How to Get Rid of Ants in the House, Fantastic Pest Contol
How to Get Rid of Ants Invasion in Your Home?
- 1 How to Get Rid of Ants Invasion in Your Home?
- 2 Why do ants come into your home?
- 3 Types of ants which infest UK homes
- 4 How to get rid of ants in the house
- 5 Prevent invasions: How to actually get rid of the ants FOR GOOD this time
- 6 Domestic ants — are they harmful to humans, causes of occurrence
- 7 Property news — get rid of an ant infestation in your home with THIS kitchen ingredient
- 8 Selling a house can be a difficult task, and having certain interior design features in your home could be affecting your property sale. Here are the10 interior design trends most likely to devalue your home.
- 9 What are fire ant bites?
Ants are amazing little creatures. Through the power of a hive mind, they are able to form complex nests, fungus-farming techniques and a structured society. But even so, you better know how to get rid of ants in the house.
Although ants will hunt more annoying pests, such as fleas and bedbugs, when they decide to share your home, this fact will be of little consolation once the troops of ants start ravaging your kitchen.
Table of Contents
Why do ants come into your home?
Ants are very practical creatures. In most cases, they like to live near (or with) us because they enjoy the same food as we do, which basically makes our homes the promised land for ants. There is an abundance of easily obtainable food, plenty of hidden spaces to build a nest, and almost no competition or predators.
So, it is easy to understand why hordes of ants regularly perform pantry raids when a few of their brethren stumble upon the paradise that is human kitchens.
Types of ants which infest UK homes
Thankfully, the ants which invade UK homes are tame in comparison to some of the more aggressive species found in warmer climates. As such, we do not have to deal with massive colonies which are capable of devouring everything in their path. There are five types of ant commonly found in homes and gardens throughout the UK. These are:
- The garden ant – these ants, as the name suggests, can be found primarily in gardens. They prefer to build nests in the soil or beneath paving stones and patios. You have surely seen lines of these little black ants following clearly defined routes to food sources. Speaking of their eating habits, garden ants have quite the sweet tooth but are also quite partial to high protein foods, such as meat and pet food.
- Roger’s ant – unlike their garden cousins, these small reddish-brown ants do not follow or leave trails for others. This is because they hunt live prey. They like to build their nests in damp areas, such as around drains and behind the cracked kitchen or bathroom tiles. These locations offer them easy access to their moisture-loving prey, such as springtails and other household pests that love dark, damp areas.
- Pharaoh’s ant – this is the most common type of ant you may find in your home as the pharaoh ant build their nests almost exclusively indoors. Pharaoh ants are voracious foragers and will swarm upon any source of food with high protein, such as meat, fat, dead insects, and blood. They tend to build their nests in hard-to-reach areas of heated buildings and, since each colony can support multiple queens, it doesn’t take long for them to build a substantial population.
- Ghost ants – these tiny, almost translucent ants are worthy of their name as they are quite easy to miss. They prefer to build their nests in areas with a lot of moisture, such as behind bathroom cabinets and under the kitchen sink. When indoors, they will forage for sweet or greasy foods.
- Pavement ants – last, but not least, is the ever-present pavement ant. These little dark ants are mostly seen during the warmer months of spring and summer but, if they nest indoors, they will swarm you all year long. Unlike the others mentioned on this list, the pavement ant is not a picky eater. They will eat whatever they can find, but their preference is similar to a lot of humans – meat, starchy substances, and sweets.
How to get rid of ants in the house
Now that we know what types of ants we can expect to find in our homes, it is time to learn how to remove the infestations themselves. When facing ants, there are two routes you can take to get rid of them yourself:
The first method is by using commercial insecticides. The second one is by using natural homemade solutions. Which one you’ll use will boil down to how you feel about using potentially toxic chemicals in your home. A process of trial and error to find the best solution for your situation is sometimes required as there are varying levels of infestation.
Regardless of whether you choose a commercial or a natural solution, there is a little bit of scouting work to do before committing ant genocide.
