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How to Find an Ant Nest

Though ant species vary in appearance and habits, they all build and live in nests. These nests can become a problem when they’re in or near your home. Some nests are easier to spot than others, but thankfully, ants leave behind a few clues to help you find their nest. We’ve gathered information to help you track down ant nests in your home and yard. 

How to Find an Ant Nest in Your Home infographic

How to Find an Ant Nest in Your Home


Some ants, like carpenter and little black ants, choose to build their nests inside your home. Though these nests aren’t always easy to spot, there are things you can do to find them.  

Follow Trailing Ants

Ant trail

When ants find a good food source, they will release pheromones to help other members of their colony find it. These ants follow the scent often forming a line of ants. If you spot a trail of ants, you can try to follow them back to their nest. They are most active at night, so you may need to pull out a flashlight.

Listen for Ants

Carpenter ants

When carpenter ants build nests in walls, they have to excavate to form tunnels. This usually results in a rustling or clicking noise that may be audible. If you suspect an infestation, you can also listen for hollow sounding wood. Tunneling creates spaces in walls, which you can find by tapping on your walls and listening for a hollow sound.

Look for Signs of Ants

 Carpenter ants

Carpenter ants tend to leave behind piles of sawdust when building nests. Piles of wood shavings are often found near the entrance to the nest. Keep your eyes open for small holes where ants can slip in and out. Spotting dead ants near your windows can also be a clue that a nest is nearby.

Where Do Ants Build Nests In Homes?


Ants are opportunistic, and they’ll build nests wherever they can find a safe place. Each species has its own preference. Little black ants will hide in wall voids while crazy ants like to nest under carpet. Ants may also hide under wood flooring, behind baseboards and molding, and even between cabinets. Ants are often found in kitchens and bathrooms since these areas provide plenty of sources of food and moisture.

How to Find an Ant Nest in Your Yard infographic

How to Find an Ant Nest in Your Yard

Back Yard

Locating an ant’s nest outside is often easier than finding ants hiding in your home. Check out how to find nests and the best places to look for them.

Follow Trailing Ants

Ant trail

If you find a trail of ants, you can try to follow them to their nest outside. Ants living in outdoor nests are still likely to come inside for food. This gives you a chance to follow them directly to the entrance of their nest. 

Look for Mounds of Dirt

Ant nest

Many nests outside can be identified by a mound of soil with a hole at the top. These structures serve as the entrance point to the nest that is often several feet underground. They can pop up throughout your yard and they can even be found in the cracks between pavement.   

Look Under Objects

 Ants on wood

If there isn’t a noticeable anthill, you may have to do some digging. Ants build nests under things like logs and bricks. Check your yard for items that could act as shelter for an ant colony. Fire ants and carpenter ants both like to build nests in rotting wood, so keep an eye for these as well.

Keep Watch for Aphids


Aphids are garden pests that enjoy nibbling on various plants. They secrete a sticky, sweet liquid known as honeydew. Ants love this sweet treat and they’ll form colonies near aphids. If you’re noticing plant damage, see if you can spot these tiny pests. If aphids are in your yard, ants are probably aren’t too far from them.

Check Exterior of House

House siding

The exterior of your home can be a perfect place for ants to build a nest. Some ants are known to nest under the siding of homes or between bricks. Ants may also use any cracks found on exterior walls to make their way inside. This often leads to nests being built in wall voids.

How to Treat an Ant Nest

Spider & Insect Dust

Whether ants have built a nest in your home or in your yard, you’ll want a quick and effective solution. An insecticide dust, like our Maggie’s Farm Simply Effective™ Spider & Insect Dust, can be used to treat both nests found in wood and soil. You’ll want to carefully squeeze the dust into the entrance hole. This will help to eliminate ants in the nest and provide long-lasting protection.   

What to do if you can’t find the Nest


No Spill Ant Kill

Ants don’t always make their nests easy to find. When this happens, there are still ways you can eliminate an ant infestation. Using a natural ant bait, like our Maggie’s Farm No Spill Ant Kill, can help you get rid of the ants you can’t see. It is designed to allow ants to carry the bait back to their nest to share with the rest of the colony. This will help to ensure the entire colony is eliminated.

When ants build nests in or near your home, it can often lead to large infestations. Finding where they are located can be tricky, but can prove beneficial when trying to eliminate an infestation. If pests are giving you a fit, we’re here to help! Check out our Maggie’s Farm Simply Effective Pest Control products.

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