9 Types of Ants (And How to Get Rid of Them) (2022)

By

Lisa Jo Lupo

9 Types of Ants (And How to Get Rid of Them) (1)

Lisa Jo Lupo

Lisa Jo Lupo is a pest control expert with over 25 years of professional experience in the pest control industry, writing about pest identification and management. She also was an editor for industry trade publications "The Service Technician's Field Manual and Study Guide," "The Service Technician's Inspection and Identification Manual and Study Guide," "PCT Guide to Commercial Pest Management," and the fourth edition of the "PCT Technician's Handbook."

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Updated on 04/16/22

Reviewed by

Amanda Rose Newton

9 Types of Ants (And How to Get Rid of Them) (2)

Reviewed byAmanda Rose Newton

Amanda Rose Newton holds degrees in Horticulture, Biochemistry, Entomology, and soon a PhD in STEM Education. She is a board-certified entomologist and volunteers for USAIDs Farmer to Farmer program. Currently, she is a professor of Horticulture, an Education Specialist, and pest specialist.

(Video) 9 Types Of Ants (And How To Get Rid Of Them) 🛋️

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Fact checked by

Sarah Scott

9 Types of Ants (And How to Get Rid of Them) (3)

Fact checked bySarah Scott

Sarah Scott is a fact-checker and researcher who has worked in the custom home building industry in sales, marketing, and design.

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If you'retired of seeing ants in your home, trailing from the door to the kitchen in search of tiny specks of food, your best bet is to learn about the different types of ants and how to get rid of them. Chances are, you have one of the nine most common types of ants found in and around the home.

(Video) Top 10 Ways To Kill Ants

  • 01 of 09

    Pavement Ants

    9 Types of Ants (And How to Get Rid of Them) (4)

    The pavement ant is one of the most common ants in the U.S. and is found in all 50 states. It has a brownish-black body and pale-colored legs and can be distinguished by the two spines at the end of its thorax (between its body parts). To get rid of pavement ants:

    • Follow the ants' trail to identify thepath they follow, even if you can’t find out where the ants are coming in.
    • Place ant bait stations along the trail you identified, following all label directions. The workers will find the bait, carry it back to the nest, and feed the queen, eliminating her and future populations. If the ant trail leads you to an outdoor, below-ground nest, drenching the nest with an approved insecticide spray (following all label directions) can be effective.

    Note: Donot spray indoor ants, as you will just kill the workers, and more will be sent out to forage.

  • 02 of 09

    Carpenter Ants

    9 Types of Ants (And How to Get Rid of Them) (5)

    Carpenter antsnest in moist, decaying wood outdoors and in homes and buildings. If infestations grow and moisture spreads, they may also expand into sound wood or use it as a tunnel. These ants usually have more than one nesting site, including a parent and satellite colonies. To control carpenter ants:

    • Trim trees and shrubs away from the home, and caulk all wire and cable penetrations through exterior walls. Remove or repair aging or decaying wood on or around the home.
    • Apply a liquid insecticide up the exterior walls around 3 feet and spray the ground up to 5 feet out around perimeter of the home, using a product labeled for controlling carpenter ants. It's usually best to apply the insecticide in the spring and fall.
    • Find the carpenter ant nest(s), and apply a chemical insecticide directly into it and along its tunnels and trails. However, because there can be multiple nests, it can be difficult to locate them all, particularly the main nest, which is often outdoors.
    • Place insecticide baits labeled for carpenter ants in areas where they travel. This is recommended especially when the nests cannot be located.
  • 03 of 09

    Odorous House Ants

    9 Types of Ants (And How to Get Rid of Them) (6)

    The odorous house ant will nest just about anywhere: under stones, logs, mulch, or debris; in the nests of birds or mammals; and inside homes, in walls, window frames, and insulation. To control odorous house ants:

