How Do I Get Rid of Ants?

Leave a Comment - 44


Bob B

Subject: Defeat Carpenter Ants

There are only two ways to effectively eliminate carpenter ants: 1) locate all components of the nest and destroy them, either by tearing it out out the building or direct application of heavy duty insecticide; or 2) use the proper ant bait. The proper bait is generally not available in stores, but it is available on line. None of the generally available brands work. The one that does work is called Combat, and is sold in two forms -granules and a gel. Carpenter ants seek different foods at different times of year, so this bait covers both bases. Put it in a location near a trail and the adults will be dead in a matter of days. You will see disoriented stragglers for a couple of weeks -either scouts returning home or new adults emerging from the pupal phase only to find themselves alone. Then they'll be gone.


Subject: Masking tape can be used to

Masking tape can be used to corral ants. I make long sticky-roles of the tape and place the strips on the counter, floor or wall in a shape that confines the ants to a particular area. (They get stuck on the tape if they try to crawl over it.) I also use the tape to tape the ants out if I see them coming in at a particular spot such as between countertop edge and wall. I leave the tape on for a few weeks. I do a neat job, so it doesn't look bad. In the meantime, I wipe down all surfaces they have crawled on so that it wipes away the scent of their trail that they leave for each other to follow. I also use diatomaceous earth as others have suggested. It seems to be as effective as ant traps ever were, and best, nontoxic! Ant traps always say to let the ants keep crawling about, which can take several days and longer. Really, the tape roles are much preferrable and the ants just give up after a while (be patient, just as you would with the ant traps). When I can locate their entry point outdoors, I pour diatomaceous earth along the foundation of the house at those points so that they can't crawl up to get into the house.

Charles C. Baldwin II

Subject: Ant elimination repellent

Our applications have to be unique as for 8+ years we have lived "full-time" in a 40' Class-A motorhome. We relocate to a different state with each new engineering contract. From VA to CA to SC to WA to NM and TX, I follow a simple regimen that keeps insects from "setting up stakes" in our home on wheels: 1) Before parking the rig I break out the hose and spray the site with Ortho's 'Complete Garden Spray' (available at either Lowe's or Home Depot); this usually kills most bugs, slugs and snails within minutes. 2) Once the rig is set and jacked level, I spray Home Defense around each tire, jack base and any wires & hoses that touch the ground or branches that touch the rig from above. And 3) I apply Boric Acid powder around each tire and jack base as the long-term repellent for roaches and ants. (Footnote: If snails are an issue, I will pour a line of table or rock salt around the boric acid powder.)
With all the heater and exhaust vent openings screened with 1/32" metal cloth [aka screen], we have yet to have any issues with insects invading our living space (in which we heat lavender wax to repel flies and mosquitos). So far, from coast-to-coast, this regimen works. If you travel extensively in an RV or plan an extended stay in one, I recommend planning to make your stay enjoyably insect-free! Good Luck!


Subject: Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants don't actually eat wood. They chew it to build nests and tunnels. They also don't chew undamaged wood. If you have carpenter ants, you have damaged wood somewhere in your home, most likely water damage. If you want to eliminate carpenter ants, you have to fix the wood damage.

Bob B

Subject: Carpenter ants

Not entirely true that they only nest in unsound wood. Carpenter ants PREFER water-damaged wood but will nest and burrow in perfectly sound softwoods such as pine if they have nothing else available. I had a nest that started in a perfectly dry sistered beam (two planks nailed together to make a broader beam) of my garage. Apparently the young queen had found a cozy spot to set up housekeeping by finding a gap between them and her progeny had no place else to go, so they started burrowing from there.

Pat Garkey

Subject: Black ants in my dishwasher

This is really wierd...yesterday I found some good sized black ants in my dishwasher of all places. I am not sure how they are getting in a sealed steel unit, but there they are. I don't see ants anywhere else, but it's quite gross to open your dishwasher and have ants crawling around on the door and inside the machine. How do I get rid of these? I've run the dishwasher, but they come back. I would appreciate any help here.


Subject: Double bait traps

Once I found that pros put out two types of food with poison - the sweet and the greasy, as you say - I tried the Raid double bait ant traps. They've worked well for me. Also, the exterminator claimed that ants switch their food preference during the season, which is another reason for the double bait.

