How To Get Rid Of Ants In Your Home

Last Updated March 6, 2024 By Bella Zinti

Home » Home Guides » How To Get Rid Of Ants In Your Home

Are tiny, persistent ants invading your home like unwelcome party crashers? Fear not, as you're not solitary in the fight against these diminutive intruders. We've all been there, watching them march confidently across our kitchen countertops or assemble their troops near the sugar bowl. It's like they received an invitation you didn't remember sending! Despite their small size, ants can bring a legion of annoyance when they invade your home.

However, there's no need to worry. In this blog post, we're unleashing the ultimate guide to evicting these uninvited guests from your home for good. Learn how to get rid of ants below to say goodbye to the tiny terrors and hello to a pest-free paradise!

How to Identify Ants?

Identifying ants is a vital skill in pest management. Key characteristics to look for include their color, size, and body structure. Ants come in various colors, such as black, brown, red, or yellow. Their size ranges from tiny to over half an inch, and they possess three body segments: head, thorax, and abdomen. Notice their distinctive bent antennae and, in some cases, wings, especially during the mating season. For specific identification, consider factors like the number of nodes between the thorax and abdomen, the presence of grooves, and any unique features. Accurate identification helps in choosing the right control methods for effective ant management.

Common Ant Varieties to Watch Out For

Carpenter Ants (Camponotus spp.): Carpenter ants are among the largest ant species you may encounter in your home. Displaying a range of colors such as black, red, and brown, carpenter ants differ from termites in that they don't consume wood but instead excavate it to construct nesting galleries. These nests are typically found in damp or decaying wood; if left unchecked, they can cause significant structural damage to homes. It is crucial to promptly identify and address carpenter ant infestations to prevent potential property harm.

Odorous House Ants (Tapinoma sessile): Odorous house ants are small, usually ranging from 1/16 to 1/8 inch in length, with dark brown to black coloring. They are aptly named for the unpleasant odor they emit when crushed, often described as similar to rotten coconuts. These ants are particularly attracted to sugary and greasy foods, making kitchens a common battleground. Promptly addressing infestations of odorous house ants is crucial, given their ability to form large colonies.

Argentine Ants (Linepithema humile): Argentine ants, usually light to dark brown, are small, measuring approximately 1/16 to 1/8 inch long. What sets them apart is their tendency to form massive supercolonies that can span extensive areas. These ants are attracted to sweets and are notorious for invading homes for food and moisture. Their widespread distribution makes them a common household pest in many regions.

Pavement Ants (Tetramorium caespitum): Measuring around 1/8 inch in length and displaying a dark brown to black coloration, pavement ants derive their name from their inclination to nest beneath sidewalks, driveways, and building foundations. These ants, known for their versatility in feeding habits, are attracted to various foods, including sweets and proteins. In areas where their nesting sites coincide with human structures, pavement ants have the potential to become household pests.

Fire Ants (Solenopsis spp.): Fire ants are small ants, usually measuring between 1/8 to 3/8 inches in length. They are reddish-brown with a reddish-black abdomen. Fire ants are infamous for their painful stings and the absence of a visible entry hole to their mounds. These ants form aggressive colonies and are drawn to sweet and protein-based foods. Managing fire ant infestations is crucial, especially if they pose a threat to human or pet safety.

Pharaoh Ants (Monomorium pharaonis): Pharaoh ants are diminutive, measuring approximately 1/16 inch in length, and exhibit a yellow to light brown coloration. These ants are notorious for their challenging-to-control nature due to their complex colony structure. They are highly attracted to a wide range of foods, making them common indoor pests, particularly in kitchens and pantries. Their rapid breeding cycle adds to the difficulty of eradicating infestations.

Acrobat Ants (Crematogaster spp.): Acrobat ants come in various sizes, ranging from small to medium-sized, measuring about 1/16 to 1/4 inch in length. They are often identified by their ability to lift their abdomen over their thorax, creating an acrobatic appearance. Acrobat ants are opportunistic feeders attracted to both sweet and protein-rich foods. Identifying their presence is crucial to prevent potential food contamination and discomfort in your home.

Ants over a spoon of sugar

What Attracts Ants In Home?