    • Keep the ants out of your house in the first place trimming back trees and shrubbery away from the house.
    • Use baits to kill ants that have gotten into the home. Ant baits can be purchased at most home and garden stores.Following all label directions, place the bait where ants have been seen to travel.
    • Applyinsecticide around the perimeter of the home and under the siding to help keep ants from crawling in. You can do this yourself or hire apest control professional.
    • Locate the ants' nests, if possible, and treat them with a properly labeled insecticide. In some cases, however, the ant species will have multiple colonies, so treating a single nest will not relieve the problem.
  • 04 of 09

    Red Imported Fire Ants

    9 Types of Ants (And How to Get Rid of Them) (7)

    It is virtually impossible to entirely eliminate fire ants because of all the areas they infest. However, fire ants can, and should, be suppressed or reduced in areas in which they can cause harm or damage. When controlling fire ants:

    • Baits are the most effective product for ant control because the worker ants will carry it back to the nest to feed—and poison—the nesting ants, eliminating the colony in that nest.
    • A broadcast application of insecticide (labeled for fire ants) can be used in lawn areas where multiple nests are located or wider control is desired. Thiscan also be used as a preventive control against ants that attempt to move into the area while the chemical is active. These tend to be granular products that are applied with a push-type fertilizer spreader, then watered.
    • If there are only one or two fire ant mounds, you may opt to treat each mound individually rather than with a broadcast application. However, this can take more time and may use more insecticide.
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    Continue to 5 of 9 below.

  • 05 of 09

    Thief Ants or Grease Ants

    9 Types of Ants (And How to Get Rid of Them) (8)

    Thief ants, or grease ants,that are found to be nesting indoors are best eliminated through baiting. This can be as simple as placing a small amount of greasy bait near the areas in which the ants have been seen. When controlling grease ants:

    • Baits are not effective if the ant is nesting outdoors. Instead, the best option is to locate the nest and treat it directly. To locate a nest, follow the trail of ants backward from the food source.
    • If the outdoor nest cannot be found, a perimeter treatment of the home can help to keep outdoor-nesting ants from coming indoors to forage for food—or set up new nests.
  • 06 of 09

    Pharaoh Ants

    9 Types of Ants (And How to Get Rid of Them) (9)

    (Video) A Natural Way to Get Rid of Ants in Your House

    Pharaoh antcolonies can get extremely large include many nests. A single colony can have a single or multiple queens, with populations numbering in the several thousand to several hundred thousand. This ant expands its colony and creates new ones through budding: A queen and accompanying workers leave the current ant nest and walk to a new site to start a new colony. Whencontrolling pharaoh ants:

    • Use bait, the most effective method. The worker ants will carry the bait back to the nest to feed—and poison—the nesting ants, eliminating the entire colony instead of just the foragers.
    • Drenching of the nest is not an effective treatment for ants that expand their colonies through budding. At any disturbance or threat, the ants can bud, and if it has multiple queens, you can end up with multiple ant colonies instead of the one you started with.
  • 07 of 09

    Ghost Ants

    9 Types of Ants (And How to Get Rid of Them) (10)

    Ghost ant colonies have multiple queens and multiple nests and are very mobile. Control is difficult because of the many nests that often make up a colony. Therefore, even a direct-nest spray treatment may not contact all members of all interrelated colonies. Like the pharaoh ant, ghost ants expand their colonies through budding. The same control techniques used for pharaoh ants are effective for ghost ants.

  • 08 of 09

    Argentine Ants

    9 Types of Ants (And How to Get Rid of Them) (11)

    Argentine ant colonies have many nets and many queens,numbering in the hundreds, with thousands of workers to tend them. Additionally, a colony that is eliminated within a structure will often soon be replaced by another colony. Therefore, it is critical that all Argentine ants in an area, both within and outside a building, be found and eliminated at once. Because Argentine ants expand through budding, control them using the same techniques used for controlling ghost ants or pharaoh ants.

    Continue to 9 of 9 below.

