ant can survive up to twenty years. When the queen ant finally does die, the colony will soon die as well. They just can't live without their queen. Talk about tireless devotion!

Ants have enough intelligence to function in many of the same ways that humans do. They form a large family unit, they hunt, they each have a designated job, they use tools, they farm, and some even enslave other species of insects.

Ants are exceptionally strong, being able to lift twenty times their own body weight.

Ants have no lungs. They expel carbon dioxide from holes all over their bodies.

Ants leave scent trails with their pheromones. This enables the other worker ants to find the food source that the first ant has found, which is how your kitchen can be filled with ants in a matter of hours. They communicate with this scent trail.

Ants even have workers that serve as sanitation engineers. These workers transport the garbage from their nests into a designated garbage dump. How nice that they too like to keep house.

Traditional Avenues of Ant Control - Natural and Organic Pesticides Get Rid of ANTS

More Ant Killing Options if you want to get rid of ants naturally and using non toxic methods.

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    • imolaK profile image

      imolaK 6 years ago

      I enjoyed reading your very informative lens about ants. Blessed by an Angel!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Kudos to the author of this very informative article. I especially like the alternatives to toxic ant killing methods. Well done!