How to Get Rid of Ants: 3 Methods That Don't Work & 3 Methods That Do

Warm weather comes with many classic images: a tall glass of iced tea, flip-flops, abundant sunshine. 

But it also comes with another staple: ants. You will see them marching back and forth on your hot driveway or nearby sidewalk. But, let’s be honest. Your warm-weather wish list usually doesn’t include discovering a colony of ants in your house … even if it might keep the children entertained for a little while.

We get it: You spend your limited free time keeping your home clean and organized. You don’t need ants ruining it.

Got a creepy-crawly problem? Here are some strategies to get rid of ants in Central and Southern Maryland, as well as common approaches that don’t work.

Killing Ants: What Doesn’t Work

1. Just Keeping Clean

To feed their colonies, ants are constantly on the hunt for food and water. This makes your kitchen and bathrooms hot spots.

Woman cleaning kitchen to keep ants awayKeeping your kitchen and bathrooms clean is a great preventive measure. Cleaning up food spills, storing ripe fruit in the fridge and keeping other foods in airtight containers and cleaning trash cans are great to-dos to ensure you don’t entice ants further.

Pet food can also attract ants. That’s why keeping pet bowls—and the areas around them—clean is important. You can also inspect indoor potted plants for pest presence frequently to keep them ant-free.

However, unfortunately just cleaning up after them won’t get rid of ants if you have an infestation.

2. Home Improvements  

Cleaning the inside is one part of the process to get rid of ants. But you also want to make it harder for ants to get indoors in the first place.

Caulking gaps in windows and doors or foundation cracks with silicone-based caulk, for instance, can seal up any easy entry points. Crushed stone or rock used around a home instead of mulch or pine straw that ants prefer to nest in can help keep ants away from your home’s perimeter.

Since ants crave water, fixing leaking water pipes and maintaining proper drainage away from your house can also help get rid of ants.

You can also keep trees and shrubs near the home trimmed, as well as keep firewood stacked at least 20 feet from the house. You want these regular ant hangouts kept at a safe distance to ensure it’s more difficult for ants to get inside.

But ants are small and can find their way to a food source if they are determined, which is why home improvements on their own won’t always completely stop ants.

3. DIY Treatment Methods

The list of DIY treatments to get rid of ants is long.

Cleaning with vinegar or essential oils like peppermint or tea tree are said to help repel ants. Other folks have claimed to find success using coffee grounds, cayenne pepper, or lemon juice.

coffee grounds to prevent antsAs with every experiment though, results vary greatly.

Conventional ant control materials that you can buy at the local hardware store are also an option for killing ants.

While you may see temporary initial improvement with any of these methods, such as a reduction of ants in one area, usually DIY strategies must be reapplied very frequently to make a dent in an ant population. And while they are targeting the ants you see, they aren’t getting back to the colony. So new ants will still make their way to your kitchen a couple of days later.

Killing Ants: What Does Work

1. Contact Control Materials

All it takes is one or two ants to discover food in your kitchen and then they go back and alert the rest of the troops that there’s a food supply nearby. The next thing you know, two ants become 12 and then 20 and so on.

To get rid of ants initially, especially when there are quite a few of them, a professional can start with a contact insecticide to knock down the initial population.

2. Non-repellant Ant Control Products

Once ants find a food source they enjoy (your kitchen happens to be tops on their list), they keep coming back. But they also keep returning to their colony.

So another strategy that works for killing ants is using a non-repelling insecticide hidden in a protein or sugar source that ants think is food. These many times come in bait form. Ants can’t see or smell the insecticide so they unknowingly take it back to their colony. This can kill the queen and knock out the colony, eliminating the bigger problem.

3. Barrier Treatments

Once you get rid of ants indoors and your problem has been controlled with a contact insecticide and/or non-repellant ant control, then a barrier program can be done outside.

Perimeter pest control application

This is a repelling product—something ants don’t like the smell or taste of—so that they immediately go in the other direction, away from your home.

Barrier treatments can be done a quarterly basis around the foundation of your home to keep ants out and happiness in.

We’re Here to Help You Get Rid of Ants at Your Southern or Central Maryland Home

No two ant infestations are the same. Not only are there different types of ants—Carpenter Ants and Pharaoh Ants are common ant species in Southern and Central Maryland—but there is also the size of the problem to consider. 

You may see a dozen ants continually show up in the same spot every few days, but that problem can reach deep into a large colony of hundreds or thousands of ants that you can’t even see.

Also, certain types of weather conditions can spike ant populations. A very wet spring can drive them to different areas, just as a dry spell can push them towards places with more moisture.

What this means is that ants can be tricky. So even if you’ve tried many of these strategies—maybe you’ve even tried using a professional—don’t feel bad if “get rid of ants” isn’t checked off your to-do list. We understand how hard killing ants can be.

That’s why you need a complete proactive pest control program that includes an inspection and treatment plan to get ants out of your home—and keep them out.

When we visit your home to prevent or treat for ants in Southern or Central Maryland, you get skilled, knowledgeable technicians who use targeted, professional products.

We’ll do everything we can to get rid of ants so you can take back your home. 

And if those pesky ants try and return, we’re happy to respond promptly to help keep this interruption to your normal routine to a minimum.

Are ants keeping you from enjoying your home? We’d love to learn more. Get started today with a free quote. Together, we’ll prepare a customized plan that leads you to the best choice for you and your home.

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Image source: ant, coffee grounds          

Topics: Pest Control

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