How to get rid of ants

The Complete Guide

big forest ant isolated on white background


The most successful creature after man is ants, they may seem tiny but their total mass on earth is more than total mass of any other specie on earth.

The reason of this success is their society; they have the perfect division of labor among the members of colony, they have a queen whose sole purpose of existence is to lay eggs, there are workers who live to serve the colony; tending to larvae, gathering food and protecting queen then there are the soldiers who do nothing but defend the colony and the foraging units, none of these ants even reproduce; they have separate winged reproducing niche of males and females.

Ants do not care about their lives, only their colony matters to them and because numbers are important for the colony to survive, all the ants sit in the colony until they know exactly where the food is. There are a few ants that have duty of wandering and exploring the areas around the colony; they are the scouts and when they find a potential food source, they take a piece of it and carry it back to the colony and on their way back; they leave a trail of pheromones for the other workers to follow, who never leave the trail and only travel in queue formation.

There are soldier ants among the workers, they have bigger heads and bigger mandibles, and they protect the workers and the colony from any predators and have the primary purpose of defending the queen.

Why Do They Invade the House?

Ants will go wherever the food is, they don’t actually care if it is a doghouse or a human house. Being great scavengers, they just wait in the colony till the scouts find food. The scouts are everywhere in the range of the colony but food isn’t. Since the dawn of industrial age, humans have been consuming energy-rich, refined and processed foods, this gives ants incentive to invade the human houses today more than ever.

Humans also happen to waste too much of food; our house floors are full of food debris that is rich in carbohydrates, even a gulp of spilt cola has copious amounts of carbohydrates for the ants. Humans are clumsy enough to leave lids open, foods in the open, jam and honey jars unclean on the outside and solid sugar particulates on the shelves. All these things wasted by humans are like a dream-come-true to the ants, the scouts just happen to hit on more food items in the human houses which makes the ants invade the human houses.

Why to Get Rid Of Ants?

Anybody who has ants infesting his house would already know the answer; they are a nuisance, crawling everywhere, spoiling the food that is left out, and attacking even the tiniest food particulate on the floor. The frequently get crushed under the feet and the survivors bite so hard that their heads come off but they don’t let go.

The flying ants are great new nuisance altogether; entering the houses, banging their heads in the lights and dying all over the house. After taking account of all the annoyances that ants bring along, it can be concluded that they must be gotten rid of. If you have an ant infestation in your house, you will feel relieved and stress-free when they are gone because seeing a pest-free house is mentally fulfilling in its own way.

The Ants That Invade the Houses

There are several types of ants that can invade the houses; each brings a nuisance of its own. Each come with the objective of scavenging but some are there just to annoy while others bring serious damage along with them.

Flying Ants

Every year when it is warm enough; at the end of autumn, special kind of ants arise, almost synchronically over large areas, flying ants are pushed out of colonies by the worker ants that spread in the vicinity of the colony not letting the flying ants to settle down, encouraging them to fly away.

Black Winged garden ant species niger lasius in high definition with extreme focus and DOF (depth of field) isolated on white background

A Flying Ant.

The division of labor in an ant colony is very strict and there is only one purpose of each kind of ant and reproduction is the sole purpose of these winged ants. Smaller male chases the larger female to long distances to prove his fitness as an ideal mate, mating occurs midair and at the end of the process, the male’s genital organs explode inside the female inseminating her. The male dies shortly afterwards while the female gets her eggs fertilized and searches for a suitable place to land, shed her wings, lay eggs and become a queen. The most distinct feature of these flying ants is their wings. They are a nuisance to humans because human houses are warm enough to be suitable for them to perform the whole ritual in.

Sugar Ants

Large, half an inch long orange-brown ants with black head and wide mandibles is the sugar ant, very distinguishable based on its color patterns.

Sugar ant ant and sugar piece.

A Sugar Ant.

Though primarily omnivore, these ants love anything with sugar in it. These ants live way more socially than other ants; they tend to aphids, move and milk them, extract honeydew from aphids and caterpillars, and in urban setting, attack mostly the sweet things like honey and jams. These ants are not harmful at all, they can’t even bite humans but the nuisance they cause is just the same as any other ant does.

Carpenter Ants

Large, inch long ants with very strong mandibles capable of chewing out wood from furniture and wooden structure in the human houses.

Carpenter ants make colonies inside wooden structures, and beside the nuisance they cause by being pests; they cause physical damage to the house. Of all the ant types, these are the ones that need to be dealt with as quickly as possible.

Pharaoh Ants

Very small, an ant of up to 2mm size distinguishingly small, yellow and almost transparent. The pharaoh ant is the most major pest in human houses and hospitals.

