How To Get Rid Of Ants
Ants are a common pest in the UK. Ask any pest control expert, and they will tell you that an ant infestation can quickly get out of control if you don't take action. One or two ants in your home might not seem like a problem, but you can guarantee the rest of the ant colony is nearby and preparing to invade your space.
There are a wide range of methods to remove ants from your home and deter ants from returning. Often, disrupting their scent paths and removing sources of food will be enough to get rid of ants. If your problem is more complex, or the ant nest is in your home, you may need to take more extensive action to prevent ants.
What will attract ants to your home?
Ants might venture into your home looking for a food source. Ants eat small insects and insect eggs, but they are also attracted to plant sap, fruit and aphid honeydew. They will also eat sugar in a wide range of formats, such as sugar grains, honey or jam. Spills on the floor of your kitchen can provide a valuable food source for ants. They might also be attracted to pet food bowls. Ants don't typically nest in the home, but they can build nests in walls and around drains.
How do you identify ants?
Before you decide how to get rid of ants, you need to determine which type of ant infestation you are dealing with.
Black garden ants
This is the most common type of ant in the UK and the most recognisable. These small black ants work together as a colony to collect food. Female black ants are often seen in small clusters around cracks in your garden paving. They might venture inside your home in the summer in search of food.
Fire ants/ red ants
Red ants are also known as fire ants and get their name from their brownish red body. They can also deliver a nasty bite that leaves a burning sensation, hence the name. They are more commonly found under logs and in soil lawns during the summer months. The adults grow wings in the heat of the summer and are then known as flying ants.
Yellow Meadow ants
This small, yellow variety of ant species is the only one in the UK known to build ant hills. They do not bite or sting, but their ant hills can damage lawns that are not cut too frequently.
These are the most common ants in UK homes. If the ants you are seeing around your home are not listed above, it's a good idea to contact a pest control expert. You might be dealing with carpenter ants, which are much larger and very destructive.
How to get rid of ants
Now you know which ant species you are dealing with, you might be wondering how to get rid of ants. The way you deter ants or kill ants will all depend on where they are and if they are nesting in your home or just passing through looking for food.
Locate the entry point
Start by looking for the entry point that is allowing ants into your home. You might need to watch the ants marching to see how they are getting into your home. Follow the line of ants without disturbing them to see how they are getting into your home.
Seal their entry points
The easiest way to get rid of ants in your home is to seal off their entry point. This is a simple but effective way to repel ants, but some are more determined. Carpenter ants, for example, are attracted to damaged or wet wood and will take up residence in your home if they find this. A leaking pipe could lead to an ant problem by making a floorboard damp and rotten, giving carpenter ants a place to nest and feed.
Cut off their food source
Clean up your home and remove all traces of sugar and sticky residue from the floor. Ants eat food scraps from the floor, so you need to make sure you keep a tidy home if you want to get rid of ants. When you know what food sources attract ants to your home, you can get rid of ants permanently by simply making sure they don't have access to food.
Natural remedies to remove ants
Ants rely on scent trails to guide them to and from the nest. Ants will leave a scented pheromone trail behind them when they go in search of food, so once your home has been identified as a source of food, expect more ants to follow soon. You can disturb ants by using a few drops of peppermint essential oil or tea tree oil. Ants hate peppermint oil, so a few drops on a cotton pad wiped around door and window frames will help to deter ants.
Tea tree oil is known to repel ants and it is also a natural insecticide. It's also kind to your skin and safe to use around pets.
A mixture of vinegar and water can also be mixed in a spray bottle and used to clean floors where ants have been. This will remove their scent trail and make it difficult for the ants to find their way back into your home.
Should you kill ants?
Some people choose to deal with ants at the source by finding the ant nest and then pouring boiling water from the kettle directly into the nest. Boiling water will certainly get rid of ants permanently, but if they are in your garden and away from your home, ant colonies are generally harmless. Unless you are dealing with a more aggressive ant like biting red ants, you shouldn't need to remove the entire ant population by pouring anything into ant holes.
What's a good home remedy to get rid of ants?
In addition to the essential oils listed above, ants hate cayenne pepper, so this can be sprinkled around your home to help with keeping ants away. However, cayenne pepper should not be used if you have children or pets in your home, as this can be irritating to the skin, nose, eyes and mouth.
What is the fastest way to get rid of ants in the house?
If you want to kill ants in your home, consider ant baits that will attract and kill ants quickly. These traps can be changed regularly. You can also explore methods like boric acid, but you should proceed with caution when using this method as it can be harmful to children and pets. Commercial ant repellent can also be used to get rid of ants and other pests from your food preparation areas. Food grade diatomaceous earth is also a popular method for getting rid of ants quickly. The ants will walk through the powdery substance and then this will cause them to dry out.
If you have tried the methods above and are still wondering how to get rid of ants, it might be time to call in the experts. Get in touch with our team to learn more about pest control methods and how to get rid of ants in your home or other types of pests.