With ant infestations, it can be tempting to kill every ant in sight, but it is important to first take a step back to understand the ant society. The ants you see are just the workers and foragers. They are only responsible for finding food and bringing it back to the nest for their queen. You need to kill the queen in order to kill the colony. Another way is to cut their path by intervening with the chemicals they leave behind that lead the to your food.
Spend a little bit of time watching the ants in your home to discover the routes they take, as well as to find the entrances to the nest.
What’s a good organic ant deterrent found at home?
All of the home remedies can be effective nonetheless but in heavy infestations, months may pass before a full eradication. However, not every invasion is considered heavy and in some of the cases, these will work perfectly fine.
Here are some fairly effective natural ant deterrents that you can find in your home:
One of the most effective methods of getting rid of ants is to use boric acid mixed with sugar or syrup. Since ants love sweet things, they will be drawn to the mixture and carry it back for the queen to eat:
- Mix boric acid and sugar in a ratio of 1:3.
- Stir in 1.5 parts of hot water until the mixture turns into a syrup-like paste.
- Place the mixture around the entrances to the nest.
- Repeat until there are no more ants left.
Boric acid damages ants’ exoskeletons, as well as their internal organs. Once eaten, the ants will quickly die.
While the lemon method will not kill the ants or their queen, it is a powerful deterrent and can force the colony to relocate:
- Find all ant entrances.
- Squeeze the juice of 1 whole lemon into every ant entrance you have found.
- Place leftover pieces of lemon peel around the entrances.
- Replace the peels daily until there are no more ants.
If this isn’t working, dilute the juice from four lemons in one litre of water and use a baster to squirt this concoction into the nest entrances. You can also use this mixture to clean your floor and kitchen counters to remove any scent trails used by the ants.
Why this works
Ants and other insects hate the smell of citrus and will go to great lengths to avoid it. The acidic nature of lemon juice also destroys scent trails.
White vinegar can be used in its undiluted or diluted form to get rid of ants. If you don’t mind the smell, use 1 litre of vinegar and a baster to squirt it directly into each of the nest entrances. If white vinegar smell is too strong, follow the steps below:
- Mix white vinegar with water in a 1:1 ratio.
- Pour the mixture into a clean spray bottle.
- Spray your floor, worktops, skirting board, and the nest entrances.
- Wipe up any dead ants after 30-45 minutes.
- Repeat until you stop seeing ants.
Why white vinegar works
Undiluted white vinegar does kill ants shortly after they come into contact with it. However, diluted vinegar acts as a powerful deterrent due to its strong smell and its ability to remove scent trails.
This final deterrent is best used after resolving an infestation. If you find any lone ants or small groups, scout your home to kill them immediately and use one of the following essential oils to stop others from following them:
- Peppermint essential oil.
- Tea tree essential oil.
- Citrus essential oil.
Wipe skirting boards and ant entrances with your chosen essential oil. Soak cotton wool balls in the essential oil and place in cupboards and cabinets to deter unwanted ant visitors. Repeat until ants stop visiting you.
Diatomaceous Earth (or DE for short) is arguably the most suitable natural substance that can banish the ants from the face of your home. It’s basically dust made of little algae plants’ bones, but their edges are sharp enough to penetrate through the exoskeletons of insects and kill them. If ants ingest them, the outcome is deadly, too.
Here’s how to apply DE to kill ants:
- Follow the foraging or warrior ants to locate the nest.
- Use a medicine dropper to gently sprinkle dried DE through the cracks.
- Monitor the cracks for at least 7 days.
- Repeat if needed.
Suggestions & safety measures
If you can’t find the trail, sprinkle around the most common areas where ants could lurk in or come from: the garbage bin, the windowsills, under the cupboards or behind the fridge.
Under no circumstances use DE meant for swimming pools. It contains highly concentrated crystalline silica because of its production method, which makes it ideal for cleaning pools but also harmful to pets and children if ingested.
It’s important not to mistake this with Chinese chalk, which is an insecticide by nature. We mean classroom chalk, that’s made from calcium carbonate (CaCO3). Here’s how to apply chalk to restrict ants from entering your property:
- Find where the ants are entering from.
