Many homeowners think of ant infestations as an indoor problem, but indoor ant problems always start outside. To kill ants outdoors, you need to go to the source of the problem, which is the colony. Finding the nest isn’t always easy, but when you do, you can treat it and put effective preventive measures in place. Learn how to kill ants outside to keep your yard, garden, and home free of ants.
Recurring Ant Infestations
If ants keep returning to your home, there’s a good chance the problem originated outside. Many ant infestations result from an anthill in your yard. Colonies can contain tens of thousands of ants. Queen ants can lay up to thousands of eggs in a day. Foraging ants leave the nest in search of food and water. When one ant finds these things in your house, it won’t be long before others head into your home. Ants will keep showing up unless you target the source of the infestation.
How to Find an Ant Nest
While it may not always be easy, it’s important to find the location of the nest. If you follow trailing ants, they will usually lead you to the nest. Check out a few areas where ants may be hiding.
- Mounds of Dirt: Many ants build nests in soil. These nests will look like mounds of dirt with a small hole at the top. They can be found throughout your yard and even in cracks between pavement.
- Under Objects: Some ant species build nests under yard debris. Look under logs, bricks, rocks, and rotting wood.
- The Exterior of Your Home: You many find an ant nest on the exterior of your home. Ants can build nests between bricks and under siding.
How to Prevent Ants Outdoors
The best way to control ants (or any other pests, for that matter) is to remove the things they are attracted to, and the conditions in which they thrive. Here are some things you can do outdoors to help minimize, or better yet eliminate, the presence of ants in your yard and garden.
- Mow your lawn regularly and make sure shrubs and trees are trimmed away from the side of your house.
- Store firewood at least 20 feet away from your home.
- Keep your yard free of grass clippings and other yard debris.
- If you recycle beverage cans or bottles, make sure they are thoroughly rinsed out before placing them outside in the recycle bin.
- Eliminate sources of moisture by repairing leaky pipes or faucets. Check your gutters and ensure they’re working properly. Remove items in your yard that collect water.
- Spray the perimeter of your yard with a plant-based insecticide spray. Our Yard Bug Spray kills ants on contact and it will provide you with residual repellency, creating a protective barrier.
How to Kill Ants Outdoors
Ant bait, bait stations, ant sprays, or a good plant-based insecticide dust are all viable options for killing ants outdoors. Take the time to look for ant colonies in your yard. If ants have made their way inside, check around baseboards, carpet edges, and under sinks. You’ll want to treat wherever you observe their activity. We’ve gathered information about baits, sprays, and dusts to help you choose the treatment that works best for you.
Ant baits are an effective way to target the colony. They attract and kill foraging ants. These ants feed on the bait and carry it back to the nest. This will help to eliminate the colony and prevent ants from returning. Our No Spill Ant Kill and Ant Killer Bait contain borax, which is a naturally derived ingredient. They can be placed indoors and outside. In your yard, you’ll want to place bait near foraging trails close to the nest. To get rid of ants inside, place bait in areas with ant activity. Don’t spray insecticides in areas with bait. This will deter ants from eating the bait.
Plant-Based Insecticide Sprays
Plant-based insecticide sprays can help keep bugs away. Sprays can be used outside or in your home. They work well as a spot treatment for the ants you see. Our Ant & Roach Killer spray kills ants on contact and has repellent properties. Our Home Bug Spray will also kill ants, including carpenter ants, as well as other pests including bed bugs, cockroaches, spiders, ticks, and fleas. If ants are bugging your plants or feeding on the honeydew aphids secrete, you can treat your plants with our 3-in-1 Garden Spray. It helps to control insects, mites, and fungal diseases. Sprays are great when you’re dealing with a few pesky ants. If an ant army is invading, a bait or dust may be a better option.
Yard and Home Perimeter Sprays
Our plant-based Yard Bug Spray works well as an outdoor ant killer. It can also be used around the perimeter of your house to create a repellent barrier of protection. This will help to prevent ants from getting inside your home. Plan to spray every 45-60 days.
Dusts work well as both a contact killer and for long-term protection. If you can locate the nest, carefully apply dust into it. You can also apply dust in wall voids where you suspect an ant nest. If you’re having trouble finding the nest, you can still apply the dust in and around exterior walls for residual protection. Try our Spider & Insect Dust for these types of applications. The key is to be as thorough as possible, applying dust in all potential entry points into your house. Always follow label directions when using any pest control products.
Controlling an ant problem outside can help ensure your home stays ant-free. Keep your eyes open for any anthills in your yard or other spots where ants could be hiding. If you’re dealing with an invading bug army, we’re here to help! For a more environmentally and family-friendly solution, check out our Maggie’s Farm Simply Effective™ Pest Control products.