How to Get Rid of Ants

Effective Strategies to Get Rid of Ants in Your Home

How to Get Rid of Ants

Ants. Those tiny little bugs that seem to come into our homes every summer looking for food and water. Even though they are annoying, ants play an important part in nature, helping to make soil airy and reuse nutrients.

But when they start walking through your kitchen or building hills in your garden, it’s time take action to make them leave.

In this article, we’ll go over some general tips to stop ants from coming in, natural ways to drive them away, and stronger methods if gentler tactics don’t work. We’ll also answer some often asked questions about these pesky little critters.

About Ants

There are over 12,000 known types of ants in the world, but only a handful are called “pest” ants that usually come into homes. The most common ant invaders are:

  • Carpenter ants: These large black ants dig into wood to make nests.
  • Odorous house ants: Small brownish ants that smell strong when crushed.
  • Pavement ants: Small black or brown ants that make nests in pave cracks.
  • Argentine ants: Tiny brown ants that walk indoors in long lines looking for sweets.
  • Pharaoh ants: Tiny yellowish ants often in hospitals and restaurants.

Ants live in colonies with one or more egg-laying queens. Worker ants look for food sources, while soldier ants protect the nest. Ants communicate with each other by leaving pheromone pathways that guide nestmates to food.

By tracing the pathways ants leave behind, you can often identify where they’re entering your home and address the issue at its source.

What Attracts Ants In Your Home?

Ants come into homes looking for food and water. Some common things that make ants want to come inside are:

  • Sugary foods like syrup or jelly
  • Greasy, fatty, or oily stuff
  • Pet food bowls
  • Crumbs left on floors or counters
  • Leaky pipes or dampness
  • Open food bags and containers

General Tips to Keep Ants Away

Here are some tips to help keep ants from coming into your home:

  • Clean up food spills and crumbs right away so ants aren’t drawn inside.
  • Keep food in closed containers and counters and floors free of crumbs.
  • Clean greasy areas in kitchens and bathrooms frequently.
  • Fix water leaks and dry out damp areas where ants like nesting.
  • Seal cracks and holes around doors, pipes and the foundation where ants may enter.
  • Keep trash cans clean and empty the trash often.
  • Sprinkle ant deterrents like black pepper or cloves around outdoor nests and entry points.
  • Apply sticky traps outside to block ants from trailing indoors.
  • Cut back trees and bushes so they don’t touch or overhang the home.
  • Change out empty hummingbird feeders a lot so they don’t bring ants.

Following good cleaning habits around your home is key to keeping ants away. Don’t give them a reason to come inside looking for food!

What Attracts Ants In Your Home?

Natural Ways to Get Rid of Ants

If you already have ants, here are some all-natural ways you can try to make them leave:

Diatomaceous earth – This powder made from crushed fossils cuts into ants and kills them within 48 hours. Sprinkle it around indoor and outdoor nests.

Borax – Mix this laundry booster with sugar water to make homemade trap. The ants eat it and bring it back to the nest, killing them.

White vinegar – Wipe down affected areas with a mixture of half white vinegar and half water. Vinegar disrupts ant trails.

Lemon juice/orange oil – Squeeze lemon juice around doorways, and other entry points. Citrus oil naturally chases away ants.

Cucumber peels – Place fresh cucumber slices or peels by nests. Cucumbers have a natural compound that makes ants leave.

Cinnamon/coffee grounds – Sprinkle these strongly scented items where you see ants coming in. The aroma disrupts their marching paths.

Peppermint oil – Place cotton balls soaked in this oil where ants are active. The strong smell deters them.

Cornmeal – Sprinkle this around nests and entry points. Ants take it back to the nest but can’t digest it, killing them.

Chalk/talcum powder – Draw lines of these fine dusts around doorways or windows to block ants. The powder disrupts their pathways.

Using natural ways centered on strong smells, abrasive textures and plant-based ant chasers can often make ants leave. Try a mix for the best results.

Call in Help if Natural Ways Don’t Work

Sometimes gentler ways aren’t enough to fully get rid of a lot of ants. If natural stuff doesn’t work well, you may need to take stronger solution:

  • Ant killer sprays – Apply these liquid or gel bug killers directly on nests to quickly kill ants. They are toxic and should be used carefully.
  • Borax ant traps – These contain borax mixed with a sugary attractant. Place them along ant routes, near nests, or in areas where ants are active.
  • Terro liquid ant bait – This popular borax-based comes pre-filled in traps. Just stick traps where you see ants.
  • Insect growth regulators (IGRs) – These stop ants from growing up and reproducing. Applied by pros, they offer long term control.
  • Boric acid – Have a pro put this effective but toxic treatment into wall spaces or hidden nesting areas ants go to a lot.
  • Fipronil – This powerful bug killer is in granules that workers take back to the nest to completely kill the nest.
  • Professional pest control – For really bad infestations, it may be time to bring in the pros. Exterminators have commercial strength products not sold to consumers.

If you have ants that always seem to come back despite your efforts, don’t wait to call a pro. Getting rid of ants for good may need stronger treatments.


How do you get rid of carpenter ants?

Find and spray nests directly with ant killer sprays with pyrethroids. For nests in walls, drill small holes and put in insecticide dust. Seal up any wood damage once they’re gone.

What smell do ants hate?

Ants can’t stand the strong smells of essential oils like citrus, eucalyptus, tea tree, and lemongrass. They also don’t like herbs like mint, garlic, and cloves.

Does vinegar keep ants away?

Yes, white vinegar disrupts the scent paths ants use to find their way. Wipe surfaces with equal parts vinegar and water to deter ants. Reapply frequently for optimal results.

What home remedy kills ants instantly?

Diatomaceous earth and direct sprays of bug killers labeled to kill ants right away work fastest when put directly on nests and entry points.

Do ants keep coming back once you see them?

Seeing a few scout ants likely means there’s a nest nearby. Until you find and destroy the nest, ants will keep coming back. Seal holes, put out traps to kill the nest.

Call in Help if Natural Ways Don't Work


Getting rid of ant infestations in your home takes work, but you can do it.

Use natural ant chasers, kill ants with baits, and call pros if you need to.

Keep trying different things until no more ants come back. With these tips, you can kick ants out of your home for good.

Soon, your home will be ant-free if you stay on top of it! Don’t let those tiny ants bug you anymore.