- Draw a chalk line around the ant entry points.
- Repeat over the line at least 3 times.
- Redraw the lines in 4 days.
Why chalk works
Some species of ants dislike walking on powdery substances that can interfere with their scent trails. Calcium Carbonate is such one substance.
There are many products available for getting rid of ants, the most common being insecticide sprays. While sprays are excellent for killing the worker ants, they won’t affect the queen who is hiding in the depths of the nest. The best commercial options for removing an ant infestation are:
- Ant gel. This poisonous gel works in the same way as boric acid and sugar. It has a sweet scent and taste to attract the ants. Once it is taken back to the nest and consumed, the ants will die.
- Powdered poison. This poison is again mistaken for food by ants. As such, they will carry it back to the nest for the queen and the others to feast upon.
Professional ant treatment help
If you have tried all, or a mixture of, the methods above, but the ants are still resisting your removal attempts, it is time to call in the professionals. Pest control agencies have access to really effective pesticides that cannot be found over the counter. If the company is reputable they will also do anything in their power to use children and pet-friendly products.
When you book an ant removal service (here’s a link to our service page, that will open in a new tab), experts will first perform an inspection of your property to assess the infestation level and identify all ant entry points. Once the inspection is completed, they will apply a professional grade insecticide powder to every area the ants use to gain access to your home.
The powder is viewed as food and also has a residual effect, so it will remain effective for some time after being taken into the nest.
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Prevent invasions: How to actually get rid of the ants FOR GOOD this time
Now that you have successfully removed the ant menace from your home, the last thing you want is for another colony to take their place. Use the tips below to make sure you’ll get rid of the ants permanently this time:
- Clean. Since ants venture into our homes in search of food, one of the best ways to prevent future incursions is to keep your kitchen and home clean. Make sure to avoid leaving food out in the open and clean any spilt products, such as juice, honey or jam. Keep your floor and worktops clear of any crumbs or pieces of food as well.
- Seal any holes or cracks. To permanently get rid of ant invasions you’d need to seal any possible entrances in the exterior and interior walls. Have a look around your home and seal the places ants were using to gain entry.
- Kill scouting ants. If a “scout” discovers a good meal it goes back to the colony alerting them about the findings. It will leave a scent trail leading to the treasure. Whenever you spot a single ant scavenging your kitchen it is a Scouting ant. Kill it right there and then to prevent it from telling others where the food supplies are located.
- Wrap kitchen food in plastic bags. Whatever it is you need to leave out of the fridge for the day – store in containers or plastic bags. This will prevent scouts from getting their antennae on it, putting a stop to future ant raids.
So, there you have it, your guide to getting rid of ants in your home. Use any of the methods described and the ants won’t know what hit them. If you follow up on everything with our prevention tips, there is a good chance that you’ll keep ants out of your home for good. If all else fails, contact us for a quote and let the professionals we send you to handle it.
Image source: Maximilian/shutterstock.com
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Ants are not amazing little creatures. they are a pain in the backside, I wish they would all die now, useless things
I USE VINEGAR AT DOORS AND AROUND ROOM ALSO USE SUGAR CUBES SPRAYED WITH ANT KILLER,, I USED TO STAY IN A CARAVAN IN HIGHLANDS AND NEVER HAD ANTS, FORCED INTO A HOUSE AND ANTS ANTS ANTS,
Ants are a pain in the ass. Apparently I’m the only person who is bothered by having an infestation in my kitchen/living room. I’ve tried cleaning the whole house but no, they’ve found their way underneath my sofa bed now
Thanks for your comments, Amber!
When it comes to battling ants, you have to be persistent – sometimes it requires months of treatment.
You can also resort to professional pest control services in your area (if you live in the UK, we cover the following areas).
What’s more, if the ants are coming from outside, you might want to check our article on how to get rid of ants outside (in the garden) here.
As long as you manage to decrease considerably the infestation, we’d call it a win – since we’d not promote an infinite battle with nature.
