8 July 2022

How to get rid of ants in the house

An ant infestation is one of the peskiest things to happen to peaceful, clean domestic living. Ants inside the house are disgusting and irritating. It’s just generally really unpleasant! 

The good news is that you can get rid of Ants easily and humanely. You don’t have to live alongside these nasty little creatures. Repel Ants once and for all, and make sure they never come back. Read on to find out how to get rid of Ants in the house without being inhumane. 

As leading pest control London experts we have vast experience sharing our knowledge and skills with our customers.

Ant Infestation

First, let’s talk about why an ant infestation happens. 

One ant in your house is bearable, but a whole raft of them is an infestation that needs to be fixed. Ants follow scent trails that waft from your house. Ants are attracted to crumbs of food left on the floor or other forms of exposed food. 

Alternatively, Ants may enter your house looking for a warm nesting place. They will stay due to the nest’s close proximity to food and the warm, safe surrounding environment. This is especially common in the summer months!

However, more often than not, Ants will appear in your house searching for food. Ants are opportunistic feeders. This means they aren’t very picky. Ants congregate around any food, although they do have a particular proclivity towards sweets. 

If your house is suddenly overcome by unwanted Ants, the quickest way to deal with the infestation is by removing and cleaning up any food lying around. 

Read on for more of our tips and tricks for getting rid of Ants in the house! 

What Kind of Ant Species Do You Have? 

It’s good to know what kind of ant species has infested your house before you start to treat the problem. We’ve listed the most common species below.

Note that it may be difficult to tell exactly what kind of Ants are running havoc around your house. Regardless, a general idea will be helpful. If you can’t figure it out, don’t worry! There are around 12,000 different kinds of Ants, it’s certainly a challenge finding out which kind is bothering you. 

Our solutions for getting rid of Ants are effective for all shapes, sizes, and species! 

Pavement Ants

Pavement Ants are, surprisingly enough, commonly found on the pavements. They are often found scurrying and nesting along the sidewalk, or driveway. In fact, pavement Ants can be found in most long, concrete structures. 

Pavement ant colonies could be in your patio, paving stones, or other concrete landscaping. 

You can spot a pavement ant nest by the distinctive mound of sand near their nests. 

Pavement Ants can migrate from your garden, into your home if they are tempted by food. 

Sugar Ants

Sugar Ants are domestic pests that are obsessed with protein-heavy and sugary food. 

Sugar Ants will raid all the nooks and crannies in your kitchen. They are especially persistent in their hunt for a sugary snack. Sugar is a food Ants love the most.

You may find “sugar Ants” is used as a general term for all Ants that are attracted to sugar. The original sugar Ants are actually native to Australia!

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter Ants are generally found in forested habitats. Carpenter Ants love to burrow into dead, damp wood. 

Carpenter Ants can be a real problem for houses with a lot of interior wood. The Ants like to nest in the wood by building tunnels inside it. Once they have settled down it will require a pest control expert to successfully remove them. 

Carpenter Ants feast on insects when they’re outside. But, when they are nesting inside the house, carpenter Ants will treat themselves to any sugary snacks they can find.

Worker Ants

A common misconception is that worker Ants are a species of ant. A worker ant refers to the female army responsible for maintaining the successful operation of the colony. The male equivalent of the worker ant is the soldier ant. Soldier Ants are tasked with defending the colony. In every ant species, you will find both workers and soldiers!

Argentine Ants

Argentine Ants are native to South America, now they are globally distributed pests. Argentine Ants are an infamous home-infesting ant. 

Food and water will initially attract Ants, but stay if there are damp, warm spots in your house. This will commonly be near plant pots, under stones, inside rotting trees, or in water pipes. 

Pharaoh’s Ants

Pharaoh Ants are luminous yellow, almost translucent creatures. They originated in hot, tropical climates, but are now common in the United Kingdom due to historical trade links. Pharaoh’s Ants are unable to survive in the unpredictable British weather, so will only be found inside your cosy house. 

Biting Red Ants

Biting red Ants, also known as fire Ants, can be found in bright, moist, sun-filled areas in your garden. The Ants have a venomous stinger at the end of their bodies. If you’re stung, you will feel a sharp burning sensation, hence their pet name “fire Ants”. 