Food Residues

Ants are persistent foragers with an uncanny ability to detect even the tiniest food residues in your home. Their keen sense of smell allows them to locate crumbs, spills, and food scraps accurately. To deter ants, maintain meticulous kitchen hygiene. Following cooking and dining, it is advisable to wipe down countertops, tables, and other surfaces where food is prepared or consumed. Additionally, regularly sweeping and vacuuming floors helps eliminate food debris.

Sugary Substances

Ants have a sweet tooth, making them irresistibly drawn to sugary substances like honey, syrups, and fruit juices. Even a small spill or a sticky residue on a surface can attract them. To minimize their attraction, clean up sugary spills immediately and store sweet items in tightly sealed containers. Invest in airtight containers for pantry staples to prevent ants from infiltrating your dry goods.


Some ant species are protein-seekers and are attracted to meats, cheeses, and pet food. To discourage their presence, securely store protein-rich foods in sealed containers. Promptly clean pet food dishes after each meal, and avoid leaving them out overnight, which can provide a feast for ants.


Ants need water to survive, and they're drawn to moisture sources in your home. Leaky faucets, dripping pipes, and damp sponges are prime attractions for these insects. Address water leaks promptly by fixing faucets and pipes. After using water in your kitchen or bathroom, ensure that the areas around sinks and countertops are thoroughly dried to discourage ant activity.

Pet Food

If you own pets, be aware that their food can inadvertently serve as a buffet for ants. Ensure pet food is stored securely, and consider elevating pet food dishes to prevent ants from reaching the food. Avoid leaving pet food out for prolonged periods, as doing so can attract ants.


An open or improperly sealed trash can is an alluring food source for ants. Investing in trash cans with tightly fitting lids is essential to keep ants out. Dispose of trash regularly, especially if it contains food scraps. Additionally, periodically clean your outdoor trash cans to eliminate lingering odors and residues.

Fruit and Vegetables

Overripe or rotting fruits and vegetables release odors that beckon ants. Store them in the refrigerator or keep them in sealed containers to prevent ants from being drawn to their scent. Regularly inspect your fruit bowls and kitchen for items that need to be discarded.

Nesting Sites

Some ant species, like carpenter ants, are attracted to wood for nesting, especially if it's damp or decaying. Examine your home for potential structural issues that could create a welcoming environment for ants. Address damp or rotting wood promptly to deter infestations.

How To Get Rid Of Ants

Identify the Ant Species

Accurate identification serves as the initial step in effective ant control. Observe the physical characteristics of the ants, including size, color, and the presence of wings. Additionally, watch their behavior and track their movement patterns. Different ant species have varying preferences for food, nesting sites, and treatment methods. Knowing the specific ant species will help you choose the most appropriate approach.

Remove Attractants

Ants are relentless foragers, and eliminating food sources is paramount. Maintain kitchen cleanliness by promptly wiping down countertops, addressing spills, and sweeping up crumbs. Store food in airtight containers, and avoid leaving pet food overnight. Regularly empty and clean trash cans to minimize odors that can attract ants.

Seal Entry Points

Conduct a thorough inspection of your home to identify potential entry points for ants to gain access. These can include cracks in walls, gaps around doors and windows, and openings for pipes and wires. Utilize caulk, weather stripping, or sealant to seal off these entry points and prevent ants from infiltrating your living spaces.

Professional Pest Control

In the case of a severe or persistent infestation, it is recommended to seek the expertise of a professional pest control service. They have the expertise to identify the ant species, locate nesting sites, and employ more advanced treatment methods, including the use of specialized chemicals that are safe for human and pet exposure.

Regular Cleaning

Even after successfully eliminating ants, maintaining a clean environment is essential to prevent future infestations. Make cleaning a routine, and ensure all food is stored securely. Perform routine inspections to pinpoint and address potential attractants or entry points.

Monitor and Prevent

Monitor your home for signs of ant resurgence. Consistently apply preventive measures, including sealing entry points and using natural ant repellents. Vigilance prevents ants from re-establishing a presence in your living spaces.

Set Up Traps and Repellents

While store-bought ant baits are available, there are numerous homemade traps and repellents that you can easily prepare and place in and around your home, targeting the areas affected by the ant infestation to eliminate these pests effectively.

Ants on cupcake

Ways to To Get Rid Of Ants

Natural Repellents

Utilizing natural repellents can serve as an effective means to discourage ants from entering your home. Common options include vinegar, lemon juice, and peppermint oil. Blend these substances with water and apply the solution by spraying it along ant trails, entry points, and known nesting sites. These scents disrupt ant pheromone trails and discourage their return.