Fantastic Pest Control Team
Also we’ve had nests outside and have out any killer down but there is still loads of ants crawling on other peoples walls including ours but no is bothered about it except me only because my house seems the only one with an infestation inside…
The ants you see in your house are worker ants, just nuke them with ant powder and place ant bait around your house, the worker ants will die I’d they can’t get back to the nest and using the bait will destroy the nest Anyway, just don’t put the ant bate in your house, it attracts more ants, leave it outside, use the powder inside, then when they are all dead, vacume up.
We lived in a flat previously, on 3 rd floor and had ants there for short time. Moved to a house and somehow moved the ants with us . Tried vinegar last winter over the whole hose, thought that took rid of the unwanted visitors but this winter they are back! We have two small kids so not sure if pesticides are good to use?
Both with DIY and professional pest control, the use of insecticides is effective, especially if performed several times. And, in both cases, neither you, nor the children must stay nearby the treated area until it has become clear of residing pesticide particles. If ant bait or ant gel is used, it’s poisonous and it’s harmful to kids and pets so it must not come in contact with them.
Fantastic Pest Control Team
Hello, so i live in a flat me and another person underneath me and recently they have had a ant infestation all over their flat but now recently i have had a few ants coming into my flat but only in my bedroom and no where else is is possible their finding a way into my flat from my neighbours?
Yes, this is possible. However, you shouldn’t raise the alarm from just a few ants. Even if they found their way to your bedroom, if there is no food crumbs or other organic matter out in the open, they have no reason to infest your place too. Just make sure to dust all surfaces and hoover the floor frequently.
Fantastic Pest Control Team
Thank you for your comment about pest control companies having access to products that can’t be purchased by the general public. My house has had an ant problem for a long time, and I haven’t been able to get rid of them. I will be sure to call a pest control company right away so that I don’t have to deal with them anymore!
Domestic ants — are they harmful to humans, causes of occurrence
Mycotoxins are secondary metabolites of molds that have adverse effects on humans, animals, and crops that result in illnesses and economic losses. The worldwide contamination of foods and feeds with mycotoxins is a significant problem. Aflatoxins, ochratoxins, trichothecenes, zearalenone, fumonisins, tremorgenic toxins, and ergot alkaloids are the mycotoxins of greatest agro-economic importance. Some molds are capable of producing more than one mycotoxin and some mycotoxins are produced by more than one fungal species. Often more than one mycotoxin is found on a contaminated substrate. Mycotoxins occur more frequently in areas with a hot and humid climate, favourable for the growth of molds, they can also be found in temperate zones. Exposure to mycotoxins is mostly by ingestion, but also occurs by the dermal and inhalation routes. The diseases caused by exposure to mycotoxins are known as mycotoxicoses. However, mycotoxicoses often remain unrecognized by medical professionals, except when large numbers of people are involved. Factors influencing the presence of mycotoxins in foods or feeds include environmental conditions related to storage that can be controlled. Other extrinsic factors such as climate or intrinsic factors such as fungal strain specificity, strain variation, and instability of toxigenic properties are more difficult to control. Mycotoxins have various acute and chronic effects on humans and animals (especially monogastrics) depending on species and susceptibility of an animal within a species. Ruminants have, however, generally been more resistant to the adverse effects of mycotoxins. This is because the rumen microbiota is capable of degrading mycotoxins. The economic impact of mycotoxins include loss of human and animal life, increased health care and veterinary care costs, reduced livestock production, disposal of contaminated foods and feeds, and investment in research and applications to reduce severity of the mycotoxin problem. Although efforts have continued internationally to set guidelines to control mycotoxins, practical measures have not been adequately implemented.
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Property news — get rid of an ant infestation in your home with THIS kitchen ingredient
ANTS inside your home can be a seasonal or year-round problem, but there are things you can do yourself to get rid of them and prevent infestations happening in the future.
Many ant species build their nests outdoors and become a nuisance when they forage for food inside your home.
Once they discover a good food source, they may continue to come inside, collect their food and leave to take the food back to their nest — which can often be found close to the house under paving, patios, in walls or in plant pots or lawns.