Bob Masters

Subject: Controlling Ants

After years of fighting ants with toxic sprays, we realized we needed to neutralize the colony. I was pointed to Terro liquid ant bait at my local home improvement store and the problem was solved. I put a bait on the counter near where I saw some scouts and within minutes a large trail developed from an outlet cover on an exterior wall to the bait. I moved the bait closer to the point of entry and watched a steady stream of ants for several hours. The stream slowly began to trail off until there were no more ants. Problem solved. Killing the scouts was a band-aid, while having the ants carry the bait back to the next was the cure. Note that is was REALLY hard not to grab a can of Ant Spray and blast the little suckers, but my patience paid off.

Cindy Kozlowski

Subject: Bugs in house

I have 3 bugs I wish to get rid of: #1 1/4" small bug with a shell light brown and when dies it leaves its shell, mostly in kitchen, but just discovered one in the bedroom on a pillow[ugh!] Do bugs drop from light fixture crevises?
#2 Little tiny worms that curl up and die..a lot on garage floor and front porch..BUT also seen in the house.
#3 the little black bug with a yellow band in mid section.

Bob B

Subject: Bugs in the House

Sounds like you have a moisture problem. Bug no. 1 -the 1/4" "shell" bugs sounds like a pill bug, also called a sow bug or wood louse, which are not insects, but crustaceans. If the shell is empty it's because it has been shed as the creature grows -or has died and since encountered bug no. 3 (more on that later). Bug no. 2 is likely not not a worm but probably a millipede. Bug no 3 -the black bugs with yellow middles are dermestid beetle larvae, which feed on dead insects (and dead other things). The first two live only wherever there is moisture, though they may explore dry areas and often die in the process. The third bug -the only true insect among these- lives wherever there are dead insects to eat. Incidentally, none of these is a true bug. Technically, the term "bug" specifically references only insects with sucking mouthparts, or Hemiptera.

Lowry Hundley

Subject: Ants Marching into Home

Appreciate article on treating ants but suggest author be consistent in units for size of ants. Author states that sugar ants are 1/8 inch in size, and moisture ants are larger, about 4mm in size. Is this really a way to identify these two ants? (1/8 inch = .125 inch and 4 mm = .157 inch) Hard to tell the difference in two species of ants with a size difference of .03 inches.

Nita Kelly

Subject: Sugar ants

Easy to identify sugar (odiferous )...just squash one with your finger, then smell your finger...if it's a totally disgusting odor, you have sugar ants.

Rebecca Liming

Subject: Keeping Ants Out of Pet Food Dishes

Every season except winter poses a problem for keeping ants out of your pet food dishes. I recommend using the same strategy as you do with a picnic table. Place the food dishes in a saucer of water. The ants cannot cross the water and cannot get to the food. Use a saucer just a little larger than the food dish so there are no water accidents. Do this with picnic tables, too. Place a saucer of water under each leg and eat in peace.


Subject: Try PineSol

I lived in New Orleans years ago in a wooded area near a canal. We had all kinds of bugs but 'house ants' were the worst. We took foam paint brushes or shoe polish dabbers and painted a Pine Sol barrier wherever they were seen coming in. It did work because pine resin will trap any insects and they don't get out. Seems ants instinctively know to avoid anything pine. Just be sure you use the brand name, not just some cheap cleaner.


Subject: Ants & Pet food

Set the food bowl in the middle of a large baking pan full of water. Ants can not cross water. Have to replace water every few days.


Subject: Ants & Pet food

Set the food bowl in the middle of a large baking pan full of water. Ants can not cross water. Have to replace water every few days.

Elizabeth Jennings

Subject: Getting rid of ants

I put cinnamon sticks along the wall of the counter where the sink is. I have a small AC unit in the window above the sink counter too which I think is the entrance point. I put cinnamon sticks on the window sill wherever I think the openings might be. (The lower curtain hides them!) I haven't seen an ant in my kitchen since I started doing this, going on 3 years now. If I see an ant in the bathroom, after killing it, I'll put out a cinnamon stick where I saw it, and see no more ants after that. So far, this method has been very dependable and I recommend it to everyone.

Sue Kilimnik

Subject: Ants

I just had my first invaders of the season yesterday in my kitchen. I immediately sprayed with vinegar. I had about a dozen tiny little black scouts that I killed right away. I also put some vinegar on paper towels and placed them on a few shelves of my kitchen cabinets. I was happy to discover no ants when I returned home from work tonight. I struggled with ants in the spring for years. Last year I discovered the vinegar solution and it works well. Last year I also kept cinnamon sticks on the kitchen counter close to the wall just in case. Between the vinegar and the cinnamon I had no problems and no worries about contaminating my food.


