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How to Get Rid of Ants in Your House

November 9th, 2007

fire-ants2.jpgThis article, originally written by a rather mysterious Constant Content author under the pseudonym of “Aannn”, describes what I would call the conventional methods for how to get rid of ants in your house or your kitchen. There are, however, some more environmentally friendly methods for how to get rid of ants naturally as well as home remedies to get rid of ants. I will spend some time discussing these alternatives below the second blue line that marks the end of the article.

You open your eyes. The sun is shining brightly. The kids are impatiently knocking on the bedroom door saying, “We’re hungry!” So you do the things you need to do to get up and get moving, like wash your face and brush your teeth. As you walk into the kitchen to get breakfast started, you are shocked - to say the least - as you notice on the kitchen floor a bunch of tiny moving creatures: ANTS!

You start thinking and then remember that, the night before, one of the kids ate a bowl of cereal and left crumbs on the floor. As you bend over to examine the situation from a closer perspective, you see two ants working in tandem, dragging a cereal flake from one location to another. The nerve! What audacity! What will you do to get rid of the ants in your house?

A major (and extremely important) first step is to make sure that your home is clean. That means sweeping floors after meals, snacks, and any other occasions which would require food to be consumed and eaten. Pay particular attention to sweeping right before going to bed; ants love to come out and scout when the lights are out and all movement has ceased. An additional help is to mop floors frequently, at least once a week, if not more. Using a solution of ¼ cup bleach to 2 cups water will be very helpful in deterring future visits from ants. If you have wall-to-wall carpeting, be sure to vacuum those areas every day. The less food that’s left on the floor, the less chance that the ants will be tempted to return.

If, however, your cleanliness is not deterring the ants from returning, more drastic steps must be taken. The next step is to purchase an insecticide spray for your particular house pest. When the ants return, spray the insecticide directly on the ants, being sure to cover the areas that they use to enter and to exit. Don’t forget to open all windows in the house so as to not breathe in more chemicals than necessary. After spraying, take a paper towel and remove the dead ants. You may want to mop the floor to get rid of excess insecticide, but be sure to leave corners, floor moldings, and the like untouched.

An additional safeguard is to spray outside the home. This will definitely be beneficial if the room that has the ant problem has no barrier other than the exterior wall to keep ants at bay. Pay particular attention to any cracks or crevices that may be apparent; this may require caulking or other measures to make sure you seal up any areas that ants could use as an entrance to your home.

Finally, if this step doesn’t work, you should definitely call the exterminator. Using insecticides often does the job, but if the ants continue to pay leisurely visits, you will have to enlist the help of a professional. Be prepared to leave the house while he sprays, as he will be using more potent chemicals to rid your home of those pesky little ants. It might not be a bad idea to plan to take the kids to the park for the day or possibly meet a friend for a pleasant lunch. Additional time may be required after the spraying to minimize the chemical inhalation and to allow fresh air to enter into the rooms. Be sure to follow all instructions that the exterminator gives to prevent future visitations from the ants; your adherence to his advice just might be the final touch that spells out your victory and the ants’ defeat!

Ants are definitely hard workers, but they’re not unbeatable. Follow these instructions, and you can get rid of ants in your home and keep them out of your life (at least until you decide to go to a picnic!).

Organic Methods: How to Get Rid of Ants Naturally

There are several ways to get rid of ants in your house naturally without having to resort to pesticides or harsh chemicals that may have undesirable effects on you, your pets, your children, or your local environment. Some of these techniques will simply repel the ants and keep them out of your house or kitchen, while others will actually kill the ants. The most effective of the organic methods include:

1. Boiling water is probably the simplest method of killing ants quickly and directly. Hot water from your faucet can be used to blast ants off your kitchen sink and counter tops, while boiling water can be poured over any ant mounds discovered in your yard.

2. Borax powder, when mixed with sugary water or syrup, can be used as a home remedy to get rid of ants. It works in the same way that more expensive, store-bought ant baits do: the sugar or syrup attracts the ants and entices them to eat the bait, while the borax acts as a stealth poison and eventually kills the ants after they carry the bait back to their colony.

3. If you need to use something that is completely non-toxic, you can try cornmeal. The ants will eat it, but their bodies are unable to properly digest it. Consequently, the cornmeal clogs up their systems and the ants eventually suffocate. Another variation on this trick is to use foods that readily expand when exposed to liquids, such as grits or oatmeal. When the ants eat these kinds of foods, the portions that are consumed will expand as they soak up the fluids from the ants’ bodies. Soon afterward, the ants die from a combination of fluid loss and severe internal pressure.

4. Several kinds of organic, plant-based substances will repel ants and can be dropped near cracks, crevices, or any other areas where you think that ants are getting into your house from the outside. These include (but are not limited to) cayenne pepper powder, chili pepper powder, laurel leaves, any variety of mint leaves, and extracts of citrus fruits. Other kinds of strongly aromatic spices such as cinnamon or clove can also work as repellents but are not used as commonly as the others.

5. Sometimes ants gain access to houses by crawling across the branches of trees or bushes. If this is the case in your situation, simply trimming back these branches away from the house can prevent future invasions.

6. Interestingly, some people have discovered that ants will not cross a line of chalk or talcum powder. This means that you can draw these “magical” lines in strategic locations to keep ants out of specific areas.

7. After you have managed to get rid of the ants in your house, an important preventive measure is to use silicon caulking to seal any cracks where ants might be getting in. If you have any drafty doors, you can apply weather strips to seal off these types of gaps.

8. Certain kinds of reptiles such as toads, frogs, and lizards will eat ants and hold their populations in check, making it less likely that ants will get into your house in the first place. I have noticed that you can encourage the population growth of these reptiles by keeping gardens and landscaped areas well-watered. You can also plant some mint in these areas as an additional homeland security measure. Mint plants tend to proliferate rapidly, however, so you may need to harvest or trim back some of it occasionally so that it does not take over too much of your garden area.

Related article: How to Get Rid of Dust Mites

10 Responses to “How to Get Rid of Ants in Your House”

  1. comment number 1 by: darrell

    how to get rid of ant out of the kitchen.

  2. comment number 2 by: ireland5

    I just read another idea: ‘To banish ants from the kitchen, find out where they are coming in and cover the hole with petroleum jelly. Ants won’t trek through the jelly.’ I have also heard about drawing a chalk line - but have never tried it. Great post. Let’s have some more ideas on other insect pests…

  3. comment number 3 by: Petula

    I’ll be shaking out some oatmeal or something… and immediately going to wash all the sheet! Ewww dustmites.


  4. comment number 4 by: Tapan Biswas

    Get a Laxman rekha (available in Indian market) and make a line around the ant line, all will dead within few miniutes and further it will not comes once again.

  5. comment number 5 by: mike and char

    more ways to get ants off carpets please

  6. comment number 6 by: debbie burgin


  7. comment number 7 by: dining room table

    I always have problems with those ants! I have tried all the sprays yet they won’t leave.

  8. comment number 8 by: Dee

    I gave up fighting ants and called in an exterminator. He sprays once in the Spring and no more ants! Its worth the cost!

  9. comment number 9 by: Jacob Rodriguez

    I had ants in my bedroom, so I used a mixture of sugar and corn syrup. I did this in the morning and left to wal-mart when i came back there were ants all over my floor dead even stuck inside the mixture.

  10. comment number 10 by: Crystal

    HELP I have these huge ants in my room..I wake up and they are all over my wall..and in my closet. I also have MILLIONs (give or take) of sugar ants in my kitchen and bathroom :( HELP ME PLEASEE

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