According to the Good Housekeeping Institute Team, the ants crawling across your worktops are most likely to be the black garden art, and you can expect to see them between April and August.
Flying ants can be a problem in late July and August, as these are the reproductive males and females looking for a new nest site.
How to get rid of ants: Ant infestations often begin between April and August
While ants pose no threat to human’s health, they can certainly be a nuisance — but there are some simple steps you can follow to push them out your home.
While ants pose no threat to human’s health, they can certainly be a nuisance — but there are some simple steps you can follow to push them out your home.
To prevent them from entering in the first place, make sure to keep your work surfaces and floors clean and free from stickiness.
Clean up spills and store opened food and drinks in the fridge.
If ants become a problem indoors, Brits could use insecticidal sprays and gels around door thresholds, at the junction between walls and foors/surfaces and along windowsills.
How to get rid of ants: Ants are attracted to sweet substances left out
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Selling a house can be a difficult task, and having certain interior design features in your home could be affecting your property sale. Here are the10 interior design trends most likely to devalue your home.
The 10 interior design trends most likely to devalue your home
If there’s a large number of the pesky creatures the advice is to follow the line of ants back to the nest entrance and pour a kettleful of boiling water over it as an emergency measure — until you can get some insecticidal ant powder.
The British Pest Control Association says some centrally heated blocks of flats may be troubled by the much smaller tropical Pharaoh’s ant which prefers protein to sweet foods and has multiple nests within the building structure.
Ghost Ants are also becoming more common in heated buildings. These are a similar size to Pharaoh’s ants and are pale coloured with a dark thorax and head.
Control of these types must be left to professional operators.
How to get rid of ants: Try putting down paprika to deter them
There is another solution to deterring ants, and the tip comes from Homeserve.com.
For an natural and inexpensive way to oust ants, the website suggests sprinkling some salt, turmeric powder or paprika where they are entering your home.
What are fire ant bites?
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Fire ants can turn a blissful afternoon outside into an itchy, burning stream of misery. An attack from a fire ant typically causes instant, intense pain. The pain quickly gives way to itching and skin irritation that lasts anywhere from a few hours to a few days.
Although it looks as though fire ants bite when they attack, the correct term to use is sting. As a result, we will use the word sting instead of bite in this article.
For most people, fire ant stings are little more than an inconvenience. However, some stings can produce intense pain and itching.
Stings can be life-threatening for people allergic to the venom of fire ants. A single sting can produce symptoms of anaphylaxis in just a few minutes.
The term fire ant refers to several species of stinging ants. Two imported species that cause problems in the United States are:
Share on Pinterest There are two types of fire ant: Solenopsis invicta and Solenopsis richteri.
Image credit: Wing-Chi Poon
A native of South America, Solenopsis invicta has colonized at least 13 states in the U.S. These are mostly in the southeast. Less than half an inch long and red to brown in color, the species is commonly known as the red imported fire ant.
Red fire ants build mounds around 18 inches wide. These mounds are often found in grass or lawns, garden beds, along driveways, and in other areas with ready access to food. They eat both animals and a wide array of fruits and vegetables.
These ants use their venom to stun their prey, allowing large groups of fire ants to overcome much larger animals quickly, such as box turtles.
Also a native of South America, Solenopsis richteri is commonly known as the black imported fire ant. Black fire ants have only traveled to a few states in the Gulf Coast and southeast, including Texas, Mississippi, and Alabama.
Black fire ants also build mounds. Theirs tend to be much larger than red fire ant mounds, often measuring several feet tall. These ants are almost identical to their red cousins in size and shape but are black or dark brown rather than reddish brown.
Both species aggressively defend their mounds, biting intruders in large groups. Stings are common among gardeners, playing children, and pets. Ants typically continue attacking until their victims leave the mound. Most people are bitten on their legs and feet after stepping on a mound.
Unlike many other species of stinging and biting insects, ants can sting multiple times. A single worker ant will sting multiple times while attempting to defend their mound.
