Spotting an occasional ant in your house isn’t usually a problem. An entire colony of ants marching into your home is a different story. Knowing what you’re up against is the first step to controlling a pest problem. We’ve gathered information to help you keep pesky ants out of your home and yard.
Common Types of Ants
While ants share many characteristics, species still vary in appearance and habits. Being able to identify the type of ant will help you eliminate an infestation. We’ve made a list of the most common home-invading ants.
Acrobat ants have a light to dark brown body and grow up to 3mm in length. When threatened or excited, these ants can raise their abdomen above their head. Acrobat ants are found throughout the United States.
Argentine ants are shiny brown and range in size between 2.2-2.8mm. Their colonies are unique in that they have multiple queens, which can lead to large infestations. They are often spotted in southeastern parts of the United States as well as in California and Hawaii.
Carpenter ants can grow up to 13mm and typically have a reddish-black body. They nest in wood, which can lead to structural damage. While they can be found throughout the United States, they’re most common in northern parts of the country.
Crazy ants have a brown or black body covered in coarse hair. They range in size from 2.2-3mm. These ants are known for their erratic movements and they often roam around instead following a trail. They can be found in Florida and along the Gulf Coast.
Fire ants are known for their reddish-brown color and their painful sting. They grow between 1.6-5mm in length. These ants are aggressive and they’ll attack in groups. Fire ants like to hang out in southern parts of the United States and California.
Little Black Ants
Little black ants look exactly like their name suggests. They’re small—1.5-2mm—and black. They like to be outside, but that won’t stop them from hiding in homes. Though they’ve been spotted across the United States, they’re most common in California and along the East Coast.
Moisture ants are ants that are drawn to damp environments. They’re yellowish-brown and can grow up to 4.5mm. Several species of ants are considered moisture ants including citronella ants. Moisture ants are commonly found in the Pacific Northwest, but they’ve been found in several places in the United States.
Odorous House Ants
Odorous house ants have a dark brown to black body. They range in size from 2.4-3.3mm. When crushed, these ants release an unpleasant odor. They are common invaders throughout the United States, so be on the lookout for these smelly pests.
Pavement ants are about 3.3mm in length and have a dark brown or black body. They get their name from their nesting habits. These ants like to nest under stones or in the cracks in pavement. They have been spotted throughout the United States.
How Do Ants Get Inside Your Home?
Ants are tiny which makes it easy for them to sneak into homes. Check out a few of the most common ways ants enter homes.
- Foundation Gaps
- Dryer Vents & Exhaust Fans
- Doors & Windows
- Holes in Flooring
- Utility Lines
- Carried in with You
Where Do Ants Nest?
Ants are opportunistic and they’ll hide wherever they can find shelter with access to food and moisture. Ants are often attracted to areas in kitchens and bathrooms. We’ve made a list of common nesting sites.
Ant Nesting Sites in Homes
- Wall Voids
- Under Flooring
- Behind Baseboards & Molding
- Between Cabinets
Ant Nesting Sites in Yards
- In soil
- Under Yard Debris
- In Wood
- Under Siding of House
- Under Bricks on House
How Do You Find an Ant Nest?
Locating an ant nest can be helpful when trying to control an ant problem. Check out a few tips for finding a nest in your home and yard.
How to Find an Ant Nest in Your Home
- Check for Small Holes: These holes are often entry points to a nest.
- Listen for Rustling Noises: When ants, like carpenter ants, tunnel in wood, they often make noises.
- Follow Trailing Ants: Following a trail of foraging ants can lead you to the nest.
- Look for Signs of Ants: Keep your eyes open for wood shavings, ant wings, and even dead ants.
How to Find an Ant Nest in Your Yard
- Follow Trailing Ants: Like nests in your home, following ants can be one of the best ways to find a nest.
- Look for Mounds of Dirt: If you spot a mound of dirt in your yard with a hole at the top, it could be an ant nest.
- Look Under Objects: Check your yard for potential sheltering locations including under logs, bricks, and other yard debris.
- Check for Aphids: Many ants feed on the honeydew aphids produce. If these pests have invaded your plants or garden, ants are probably hiding nearby.
- Check Exterior of House: Some ants nest under the siding on your house or bricks. Make sure to examine the exterior of your home for signs of nesting.
How to Prevent an Ant Infestation
Ants enter homes and yards searching for food, moisture, and shelter. Eliminating access to these things can make ants feel unwelcome so they don’t stick around. Check out a few tips to prevent an infestation.
- Seal Entry Points: Check the interior and exterior of your home for cracks or gaps. Repair or replace torn window and door screens. Make sure weather-stripping is in good condition.
- Remove Sources of Food: Ants aren’t too picky when it comes to food. Clean up crumbs and spills, regularly remove trash, and store food in containers with an airtight seal.
- Eliminate Moisture: Repair leaky pipes, make sure your drains aren’t clogged, and use a dehumidifier or fans to help eliminate moisture build-up.
- Remove Sources of Shelter: Keep your home organized and free of clutter. Regularly remove yard debris from your yard including piles of leaves and mulch.
- Maintain Your Yard: Trim branches and plants that are touching your house, mow your lawn, and make sure your gutters are working properly.
- Create a Protective Barrier: Spray the perimeter of your yard with a plant-based insecticide spray, like our Maggie’s Farm Simply Effective™ Yard Bug Spray. This will help to not only kill ants but repel them too. You can also apply our Home Bug Spray to common entry points to deter ants.
How to Get Rid of Ants Naturally
Sometimes ants will decide your home is too warm and cozy to leave. When this happens, you’ll want a quick and effective solution. Check out a few tips for keeping your home ant-free.
- Follow Prevention Steps: The steps you take to prevent an ant infestation are important for getting rid of ants too. If ants can’t find food and moisture, they won’t stay in your home.
- Treat the Nest: If you can find the nest, you can treat it directly. Our plant-based Spider & Insect Dust can be used on most ants (except fire ants). Carefully squeeze the dust into the opening of the wood or soil nest.
- Eliminate the Colony: You aren’t always going to be able to find the nest. When this happens, a bait can help you eliminate the colony. Our No Spill Ant Kill and Ant Killer Bait are designed to attract ants and allow them to carry the bait back to the nest to share with the colony. This will help ensure the source of the infestation is eliminated.
How Long Should You Wait After Spraying for Ants?
We know keeping your family safe is your top priority. Our Maggie’s Farm Simply Effective Pest Control products are safe to use around children and pets when used as directed. Check out a few best practices for spraying your home and yard.
Waiting Time for Outdoor Treatment
There isn’t an “official” waiting period before you can spend time on your lawn after treating for ants. However, it’s best to wait until the area is dry. This is especially true when it comes to children and pets.
Waiting Time for Indoor Treatment
When spraying in your home, it’s best to wait for the area to dry before heading back into the room. Keep children and pets out of the room when applying the product.
Helpful Application Tips
Here are a few tips to help keep your pest control family-friendly.
- Always Read & Follow Label Instructions: The best way to help ensure your family stays safe is to read and follow instructions.
- Ventilate the Area: Open windows in the room and turn on your fans to help circulate the air.
- Clean Up Excess Spray: If there is excess spray after treating a hard surface area, you can carefully wipe it up. You can also use an absorbent material to help clean up any excess spray on carpet, upholstery, or fabric.
Ants have a habit of being the uninvited guest that’s hard to get to leave. Thankfully, there are things you can do to keep these pests out of your yard and home. If bugs are giving you a fit, we’re here to help! Check out our Maggie’s Farm Simply Effective Pest Control products for a more environmentally and family-friendly solution.