How Do I Get Rid of Ants?

Ants can be a major irritant if they invade your home, they can spoil food, spread germs and even bite in some cases – so if you’ve got an ant problem, nip it in the bud straight away by following the tips below.

How to Get Rid of Ants in the Home

So, how do you get rid of ants? There are a variety of ant control methods you can use, including:

  • Place an insecticidal lacquer around the perimeter of your home and in doorways
  • Use a DIY ant-killing powder or spray
  • Caulk your windows and doors to stop ants getting in
  • Put food in airtight containers and clean up spillages immediately
  • Wipe down your surfaces and keep your home clean; this includes cleaning under appliances
  • Clear away pet food
  • Make sure bins are sealed
  • Lay barriers of natural substances to deter ants – recommendations vary and include: flour, salt, pepper, cinnamon, lemon, garlic, chilli powder and cloves


How to Get Rid of Ants Nests

The best way to get rid of ants completely is to destroy their nests. Black ants normally nest in the garden and only enter your home when attracted by sweet foods to feed their larvae and queen in the nest. Simply follow their path to find the nest, which is fairly simple to eradicate in the following ways:

  • Pour a kettle of boiling water over the nest
  • Follow this treatment up by filling the nest with ant-killing powder – a range of powders are available from shops and garden centres
  • You could also lay sugar-based liquid bait which also contains borax in your home. The ants will take that back to their nests and destroy the colony.  If you’re worried about kids or pets ingesting the bait, place it in a jam jar with a punctured lid

Red fire ants build nests of up to two feet high in the garden; a mature nest can hold around 100,000 ants, so you should be careful when trying the above methods – it may be safer to call in a pest control professional.  Pharaoh and ghost ant nests are much more difficult to find – pharaoh ants often have numerous nests in fact. Both types of ants nest in hidden places within buildings which means you’ll probably need to hire a professional pest control company to get rid of them once and for all.

Types of Ants Found in the UK

There are many different types of ants, the most common in the UK are:

  • Black garden ants– these are the most common type of ant in the UK, they don’t pose a health risk but can be a nuisance, especially around peak season in July.  Worker ants are sent off to forage for sweet foods to bring back to the nest – they leave a trail of pheromones to trace their steps.  Black ants in reproductive mode are winged and fly during a few days in July or August when they mate.
  • Ghost ants – are almost transparent apart from their head and thorax, which are black. Ghost ants are usually found nesting inside heating buildings and can be difficult to eradicate; you’ll probably need to hire a pest control professional to deal with ghost ants.
  • Pharaoh’s ants – come from the tropics and subsequently choose to inhabit large heated buildings, this means they’re mostly seen in housing blocks, schools, hospitals and other buildings. Pharaoh ants eat mostly protein based foods so can pose a health risk if they’ve been foraging in bins picking up germs from decomposing meats, for example.
  • Red fire ants – these have a nasty sting and will bite both humans and animals. They’re reddish brown and live in large colonies in gardens – however they will venture inside for food.

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