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How to Get Rid of Ants Outdoors

Many homeowners think of ant infestations as an indoor problem, but actually, indoor ant problems always start outside. For killing ants outdoors, you need to go to the source of the problem, which is the ant nest/colony.

Finding the nest isn't always easy, but when you do, you can treat it appropriately, as well as 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

Maybe you've dealt with an indoor ant infestation in your home, only to have ants return later. As you may have guessed by now, that's because your indoor ant problem was coming from outside.

A significant portion of ant infestations result from an anthill (or hills) out in your yard, and this is the source that you need to address. If you think you have a lot of ants inside your home, realize that there might be tens of thousands more outside in their colony ready to head into your home searching for food, water, and possibly to nest. Just when you think you may have gotten rid of your indoor ant problem, remember that queen ants can lay up to thousands of eggs in a single day.

So, now that you know what the source of the problem is, the good news is that becoming an expert ant killer outdoors is not as difficult as you might think. 

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.

    Kill Ants Outdoors

    Ant baitbait stationsant sprays, or a good plant-based insecticide dust are all viable options for killing ants outdoors. Look for ant colonies around the foundation of your home, as well as around logs or large rocks. Indoors, check around baseboards, carpet edges, and under sinks. Treat wherever you observe their activity.

    Remember that the location of the nest is important. While it's not always easy to find ants, you can find their nests by following trails of ant workers back to their colony.

    Try Ant Baits

    Outdoors, place ant bait stations, like Maggie's Farm No Spill Ant Kill bait stations or gel bait, like Maggie's Farm Ant Killer gel bait near foraging trails close to the nest. Our bait stations use borax, which is a naturally derived ant poison. Maggie's Farm ant baits can wipe out entire colonies of ants, without the mess of other liquid baits. Foraging worker ants find the bait stations or bait droplets you've put out for them, then will go back and share it with the rest of the colony. Works well indoors and outdoors.

    Indoors, Maggie's Farm No Spill Ant Kill stations can be used in any areas where ant activity has been seen outdoors. Do NOT spray areas with bait with any ant killer sprays. You want them to eat the bait and take it back to their nest.  


    Ant killer sprays can be used outdoors, work well as a spot treatment for ants you see, or to directly treat an anthill. And Maggie's Farm Home Bug Spray not only kills ants, but it also kills other species of ants (including Carpenter ants), bed bugs, cockroaches, spiders, ticks, fleas, and a variety of other crawling pests. Keep in mind that sprays are not the best long-term solutions (as they only kill ants you can see, not the source of the problem, which is the colony). Sprays can help curb ant populations in the short-term, however.

    For plant and garden aficionados, you may want to try our Maggie's Farm Simply Effective 3-in-1 Garden Spray, featuring a triple defense (insecticide, miticide, and fungicide) to control and prevent ants, other plant insects, mites, and diseases. The plant oil-based formula leaves no harmful residues, making it perfect for organic gardening.

    Yard and Home Perimeter Sprays  

    Maggie’s Farm Yard Bug Spray works well as an ant killer outdoors and can be used around the perimeter of your house to create a repellent barrier of protection by preventing ants from getting inside. It will also kill them on contact. Plan to repeat spraying about every 45 – 60 days.


    Dusts work well as both a contact killer and for long term protection.  If you happen to find the colony/nest, apply the dust into the nest, or into wall voids where you suspect an ant nest.  Even if you cannot find the nest, you can apply the dust in and around the exterior walls to provide residual protection. Try Maggie's Farm Spider & Insect Dust for these types of applications. The key is to be as thorough as possible, applying the dust in all potential entry points into your house.  

    Be sure to always follow label directions when using any pest control products. 

    Outdoor Ant Control

    Now that you know how to kill ants outside, you should easily be able to help keep your home and yard ant-free (and you'll help keep your areas free of other pests, too), especially if you can stay on top of finding and destroying ant hills.

    For more general information on how to get rid of ants, check out:

    Our Ant Control Guide

    Ant Baiting 101

    Ant Killer with Borax: Yes, It Really Works!

    Our Full Ant Baiting Guide

    Fact or Fiction: Ant Edition

    What are your outdoor ant control tips and tricks at home? Leave us a comment below!



    For scientifically-tested, effective outdoor ant control in your yard and garden that is friendly to the environment, try Maggie’s Farm pest control products. Our promise is that our plant and mineral-based products are developed by scientists and seasoned pest control professionals to be the most effective.

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