How To Get Rid Of Ants

13 mins read
How to get rid of ants permanently
Image from Wikipedia

As the weather warms up, people across the country will be spending more time outdoors and many of those people will need to worry about ants. The last thing you want is for an ant to sting you and cause a major allergic reaction. We have created a list that will give you loads of information on how to get rid of ants.

macro photography of red ants
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Ants are fascinating creatures that have existed since the early Cretaceous period. A colony of ants can contain up to ten million individual ants, all working together for the same goal of surviving and thriving. They are found just about everywhere in the world, with some species being more prevalent in one area than another.

Some ant species are very small – like the Asian Desert Ant (Crematogaster scutellaris), which is only about 1/20th of an inch long, or the Red Fire Ant (Solenopsis geminata), which is only about 1/8 of an inch. Other ant species are much larger, like the invasive Argentine Ant (Linepithema humile) which can grow up to 2 inches long.

Many ants live in colonies, whereas others make their own colonies by creating their own nests. Some kinds of ants live within larger insects such as aphids, while others build nests around those insects and defend those nests from intrusion by other ants or by animal predators. Some ants do not have nests at all but live alone or in small groups throughout their territory.

Most ant species are very primitive in their behavior, living similar lives to the way they have for many million years. They are territorial in nature, meaning that they recognize and defend the area around their nest with an invisible force field. The force field is actually a clear liquid substance called formic acid, which is produced by glands near the mouthparts of the ant. This liquid acts as a powerful repellent against other ants and predators such as birds and wasps, and serves as a warning to other ants that “this nest belongs to me”.

While many species of ants eat certain kinds of food, like aphids and other insects, there are also many species that enjoy a wide variety of different kinds of food. Some even prey on other ants. Ants store their food in their nests where it is kept until it is needed either to maintain the nest or to feed the queen, workers, or larvae.

Ants are very industrious creatures, working hard for the good of the colony. They are able to carry objects up to 50 times their weight due to both their strong legs and powerful jaws. Ants communicate with each other by scent, touch, and pheromones. Ants also have an elaborate social structure that is more advanced than most people realize.

Ant Lifecycle

The life cycle of an ant is a perfect example of a trophic cascade. An ant’s diet mostly consists of other insects, but they also consume plant matter and nectar from flowers. They generally live for about one year and use this time to collect food for future generations. In the summer, the queen lays eggs in a new colony and workers care for her brood until they hatch. During this time, she produces up to 10,000 eggs per day! Once hatched from their pupae stage, ants will go on daily hunting missions looking for food until adulthood where they can take on more important roles within the colony.

This is where ants differentiate into different roles and castes. Soldier ants protect the colony from predators, foraging for food and defending the nest. Queens produce eggs, groom, and care for larva (baby ants), and feed worker ants when they are in the pupae stage. Workers care for the queen through egg-laying and feeding. This is where we see how nature is not always efficient or organized; every level within an ant society has a specialized function in order to ensure its survival and thrive at all times.

An ant’s life cycle mainly consists of three stages: egg, larva, and adult. The life cycle of an insect is marked by three major stages: egg, larvae, and adult. For ants, this is usually marked with three genera of larvae:

Adult ants are usually seen as larger than the larva stage, but they are still the smallest of all three stages. Though there are two distinct generations in an ant’s life cycle, there is no clear line between the two. All members of the ant colony undergo most of the same processes at some point during their lifetime. This span of time is marked by three stages: egg, larva, and adult. An ant’s life cycle mainly consists of three stages: egg, larva, and adult.

Eggs hatch into larvae. Larvae grow and transition to the pupal stage. Then, under a chrysalis (pupal) stage, the adults eventually emerge and grow into an adult. By the end of this life cycle, ants have transitioned from one form to another within the same colony, without having to leave their current nest or territory. It can take from a few days all the way up to a few weeks for an ant colony to transition from young larva to adult ants.

The life cycle of an ant starts with eggs being laid by queens in order for their offspring to survive and continue their entire colony work going on outside of the ant nests.

Types Of Ants

Fortunately, you can avoid any problems with deadly ants if you know what type they are. We’ve compiled a list of some of the most common kinds below.

