Pest Resources

How To Keep Ants Away?

So you keep getting ants in your house? These annoying insects are usually found in the yard, but if one ant scout discovers a tasty morsel in your house, the ant will leave a pheromone trail for all the other fellow workers to follow. That’s why you have ants in your house.

Ants will find food and water in the kitchen if you leave out crumbs or a sprinkling of sugar. Even dirty plates in the sink will provide food for ants.

The good news is ants are not known to spread disease, however, some ant species do sting.

In this article, we will provide you with the information you need to keep ants away and make it difficult for them to get in the house in the first place.

Put away all food

Ants need sugar, fats, and protein in order to survive. All of these can be found in the kitchen!

With this in mind, it is very important to put away all food in the house in airtight containers, or covered and put in the refrigerator to keep ants away.

Black garden ants are the most likely ant to come inside the home, getting in through cracks and crevices on the search for food.

Clean all surfaces to remove crumbs and spilt drinks. Keep floors debris-free and sweep regularly to prevent ants from being attracted into the house. Floors can be washed with a little lemon juice added to the water.

Wash dishes as soon as possible, as a sink full of food covered plates will provide a wonderful buffet for ants.

If you have pets in the house, keep their food bowls put away when they are not being used. Do not leave pet food out overnight. When your pet has eaten, wash their bowls up straight after. A pet’s food left out will attract ants and other insects.

Keep bowls dry, as ants will drink any droplets of water. Do not leave pet bowls of water out overnight. Regularly clean around pet feeding areas.

Ensure the trash cans have a securely fitting lid. You don’t want ants in there getting at the food.

Ants love grease, so when you have finished cooking always clean down surfaces to remove all traces of grease.

Clean out the insides of food cupboards often to remove any crumbs of food.

The bathroom

You may spot a trail of ants walking through the bathroom. Why are they there? I hear you ask.

Some species of ants like the bathroom, particularly carpenter ants, as it is damp and humid and there is a water source for them.

Top tips to get rid of ants in the bathroom

Dry the sink and shower after use to keep ants away.

Check the toilet for leaks.

Deep clean the bathroom regularly to keep ants at bay.

Repair any broken tiles that ants can get behind and nest in.

If you spot a trail of ants, follow it to see where they are getting in and, if possible, seal the gaps with caulk.

Seal the ants’ entry points

These DIY tips may help get rid of ants.

To be ant-free you need to seal the entry points to the house to stop ants from entering. Have a walk around the outside of your house and look for any cracks and crevices. If you find any, seal them up.

Take a look at the windows and doors of the house; do they have any cracks and crevices? Does the door seal shut properly? Check any vents around the house.

Take a look at utility lines, as there may be gaps around electric, telephone and cable lines. Have any gaps filled in to keep ants away.

What do ants eat?

Ants are omnivorous and they will eat just about anything to stay alive. From dead insects, insect eggs, meat, sweets, greasy food, you name it.

Ants do have their favorites though:

  • Milk of aphids
  • Jelly Syrup
  • Honey
  • Juices
  • Watermelon
  • Honeydew

Fire ants

The majority of ants will eat insects, but they will be waiting for them to die as vultures do. Unlike fire ants, who will kill larger insects with their venom. They are known to eat spiders, ticks, rodents, and small birds.

Fire ants will damage crops, eating Orka, potatoes, corn, cucumbers, and watermelons.

Fire ants give a very painful sting, leaving a burning feeling on the skin.

How to keep ants away naturally

These natural items will keep ants away and hopefully prevent the ants from entering the house.

Ants hate:

  • Cayenne pepper
  • Salt
  • Lemon juice
  • Black pepper
  • Baby powder
  • Chalk
  • Bay leaves
  • Vinegar
  • Cinnamon

Use these outside the house to repel the ants.

How to keep ants away from the yard

Ants can cause problems in the back yard. They love the sweet sap on a plant and will chew the plant stems, eventually killing the plant. Ants will also protect aphids from ladybugs because they are partial to the honeydew they produce.

Diatomaceous earth can be sprinkled in the garden. It has a drying effect on the ant, causing dehydration, and it will also kill other insects. Click here to find out more.

Rake open the nest and pour in boiling water. Not very pleasant, but at least boiling water is chemical-free.

Spray dish soap and water directly onto the ants. The soapy water will suffocate them.