Subject: Red & Black Carpenter Ants & Japanese Ladybugs

We have billions of red and black carpenter ants on our 40 acre property and all adjacent property that the county owns. Nests are found everywhere. They cut down blades of grass and build huge nests in our pole barn walls, garage, shed....

The only thing I've found the kills them outright is Raid Max Concentrated Deep Reach Fogger. I open up a couple of cans twice a year in all the buildings, including the home and it lasts for about 6 months. It also kills those Japanese Ladybug Beetles all winter long. In the past every time we had a warm day I found beetles. This stuff works better than what the Orkin guy used to spray. The stuff is amazing, the first time I popped open a couple of cans in my garage and work shop every step I took I was crunching on dead ants and beetles. I wish I could fog my entire property. Some of the nests are 3 ft in diameter and they are so many that you can find spots where they are only 3 to 4 feet apart.

So far the cheapest place I have found to purchase Raid Max Concentrated Deep Reach Fogger is at Walmart. I wish it came in larger cans.


Subject: Diatomaceous earth

Around your property. When you spot the ant mounds, cover them with food grade diatomaceous earth. Be sure it won't be raining for a couple days, so it can work. It dehydrates them = dead. Should work on the beetles too, but not sure they nest in mounds like the ants do.

Alan Bonjour

Subject: Non-Toxic Rid Ants

In the Spring for $10 you can pick up a large bod of Diatomaceous Earth in any pool supply location (WalMart, Meijer's, Kmart, etc). A box will last me 6+ years easy. I sprinkle it around the exterior perimeter of the entire home, Especially at it's main entry points. I also put it around our shed and sandbox perimeters. As this is a completely non-toxic material, it is safe around the pets and children. As the ants (and other insects!) crawl through it, it clings to their legs and abdomen. It has a cup shape from a microscopic shell which cuts through the insects abdomen and causes them to dehydrated thus die off. It does indeed work.

Bob B

Subject: Non-Toxic Rid Ants

While it is true diatomaceous earth is non-toxic to touch or ingest, it is quite toxic if the dust is inhaled. It can cause silicosis, a serious lung disease.

Barb Melton

Subject: Diotomaceous Earth

Beware, any diatomaceous earth sold in a pool supply, and even at Home Depot is definitely not food grade. You need to keep this kind of earth away from any pets or children. Food grade is not is easy to come by, I had to get mine from Amazon. If you read the label carefully you'll see the diatomaceous earth is not the only ingredient.


Subject: Ant Bait

I mix equal amounts of Borax and powdered sugar and add enough water to make a runny paste. I spread it onto a plastic lid or on a piece of aluminum foil and leave it out on the window sills for the ants to enjoy. The sugar attracts them and the borax expands in their system and essentially blows them up. They are completely gone within a few days. You'll need to renew it after it dries out.

Dave T

Subject: Repelling ants

I've had success in spreading old coffee grounds along the house foundation at ground level. To spread them evenly, I mix the old grounds with water and just pour it on the ground next to the concrete. I also pour it behind the concrete steps and in the window wells.


Subject: very tiny ants

you mentioned a few types of ants, the one i have the most trouble with, you seemed to not have mentioned, they are very small, not even 1/8 of an inch or so, perhaps 1/16th, as i said very small. they love to leave trails that seem to be very long, outside and into on the inside of the house. i have used terro but they seem to come back after awhile. they seem to always have some sort of trail leading from outside. any idea which ants these may be? thank you

Elizabeth Smock

Subject: tiny ants

Sounds like either Pharaoh ants or ghost ants--ghost ants are tiny with white legs, so you barely see them. They seriously seem to materialize out of nowhere! Our problem is that the trails will begin and end in the middle of the floor or counter or whatever. If you have ghost ants, they're very difficult to get rid of, as they build multiple nests at a time, and if you stress them by spraying with poison, they just split into new nests! Terro didn't really interest them, and they go for both sweet and grease/ protein. I've found a gel on Amazon that works, but only for a while. I have to put more gel down a couple of times a week as I see the ants pop up in a new place. It helps, but that's about it. Just search for "ghost ants" and see what you can find. I use Advion Ant Gel bait. Good luck!


Subject: Ants, ants, and more ants....

We have a high water table and after rains, ants climb to areas where they are not flooded out and begin to forage. After spring rains this is particularly a problem. We have used boric acid, vinegar, and soap and water as deterrents and also ant treatment forming a barrier of about 10 feet around the house. All of those things have been effective over the years.

We have almost all kinds of ants near where I live and all around us...I even think there are a few "army" ants!

Janis Totham-Davies

Subject: Ants!

