Ant Control

Indoor and Outdoor Ant Control with Natural Solutions

Ants have many useful functions in the environment: they feed on Fleas, Caterpillars, Termites, dead insects and decomposing dead animals. They also help plants by dispersing seeds, aiding in pollination, defending against attacks by herbivores, and helping to enrich the soil through soil turning. Go after the ants causing damage; leave the good ones to do their job!

There are 14 common ant species that are pests in the United States. Many ants do not bite; however Fire Ants and harvester ants are noted for their painful stinging bites. Most ants live in mounds in the ground; however; others nest inside buildings or in wood or mulch. Controlling ant indoors and out is continuous during times when they are active.

14 Common Ant Species in the U.S.Attractants & Habitat
Acrobat ant (Crematogaster spp.)Sweets, Insects; Indoors, Outdoors, Arboreal Locations, Near Food Supplies
Argentine ant (Linepithema humile)Sweets, Protein; Indoors, Outdoors, Near Food/Water Sources, Near Aphid Colonies
Big-Headed ant (Pheidole megacephala)Sweets, Fats, Proteins and Dead Insects; Indoors, Bathrooms, Kitchens, Outdoors, Walkways
Carpenter ant (Camponotus spp.)Sweets, Proteins, Living/Dead Insects; Indoors, Outdoors, Moist/Rotting Wood
Crazy ant (Paratrechina longicornis)Sweets, Proteins, Seeds, Dead Invertebrates; Indoor, Electrical Wiring, Outdoors, Gardens
Ghost ant (Tapinoma melanocephalum)Sweets, Proteins; Indoors, Outdoors, Greenhouses, Potted Plants
Leaf-cutter ant (Atta spp.)Leaves; Outdoors, Gardens
Odorous house ant (Tapinoma sessile)Sweets, Proteins; Indoors, Kitchens, Near Food Sources, Outdoors, Mulch, Leaf Litter
Pavement ant (Tetramorium caespitum)Sweets, Grease, Dead Insects, Small Seeds, and Proteins; Outdoors, Sidewalks, Under Buildings
Pharaoh ant (Monomorium pharaonis)Sweets, Fats, Proteins; Indoors, Outdoors, Fields, Near Food/Water Sources
Red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta)Sweets, Proteins, Seeds; Outdoors, Indoors
Southern fire ant (Solenopsis xyloni)Sweets, Proteins, Insects, Grease, Seeds, Tree Bark; Outdoors, Indoors
Thief ant (Solenopsis molesta)Fats, Proteins, Sweets, Other Ant Eggs/Larvae; Indoors, Outdoors, Near Food/Water Sources
Velvety tree ant (Liometopum occidentale)Sweets, Insects; Indoors, Outdoors, Old Wood

Indoor Ant Control:

Baits are a key for control indoors. Terro Ant Baits can be used for controlling ants travelling indoors as they are premixed with sugary bait, while Boric Acid and Diatomaceous Earth may be mixed with an attractant to make your own. Ants carry boric acid back to the nest and feed it to others in the colony. Interrupt ant trails by cleaning them; remove all food sources by cleaning or storing items in closed containers. Most baits take time to work, so keep cleaning up the trails as they reappear.

Use barriers to keep the ants out. Diatomaceous Earth and Orange Guard both work as an insecticide and a barrier. Caulking cracks and crevices where ants may be entering buildings should be done when entrances are spotted.

If the ant nest is in a potted plant, apply Beneficial Nematodes or Insecticidal Soap and remove the plant from the building. Insecticidal soap applications should be done as soil drenches and spot treatments when ants are visible.

Outdoor nests may be associated with plants that may be prone to attacks by aphids, soft scale, mealybugs or whitefly. Avoid planting such trees and shrubs next to buildings, or keep a watch for these infestations. If you plant next to a building, keep plants, grass, and mulch several inches away from foundations so nests do not form.

Outdoor Ant Control:

Ants may be attracted to plants due to the presence of Aphids, Scale, Mealybugs or Whitefly, or the presence of ripening fruit or floral nectar. Control the other pest issues before treating for ants as they will often leave once their food source (honeydew) is gone. On trees, barriers can be applied to the tree trunk to keep the ants from travelling onto foliage. 3-in-1 Tree Guard Paint and Stiky Stuff are two common barriers applied to trees to deter ant activity. Pruning trees away from buildings and other structures will increase these barriers' effectiveness by forcing ants to use the trunk to access the tree. Another repellent that will help deter a wide range of pests is Essentria G, which is a granular product soaked in essential oils and can be applied in a variety of outdoor settings.

If ant mounds are present, treat the mounds with Beneficial Nematodes or apply Diatomaceous Earth around the ant mound's entrance. Orange Guard Fire Ant Control can also be applied directly to problematic ant mounds.

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