Carpenter Ant: One of the most common types of ants, carpenter ants are known for damaging wooden areas.

Carpenter ant Tanzania crop.jpg
Source: Wikipedia, Muhammad Mahdi Karim – Own work @ All Rights Reserved.

Pharaoh Ant: Pharaoh ants are very tiny ants that can easily invade homes through cracks and crevices. They are also very hard to eliminate once inside your home or business.

Monomorium pharaonis casent0173986 profile 1.jpg
Source: Wikipedia, The photographer and www.AntWeb.org @ All rights Resreved.

Argentine Ants: One of the most common imported species of ants, these ants often invade homes and other buildings through packaged goods like food items. Argentine ant bites also carry a venom that is an irritant to human skin.

Linepithema Argentine ant.jpg
Source: Wikipedia, Penarc – {http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Argentine_ant.jpg Nat1192} @ All Rights Reserved.

Fire Ants: Extremely toxic, fire ants can invade structures and cause serious structural damage.

Fire ants 01.jpg
Source: Wikipedia, Stephen Ausmus – http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/graphics/photos/dec04/k11622-1.htmv\ @ All Rights Reserved

Army Ants: You may notice these ants when you’re taking out the trash or when you’re gardening, but armies ants are known for attacking unprovoked and causing property damage.

Eciton burchellii army ants
Source: Wikipedia, Alex Wild – Own work @ All Rights Reserved.

Ghost Ants: These insects are found in tropical regions. Similar to fire ants, ghost ants are very aggressive and have a toxic bite that can be dangerous to both people and pets.

Source: Wikipedia, Sarefo – Own work @ All Rights Reserved.

Odorous house ants: While odorous house ants are not considered to be dangerous, they can cause problems if they cause structural damage to your home or business. These tiny pests tend to live in walls and small cracks.

Tapinoma sessile casent0005329 profile 1.jpg
Source: Wikipedia, The photographer and www.AntWeb.org @ All Rights Reserved.

How To Get Rid Of Ants

1. Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is a potent natural insecticide. It has mosquito repellant qualities that can provide relief from mosquito bites. Tea tree oil gets rid of ants because by killing the fungus known as pycnidia, it cuts off food sources for these pests. It also kills immature stages of the fungus which are responsible for breeding by interfering with their life span. The tea tree oil also works on the queen ant by infecting her with spores, resulting in death. This will put an end to the ant colony.

33 Incredible Uses For Tea Tree Oil Around The Homestead
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To use tea tree oil for pest control, mix it with water in a bottle sprayer and spray it on areas known for ant infestation. The best place to spray them is near their colonies because this is where they thrive, but if that’s not possible then any surface around your home or garden should do. The recommended amount of tea tree oil to add to water is 1 part oil to 10 parts water. This solution needs to be sprayed all over the affected area until other steps are taken to get rid of them for good.

2. Borax

This is a powdered chemical found in the laundry section of most grocery stores, it will help control the ants by dehydrating them which also prevents other insects from being drawn to your kitchen. So if you’re looking for a quick and simple solution to getting rid of your pesky ants (or any other pest, really), here it is: mix borax with equal parts water, then spray it into areas that they frequent. You can also sprinkle the powder around their nesting areas or on any scraps that they might be attracted to. I like using this method because it doesn’t use harsh chemicals and is effective in killing off the pests without having to do much work yourself…

Is borax safe? Uses and risks
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3. Baking soda

Mixing borax and baking soda together creates a paste that ants cannot crawl across, so it’s an excellent way to keep them out of your kitchen cabinets. Baking soda is a natural ant killer that is used in so many household products. Some people say baking soda spreads ants around their house because the ants are attracted to the sharp chemical smell, but don’t believe it! Baking soda can kill an ant by absorbing its body’s moisture. The more ants are killed with baking soda, the less they’ll want to take refuge in your home!

Baking powder vs. baking soda: How they're different, which to use when and more - The Washington Post
Source: The Washington Post, (Scott Suchman for The Washington Post/food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post) @ All Rights Reserved.