  • 09 of 09

    Field Ants

    9 Types of Ants (And How to Get Rid of Them) (12)

    Field antsbuild mounds in lawns that can extend up to 6feet in diameter and as high as 2 feet tall. They also nest in firewood and other such piles. To control field ants:

    • Completely saturate the ant moundwith a pesticide labeled for mound application of field ants. Increase the amount of water, if necessary, so the insecticide completely penetrates the mound.
    • Seal or repair of gaps, cracks or other ant entry points to help keep the ants out of your home.
    • Apply non-repellent insecticide, labeled for this purpose, around the perimeter, up and along the foundation wall, around doorways and windows, and beneath the siding.
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FAQs

How do I permanently get rid of ants? ›

Two of the best ways to eliminate ants are Borax and diatomaceous earth. Essential oils, including peppermint and clove, are a natural way to repel and kill ants. Food and moisture attract ants, so keep your home clean and dry to get rid of ants permanently.

What is the fastest way to get rid of ants in the house? ›

White vinegar

White vinegar, available at all grocery stores, is a cheap and effective way to kill and repel ants. It is also a natural cleaning agent. Try using a 1-to-1 vinegar/water mixture to clean hard surfaces, including floors and countertops, wherever ants are likely to travel.

How do I get rid of ants in my house once and for all? ›

"Mix equal parts of vinegar and water, place the mixture in a spray bottle, and spray on the ants directly," says Barrett. "The mixture will kill them and you can clean the area by collecting the dead ants using a wet wipe or damp cloth," they add.

How do I get rid of ants everywhere in my house? ›

Here are their top five tips.
  1. Keep Your House Clean. Ants feed on sugar, protein, and just about anything else they can find. ...
  2. Eliminate Damp Spots and Rotted Wood. ...
  3. Set Ant Baits. ...
  4. Stay Away From Sprays. ...
  5. Make the Outdoors Appealing.
29 Apr 2022

How do you find an ants nest? ›

How to Find Ants in Your House - Ant Inspection | DoMyOwn.com

How do I find where ants are coming from? ›

Use your flashlight to look for ants behind or under refrigerators, stoves, microwaves, dishwashers, sinks, and cabinets. Ants may also be found in or around floor drains, inside the motor areas of refrigerators and microwaves, behind wall paper, and in cracks and crevices in cabinets and around walls.

What smells do ants hate? ›

Fortunately, there are several smells that ants can't tolerate, and which may help to keep these pests out of your kitchen. Cinnamon, lavender, eucalyptus, peppermint, and garlic are just some of the scents known to disgust ants, and all can be used to your advantage.

What naturally kills ants? ›

Step 1: Combine 1 tablespoon of liquid dish soap or ¼ cup of Castile soap for every quart of water. You can add canola oil, olive oil, or vegetable oil to make the mixture even more effective. Step 2: Spray soapy water directly on any ants you see outside the nest to kill them on contact.

How long will vinegar keep ants away? ›

They may avoid an area that smells like vinegar, but they'll create a new trail to your food in a different area. Vinegar repels ants for 4–48 hours. Spraying vinegar will not repel ants permanently. Ants will create new trails around the vinegar.

Why do ants suddenly appear? ›

Whenever there's a sudden ant infestation, the most likely cause of it is that there's food somewhere in your house for them. Most ants are opportunistic feeders; they'll eat just about anything. But they usually prefer sweets.

What is the best homemade ant killer? ›

White vinegar and water: Take a spray bottle and fill it with a solution of equal parts of vinegar and water. Spray the solution on the ants and their entry points. A mixture of dish soap and water: Make a mixture of dish soap or dishwashing liquid, put in a spray bottle and shake it well. Spray it on the ants.

Will ants go away on their own? ›

Typically if you clean up the spill, the ants will go away on their own (until next time).

