James Mitchell

There are over 12,000 ant species in the world, so it’s no wonder that you can find them nearly anywhere. 

They are social insects that live in colonies. While most common household ants are harmless, some species can be a nuisance. Some ant species can even sting or bite.

Hiring a professional pest control service may not be a good idea since they use harsh chemicals and other pesticides. So, you can give homemade remedies for killing ants a try. But you should know more about the pests that invade your home.

How to Eliminate Ants

There are many ways to get rid of ants. Some of these ant killer recipes are suitable for indoor and outdoor use. Here are some of them.

Use Borax Ant Killer

Borax is a naturally occurring mineral that’s often used as a cleaner. When ingested, it interferes with the ant’s digestive system and eventually kills them.

Mix equal parts of the substance with sugar to make the bait. Set a bait station where you’ve seen individual ants. The sweet substance in these baits will attract ants. Then the borax will kill them. 

You can also set up outdoor bait stations in areas where you notice ant activity on your property. Additional bait stations outside can kill ants from a large colony in the yard. The bait placements should cover as much space as possible. 

You can also make a borax paste by mixing the substance with water. Apply the paste to any entry point where the pests might pass. You should have a sufficient supply of bait to put on cracks and crevices in the house.

The substance is also the active ingredient in Terro liquid ant baits. These commercial liquid ant baits are among the best ant killers on the market. 

Use Vinegar

how to kill ants with vinegar
Vinegar is a strong kind of acid that ants can’t stand. Photo by Towfiqu Barbhuiya

Vinegar is a strong acid that ants avoid. You should combine equal parts of vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Then, spray the liquid formula around the perimeter of your home.

You can also mix vinegar with sugar to make a homemade ant bait. Put the mixture in a shallow dish. The sweet substance will act as the bait. Once the ants take the bait, they won’t be able to escape because of the liquid bait’s high acidity level. 

You should position bait stations in strategic areas in the house. You can also place additional bait stations in other parts of your property.

Use Household Detergents

You can also use household detergents to make an effective ant control measure. The detergent breaks down the pheromone trails that these insects use to communicate. This makes it difficult for them to find their way back to your home.

To use this method, mix a small amount of detergent with water in a spray bottle and spray it around the house. You can also scrub the detergent on any flat surface in the house. 

Even though this liquid kills ants, it does not harm the plants in your garden. So, using the mixture is a must-do in gardening tasks if you find ant hills on your property.

Types of Ants in Houses

how to kill ants at home
Photo by Erik Karits

Many different types of ants can invade your home. But some species are more commonly found indoors than others. Here are some of the most common species that invade homes:

  • Odorous house ants: These small ants are brown or black and got their name from the rotten coconut-like smell they release when crushed.
  • Carpenter ants: These are large black ants that have a colony in wood. So they’re often found near wood structures, such as cabinets and doors.
  • Red imported fire ants: Red imported fire ants are colored red and often build their nests outdoors. A fire ant enters a house through holes in the exterior.

Now that you know the different species that can invade your home, you should know the reasons behind your ant problems.

Reasons for Infestations

The presence of foraging ants in the house means more ants are coming. Here are some of the most common reasons these insects invade homes:

  • Searching for sustenance: Even though these insects eat all types of food, they are attracted to sweets. You should clean any food particles around the house immediately.
  • Looking for water: If there is a water source in your house, it will likely draw these insects. They will also bring water for the entire colony due to their communal nature. After finding a water source, ants leave a scent trail to lead others to its location. So, ensure there are no leaks or standing water around the house, highlighting the importance of home maintenance.
  • Seeking shelter: If the weather outside is too hot or cold, they will look for a place to build new colonies. They will try to enter your house since it provides perfect conditions. You should also deal with any ant colony you find outside the house as soon as possible. Removing the nest prevents ants from making their way indoors.

Now that you know why ants invade homes, you can work on a solution. 

Tips to Prevent an Ant Infestation

It’s easier to prevent an ant problem than to get rid of one. Here are some tips that can help:

  • Keep your kitchen clean and free of crumbs. Wipe up spills and clean grease spots immediately. 
  • Check for dead bed bugs. You should also pay attention to the presence of bed bugs. Ants scavenge and consume their bodies. Common household ants do not hunt for these insects since they hide in hard-to-reach places. But other species, such as the fire ant, are their natural predators.
  • Use natural repellants. Essential oils can keep ants from entering the home. You can mix peppermint, eucalyptus, or tea tree oil with water and spray it all over the house.
  • Trim trees and shrubs, so they aren’t touching your house. Trimming them also allows you to see potential colonies on rotting wood in the yard.

Regardless of the method, you should be vigilant in preventing ants from entering your home. Pay attention to your surroundings and keep your house clean to keep these pesky critters at bay.

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