Pest Control
Min Read

How to Get Rid of Ants

One of the most common pests in the USA, ants can cause significant damage to your home. Inside is a guide on how to get rid of ants, with popular DIY or professional solutions.

Ants walking along a tree
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Katie Peckat
June 9, 2023
Last Updated:
November 6, 2023
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Katie Peckat
June 9, 2023
Last Updated:
November 6, 2023

The Different Ant Species in the US

In the Midwest region of the US, you'll encounter various ant species, each with its unique characteristics. Understanding the specific species you're dealing with is crucial for effective ant control. Here are some common ant species in the Midwest:

Carpenter Ants

These ants are larger and often black or reddish-brown. They are known for tunneling into wood, potentially causing structural damage to your home.

Odorous House Ants

Smaller in size and brown to black in color, odorous house ants get their name from the foul odor they emit when crushed. They are often found indoors, foraging for sweets and other food sources.

Pavement Ants

Pavement ants are small and light brown to black. They often build nests in cracks in pavement or concrete, making them a common sight in urban areas.

Pharaoh Ants

These tiny yellow ants are known for their colonies' massive size and their ability to transmit diseases. They are often found near moisture sources and food.

Identifying the specific ant species is crucial as it helps you tailor your control strategies and anticipate their behavior. You can use field guides or consult with a pest control professional to assist in species identification.

Visible Signs of Infestation

Recognizing the signs of an ant infestation is the first step in addressing the problem. Here are some common indicators of ant infestations:

Ant Trails: Look for visible trails of ants moving to and from a food source. These trails may be found along baseboards, countertops, or other areas where they forage.

Ant Nests: Ants establish nests in various locations, such as wall voids, tree stumps, or under rocks. Identifying the nest's location is essential for effective treatment.

Scattered Food Particles: Ants are attracted to food, and the presence of food particles, crumbs, or pet food left out on countertops or floors can be a sign of an ant infestation.

Increased Ant Activity: Notice a sudden increase in ant activity, especially during warm months. Seasonal variations in ant behavior may indicate an infestation.

Conduct regular inspections in areas where ants are commonly found, like kitchens and bathrooms. Pay attention to any unusual ant behavior or a sudden surge in their numbers. Early detection can help prevent the infestation from worsening.

Potential Damage of Different Species

Different ant species pose varying degrees of risk and potential damage. Here's how to assess the damage associated with an ant infestation:

Carpenter Ants: These ants can cause structural damage by tunneling into wood. Inspect wooden structures, especially in damp areas, for signs of excavation.

Odorous House Ants: While they don't directly damage structures, they can contaminate food and are a nuisance when they infest homes. Ensure food storage and cleanliness to prevent their spread.

Pavement Ants: They may not cause significant damage, but their presence can be bothersome. Seal cracks in pavement and foundations to prevent their entry.

Pharaoh Ants: Known disease carriers, they are a health risk when infesting kitchens and hospitals. Swift action is essential, often requiring professional pest control.

Understanding the potential risks associated with each ant species is critical for determining the urgency of control measures. Prioritize the removal of ants that pose health or structural risks to your property.

Once you've identified an ant infestation and determined the ant species you're dealing with, it's time to take action and remove these unwanted pests from your home. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to effectively eliminate ants in the (specifically in the Midwest):

Sanitation and Prevention:

  • Start by maintaining a clean and hygienic environment. Ants are attracted to food sources, so keep kitchen surfaces, cabinets, and floors free of crumbs and spills.
  • Store food in airtight containers and promptly fix any leaks or plumbing issues that may create moisture attractants.
  • Seal any cracks or openings in your home's exterior to prevent ants from entering. This includes gaps around windows, doors, and foundation cracks.

Non-Toxic Remedies:

  • If you prefer a more environmentally friendly approach, you can try non-toxic remedies.
  • Use a mixture of equal parts white vinegar and water to clean ant trails and surfaces. The vinegar disrupts their chemical trails and deters them from returning.
  • Sprinkle diatomaceous earth along ant trails and entry points. This natural substance damages the ants' exoskeletons and dehydrates them.