How do you know if ants are in the walls? ›

Listen to the Walls

Carpenter ants are primarily active at night, so you may hear rustling noises as they build their nests. You could also try knocking on your walls to see if they sound hollow. If you know that the wall was once made of solid wood, a hollow sound indicates a carpenter ant or a termite infestation.

Can ants live in walls? ›

Ants become dwellers inside walls and other voids simply as the result of finding a more preferred site for food, moisture and protection than what is available to them outdoors.

How do you get rid of ants if you can't find the nest? ›

If you cannot find the nest, call an exterminator. Make sure to take care of the water damaged area as well to prevent further infestations. If you're wondering how to get rid of anthills, mow the lawn and then apply an insect killer that contains bifenthrin to the entire lawn.

Should I destroy an ants nest? ›

If you know you have an ants' nest in your garden, we'd recommend you only get rid of it if you also know that the ants are damaging your garden.

What does a queen ant look like? ›

Queens are much larger than regular worker ants and will look noticeably bigger than the others. Queens are also born with fairly large wings, and while some males have wings, they're much smaller. If you see a large, winged ant positioned at the center of an ant nest, it's very likely to be a queen!

Does killing ants attract more? ›

Killing ants will, definitely, attract more ants because the dead ants release pheromones that attract or rather alert, nearby ants.

Where do ants nest in a house? ›

Look for Moisture – Aside from food, ants need moisture. Inside your home, wet wood can invite an ant invasion, so study these areas for signs of these insects. Leaky pipes or pipes that get covered in condensation may also be an attractant to a variety of ant species, including odorous house ants.

What time of year do ants come into your house? ›

You've probably noticed ants more commonly come indoors in summer - that's largely because most insects are more active in the warmer months. Ants occasionally come inside in search of water, particularly during dry periods.

What will ants not cross? ›

Flour. Wondering how to get rid of ants without dangerous pesticides? Sprinkle a line of flour along the backs of pantry shelves and wherever you see ants entering the house. Repelled by the flour, ants won't cross over the line. This is the best way to get rid of ants at home.

What do ants hate most? ›

Ants generally don't like vinegar, citrus smells, or spices, and are also turned off by pepper and baby powder. Even the delicious smell of a morning brew will send ants running in the other direction.

How do I get rid of tiny ants on my kitchen counter? ›

Using Dish Soap to Kill Ants

If you find black ants on your kitchen countertops, fill a spray bottle with dishwashing liquid mixed with glass cleaner. Then use the spray bottle to clean off every surface the ants have access to, not just the kitchen counter, and be sure to wipe it down thoroughly when you're finished.

Do ants hate vinegar? ›

Ants hate Vinegar. The smell of Vinegar will cause them to stay away from it or permanently leave the house. Ants crawl in a straight line, marching towards the food sources. The Vinegar solution will interfere with these pheromones, and the ants will get lost.

Does salt get rid of ants? ›

Salt Treatment For Ants

In a way, yes. Salt is a natural treatment for ants. One existing way of doing this to mix regular table salt with boiling water and waiting for it to be slightly cool enough to be poured into a spray bottle. The mix is then sprayed all over ant infested areas of the house.

What repels ants in the house? ›

How to get rid of any indoors
  • Using citrus fruits. Ants hate the smell of strong citrus fruits. ...
  • Sprinkle coffee grounds. Coffee grounds are brilliant for deterring ants, too. ...
  • Use peppermint oil. ...
  • Tea Tree Oil. ...
  • Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) ...
  • Cinnamon. ...
  • Cinnamon leaf oil. ...
  • Vinegar.
20 Jul 2022

What happens when you pour vinegar on ants? ›

Yes, vinegar can kill ants.

If you spray vinegar directly on ants, they will die. Increase the vinegar percentage, and it will kill them even quicker. However, you should note that this isn't a very effective way of getting rid of ants. There are millions of ants in a colony.

Do ants like bleach? ›

Nothing can be more disconcerting than a line of ants tromping through your kitchen or even an entire ant colony emerging in your lawn or garden. If all you have on hand is some bleach, you might be surprised to learn that bleach can, in fact, kill and repel ants.

