Although ants are interesting insects and can be fascinating to watch in ant farms, they are pests that do not belong in your house. Since they are small, they can easily get inside a house through cracks in the foundation or under doorways and find their way to your kitchen while exploring for food.
While they don’t carry bacteria harmful to humans, they can be very destructive because they eat wood, which can affect the integrity of a house’s structure. Once they have made their way into your home, ants can be difficult to get rid of, but you can learn how to kill ants with home remedies.
To effectively kill ants, it helps to be able to identify them. Ants almost always travel together, so where there is one, there is usually a colony nearby.
Since ants are insects, they will have six legs, a head with compound eyes, and two antennae to feel their way around and smell food and water. They also have three body segments consisting of the head, thorax, and abdomen also called the gaster.
Ants also have one or two segments connecting the thorax and abdomen. These segments, called nodes or pedicels, can help identify what type of ants you have around or in your house. You can also tell ants apart from their size. Tiny ants are about 1/16”, medium ants range from 1/16″ to 3/8″, and large ants are classified as longer than 3/8″.
When Will You Find Ants in Your Home?
Unfortunately, like many little pesks, ants are one the best types of insects that can surreptitiously find their way into your home. Finding ants in your home depends on a couple of factors.
The type of home you live in, your location, your climate, and the type of year all depend on when you can expect to find ants in your home. Additionally, the type of ant in your home depends on where you live as well.
For the most part, you can expect to run into ants in your home during the warmer months of the year. When the temperature rises, you can expect to find ants crawling out of their underground homes and thriving in the warm environment under the sun. Because ants are out and about, they will only come into your home if you give them a reason to.
If you constantly leave food lying around your home, then within a matter of hours, a single ant will be able to sniff it out and call on the rest of the colony to come to pick up their share. Because of this, it is imperative that you eat only in designated areas in your home like the kitchen and the dining room.
Additionally, it is super important to always clean up after you have handled food. Leaving food lying around your kitchen is a surefire way to get ants stomping around.
Types of Ants
Once you have established that there are ants in your home, before you can deal with them, you need to know what type of ant you are dealing with. Below, we have listed the most common ant that you can expect to find crawling around your home.
Odorous House Ants
This medium-sized ant usually makes its nest outside in mulch, under stones, and in brick walls where there is room. However, they will sometimes make their nests in homes, even though they prefer being outside.
They only have one node between the thorax and abdomen, although it’s hidden. If you have a great sense of smell, odorous house ants give off a licorice-like scent when they are crushed. If they do come inside your house, they can be found in the kitchen feeding from sweets.
As their name implies, pavement ants like to nest in soil under stones, between sidewalk slabs, or next to buildings, but they will also nest in your house. They can be found under floorboards, in walls, or in insulation, especially in the winter when they seek out heat. If you’ve seen ants traveling in and out of a dirt crater in sidewalk cracks, those are pavement ants.
They are medium-sized ants with two nodes, a stringer which they rarely use, and they are light-brown to black with lighter legs and antenna. Pavement ants like to eat a variety of foods so if you have these ants in the kitchen, they will eat meat, cheese, breadcrumbs, honey, grease, and pet food.
These tiny ants like to nest in soil, but they can also be found roaming along sidewalks, the trunks of trees, and along the outside edges of a house. Rover ants are stockier than most ants with an abdomen that is almost bigger than their other two segments put together. It has one node, is dark brown color, and if they get inside your house, they prefer to eat sweet foods.
Sugar ants can be members of many ant species, including pharaoh ants, which have two nodes and are tiny, yellowish-colored ants with dark tips on their abdomens. They often nest inside houses in dark, narrow spaces like wall voids, cardboard boxes, electrical boxes, linens, and other dark confines.
They will feed on sugary foods like syrup and fruits, but also on meats, and pet food. When you have pharaoh ants in the house, they are found in dark places in the kitchen and bathroom because they need moisture.
Have you ever seen a fast-running ant that seems to be drunk because of its erratic running style? That is a crazy ant. They are tiny dark brown ants with one node body and several hairs all over them.
Crazy ants will nest inside houses and quickly become an ant problem. They will nest in the soil of house plants as they like warm, humid areas. While they prefer to eat insects and feed on sweet foods, they will eat almost anything they find lying around.
Contrary to their name, ghost ants are not difficult to spot because they are medium- to large-sized ants. Their head and thorax are dark brown, but their gaster and legs are translucent, which is how they get their name. They also have a habit of running erratically along the edges of houses and may access your house from any point between the roof and basement.
Ghost ants will make their homes in potted plant soil, behind baseboards, and between cabinets and walls. They require a great deal of water, so you will often see them trailing to kitchen or bathroom sinks, behind toilets, or other water sources. They usually like to eat sweets when they’re in the house.