Liquid Ant Baits

Ant baits are an excellent tool for killing ants and eliminating entire ant colonies. Position bait stations near areas of ant activity, ensuring easy accessibility for the ants. The bait in these stations contains a slow-acting insecticide that foraging ants transport back to the colony, eventually eliminating the entire population. Be patient, as the bait may take several days to work effectively.

Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth, a natural abrasive substance, can be utilized in powder form. Sprinkle it in areas where ants are active to create a barrier that they must traverse. Diatomaceous earth damages the ants' exoskeleton, dehydrates them, and ultimately leads to their demise. It's a non-toxic and eco-friendly option.

However, remember that diatomaceous earth kills ants and can kill other bugs by absorbing the oils in their skeletons.

Coffee Grounds and Citrus Peels

Coffee grounds and citrus peels are readily available kitchen waste that can be repurposed as ant repellents. Scatter used coffee grounds or citrus peels near ant activity areas and potential entry points. These materials release scents that ants find unpleasant and will help deter them from invading your space.

Cinnamon and Cloves

Cinnamon and cloves are spices with strong scents that ants dislike. Scatter ground cinnamon or position whole cloves along ant trails and around entry points to deter their movement. These natural ingredients create a barrier that ants are hesitant to cross.

Soap and Water Solution

A simple soap and water solution can disrupt ant trails for other ants to follow and hinder their movement. Mix a few drops of dish soap with water and use it to wipe down countertops and clean ant-affected areas. You can also create a spray using ground cinnamon or cloves to target ants directly.

Chalk or Baby Powder

Ants avoid crossing certain powdery substances like chalk or baby powder. Draw lines or create barriers with these powders near ant-prone areas to prevent their access.

Sugar Borax Solution

Creating ant baits at home to kill ants can be cost-effective and efficient. Combine everyday household ingredients like sugar or honey with borax or boric acid. Set up these bait mixtures in small containers or on pieces of cardboard near ant trails or entry points.

Borax and boric acid are safe when used sparingly but are toxic to ants. As worker ants are attracted to the sugary bait, they'll carry the poisonous substance back to their nest, eventually leading to the colony's demise.

Essential Oils

Utilizing essential oils is an effective and natural method to eradicate ants from your home. Essential oils such as tea tree oil, eucalyptus oil, and peppermint oil, known for their potent scents, are repellent to ants.

To leverage their repellent properties, blend a few drops of your selected essential oil with water and spray the solution along ant trails, entry points, near ant infestation sources, and known nesting sites. The strong aroma disrupts ant pheromone trails, confuses their navigation, and deters them from returning to those areas. This eco-friendly approach not only helps rid your home of ants but also leaves behind a pleasant fragrance, making it a win-win solution for ant control.

White Vinegar

White vinegar is an effective natural remedy for getting rid of ants. The strong odor of the essential oil disrupts ant pheromone trails, deterring them from invading your space.

To utilize it, combine equal parts of white vinegar and water, then spray the solution along ant trails, entry points, and areas where they congregate. The acetic acid in vinegar also erodes the ants' exoskeletons, causing them harm. This eco-friendly approach offers an affordable and safe home ant control solution.


Cornstarch can serve as a natural method for controlling ants. Sprinkle cornstarch along ant trails and entry points to create a barrier. When ants come into contact with the cornstarch, it adheres to their bodies and interferes with their mobility. Ants may become stuck or have difficulty moving, ultimately disrupting their foraging activities. While it's not as fast-acting as some other methods, cornstarch is a non-toxic and safe way to discourage ants from infesting your living spaces.

Oranges or lemons

Citrus peels from oranges or lemons can serve as a natural ant repellent. Position these peels near areas prone to ants or entry points to discourage their presence. Ants dislike the strong citrus scent, disrupting their pheromone trails and preventing them from navigating effectively. This eco-friendly and non-toxic approach helps eliminate ants and adds a pleasant aroma to your home. Regularly replace the peels to ensure their ongoing effectiveness in deterring ants.

The Homey Space is proud to be reader-supported. If you buy through our links, we may earn a commission at no cost to you.

About the author

Bella has a Bachelors degree in interior design, is a master gardener. She designs nourishing outdoor & indoor spaces guided by the practice of Feng Shui.