Buy some Nematodes. They are microscopic worm-like creatures that prey on ants. The ants will leave the nest and go somewhere else if Nematodes are present. The Nematodes take effect after 48 hours. Click here to find out more.

Brewed coffee grounds

One of the ways to get rid of ants is to sprinkle brewed coffee grounds on washable surfaces. Use where ants have trails, around pet bowls, and window sills.

Ants do not like walking on coffee grounds, so place some near entry points.


Vinegar will not kill ants but

Eco-friendly ant spray

To repel ants, mix together one part water to one part vinegar and use it on your kitchen surfaces, as an ant does not like the smell of vinegar.

Ants hate a strong smell. Try using a home remedy of peppermint essential oils and lemon. This will upset the pheromone trail left by the ants, and they will end up confused about the direction they should be heading for.

Mix glass cleaner and liquid detergent or dish soap and spray on areas you see ants. It will deter the ants, as it disturbs the pheromone trail. Wipe away the surplus to leave behind a residue.

Natural essential oils

Essential oils are a natural way of getting rid of an ant infestation. They are made from natural plant extracts. The oil is produced by pressing the plant until all the oil comes out. As you can imagine it takes a lot to make one small bottle.

If you feel you don’t want to use chemicals for ant control in the home, then please read on.

Peppermint oil

Peppermint oil makes a great repellent for ants and other bugs. Add 20 drops of peppermint oil to 2 cups of water and spray around window sills and baseboards.

Lavender oil

Lavender oil will get rid of ants naturally, as it is a smell ants do not like at all. Make up a spray bottle with the oil and water and spray around problem areas.

Tea tree oil

Tea tree is a very useful essential oil, often used to treat head lice. It not only repels ants due to the smell, it will kill them too.

Mix together 20 drops of tea tree to 2 cups of water and this can be sprayed around the home. Try soaking cotton wool balls with the mixture and placing them near any trails.

Lemon eucalyptus oil

This comes from a tree and contains citronella, which is a good repellent. It is often put in candles to repel flying insects.

To use, soak a cotton ball with the oil and leave it near the ants. Resoak after a few days.

Cinnamon leaf essential oil

Cinnamon leaf oil is a repellent and will kill ants also, including the stinging red ants. Soak the oil into cotton wool balls and place them near where you have seen them.

Neem oil

Neem oil comes from the Neem tree found in India. When it is used at full strength it will repel and kill ants.

The oil needs to be mixed with water and dish soap and sprayed onto plants. This gets soaked in by the plant, and when the ants eat it they are poisoned by the Neem oil and die.

Borax and Boric acid

Borax is 100% natural and often found in store-bought ant killing products. Click here to find out more.

Boric acid is toxic and will kill the nest, including the queen. Mix 8 teaspoons of Boric acid with 8 teaspoons of sugar and dissolve in warm water, soak cotton wool balls, and place them around the home to get rid of ants. Take care if you have children and pets in the house.

Diatomaceous earth

Diatomaceous earth is naturally occurring fossilized algae and plants. It has high levels of silica in it, which dries things out. It is a very effective ant killer. If an ant walks through it, the crystals break through the exoskeleton and dehydrate the ants, causing death.

Only food grade Diatomaceous earth should be used.

Ant baits

Ants will find a food source and consume the liquid sugars from fruits, plants, and honeydew, and take it back to their colony and feed mouth to mouth to the other colony members.

This is where ant bait traps come in. The bait will contain something attractive like sugar and poison, which gets ingested and taken back to the colony, killing the occupants.

Ant baits do not work on a carpenter ants, as they will just eat the bait, and not take it back to the colony.

Professional pest control

If your DIY efforts have failed and you have had a few cases of infestation, it is time to call the professional for help and advice on pest control.

The average cost for a professional pest control exterminator is $150. As well as solving your pest problem, they will also be able to give advice on staying ant-free.

Some chemical pest control products can be dangerous. A pest control expert is trained to use the chemicals correctly, so this may be a safer option in the long run.

And finally,

We hope you have found this article helpful. Just remember not to attract them or any other pest with a wonderful menu left out in the kitchen.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to drop us an email. We do our best to respond as quickly as possible.

Good luck!

Ronald has 25 years of pest control experience under his belt. He scrutinizes each pest control method, product and process. 

Read more here.

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