Knowing what ants look like, how they behave, and where they can be found helps, you figure out how to get rid of ants in the house. There are several natural ingredients that can make an effective ant killer.
Home Remedies for Getting Rid of Ants
If you have ants in the house, then you can discover how to kill ants by using natural home remedies for ants. For most of these homemade ant traps, you will already have the ingredients on hand.
Peppermint repels all types of insects including ants. Its strong smell renders them incapable of finding food so that they can starve themselves. You can use peppermint oil, peppermint leaves, or grow peppermint plants in the garden to repel ants.
Mix 10 drops of peppermint oil with one cup of water in a spray bottle. Then spray it where you’ve seen ants and repeat as necessary until they are gone. Also, place crushed peppermint leaves around entryways and garbage cans to repel ants.
The scent of lemons helps to repel ants and keeps them from nesting in your house because they don’t like the strong smell. It can also cover their trails, making it difficult for them to get back to their nests. As a DIY ant killer, it is safe for use around humans and pets. It is very easy to use, just rub lemon juice on doorways, windowsills, and other areas where they are getting into your house. Repeat every few days until the ants are gone.
A 2014 study found cinnamon essential oils to be effective in getting rid of ants and killing them. Ants don’t like the smell of cinnamon, so it can be used to repel and keep them out of your house or from scavenging for food in the kitchen.
Mix ¼ to ½ teaspoon of cinnamon oil with a cup of water. Dip cotton balls into the solution and wipe down areas where you’ve seen ants or where they come into your house. Repeat once a day as a home remedy to kill ants.
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Food grade diatomaceous Earth, or DE, is the crushed skeletons of marine phytoplankton. It’s a homemade ant killer due to its sharp edges. When the ants walk in DE, it will cut them and cause them to dry out. Place DE around window sills, under garbage cans, under the refrigerator, and in other places, you’ve seen them. Refresh the DE every day until the ants are gone.
Borax is safe for humans, but it’s highly toxic for ants, but it does attract them. It’s easy to find in hardware stores if you don’t have it in your house. Mix borax with an equal amount of jelly and put it on a plate. Place the plate with the borax ant killer near where you’ve seen ants, so they will crawl into it, ingest it, and die.
You can also mix one part borax with three parts granulated sugar in water until it has the consistency of syrup. Put the mixture in areas where you have seen ants kill them.
Chalk is made from calcium carbonate, which helps to repel ants. It’s simple to use because all you need to do is sprinkle powdered chalk where ants enter the house. You can also draw a line of chalk there as well.
Liquid dish soap also works well as a homemade ant trap. When ants step into it, the dish soap will suffocate and kill them. To find out how to kill ants with it, mix one-part dish soap with two parts of water in a spray bottle. Spray the mixture where ants have been seen and, in a few hours, you will be able to dispose of their bodies by wiping them up with a damp paper towel.
You can use cornmeal as an effective, and cheap, homemade ant trap. The cornmeal will attract ants to it because they will think it’s food. However, they cannot digest the granules so they will starve and die. Put the cornmeal where you’ve spotted ants and replenish it as needed.
Even though you may find the scent of coffee enticing, ants don’t because they are repulsed by the storm scent. To figure out how to get rid of carpenter ants, put coffee grounds around pet food bowls, under the refrigerator or sinks to get rid of them. You can also water down coffee grounds outside to act as a repellant.
Aspartame-based artificial sweeteners can lure ants to their deaths as homemade ant poison. You can learn how to kill ants naturally with sweeteners because they contain aspartic acid, which causes the brain to overstimulate itself and causes the ants to die. This homemade ant trap will work best with ants who eat sugary foods.
White vinegar is a safe, inexpensive way to get rid of ants in the kitchen. They find the smell overbearing, and it can cover their scent trails, so they get lost when attempting to go back to their nests.
You can use this natural ant killer by mixing equal parts water and white vinegar, along with a few drops of any essential oil, in a spray bottle. Then spray baseboards, around windowsills, and other entry points. A damp paper towel will pick up their bodies so you can dispose of them. Spray every day until the ants are gone.
The strong smell of cayenne pepper will interfere with ants’ ability to smell, so they won’t be able to get back to their nests or seek food, so they will starve. Sprinkle cayenne in places where ants have been seen or you can mix the cayenne powder with turmeric powder and sprinkle where they are getting into your house to repel them.
Although cucumber might attract ants as a food source, they will find the taste to be bitter. To learn how to kill ants with it, place cucumber peels in areas where ants have been spotted. They will feed on the peels, so you will need to add new peels every day until the ants are gone.
Kill Ants from Your Home Right Away!
Now that you have a bit of an understanding of how to identify the different ants there are, you are one step closer to figuring out how to get rid of them in your home. The good news is that the solutions we have listed above are some of the best, all-natural ways to fight off these pesky little critters. Have you tried any of these methods before in your own home? Let us know below how that went.