4. Ant Traps

These are usually coated with borax or talc that ants will carry back to their nest, killing the colony. Ants tend to get into your home through small crevices in the wall, so make sure you seal these up if you want to keep ants out for good. You can purchase ant traps from a local hardware store or even make your own in a pinch with a glass jar and a few things from around the house. All you need is a tall jar that has a lid, some honey, peanut butter, or jelly, and some rags that have been soaked in the attractant liquid. Stick the rags into the jar, top it off with the attractant liquid, seal the jar with the lid, and place it on your property. Ants will find it irresistible to eat this mixture instead of food found inside your home. Just make sure not to use this method if your pets are fond of eating sweets!

The Best Ant Killer
Source: Wirecutter, Photo: Rozette Rago @ All Rights Reserved.

5. White Vinegar/ Vinegar

White vinegar has not only powerful ant-killing properties, but also leaves an unpleasant smell for the ants and anything they eat afterward will smell like vinegar! It’s your new secret weapon against ants and other household pests! Mixing vinegar and dish soap together creates a fuming cloud that ants don’t like to be around, so they will avoid the cloud

White vinegar - Dr. Axe
Source: Dr.Axe @ All Rights Reserved.

6. Coffee Grounds

Ants and other insects don’t like the taste of caffeine and will avoid it. So if you want to keep ants away from an outdoor gathering, serve some coffee or other caffeinated beverages. You can also use this to your advantage by putting coffee grounds or black pepper in places where ants might invade your indoor space such as under the sink.

coffee ground in portafilter for espresso picture
Source: Unsplash.com RyanJLane @ All Rights Reserved.

7. Salt

Salt is a natural ant repellent, put a pinch of salt on the base of your sink and they won’t be able to crawl across. Salt is a pesticide that ants avoid at all costs as it causes them to dehydrate and die. While salt as a substance can also cause damages to plants, plants can recover from such treatment easily.

salt in wooden table picture id827818618?b=1&k=20&m=827818618&s=170667a&w=0&h=Ar6eEZjwa
Source: Unsplash.com Credit:arto_canon @ All Rights Reserved.

8. Tea

Did you know that tea can get rid of ants? It might come as a surprise, but the ancient beverage has been used as a natural way to control and kill ants. The plant used for this herb is called Ocimum basilicum, which is commonly known as “sweet basil”. This bug-killing concoction can be mixed with hot water and sugar. Pouring the mixture into a shallow dish and leaving it out in your yard will kill ants and repel them from your property.

clear glass mug with brown liquid inside
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The best time to use the tea is right before sunset when ants are most active. You can even add vinegar to further deter them. The tea is so effective at killing ants that the pests will carry the remains back to their colony and spread them around. This will kill off many other ants in that colony, which will help keep infestations under control.

9. Lemon Juice

Lemon juice might not be your first thought when you want to get rid of ants, but it turns out this liquid is an excellent natural repellent for them. Exposing ants to lemon juice will make them come out from under rocks and plants where they usually hide.

lemon juice picture id510180395?b=1&k=20&m=510180395&s=170667a&w=0&h=VmCoRO8TtsXG59WMINy53nG6JcXiXPXm zCZHNVnlSE=
Source: Unsplash.com Credit: rez-art @ All Rights Reserved.

If ants are making a nuisance on your property, all you need to do is mix 1/2 cup of lemon juice with 1/4 cup water in a spray bottle and start spraying. The acidity of the lemon juice will cause the liquid to vaporize into gas that suffocates the insects. If it falls on your animal’s pet food no need to worry It’s safe for humans as well as pets and plants!

10. Cornmeal

Cornmeal works as a natural ant repellent and is relatively inexpensive. To make a paste out of cornmeal, drop a tablespoon in a bowl of water and stir it. Then you can use it to apply on surfaces around your home where ants might be wandering near.

corn groats and seeds corncobs on wooden rustic table picture
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Try sprinkling cornmeal around the area where you have seen ant activity. Also, you can mix the cornmeal with food to coat it before serving it. The ants will not be able to digest the cornmeal, so they will take it back to their nest, where other ants will eat it. They will take it as a message that this is not a good place to live, which is what you are ultimately trying to do. This method should eradicate ants within about a week because no one likes sharing bad news.