Closeup of a pharaoh ant on peony

A Pharaoh Ant

These ants are found in almost every area of the world because the colonies bud from each other and live with each other without showing any aggression towards any neighboring colony. These ants show the most unique scouting and foraging techniques and require to be controlled quickly or they spread and grow in numbers very rapidly.

Pavement Ants

Medium sized black-brown ant; distinguishable by one pair of spines on the back.

A number of pavement ants (Tetramorium caespitum) at work on a small leaf.

Pavement Ants.

Their most extraordinary capability is to make colonies away from the soil, they can make colonies in the pavements of the cities and prove to be the most resilient of pests that also occurs deep in the cities.

How Can We Get Rid of Ants?

There are many ways to keep ants at bay; the easiest and most humane is to give them something to eat outside the house so they do not enter inside the house while the most extreme is to find the colony and manually pouring boiling water in it to kill each ant.

Anti-Ant Sign

How to get rid of any kind of ant

Any kind of ant can be dealt with if we know how they operate and we manipulate their normal function to our advantage.

All ants scout; chalk or cinnamon powder can be lined over entrances to the house to check scouting. All ants follow trails; vinegar, essential oil, citrus fruits and soap can be used to get rid of trail so there is nothing for the ants to follow.

All ants take food back to colony; they can be given poisonous food which can kill the whole colony including the queen. There are special baits and ant traps that you can either make or can purchase from the market to kill or get rid of the ants effectively and immediately.

Read about ant killers and ant traps.

How to get rid of carpenter ants

Carpenter ants require desperate measures; there is no way you would want to keep them at bay knowing that they live in your furniture and destroy it over time. They must be killed to save the nuisance and the damage. Acrylic paint with borax or acrylonitrile infusion must be applied to kill the existing colonies and to avoid future encounters.

How to get rid of pharaoh ants

Pharaoh ants must be dealt with quickly or they increase too much in number; borax laden food should not be used as this will only ensure a continuing supply of fresh ants, killing the whole colony is the way to go in case of pharaoh ants.

How to get rid of pavement ants

The pavement ants live outside the house and do not require desperate measures, just sealing and caulking the house properly can do the trick of keeping them at bay, if need to be gotten rid of, extensive pavement cleaning systems might be required.

How to get rid of flying ants

Flying ants are of two kinds, the smaller males that would die and the only worry we need to do about them is about clearing their corpses but the female ones are potential queens and should not be allowed to land in or near the house. If you see winged ants inside the house during summer, it is usually okay but seeing frequent flying ants in winter means that there is a colony inside the house.

Killing the flying ants with aerosol sprays and soap solutions can do the trick but sometimes when there are too many of them; electric bug zapper becomes the weapon of choice which not only kills the winged ants but also attracts and kills almost every flying insect that is prevalent in the area.

How to get rid of flying ants.

How to get rid of sugar ants

The sugar ants can be gotten rid of by simple procedure of baiting; these ants are different from other ants because even if there is food outside the house, they will keep going inside the house for more sugar because they can choose between foods and will always go for the sweeter one. The path of their scouts can be blocked, their pheromones could be tempered with but once you stop the treatment, they will prevail again.

More permanent treatments like poisoning them should be considered. To poison the sugar ants; fashion sugar coated borax beads or borax infused sweet granules that they could take back to the colony. Once eaten by the queen and all the workers, the formulation will kill the sugar ants getting effective rid of them.

How to get rid of sugar ants.

Ants in the Kitchen

Kitchen is probably the favorite place for ants; there are food particulates almost everywhere.

After preparation of every meal or even opening of refrigerator, food smell comes from the kitchen. The unwashed dishes and the leftover cake and cookies all invite the ants to come into the kitchen and attack the food that is exposed. The major reason that the ants are a problem in the kitchen is that they are everywhere is the kitchen; the shelves, the dishes, the honey jars, the jam jars and even the garbage.

When you visit the kitchen while the ants are there, hundreds die there due to you stepping on them while some crawl onto you and start biting you which can be painful based on the species infesting the kitchen.

To keep the nuisance out of the kitchen, you can put some sugary fluid inside a box and infuse it with around five percent borax, which you can easily get at any pharmacy, then you should make holes in the box such that the ants enter easily but it takes them time to leave the box so when they die due to borax, you can rest assured that they will die inside the box and it will be easier for you to take care of their lifeless carcasses.

Get rid of ants in the kitchen.

What to Make of This Whole Argument?

Ants are pest and pest should stay out of the human houses. It is essential to take measures to avoid the occurrence of ants inside the house. Whether the ants are infesting mildly or forcefully, there are treatments available for them.

Men have developed ways to counter pests after spending millennia fighting them and today when our houses are the most attractive to the ants, we are most equipped to fight them and thwart them away from our houses; we have ways to fashion ant traps and ways to eliminate entire colonies, we even have commercially available ant traps that can deal the problem with our minuscule involvement.