Garden And Household Ants Can Be A Costly Homeowner Expense
Almost every homeowner has had to deal with household ants whether in the bathroom, kitchen, bedroom, or the perimeter of their home.
If it’s not fruit flies, mice, rats, skunks, rabbits, chipmunks, raccoons its ants that are making their way inside which can get costly for the homeowner.
Owning a home means taking care of household maintenance chores but the same goes for those who rent.
On the odd occasion in the summer we might find large ants in the house that make their way in through small entryways.
It has never been a concern for us as it’s quite common and we just get rid of it by using a tissue.
However, when you are facing a small colony of black ants you have your hands full trying to find the source and proper method to get rid of them.
Household Ants vs. Other Ants
How do I get rid of black ants in my house?
Ants need two things, food and water and they are looking for both when they are in your home.
My initial thought was to power blast them to the moon.
I hate ants and it seems every year we are dealing with black ants inside and outside of our house.
Taking the DIY household ants approach may not be for everyone nor kill the ants.
If you find you’re faced with a sudden ant infestation it’s time to either call pest control or face the ants on your own.
Typically I would put ant traps down that I bought at the dollar store and have done so in the past mainly in the kitchen which seemed to solve the problem.
That only happened to us one year out of the 12 we’ve been living here so we’ve been fairly lucky.
Ants In The House
Last week our son came running to the kitchen to say there were ants in my room.
Oh great, the last thing I need is Mrs. CBB to find little ants in the bed and she will lose her mind.
She does not like ANY pests in the house especially fruit flies which we get every summer in our kitchen.
Of course, I got up to investigate and sure enough, pesky little black ants were crawling on the carpet.
To the naked eye, they looked like a common ant that you’d see in a household.
Upon investigation, I noticed that the ants were marching from a crack in the bathroom next to the jacuzzi.
This was not the first time we’ve had ants in this area although the last time we thought our son had dropped cookie crumbs.
I guess that was the way we fought back because there didn’t seem to be many at the time.
Now we know we are facing something far different than food crumbs since the little black ant army is coming out from the wall.
Since I’m planning on renovating the entire master bathroom including the jacuzzi I plan to rip all of the drywall off.
The biggest problem homeowners face is trying to figure out what kind of ants they are battling.
Sugar Ants vs. Moisture Ants
In the meantime, I needed to sort these little black ants out however I wasn’t sure if they were sweet ants or moisture ants.
If it gets to the point of no return your best bet is to call a local pest control company to sort your ant problem out.
I know some people who call pest control yearly before the ant season begins to spray around the outside of their home.
We have never done this but most certainly would add this to a projected expense in our budget if need be.
Moisture ants need lots of water to survive so they were in the right place for a water source.
Since these were small black ants I decided to tackle the problem with honey to start.
If they were sugar ants in the bathroom then they would gravitate towards the honey.
I took a lid from an old pickle jar and filled it with honey and sat it in the area next to the ants as bait.
This was my first attempt of finding natural ways to kill ants without chemicals.
I left the honey for two days with our son making sure he reported back to me every hour on the hour.
He was quite intrigued about the small house ants and wanted to know about the ant colony we’ve acquired.
The hard part is trying to get rid of the tiny ants in the bathroom when they are inside the wall.
I’m almost betting I’ll find something special in there when I open it all up later this summer.
Tips For Getting Rid of Moisture Ants
- Check the foundation of your house for cracks
- Ensure the plumbing is working properly and there are no leaks
- Does your house leak into the roof or ceiling? I found a leak in our kitchen ceiling from the bathroom on the upper-level last year and repaired it. Luckily there were no ants. The problem was an incorrect seal on the toilet likely from when the builders installed it.
- Check for drainage issues around the house including the basement
- Source any rotting materials or wood where ants would thrive
Household Ants In the Kitchen
Why are household ants invading our kitchen?
Ants need to eat and like food so if there are food particles on your counters or floor the ants will come marching down.
Some of the worst foods to have on your floors or counters are bread crumbs, cookie crumbs, cake crumbs.
You’ll even find ants love fruits and fruit juice spill such as apple juice which we initially thought was our problem.
Our son loves apple juice and of course, kids spill just about everything and we thought we missed a clean-up area.
If there is food to sniff out ants have odor receptors like an antenna and can sniff food out quite easily.
This is why I put honey down in our bathroom as I knew they would smell the sweetness instantly.
Tips For Controlling Kitchen Ants
To get rid of ants in your kitchen there are a few things you can do.
- Source the ants so you know where they are coming from
- Find out if there are any food or sweet sources the ants are after in your kitchen and clean it up
- Clean under your dishwasher, water tower, stove, and under your refrigerator if possible to get any lingering crumbs from underneath.
- Clean and sanitize your kitchen sink daily and avoid leaving dishes and food for long periods.