Ghost Ants 

Ghost Ants are so clear you can barely see them! Their dark head is their only distinguishing feature. Like most Ants, 

the ghost ant will sneak in through tiny cracks in your walls or windows. Ghost Ants are drawn to food with high quantities of refined sugar. Remember to store your cereal, syrups, and sugar safely – otherwise, they may be haunted by the ghost ant! 

Black Ants

You are most likely to find black Ants, also known as Lasius niger, in your house. Black Ants, like pavement Ants, are commonplace in residential areas. They aren’t super threatening, instead, they are just unruly and unhygienic. Black Ants will suddenly appear if exposed food is left on the kitchen benches. 

Common Ants

The most common species of Ants you will find in your house are the pavement ant, the carpenter ant, or the black ant. However, you should still look out for other Ants infesting your house! 

What Kind of Ant Infestation Do You Have? 

There are a variety of ways Ants can cause havoc in your house or garden. Read on to find out what kind of infestation you have. 

Ant Colony 

Ants inside your house will always come from a nearby colony. An ant colony is a communal group the Ants organise their lifestyle within. It’s essentially a community of Ants that work and live together. If you really want to eliminate Ants from your house, you need to target the colony. 

Ant Nests 

Once Ants have found their way into your house, they will burrow into its foundations and create nests. Ants will settle down in the walls, insulation, pipes, and floors. The Ants will then travel from the nest to food sources in your house. 

Ant Holes 

An ant hole is another term for a nest or a colony. If you have a persistent problem with Ants in the house, it is very likely they have created a home in a hole on your property. 

Ant Hills 

Ant hills are made from soil or sand. They will protrude from the earth forming a mound, or a pyramid shape. Underneath the mound will be a colony consisting of thousands of Ants. 

Ant Trails 

Ants find their way back to their hole, nest, colony, or hill through the use of ant trails. The trail is a scent left by worker Ants to guide the colony home. The trail is made from pungent natural chemicals called pheromones. 

How to Kill Ants Naturally

You can successfully get rid of Ants in the house without using harmful chemicals. We’ve found the most effective natural remedies for Ants! 

Peppermint Essential Oil

Peppermint essential oil is our favourite way to naturally and humanely deter Ants. Simply mix a few drops of pure peppermint oil into a spray bottle with water. Spray this concoction onto door frames, windows, floorboards, cupboards, and any other place you have seen Ants. Don’t settle for toxic ant bait when there are amazing natural alternatives! 

Peppermint oil is a natural pesticide that is toxic to Ants. Once an ant comes into direct contact with peppermint oil it will instantly kill Ants. It will also disrupt the pheromone trail they use to find their way to food sources. Peppermint oil is an ant repellent and deterrent. 

Tea Tree Essential Oil 

Tea tree essential oil works the same way as peppermint oil. They are both highly potent and harmful to Ants. Add tea tree oil to a spray bottle, or soak cotton balls in the oil and scatter them around your home. The fumes from the tea tree oil will make Ants leave your home immediately. 

Boiling Water

Pour boiling water into an ant hill, hole, or nest near your home. The boiling water kills Ants inside, however, it won’t destroy the entire colony. Boiling water will only disrupt the colony. This disruption will prompt the Ants to move away from your home and relocate elsewhere. 

You can also use boiling water that has been slightly chilled in a spray bottle with rock salt. Spray the salty water around the colony and any other areas where you have seen Ants. Repelling Ants can be easily done with household ingredients. No need to use toxic chemicals! 

Dish Soap

Dish soap is another easy, convenient way to get rid of Ants. Squeeze the same liquid detergent you use for your dirty dishes into a spray bottle with water. Spray the liquid soap anywhere you have seen Ants, or think they may be drawn to. The liquid will leave a light residue that Ants will be unable to walk across.

Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth

Food grade diatomaceous earth can be used to permanently solve your ant problem. It is one of the best, most enduring solutions to Ants in the house. Diatomaceous earth is a sedimentary rock that has been dissolved into fine, white dust. Diatomaceous earth can be used to filter drinking water. It can also be used to prevent clumps from forming in food or medicine. 

Diatomaceous earth is poisonous to Ants. You can sprinkle diatomaceous earth onto an area that has been invaded, Ants will smell the substance and subsequently not come back to that area.

