Getting rid of ants is a difficult task. If you do have an ant infestation, it’s best to call a professional pest control company. Look for the obvious signs of an infestation by inspecting areas of high moisture, wood that is in contact with soil, areas where ventilation is poor and exposed structural lumber. Most of the time a high concentration of ants is usually found under the kitchen sink. Another way to track and get rid of these pests is to look for foraging ants and their patterns of movement after the sun goes down. If ants are active in your home, listen for sounds of an active colony at night. You will hear a dry rustling noise in the walls when the activity of the colony is high.

While ants aren’t grotesque or extremely destructive, no one wants these pests in their home. To help you deal with these pests, we’ve outlined the best methods for how to get rid of ants and how to kill ants.

How to Get Rid of Ants in Your House

If you find ants, you may be wondering how to get rid of ants in your house. Getting rid of ants is more difficult than you might think. The best way to get rid of ants is to take measures to prevent them from getting inside in the first place. To prevent an infestation, start by preventing easy access to your home:

  • Seal exterior cracks.

  • Cut away branches and tree material that are close to or touch your home.

  • Remove damp wood or other sources of moisture near your home.

  • Clear decaying or infested wood from around your home.

  • Remove firewood from inside or away from the side of your home.

  • Avoid burying tree stumps or other wood debris near your home.

  • Correct humidity problems inside your home.

  • Keep dry food in sealed containers.

  • Remove food and water sources (e.g., leaky faucet).

  • Keep your home clean - regularly sweep or vacuum.

  • Don’t keep sugary food out in the open.

  • Don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink.

If you find ants in your home or business, locating the nest is the first step in taking care of the problem. A handy trick for this is to leave a sugary item out in the open and then follow the ant as it takes the food back to its nest.

How to Get Rid of Ants in Your Yard

With the exception of carpenter ants, ants aren’t generally considered to be destructive pests, but they can cause damage to your lawn or garden. Finding ants in your yard is a nuisance, especially if you’re an avid gardener. Here are some tips to deter ants from your yard:

  • Move garbage cans, recycling or compost as far away from your yard as possible.

  • Maintain your lawn and your soil to keep it healthy. Ants love stressed plants and soil.

  • You can spray various natural ingredients on ant hills to force them to relocate - peppermint oil, cayenne peppers and powdered garlic are all ant deterrents.

How to Get Rid of Ant Hills

Eliminating ants from your yard can pose a problem, especially if you have children or pets, as you may want to avoid using dangerous chemicals. While chemicals are generally more effective, there are natural recipes available to get rid of ant hills:

  • Combine ½ teaspoon liquid dish soap, 1 ½ teaspoons of canola oil and 1 quart of water in a mixing bowl, then transfer solution over to a spray bottle. Spray area with high concentrations of ants and pour solution into the nest, killing ants.

  • Another option is to pour 1 quart of white distilled vinegar into an ant nest, as the acidity kills ants on impact.

  • Spread diatomaceous earth throughout your yard, focusing on areas that have a high concentration of ants and pouring it into the nest. Ensure you wear a dust mask for safety reasons upon application.

How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants are abundant in Ontario, and are common pests in homes, cottages and other buildings. The most common carpenter ants are the familiar large, black ants that are one-half inch or more in length and shiny black. One consistent characteristic of all carpenter ants is the smoothly rounded outline of the thorax when viewed from the side.

These unwelcome ants dig into wood and cause structural damage. Rather than use wood as a food source, carpenter ants dig into the wood and lay eggs in the hollowed frame. Carpenter ants also eat into Styrofoam, stucco and insulation. Typically, damage goes unnoticed until it is severe.

Before deciding on how to get rid of black ants, you should try to locate the nest. Locating the nest is beneficial in understanding the amount of damage sustained and allows you to assess the severity of the situation. This step is as important as it is difficult, especially if only a few ants are spotted at a given time. You can try observing ants to see if you can detect a pattern of movement. In spring and summer, carpenter ants are more active at night; observing after sunset, with a flashlight, may give an indication of the source. Presence of sawdust is an important clue in locating ant nests. 

If you have or suspect carpenter ants at your cottage, check out our blog post, How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants at the Cottage for helpful prevention and removal advice.

How to Get Rid of Red Ants

Fire ants, also known as red ants, are aggressive when provoked and are harmful to children and pets, as they sting. Fire ants are typically nuisances outside, building their nests in your lawns and gardens, but they can also infest a home. It is important to be extremely cautious and wear gloves while dealing with red ants, as they will attack anyone who gets close to their nests. Here are some tips to eliminate these pests from your lawn:

  • Locate the colony and fence it off to avoid family and pets from accessing this area.

  • For best results, use insecticides and baits to treat the colony. Insecticides that dissolve in water provide the quickest results. Ensure you wear gloves to protect yourself against burns and follow the directions.

If you see red ants inside your home, your best source for removing the problem is to contact a licensed pest control company.

How to Get Rid of Sugar Ants

Sugar ants are commonly mistaken for pharaoh ants, acrobat ants and odorous house ants, but they are their own species. It is important to identify the type of ant that is the pest in your home or backyard in order to deal with it correctly. Sugar ants range from 2 to 15 mm in size. They are attracted to spills, stains and any traces of food, so check your kitchen, cupboards and pantries. Eliminating any sources of food is a means of prevention and elimination.

However, sometimes the infestation can be so widespread you have to call a professional pest control company to solve the problem.

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