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How to Get Rid of Ants In and Around Your Home

A close-up of a bunch of red fire ants.

Ants are the worst. They can get into your house, your cabinets, under your sink and other places in your home. There are many things you can do to prevent ants from getting in your house and ways to combat them if they do find their way in. We have the answers.

Make no mistake about it, I HATE ants. They are dirty and gross. The only worse things are flies and roaches.

Imagine my consternation when I came home one-day last summer to a countertop that appeared to be black and moving. Yes, it was an ant takeover and I was so overwhelmed it took me a few minutes to figure out how to combat these mini monsters. With elbow-length gloves on, I grabbed my insect spray and began the mass murder of millions of little “buggers,” literally.

If you share my complete disgust at these mortifying little insects, read on. We are going to tackle every possible way we can find, to get rid of these pests once and for all.

Related: Most different types of insects that are pests

How Can I Prevent Ants from Getting into My Home?

A bunch of ants scurrying on a stone walkway.

There are many things you can do to be proactive in keeping the ants from entering your home. If you keep them from getting in, you won’t ever have to worry about getting them out.

Take the Right Precautions (Natural Remedies)

A bark of cinnamon placed on a windowsill to drive ants away.

There are many things you can do to prevent ants from entering your home. According to Jerry Baker, the author of Supermarket Super Products which offers natural solutions to a wide range of household and pest issues. He has a whole section devoted to natural remedies you can use to keep ants out of your home.

Here are some suggestions from Jerry Baker and others to help prevent ants from moving into your home:

  • Ammonia: If you have found the source of your ants, such as an anthill, you can get rid of the entire colony by pouring ammonia into their anthill, follow it up with some boiling water, and they’re goners!
  • Concoction: If you’re in the midst of an ant invasion, mix up this concoction. Mix equal amounts of borax, alum, sugar, flour and enough water to make a watery past, similar to pancake batter. Please shallow containers around windowsills and other areas where ants may enter your home. Please be sure to place them in areas away from children and pets.
  • Chalk: Some have questioned the validity of using chalk lines to deter ants. Well, the fact is ants use their sense of smell to find food. Chalk will block their “sniffers” at least temporarily. So, if you’re planning an outside party and afraid of an ant epidemic, draw thick chalk lines around your table, or leading into your homes’ entryways. It will eventually wear off so you will need to keep applying the chalk if you want to make this a more permanent solution.
  • Eggshells: For whatever reason, eggshells are a natural ant repellent; this also works for other pests, especially those that can harm your plants. Next time you make eggs, save the shells, rinse them and break them up. You can put them in your cabinets to get rid of ants. You can also add them to the base of your plants to keep ants and other pests away from your plants.
  • Citrus fruits, especially lemons and oranges, contain limonene, which repels ants—it also works for spiders. Spread lemon peels outside your home and use lemon and orange juice anywhere you see ants coming into your home. You can also wash your floors with the juice of 4 lemons to a gallon of water.

Commercial Ant Products

If you don’t have time to create your own ant repellant, there are many good products on the market that are available at your favorite home box store or via online orders.

Before your use any ant killer in your home, take great care where you put the ant killer so kids and pets can’t get hurt if they breathe in a spray solution. Remember to keep all chemicals out of the reach of children.

Sprays

One of the most convenient ways to wage war on pesky ants is to hit them with a serious pest killer. One of the benefits of sprays is that they are typically formulated to kill more than one type of pest. While you’re targeting ants, you may also be getting rid of spiders, roaches and other gross creepy crawlers.

Raid Ant & Roach Killer Outdoor Fresh, 17.5 OZ (Pack - 1)
Click image for more info

This is an effective and cost-efficient solution to your ant problem. This product not only kills ants on contact and keeps them away for up to 4 weeks. You can spray areas where ants may enter your home as well as areas where they may be planning on nesting like windows, baseboards, and cracks in the foundation. This will also work on spiders, roaches and water bugs. You can pick up a can at your local garden center or Amazon for around $5.00.

Harris Ant Killer is another brand that is readily available and effective in killing ants. The key ingredient is cypermethrin which has been proven to eliminate all types of ants, those found inside and out.

 Home Depot Harris 20 oz. Ant Killer Spray (2-Pack)-2GANT-20 - The Home Depot

Source: Home Depot

Spray into cracks and crevasses inside and out especially in areas that may attract ants like bathrooms and kitchens.

Zevo Instant Action Flying Insect Killer Repellent for Flies Gnats Fruit Flies & Other Flying Insects (10 oz) | Indoor Outdoor Use | Bio-Selective Pet People Friendly Safe | 10 Oz Bottle
Click image for more info

Zevo Multi-Insect Killer, will not only get rid of your pesky ants but will also deter roaches, flies, mosquitoes and a variety of other insects. This product is safe to use inside and outside as it targets the nervous system of various insects and will not affect humans or pets and is safe to use indoors.

