Did you know that there are more than 12,000 species of ants in the entire world? Fortunately, though, there are only a handful of species that persist on creeping into your residence, at times, even making their way onto your bed in search of food. Imagine you’re resting soundly and you feel a tingly sensation on your leg. Then the feeling multiplies and before long, you’re up to out of bed looking at your bed sheet with ants on it! It’s a buzz kill, isn’t it?
For the ants that you really need to be mindful of, there are some very easy, natural and most of all, effective natural methods to either ward off or eliminate ants from your home areas, most especially your bedroom.
You can actually neutralize ant scouts by cleaning your kitchen and storing food or leftovers in containers. You can keep bar the ants’ access to your home by sealing entrances with caulk, use of barriers and deterrents, like cinnamon, and use baits, such as maple syrup sprinkled with boric acid. Should everything fail, then that is the time that you call in the experts — natural pest exterminators who can help get the job done in dealing with your ant problem effectively.
Before we go ahead and discuss how to get rid of ants in bed, let’s first take a look at the origins of your ant problem.
Table of Contents
Here’s a list of all of the topics covered in this guide. If you want specific info – click on the links to get it quickly:
- Why Do You Have An Ant Problem?
- How to Protect Your Home from Ant Scouts
- How to Keep Ants From Gaining Access
- Make Use of Barriers and Deterrents
- Make Use of Baits
- Call in a Professional Exterminator
Why Do You Have An Ant Problem?
Ants can make its way to your home for a different number of reasons, but more than likely, they are looking for food. Your home just happens to be close to where a queen has set up her colony. Just like humans, ants have to eat to survive. They also have to feed their young. It’s not that they are infiltrating your home just for the sheer heck of it.
They are simply trying to last another day just like any other animal, insect, bug or plant on Earth. Your home marks a potential source for both food and water. It can also give them protection from predators and the elements, thus functioning as a possible site for new colonies when they’re ready to expand. Clearly, you’ll want to keep this invasion and colonization from happening whenever and however you can.
Is It Easy To Learn How To Get Rid of Ants?
Unfortunately, ant control isn’t the easiest thing to do at times. Some ant infestations have nothing to do with how sterile or filthy your home is. Your property could simply be a haven for ants. This can cause problems for homeowners as the late spring and early summer nuptial flights happen. Huge swarms of winged ants set out to get new colonies started, at times right in the voids of your walls.
In other situations, fixing an ant infestation can be as easy to fix as eliminating any ants that you see crawling around. Wipe down the area where the ants traveled with a regular kitchen disinfectant wipe. This will eradicate the scented trails they leave behind. Ants that have never been in your home can track this trail straight to the food sources previous visitors have found.
Do You Need to Know What Type of Ants You Have to Get Rid of Them?
Learning what the species of ant you are dealing with is especially crucial in order to determine your next course of action. If you know what you are dealing with, you will know where to find the nest, what sources of food are attracting them and which management techniques will work best.
One example is: tiny black ants usually reside in their colony outdoors. They penetrate structures to scavenge for food such as sugar, starches, and meat. A tiny black ant infestation is ideally treated by following the ant’s trail back to the colony and fixing the problem at the source. The next step would be shutting off all entry points so any remaining or future ants cannot get into your house.
On the other hand, carpenter ants actually need a much more steadfast approach. Carpenter ants are notoriously hard to control, especially since they like to nest in moist wood. These nests can cause wood damage, and since moist wood is often found in previously damaged locations, this can possibly create a larger nuisance than just having a few ants walking across your counter.
Carpenter ant nests are challenging to find since they can nest in different locations both inside and outside your residence. A more careful investigation will have to be done by a pest management professional before they help you draw up the most effective pest control plan for battling carpenter ants.
Now, let’s move on to how to safeguard your house from ant scouts.
