If you've spotted a steady stream of ants marching across your kitchen counter or loitering along a windowsill, don’t panic. Insects of all kinds are especially active in the spring and summer. You can get rid of those ants-and send them packing for the (ant) hills-with these easy steps.
How to Get Rid of Indoor Ants
Play detective. Instead of sweeping away ants immediately, you need to get to the bottom of what's attracting them. Whether it’s a drip of honey down the side of a jar or a stray spoon in your sink, there’s always a source. Clean up whatever has attracted your new tenants (although there are probably more than ten!), and they just might move out on their own.
Shut down the scouting. Teams of scout ants look for food using pheromones that leave behind a trail for other ants to follow, and simply sweeping them away won’t cut it. Destroy their tiny trail with a mix of one part vinegar to three parts water and spray it anywhere you've spotted ants.
Ready, set, repel. Mix peppermint or lavender oil (two scents ants hate) with water and spray it on entry points like windowsills or door frames. If you decide to take the chemical route, look for a product with boric acid, and make sure to carefully read the instructions. (Some can be harmful to pets and small children.)
Count to three. Once you set out the repellents, avoid the temptations to kill any ants-they’re going to do all the hard work of bringing the poisonous bait back to the nest.
How to Get Rid of Outdoor Ants
Send out a search party. Look for ant beds in your yard or along your home's foundation. Carpenter ants tend to hide in damaged or wet wood, so inspect tree stumps, wood piles, damaged trees, and old patio furniture.
Make a splash. Once you’ve found the nest, pour boiling water over the ant hill or spot treat with an outdoor insecticide.
Get to (yard) work. A well-kept property is the easiest way to keep ants at bay. Keep a watchful eye for branches, bushes, or shrubs that touch your house and provide easy access for ants to make their way inside.
How to Keep Ants Out of Your Home For Good
Seal those entry points. Caulk and seal any cracks or exposed crevices in doors and windows.
Hide the sweets. Black garden ants (fun fact: they're actually dark brown!) are the most likely invaders. Keep food-especially honey, maple syrup, and sugar-in airtight containers or tightly wrapped with foil or plastic wrap.
Do your chores. Regularly clean countertops and floors where crumbs are most likely to hide. And keep that pet food stored between feedings and regularly clean those pet bowls.
Take out the trash. Make sure trash cans (especially in the kitchen!) are covered, and after you take out the garbage, inspect the can for any residue that might be lingering.
When to Call the Pros
If your marching orders are being ignored and a handful of ants turns into an army, you might just have an infestation on your hands. Call an expert to come inspect your home so they can identify the ant species and properly exterminate them.
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