Baits and Traps:

  • Ant baits are effective at luring ants to a poisoned bait that they carry back to their nests, eventually killing the colony. You can find commercial ant baits or make your own using a mixture of sugar and borax.
  • Place bait stations near ant trails and in areas where they forage. Be patient, as it may take some time for the bait to work its way through the colony.

Insecticide Sprays:

  • In cases of severe infestations or when non-toxic methods prove ineffective, consider using insecticide sprays. Choose a product labeled for ant control.
  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully when applying insecticides. Focus on treating areas where ants are active and potential entry points.

Professional Pest Control:

  • If the infestation persists or you're dealing with aggressive ant species like pharaoh ants or carpenter ants, it's advisable to consult a professional pest control service.
  • Pest control professionals have the expertise and access to more potent insecticides to address challenging infestations.

Follow-Up and Preventative Measures:

  • After successfully removing the ant infestation, continue practicing good sanitation and prevention measures to avoid future problems.
  • Regularly inspect your home for any signs of ant activity and address any new issues promptly.

Remember that patience and persistence are key when dealing with ant infestations. It may take some time to completely eradicate a colony. Keep in mind that chemical pesticides should be used with caution, following safety guidelines, and that non-toxic methods are often effective for smaller infestations. If in doubt or if the situation escalates, don't hesitate to seek professional assistance to ensure effective and safe ant removal.

Choosing a Professional Ant Control Service

When dealing with a persistent ant infestation, enlisting the help of a professional ant control service can be the most effective and efficient way to resolve the issue. However, not all pest control services are created equal, and choosing the right one requires careful consideration. In this section, we'll discuss what to consider, questions to ask potential providers, and how Spidexx, a reputable pest control company, treats ant infestations.

Things to Consider

Before selecting an ant control service, it's essential to consider the following factors:

1. Reputation and Experience:

  • Research the reputation and experience of the pest control company. Look for online reviews, ask for referrals, and check their track record with ant infestations.

2. Licensing and Certification:

  • Ensure that the company is licensed and certified to provide pest control services in your state. This ensures that they meet the required standards and regulations.

3. Treatment Methods:

  • Inquire about the methods and products used for ant control. A reliable service should be transparent about their approach, including the safety of their treatments.

4. Guarantees and Warranties:

  • Ask about any guarantees or warranties offered for their services. A reputable company should stand behind their work and provide follow-up visits if needed.

5. Pricing and Quotes:

  • Get detailed quotes and pricing information. Be cautious of services that provide vague estimates or pressure you into contracts without clear terms.

6. Safety Measures:

  • Ensure the company follows safety protocols and uses environmentally friendly products whenever possible. This is especially important if you have children or pets in your home.

Questions to Ask

When inquiring about ant control services, be prepared to ask the following questions:

  • What is your experience in dealing with ant infestations, and can you provide references or testimonials from past clients?
  • Are your technicians licensed and trained in ant control methods, and do you follow industry best practices?
  • What treatment methods and products do you use, and are they safe for humans and pets?
  • Do you offer any guarantees or warranties for your ant control services, and what is your policy for follow-up visits if the problem persists?
  • Can you provide a detailed written estimate for the cost of the ant control service, including any potential additional charges?
  • How do you ensure the safety of residents during and after the treatment process?

How Spidexx Treats Ants

Spidexx is a trusted pest control company with a proven track record in ant control. Here's how Spidexx approaches ant infestations:

  1. Experienced Technicians: Spidexx employs skilled technicians who have extensive experience in dealing with a variety of ant species commonly found in the Midwest. Our team is well-versed in identifying, treating, and preventing ant infestations.
  2. Customized Solutions: We understand that each ant infestation is unique. Spidexx tailors its treatment methods to the specific ant species and the extent of the infestation, ensuring effective results.
  3. Safe and Eco-Friendly Products: Spidexx prioritizes safety. We use environmentally friendly products whenever possible, and our technicians follow strict safety protocols to protect your family and pets.
  4. Guarantees and Follow-Up: We stand behind our work. Spidexx offers guarantees and warranties for our ant control services. If the problem persists, we provide follow-up visits to ensure complete elimination.
  5. Transparent Pricing: Spidexx provides clear and transparent pricing. We offer detailed written estimates so you know exactly what to expect without any surprises.

