Ants are a common nuisance in households around the world. But fortunately there are some simple steps you can take to ensure they find more hospitable places to live.
The number one reason why ants are in your home is that they've found a food source. Usually that food source is in your kitchen, which is why the first sign of ants is usually a few scurrying around on your kitchen countertops. Once these scouts have identified where the food is, they'll quickly relay the information back to their nest and soon you'll find an ant trail into your home.
Follow these guidelines for getting rid of ants, and keeping them away.
Identify the Ants
Small black ants are searching for food and once the food source is removed they will usually move on. Larger carpenter ants can be more difficult to get rid of as they nest and feed on moist wood, which can cause structural damage to your home. If you see large ants in your attic, basement, or anywhere you have exposed wood beams, you need to attack them at once.
The first step in eliminating ants is to thoroughly clean your home. Vacuum your floors and wipe down countertops on a daily basis—a few crumbs can serve as a feast for an ant colony. Use plastic bins to seal up open bags of food, which will also deter other bugs like cockroaches from finding your home appealing.
Some natural ant deterrents that can be used on your countertops are lemon juice and vinegar. Many people prefer these non-toxic options which are completely safe to be used around food. claims to be an eco-friendly and non-toxic bug repellent, and a trusty can of has been killing ants for years, but we'd be hesitant to use it anywhere near food.
Follow the Trail
If you notice an ant trail, try to follow it to the colony before wiping it out. An ant colony can be anywhere, but typically they reside in your walls, basement, or outdoors. Use a placed next to the colony to exterminate the ants.
Call in the Pros
If you've identified carpenter ants in your home, it's best to call an exterminator. They can assess the situation and use more powerful chemicals to remove a bad infestation. But most black ant problems can be remedied by being diligent about keeping your house clean and sealing up food sources.