If you have suspicions Ants are in the house, but haven’t actually seen them, you can sprinkle diatomaceous earth along your floorboards, or in your cupboards. The great thing about it is that it can be used generously and liberally. 

It is a good idea to purchase food grade diatomaceous earth. This means it is safe for human and animal consumption. You don’t want a harmful chemical littered around your house! Food grade diatomaceous earth will keep you and your family safe while you get rid of Ants. 

White Vinegar

White vinegar is a really easy way to get rid of all the Ants. Wipe the surfaces of your home with a solution of white vinegar and water. Ants will completely avoid the treated area! 

Ants hate the smell of white vinegar. Vinegar will literally stop Ants marching into your house as soon as they smell it. Alongside this, vinegar also disrupts pheromone trails that guide Ants to their colony and to sources of food. 

Vinegar will disorient indoor Ants to such an extent they won’t come back to your house! They will be so frustrated and scared that they will find someone else to hassle. 

Be warned that white vinegar will leave a greasy residue on your surfaces. It is also very smelly. However, it’s a small price to pay for such an effective and affordable solution to Ants in your house. 

Lemon Juice 

Lemon is another wonderful natural remedy for Ants. The acid in citrus fruits will mask Ants’ scented pheromone trails. Once the trails have been disrupted, the Ants will be deterred from entering your house. 

Lemon juice is a great option if you don’t want to harm the Ants anyway. Ants are left unharmed, instead, they merely feel uncomfortable and avoid the area where the citrus is coming from. 

Dilute some lemon juice in a bottle with water and spray on the affected area. Alternatively, you can leave lemon rind in door frames or in your window sills. 

Cayenne Pepper 

Cayenne pepper will quickly repel Ants from your home. Purchase cayenne (or even black pepper) at your local grocery store. Sprinkle the pepper near the source of the infestation. You can even create a wall of pepper around the base of your house. Either way, the Ants will be unable to penetrate the cayenne pepper barrier. 

This is because Ants are unable to walk over slippery, or powdery substances. Additionally, Ants can smell the intensity of cayenne pepper, which will send them running. If they get too close, cayenne pepper can kill them. 

Brewed Coffee Grounds 

Coffee grounds are dark brown, gritty, and very smelly. The smell alone will deter Ants from entering your house. Coffee grounds aren’t toxic or harmful to Ants in any way. Ants just really don’t like the smell. 

Leave some coffee grounds by your windows and doors and you won’t see any for a long period of time. Coffee grounds will work as a repellent until they have lost their smell. If you notice a couple of Ants sneaking in, then just replace the grounds with a fresh supply. 

This is a sustainable, cost-effective, and completely natural method to eliminate Ants from your home. There’s no need to buy harsh, artificial chemicals when the solution can be found in your cup of coffee!

Prevent Ants From Ever Getting Inside the House

There are a couple of things you can do to stop more Ants from getting inside again. These are preventative measures you can deploy in your ant-prone house. 

Disrupt the Scented Pheromone Trail

Remember that smell attracts Ants! Try to interrupt their pheromone trail as often as possible. Without a scent trail, Ants will be unable to find their way around your house. This means they won’t be able to find food, nest, or bring their colony into your house. 

Cleaning the floors of your house won’t adequately erase the pheromone trail. You will need to use some of the aforementioned remedies. Our favourites are peppermint oil, dish soap, lemons, or vinegar. Dilute any of these ingredients in some water. Spray the mixture over the infestation and any other places you think Ants have been. 

The pheromone trail will be instantly destroyed after it has been sprayed. Soon enough, all the Ants will have run away! Spray the mixture a few more times to ensure the Ants have disappeared permanently. 

Pet Food

Ants love pet food! Pet food is one of the most common types of food left out in the house. While it is convenient for animals and humans to leave pet bowls out, it is a safe haven for ant colonies. 

We recommend removing pet food once your animal has eaten. If this isn’t practical for you or your pet, you can create a barrier around the bowl of pet food. 

For example, you can sprinkle cayenne pepper or petroleum jelly around it. The pet food will be left undisturbed, as the Ants will be unable to cross the wall. However, this is only a temporary solution as Ants will continue to be drawn into your house in search of the food. 


Our number one tip is to keep all food stored away! Ants will return time and time again if there is exposed food in your house. 

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