Heavy Duty Spray Formulas

If you have a large area to tackle, for instance, if you’re planning a picnic or home barbecue, you need some heavy-duty spray to cover large areas. Here are some larger-format options:

Ortho Home Defense Insect Killer for Indoor & Perimeter2 - with Comfort Wand, Long-Lasting Control, Kills Ants, Cockroaches, Spiders, Fleas & Ticks, Non-Staining, Odor Free, 1.1 gal.
Click image for more info

Ortho Home Defense comes in a gallon size, ready-to-use pest spray with a heavy-duty sprayer for larger areas. This product states that they protect your home for up to 12-months. Makers suggest your spray the exterior of your home to keep pests from getting into your home. Home Defense and can be used inside and outside anywhere pests can enter your home.

Bayer Advanced 700310 Carpenter Ant and Termite Killer Plus Concentrate, 40-Ounce
Click image for more info

If you are being plagued by Carpenter ants or termites, you should pick up BioAdvanced Carpenter Ant and Termite Killer. This will not only get rid of Carpenter ants as well as termites, but it will also help deter carpenter bees, fleas, and ticks. It offers a non-drip formula, so it stays where you put it. You can safely use it inside and outside for numerous climbing, crawling and flying insects that are drawn to wood.

Spectracide Bug Stop Home Barrier, Ready-to-Use, 1-Gallon
Click image for more info

This is a non-staining, no odor spray that claims that it will protect your home from pests for up to 12-months. In addition to ants, it will keep fleas/ticks, silverfish, crickets and other gross pests from your home. Just spray along the perimeter of your home and inside where pests may enter including around windowsills and baseboards.

Ant Crystals and Granules

In addition to sprays, using repellent crystals and granules will also help keep ants and other pests away.

Here are some popular options:

TERRO® Ant Killer Plus

Source: Terro Ant Killer Plus

Terro Ant Killer is a granular product that is typically used around the perimeter of the foundation, directly on anthills or in lawns.  This product comes in an easy to use shaker bag so you can just go to the area you need to protect or treat and shake it on. Because you can get it right where you want it, you can tackle the pests right where they live.

Prescription Treatments Advance 375A Select Ant Bait (2_Pound)
Click image for more info

Advance 375a Select Granular Ant Bait is a granular ant bat that can be used indoor and outdoor. It attracts ants with scents that attract them after they eat the insecticide, it reduces decreases the number of worker ants, which reduces egg production—and the colony dies out. This product works on long term elimination as it kills the entire colony, including the queen.

Liquid Ant Baits

TERRO T300B Liquid Ant Bait Ant Killer, 12 count
Click image for more info
Ortho Home Defense Insect Killer for Lawn & Landscape Ready-to-Spray - Treats up to 5,300 sq. ft, Kills Ants, Ticks, Mosquitoes, Fleas & Spiders, Starts Killing Within Minutes, 32 oz.
Click image for more info

With ant traps, you are using the ants themselves to do the dirty work. Scout or worker ants are attracted to the baits and consume the product, but while they’re enjoying their last meal, they are also taking the liquid bait back to the colony, killing them all. The formulation was created to keep the worker ants alive until they reach their final destination, their ant colony.

Think of this as a buffet for your most hated ants. Inside the bait station, ants will find a delicious blend of food and insecticide, with a bit of water thrown in for good measure. Ants smell the food and are attracted to the station; they get their tummies filled while “taking the bait.” They take that poisonous bait back to their colonies killing everyone including the queen.

RAID® ANT BAITS III

Source: Raid Ant Baits

These baits should keep ants away for at least three months. As with the other baits, the ants come to dine and leave with residue that they pass along to all the other ants in the colony. You can place them along baseboards, under sinks and near plumbing, where ants may find their way in for water. Replace each bait after three months to maintain an ant-free environment.

Ask a Professional

A bunch of dead red ants with an insecticide in the background.

If you have tried your natural, homemade remedies and purchased products that specialize in killing ants and you’re still being invaded by these pests, you may need to call a professional. Those that work in exterminating are well qualified to discuss what options you have to eradicate all the pests that are disrupting your life.

One of the top national companies that will get rid of the pests in your home is Orkin. If you have an issue with outside pests like termites or carpenter ants, Terminix is another company that can help you eradicate all your pests.

In your area, there may be other highly respected pest control companies, but these two are national companies.

The first they will do is give your home a complete inspection, as you may have more pests than you realize.

If your only issue is ants, they will provide you hints in keeping your home clean, such as:

  • Don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink, on counters or on the floor
  • Empty trash
  • Use natural boundaries such as chalk and flour to see if that will eradicate your problem before you begin chemical treatments

Remember at all times, if you are introducing chemicals into your home, find out if they are harmful to adults, children, and pets.

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