Is distilled vinegar the same as white vinegar? ›

Distilled vinegar and white vinegar are not the same. Distilled vinegar contains less acetic acid than white vinegar, making white vinegar a less effective cleaning agent.

How do I get rid of ants in my living room? ›

Sweeping or mopping isn't enough to eliminate the scent. Instead, mix 1 part vinegar with 3 parts water in a spray bottle for a safe way to get rid of ants in the home, then spray wherever you've seen ants in the past.

Will ants leave if no food? ›

It's the most basic necessity. Every living thing, including ants, needs to stay somewhere, somewhere they can thrive and be safe. If there are ants even if there's no food and if you're the type to clean often, then those pesky insects must have discovered your home a long time ago.

How do I get rid of crazy ants in my kitchen? ›

How to Get Rid of Raspberry Crazy Ants (Tawny Crazy Ants) - YouTube

What does borax do to ants? ›

Borax is toxic to ants. When they ingest it, it disrupts their digestive systems, eventually causing death. However, they don't die immediately — the borax acts slowly enough to allow the worker ants to carry it back to the colony, where other ants ingest it and die. Ants don't eat borax on its own, though.

How do I permanently get rid of ants with borax? ›

Use Borax to get rid of ants
  1. Mix 1/2 C sugar, 1 1/2 Tbsp Borax, and 1.5 C warm water.
  2. Soak some cotton balls in the mixture, and put them out near the mess of ants.
  3. The sugar attracts the ants, and they'll take the Borax with it back to their home.
  4. Eating the Borax kills the ants!
27 May 2016

How does baking soda get rid of ants in the kitchen? ›

Sprinkle or mix some baking soda into crumbs of bread (or any other food you have on hand) to create a paste. Place the mixture in small containers and seal it up so ants can't get inside. Leave these out overnight, preferably near ant trails or areas where they are most likely to cross.

What kills ants on contact? ›

Straight white vinegar makes a great ant spray. You can saturate ant trails to kill on contact, or spray counters and other areas and either wipe up after a few minutes or allow the treatment to dry in place.

How do I get rid of ants in my walls? ›

You can apply sugar-based ant baits, ant traps, bait station, or liquid spray to get rid of pavement ants in walls or cracks. Follow the trail of ants and inspect their entry points and shelters. After inspection, apply sprays or baits at the infested wall voids and pavements.

How do I get rid of little black ants in my house? ›

How to Get Rid of Little Black Ants (3 Easy Steps) - YouTube

Why do ants keep coming back? ›

Just like with any other pest, ants need food, water, and shelter. If your house provides a food source, the ants will continue to invade. For this reason, one of the most effective ways to eliminate ants from your home is to remove their reason for being there.

What does sugar ants look like? ›

They are normally very tiny, between 2.5 to 18mm long. They have large black heads, a small waist and a rusty, orange-brown middle. Sugar ant soldiers have some impressive looking pincers on their face. Up close they can look a little menacing but it is all for show.

What are these tiny brown ants in my house? ›

Odorous House Ants

These small dark brown or black ants are one of the most common ants found inside homes. They're often found on counters or running along floorboards. They'll come inside looking for food or someplace dry during rainy weather.

When should I worry about ants in my house? ›

If the ant hills are found near the building or against walls, it is a cause for concern. If you notice ants both inside and outside, you should contact a professional to take care of the situation. Contact Preventive Pest Control Today!

Can ants damage electrical wiring? ›

Damage Ants Can Do in the Walls

Ants inside the walls lead to all sorts of trouble, and it is important for you to get rid of them as soon as possible. Ants can chew the electrical wires inside your walls, causing your power to go off, as well as a myriad of other troubles.

Should I be worried if I see one carpenter ant? ›

If you see a single reddish or black ant, with a single node between its abdomen and thorax, anywhere inside your home, it is time to be worried about carpenter ants. The singular reason you should worry is because carpenter ants don't always feed inside a house they are infesting.