11. Plants

Ever noticed how ants are harder to find around you when you start growing plants? Turns out, it’s not just about your personal space – while land-based plants can’t necessarily keep the bugs away right away, there are some that do exterminate pests. And that’s not all. Plants also help release oxygen into the air, reduce humidity around you by slowly absorbing water from the ground, and they’re aesthetically pleasing to boot. Keeping plants around your house will deter ants from coming near your home because they don’t like the smell of the plants

artificial flowers in pots on shelves against the white wall picture id1295971901?b=1&k=20&m=1295971901&s=170667a&w=0&h=cUaGq4MRz3m6FoI 9PiE5mALFGCdT EDANgS1M L4Dg=
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12. Petroleum Jelly

Petroleum jelly is a very effective natural pest control agent that will prevent ants from entering your cabinets and drawers. It also acts as an insect repellent, making it an excellent means of protection against other bugs too. Just make sure you’ve got petroleum jelly with you the next time an ant invades your property, or you might find some other unwelcome guests in your home!

petroleum jelly open picture id1278092782?b=1&k=20&m=1278092782&s=170667a&w=0&h=YwRhXtHCeyX2luOM7YhdM9YJEp1jA89wEjmhZzfbmKk=
Source: Unsplash.com Credit: Michael Burrell @ All rights Reserved.

13. Nail Polish Remover

When you eliminate the insects’ food sources, they’ll have to look for another source of sustenance. This could be your home or another property that has an abundance of food for them to feast on. If you use nail polish remover and leave it on an ant’s path, they will be unable to consume any food and will starve to death. This will get rid of them immediately. Just remember that this method is not suitable for areas with pets, since pets could eat the nail polish remover accidentally and get sick or even die!

womans hand removing pink nail polish with white cotton pad on towel picture id1149813990?b=1&k=20&m=1149813990&s=170667a&w=0&h=v6X19CkrXzOSYnwsUthk5WRAUaS4fOsbJA4KqPfad6w=
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14. Peppermint Oil

Ants can’t stand the smell of peppermint oil as it will attract them and make them behave as they would behave if they were on a sugar rush. To make your home ants-free, try filling a spray bottle with water and adding peppermint oil. Spray anywhere you’ve seen ants for an all-natural remedy that gets rid of them fast! peppermint oil’s antimicrobial and antifungal properties make it an excellent choice for getting rid of ants. The oils in peppermint are so potent, however, that you should only use small amounts on your skin. If you have sensitive skin or are allergic to mint, you should avoid using this oil at all costs.

Peppermint Oil
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15. Cinnamon

Cinnamon is a tasty spice, but it can also help get rid of pesky ants. Simply sprinkle the cinnamon powder directly on the ant’s path or at their entry point to deter them from entering your home. A little goes a long way, so make sure to use as much as needed! The ants will either not enter your home because they’re repelled by the smell of the cinnamon, or they’ll stay outside and die trying.

You can also make a cinnamon-based spray to spray wherever you see ants. Take three tablespoons of cinnamon, which should be ground, and mix it with about 1/4 cup of water. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle and shake well. You can use this spray on ant areas or around potential entry points.


Ants can’t stand the smell of cinnamon as it smells too strong for them. Therefore, if you put some cinnamon around your house or on a piece of paper near areas where you find ants or their nests, they will be unable to withstand it and will leave the area

Cinnamon is also great for repelling other insects as well, so you can try sprinkling it near other areas where bugs are known to frequent. One word of caution is that you don’t want to have too much cinnamon in any one area because it could attract bugs or animals that would eat/ingest the spilled cinnamon.

cinnamon sticks and grounded cinnamon isolated on a white background picture id1077702772?b=1&k=20&m=1077702772&s=170667a&w=0&h=3DjG XfMC303mobfjv8UGlGdIVgW6DlrH w9KqBMBgk=
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Ants are fascinating insects, not only because they are unbelievably prolific, but also for what they can teach us about science and life. But everyone should know about ant control because you don’t want to end up living among many ant colonies around you, as they may turn around deadly. We are sure that this list of how to get rid of ants will be of great help to you.

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