- Make sure all food sources in your kitchen are tightly sealed.
- Sweep and wash your floors regularly
- Wash down your kitchen cabinets and appliances to get rid of any spills or stickiness from kids
Household Ants In the Bedroom
Eating and drinking in your bedroom is probably not the best idea especially if you leave spills and crumbs on the ground.
Cleanliness must be a top priority if you want to avoid household ants.
This means vacuuming your bedroom if you have carpet daily and get in and around all of the cracks of your furniture.
Pull out any chairs or benches in your bedroom and move clothing hampers to clean in behind them.
Dust your room and clean your windows with glass cleaner or vinegar and water mix.
Ants love water so if you have a master bathroom next to your bedroom it’s important to keep moisture at bay.
Household Ants In the Bathroom
As mentioned above we had tiny ants in the bathroom from a crack in the flooring next to the jacuzzi.
I also noticed the odd ant by the shower but I’m sure it was just wandering around from the same crack possibly searching for water.
The honey initially worked as it captured about 60 or so tiny black ants but that didn’t get them all.
I still noticed they were popping out of the crack one by one so I had guessed they were moisture ants.
Eventually, I used an Ant Out pest control spray in the bathroom and gave the hole a good spray.
I haven’t seen any household ants for a week so either they rushed back out where they came from or I killed them.
Tips for controlling bathroom household ants
- Clean up any water spills on counters or floors from taking a shower or bath
- Always use a bathroom exhaust fan when taking a bath or shower
- Inspect your exhaust fan to make sure it works and clean any dust from it (ours did not and was not connected outdoors so I removed them and installed high-quality fans).
- Seal any cracks in the baseboards or walls in your bathroom
Garden Ants and Pavement Ants
Pavement Ants are ants that like to build up colonies near rocks, heat sources, or cracks in your pavement.
I always have pavement ants in the crack in front of our garage and on the side-walk near the end of our driveway.
Many homeowners know what I’m talking about it and I’ve tried all of the DIY ways first to combat them which I will discuss below.
The things you will want to look out for with pavement ants is that they love moisture.
If you have mulch or rocks near your home try to keep the mulch away from the foundation and no more than 2 inches high.
While Mrs. CBB and I were cleaning our rock garden of leaves this weekend I uncovered a nice surprise.
We have a large decorative rock that is surrounded by a rock garden with hostas and other plants.
After moving a couple of the smaller rocks I found a massive colony of black ants.
(see photo above)
This was new to me however as a homeowner it was something I needed to take care of right away.
I started with a hot pot of boiling water and vinegar to flush them down and out.
Once that dried I noticed that they were coming back so I went with ant spray that I had previously used in our bathroom.
That did the trick but I would have tried a popular borax ant control mixture but didn’t have any Borax.
The little ant colonies that you see in front of your garage or on the sidewalk can be tricky since washing them away doesn’t solve the problem.
You’ll find the main ant colony to be deep under the surface so they will continue to reappear so you’ll have to bait them out.
Pavement ants are pests that are a nuisance as they just don’t want to go away.
Tips To Control Outdoor Ants
Other tips to control outdoor ants from coming into your home:
- Seal any cracks around your house and check often as they can happen at any time
- Check the vents around your home and replace any if they are broken
- Trim your bushes and flowers if they are close to the house
- Keep mulch and rocks to a minimum around the perimeter of your home
- Ensure water is not getting into the foundation of your home
Natural Ways To Kill Pesky Household Ants And Outdoor Ants
There are other ways you can tackle killing ants that I will discuss below.
- Ants can’t stand mint so if you have mint leaves crush them and disperse in the area where you believe they are.
- Vinegar and water solution mix and spray
- Water and dish soap solution mix and spray
- Combine baking soda and honey or icing sugar as a bait (you can do this for your pavement ants too)
- Boiling water and pour over the source of household ants or garden ants
An Excellent Borax ant bait recipe for killing ants according to our neighbour:
The sugar will attract the ants as I did with the honey however with the borax the ants will bring that back to the colony.
What happens is that the Borax messes with the ants’ digestive track eventually killing them but it’s a slow death.
I would have used the recipe had I had borax in the house before trying my honey ant bait.
You can use this mixture in your garden but beware that Borax is a herbicide and can kill your plants.
Simply put your mixture in a lid as I did with my honey or a container that ants can easily get into.
Products To Control Household Ants, and Garden Ants
- Diatomaceous Earth Food Grade can control bed bugs, roaches, ants, and other garden pests.
- Terro Ant Killing Powder
- Raid Home Insect Killer
- Blaze Pro Ant Nest Destroyer
- Ortho Home Defence
Discussion: How do you control household ants? What methods have you used to control outdoor ants around your home including pavement ants? What costs were involved if you called in pest control to help rid of your ants?
I’d love to read your experiences in the comments below.