I found this idea in a natural solutions book as I had tried everything including a company using sprays and ant traps, very nasty! The ants ignored the traps completely and they ignored the big bottle of gel I bought, nothing worked so we had learnt to live with the ants:~) But now I just put dried Bay leaves in all my kitchen cupboards and along the counter tucked behind anything that is standing on the counter top, plus on the windowsill above the kitchen sink. I put them out as soon as the cold weather goes and it works perfectly, no ants for three years now and we used to be crawling with them every single year. Why it works I have no idea but ants definitely hate bay leaves!


Subject: Ants

I too have used dry bay leaves around the kitchen in the Spring and they work very well. It may take a few days but then the ants disappear... Shop for bay leaves at a bulk store and use as many as you need without much expense and very safe compared to using chemicals ~ M

Kelly Markland

Subject: Ants

Using food quality Diatomaceous Earth anywhere you see ants (food cabinets, near pet food bowls, anywhere!) is so effective. Apparently this stuff has been around forever. I'm not sure why I'm just hearing about it now, but I'm glad I finally found out.

Karen Lee

Subject: Ants & Boric Acid

I have not been able to find boric acid in any stores in my area, Roseville. Do you have any suggestions?



I found boric acid in Rite Aid. Am sure Walgreen's carries it as well as any grocery store's Health and Beauty Aid Department. Ask the pharmacist or store employee.

Gayle Phillips

Subject: Ants & boric acid

If you have a garden shop in your local department store, they may have it. I get mine from the local Southern States store.

Elaine Brown

Subject: Small black ants

I have a problem with ants going after leftover dog food. A pest control professional suggested I place the dog food dish in a bowl of water. Works like a charm. Picked up some shallow clear plant pot drain pans at Dollar Tree. No more ants.

Jackie Torres

Subject: possible carpenter ants

I have black ants that come out in my kitchen during the day hours it seems. This is mostly around my sink counter area. I have set out terro but seems to only slow down for a short time. I do have pets so I am very careful not to set out where they can get to it.


Subject: Ants- DIY removal

We also recently had ants in our kitchen, SW Ohio.
We tried for two weeks to get rid of them with the bait houses but without any success. I would also wipe down the counters and backsplash with vinegar to remove the trail. I did some investigating and found a woman's post and thought I would give it a try. Within 36 hours we were ant free and are going on 6 days of happiness. Here was her DIY method. 3 cups boiling water, dissolve 1/2 cup white sugar, 2 T borax ($4 from Kroger). Once everything is dissolved, soak cotton balls in the liquid and place on small pieces of foil where u have seen the ants. Within 10 min they were coming out under our switch plate covers and attacking the cotton balls, it was actually quite disgusting. I made sure to keep the cotton balls wet with the liquid and sure enough it worked, I was amazed. I will never buy bait traps again and couldn't be happier. Good luck!!!

View Comments - 44 Hide Comments

Post New Comment

Offers <
Popular <
Answers <



You have a lot of questions. I will try to cover them all.

First, mice can fit through a hole the size of a dime.
Second, unlike rats, mice are very small; it would take a major infestation to generate a persistent odor as indicated.

Elimination starts by sealing the exterior foundation of the home, door sweeps, broken windows, cracks in the foundation, holes around electrical service, water faucets and dryer vents.

Secondly, food sources must be eliminated. Mice only need 1 gram of food a day and they extract water directly from the food they digest.

Next, mice infestations are more localized than people think, bait under the house might not have any effect. Heat sources like refrigerators and hot water heaters are suspect as a base of operation.

Snap traps are highly effective when used where dropping are found. Use a variety of bait, peanut butter (avoid this if children are present), brownie, fruit and even dental floss tied to the pedal (nesting material).

As for the odor, look for an enzyme based cleaner / deodorizer.


If the problem continues seek the help of a Pest Control Professional with rodent experience.

Hope that helps,

Andrew Deluca

The quickest way I've found to get rid of them (as opposed to preventing them - see answer above) is to put a half cup of cider vinegar (must be cider vinegar) in a jar or bowl and put a half-dozen drops of dishwashing liquid on top of it.  Leave out on a counter wherever the problem exists. Empty and refill as needed.
Legally, it needs to be pest control - wildly boring technical explanation regarding Federal pesticide laws that I won't bother you with.  Having said that, depending on where they are located in your chimnet, you could do it yourselt.  Most wasp control products will shoot 12'-20'.  So, if they are in a lower section of your chimney you wait until dark (they return to their nests before dark) and reach up above your damper and spray the nests.  If you're not averse to being on your roof, do the same thing from the top.  Otherwise, hire a professional.