How To Get Rid of Ants From Your Home With 4 Simple Tricks

Marching ants


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Jennifer Magid

Ants, Trapped

I just experienced a major ant invasion, and I'm still recovering from the horror. 

After one rainy day, I came down to the kitchen to find ants all over the place — on the floor, the counter, the table, everywhere. Even more disgusting? The piles of ants I had to clean up after I obliterated the nest. It was a war, and I won. 

So if you're wondering how to get rid of ants, you could say I'm an expert. Here's the four-pronged approach I took to permanently rid my house of ants. 

ants inside a house floor with a child on background
Orsan Elitok/istockphoto

Clean Like Crazy

Ants are attracted to crumbs, spills, and sticky messes. To keep them away, keep the kitchen as clean as possible. Dirty dishes left in the sink can attract ants and all sorts of bugs (I'm looking at you, husband). It literally takes one ant finding a crumb and sharing what they've found with the colony to create a problem. 

You should also wipe down bottles of anything sweet and sticky like honey or containers of sugar before putting them away, because ants will find your mess in the darndest of places. 

Homemade ant repellent spray mixture in bottle. Person hand spraying insect repellent on home terrace wood boards.
Helin Loik-Tomson/istockphoto

Spray Those Suckers

I chose to pull out the big guns, because I'd had enough of those little jerks rampaging my kitchen. I used Raid, a spray that kills ants on contact and supposedly lingers to keep them away. I also sprayed the baseboards of my kitchen sliding door, both inside and outside.

There's a caveat here: Raid contains chemicals that can cause everything from lung irritation to symptoms similar to heat stroke. It's best to be cautious if using this method, and definitely keep kids and pets away. 

Next time I'm going to go for this cheap, more natural solution: a mix of dish detergent and water sprayed directly on ants. It sounds horrible, but the dish soap suffocates the ants on contact.

Terro Liquid Ant Baits

Bait Them

You'll also want to set up baits to help get rid of ants. Place the baits near the spot that the ants seem to be appearing from so that they don't get far.

I went with the extremely popular Terro ant baits, and those things really make a difference. For a cheaper method, you can make your own bait using the same ingredients. Borax kills ants by slowly disrupting their digestion. A mixture of sugar, Borax, and water is known to work just as well as commercial brands. 

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Termite Problems

Seal Gaps

You'll often see ants popping out after a rainy day, which was exactly my problem. It turns out the rotting wood near my kitchen screen door is a great spot for moisture to collect, and thus for ants to congregate. Keep things dry, use a dehumidifier, and seal open cracks to avoid the hell I just went through.

Related: How To Get Rid of Pantry Moths on a Tight Budget