Fire ant venom is a cocktail of at least 46 proteins. In most people, stings produce only minor skin irritation.
However, recent testing of fire ant venom suggests that the venom contains poison that affects the nervous system. This may explain why some fire ant sting victims report hallucinations and other similar symptoms, particularly after getting a large number of stings.
A fire ant sting often begins with an intense pinching or burning pain immediately after the sting. This pain is short-lived, lasting anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. Next comes itching or burning that may be mild or intense. Itching tends to get stronger over the next few days. Most stings heal on their own without treatment.
Fire ant stings produce a mark that sets them apart from other insect stings. The wounds are pus-filled blisters that are round and may look like pimples.
As fire ants tend to attack their victims in groups, the stings often come in clusters. Blisters appear quickly, usually within 20 minutes of a fire ant attack.
Allergic reactions to fire ant stings
The blisters that develop after fire ant stings are allergic reactions, but some people develop more severe reactions. The areas immediately surrounding the sting may swell, burn, or itch.
Anaphylaxis is less common, but can be life-threatening. People with severe allergies to fire ant venom typically develop symptoms within a few minutes after being bitten.
The following symptoms need emergency medical help:
- Trouble with breathing
- Swelling of the tongue or throat
- Loss of consciousness
If left untreated, these allergic reactions can cause the body to go into shock.
Most people don’t need medical treatment for fire ant stings. If breathing is normal and the sting victim is not known to have a serious ant sting allergy, the following home remedies can be effective:
- Applying cold compresses to reduce swelling – 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off
- Using a hydrocortisone cream on the skin to relieve itching.
- Taking an antihistamine to manage minor, localized allergic reactions and itching
- Applying a triple antibiotic ointment to the stings can help prevent infection in stings that have been opened by scratching
- Taking an oatmeal bath to reduce itching
It is important to resist the urge to scratch the stings. Scratching can open the blisters and cause infection.
Many of these treatments are available for purchase over the counter or online, including hydrocortisone cream, antihistamine, and triple antibiotic ointment.
Medical remedies for fire ant stings
Breathing difficulties, changes in consciousness, severe swelling, and similar symptoms within an hour of the sting require emergency medical care. Emergency treatment with epinephrine can reverse the reaction.
After an anaphylactic reaction to fire ants, some doctors recommend carrying an EpiPen. These home devices inject epinephrine immediately after a sting. They can be life-saving in the event of another allergic reaction, or when a reaction occurs in an area where medical help is not close by.
If the symptoms of a fire ant sting don’t go away after a few days, medical treatment may be necessary. This is also the case if there is swelling, intense pain, or spreading redness on the skin. Depending on the cause of the symptoms, a doctor may recommend hydrocortisone cream or hydrocortisone injections. Infected stings may require antibiotics.
The following steps can help prevent fire ant stings and reduce their severity:
- Moving out of an area immediately if bitten by a fire ant or fire ants are found on the body
- Wearing protective clothing like thick socks and boots while working outdoors
- Avoiding work in or around fire ant mounds
- Using insect repellents designed to deter fire ants. A range of products is available for purchase online.
People should not stomp on fire ant mounds, even when wearing protective clothing. Attacking mounds in this way can provoke an attack.
It is also important to check for fire ants indoors. Fire ants sometimes move inside to escape extreme weather conditions. If fire ants are indoors, homeowners should consider seeking help from a pest management company.
Fire ants, children, and pets
Children and pets are more at risk from fire ant stings since they are unaware of the dangers of fire ant mounds. Pets may also bring fire ants inside on their fur after a fire ant attack, making owners at risk from attacks.
Parents should talk to children about the dangers of fire ants and show them what fire ant mounds look like. They should teach children to brush off fire ants as soon as they find them crawling on their skin.
Removing visible fire ant mounds and gating off areas where fire ants live can help protect pets. If a pet is attacked by fire ants, it should be moved away from the ants.
Ants should be removed by hand. Spraying the ants with water may cause them to latch on with their jaws. This can be frightening to a pet experiencing an attack.