How do I find where ants are coming from? ›

How to Find Ants in Your House - Ant Inspection | DoMyOwn.com

What kills tiny brown ants? ›

Simply create a 50-50 water and vinegar solution and spray it around your kitchen. You can also use vinegar alone, and it works by killings ants and also by repeling them. Unlike humans, ants can smell vinegar even after it dries, making a great remedy.

What do ants eat in your house? ›

Carbohydrates and sugar—but not artificial sweeteners. Juices, fruits, or bread are good examples. Salt—sometimes salt can be an equal or greater attractant for an ant than sugar.

What smell do ants hate the most? ›

Ants generally don't like vinegar, citrus smells, or spices, and are also turned off by pepper and baby powder. Even the delicious smell of a morning brew will send ants running in the other direction.

Why do ants suddenly appear? ›

Whenever there's a sudden ant infestation, the most likely cause of it is that there's food somewhere in your house for them. Most ants are opportunistic feeders; they'll eat just about anything. But they usually prefer sweets.

What is the best thing to get rid of ants? ›

Ant Prevention: Spray Ant Entry Points

After ridding the house of ants, take steps to ensure they don't come back. Caulk and seal holes, and then spray insecticide around doors and windows. An insecticide that contains bifenthrin, permethrin or deltamethrin is one way how to get rid of ants.

How long will vinegar keep ants away? ›

They may avoid an area that smells like vinegar, but they'll create a new trail to your food in a different area. Vinegar repels ants for 4–48 hours. Spraying vinegar will not repel ants permanently. Ants will create new trails around the vinegar.

What will ants not cross? ›

Flour. Wondering how to get rid of ants without dangerous pesticides? Sprinkle a line of flour along the backs of pantry shelves and wherever you see ants entering the house. Repelled by the flour, ants won't cross over the line. This is the best way to get rid of ants at home.

What naturally kills ants? ›

Step 1: Combine 1 tablespoon of liquid dish soap or ¼ cup of Castile soap for every quart of water. You can add canola oil, olive oil, or vegetable oil to make the mixture even more effective. Step 2: Spray soapy water directly on any ants you see outside the nest to kill them on contact.

Will vinegar get rid of ants? ›

Ants hate Vinegar. The smell of Vinegar will cause them to stay away from it or permanently leave the house. Ants crawl in a straight line, marching towards the food sources. The Vinegar solution will interfere with these pheromones, and the ants will get lost.

Will ants go away on their own? ›

Typically if you clean up the spill, the ants will go away on their own (until next time).

How do I get rid of tiny ants on my kitchen counter? ›

Using Dish Soap to Kill Ants

If you find black ants on your kitchen countertops, fill a spray bottle with dishwashing liquid mixed with glass cleaner. Then use the spray bottle to clean off every surface the ants have access to, not just the kitchen counter, and be sure to wipe it down thoroughly when you're finished.

Why should we not squish ants? ›

It is advised not to squash ants, doing so will only release pheromones and trigger more ants to come to the location and cause more trouble to you and your family. Ants are known to pack a deadly bite that causes excruciating pain for a short time.

Do ants hate salt? ›

Salt does not kill ants, but it does help to repel them and keep them out of your home. Ants are attracted to the salt in their environment when it comes to food, but if there's too much salt and they will be repelled by it.

Do ants like bleach? ›

Nothing can be more disconcerting than a line of ants tromping through your kitchen or even an entire ant colony emerging in your lawn or garden. If all you have on hand is some bleach, you might be surprised to learn that bleach can, in fact, kill and repel ants.

What do ants not like? ›

Both cayenne and black pepper repel ants. Ants hate cayenne pepper. Black pepper will work just as well too. Locate the source of the ant infestation problem, sprinkle some pepper around that area and if possible, create a wall that will stop the ants from accessing your household.

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