When selecting an ant control service, Spidexx is committed to delivering effective, safe, and customer-focused solutions for your ant infestation. Our experienced team is dedicated to resolving your ant problem and ensuring your peace of mind.

Questions about Ants

How do I get rid of ants permanently?

Permanently getting rid of ants typically requires a combination of strategies that solve the immediate problem, and then prevent subsequent infestations.

To solve the immediate issue, follow these steps:

  1. Start by identifying the ant species, and find their entry points.
  2. Seal all cracks, gaps, and openings in your home to prevent their access along those entry points, and any adjoining areas that they might divert to.
  3. Use ant baits, either homemade or commercial, to lure ants away and poison their colonies.

To prevent subsequent ant infestations, make sure you follow these tips:

  • Maintain a clean environment, eliminating food sources that attract ants.
  • Use natural plant-based barriers at strategic positions outside your house to keep ants away.

Consider consulting a professional pest or ant control service for a long-lasting solution.

What is the fastest way to get rid of ants in the house?

The fastest way to get rid of ants in your home is to use ant baits or sprays.

Ant baits, whether commercial or homemade, can effectively attract ants and deliver poison to the colony.

This may take a few days to a week to see significant results. For immediate relief, you can also use ant sprays on visible ant trails or directly on the ants, but this may not provide a long-term solution.

What smell do ants hate?

Ants are known to dislike certain strong odors, which are most-often acidic.

These include:

  • Peppermint,
  • Vinegar,
  • Citrus,
  • Cinnamon, or
  • Coffee grounds.

You can use essential oils or these substances to create barriers or repellents that deter ants from specific areas in your home.

What are the best home remedies for ants?

Effective home remedies for ants include:

  • Vinegar: A solution of equal parts vinegar and water can disrupt ant trails and deter them.
  • Peppermint oil: The strong scent of peppermint oil can repel ants. Apply it near entry points.
  • Cinnamon: Sprinkle cinnamon along ant trails or near their entry points.
  • Coffee grounds: Used coffee grounds can act as a deterrent when spread in areas where ants are active.
  • Diatomaceous earth: This natural substance can dehydrate and kill ants when spread in their path.

How long will vinegar keep ants away?

The effectiveness of vinegar in keeping ants away can vary. It typically disrupts their scent trails and deters them for a few hours to a few days, depending on the concentration and the specific ant species. However, vinegar is not a long-term solution, and you may need to combine it with other preventive measures for more lasting results.

Remember, vinegar is also soluble, meaning that if it rains or the area is washed, your barrier gets washed away too.

What keeps ants away naturally?

Besides vinegar and the other home-made or DIY solutions already mentioned, keeping ants away naturally involves:

  • Maintaining cleanliness,
  • Sealing entry points,
  • Eliminating food sources.

Regularly clean your home to remove crumbs and spills. Seal cracks and openings in walls, doors, and windows. Store food in airtight containers and fix any leaks to reduce moisture attractants.

Does salt keep ants away?

Salt is not typically effective as an ant deterrent.

While it may dehydrate ants when directly applied, it is not a reliable or practical solution for keeping ants away from your home. Instead, focus on other natural remedies and preventive measures for better results.

What does baking soda do to ants?

Baking soda alone does not have a significant impact on ants when applied externally.

However, some home remedies involve mixing baking soda with other substances like sugar to create a bait. The ants consume the mixture, and the baking soda can disrupt their digestive system, eventually killing them. Keep in mind that this method may take time to be effective and is not a guaranteed solution for all ant infestations.


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