How to Protect Your Home from Ant Scouts
1) Heed the scouts
Seeing ants in your kitchen is already a huge warning to you. Scout ants are wandering ants, either singular or relatively few in number. They check your kitchen for food and supplies. If these ants return to the nest to inform the other ants, more will be on the way. In this case, don’t waste any time and immediately do these:
- Clean your kitchen.
- Seal all food and remove all sources of sticky, sweet, greasy, and meaty foods from their access.
- Spread Diatomaceous Earth along all of the edges (entry points) of the room. This will cut the exoskeleton of the ant, causing it to dry up and die in a matter of hours.
2) Clean dirty dishes right after using them
Wash all dishes as they’re used or place them into the dishwasher and shut the door tight. Wipe down all of your cupboard, benchtop, and counter surfaces with vinegar.
- Vinegar not only cleans and disinfects, but it is also an ant deterrent.
- Remove all sources of garbage and keep the kitchen bin shut tightly.
- Rinse all recyclable containers before putting them into storage.
3) Sweep and vacuum the kitchen area every day
Food that’s fallen on your floor or been lost in your kitchen’s nooks and crannies will be an open invitation to ants. Crumbs and bits of food that have gotten caught in kitchen area rugs will attract ants in the same way.
If you’re prone to forgetting to sweep and vacuum your kitchen area, you might want to try getting into the habit of doing it at the same time every day, like after breakfast or dinner.
4) Rinse residue off containers
To be more specific, check jam/jelly jars, sauce bottles, pickle bottles, cordial bottles and honey, and syrup containers. Put your honey jar and any other sugary ant favorites inside a bowl of water.
5) Secure all food items in airtight containers
Make use of airtight containers or identical ant-proof containers for food storage. Be relentless with this for 3 to 7 days. The ants, having nothing to eat, will go elsewhere. This works because the ants are following the chemical trails left by other ants, which did find food.
You may also need to seal fragrant items such as cleaning powders, deodorants, and the like in case these attract the ants’ initial attention. Be alert to any congregations of ants around non-food sources.
How to Keep Ants From Gaining Access
1) Identify their access points
While you clean your kitchen and get on ant scout patrol, conduct some scouting work of your own. Can you tell where the ants are entering the house? Follow the first ants to see where they’re entering and leaving. Popular routes of ingress for ants include things like gaps in the woodwork, cracks in cement, vents, screens, cracks in the floorboards, and so on.
2) Secure all entrance holes with silicone seal
Alternatively, you can also use putty, glue or plaster. Short-term methods of blocking ant access to your home include petroleum jelly or poster tack. If you use a temporary sealant like a poster tack, only use this until you can purchase a more permanent solution, as it will deteriorate over time and the gap will open again.
3) Prepare a spray bottle of soapy water
Soapy water will both kill ants and destroy their chemical trail. This will prevent more ants from following in their tracks. This cheap and easy method consists simply of:
- Put one teaspoon of liquid dish soap into a spray bottle and fill it with water.
- Add mint oil, citrus peels, or citrus rind oil to make this spray extra potent.
- Spritz the ants you see with the solution in your spray bottle.
Make Use of Barriers and Deterrents
1) Put up defensive barriers
Many of the products that form these natural ant barriers are already in your kitchen and they just need to be deployed the right way. A barrier doesn’t need to be wider than a ¼ of an inch (6.35mm) but it must form an unbroken line. Use barriers on places like sills, floors, counters, and around ant access points.
Some of the items with which you can form barriers include:
- Powdered charcoal
- A line of chalk
- Citrus oil
- Black pepper, cayenne pepper, or red chili pepper
- Vaseline (great for doors and windows)
- Baby powder
- Powdered cleanser
- White vinegar and water
- Desiccating dust (such as Diatomaceous Earth or silica aerogel)
2) Sprinkle around preventative odors
Ants are not fond of various scents. Some of these include peppermint, camphor, and garlic. These can be used fresh or in oil form as a deterrent for ants in an area of your home. Use camphor with caution, as it is poisonous to humans and animals.
- The great thing about these fragrant deterrents is that your own preferences for scent can be used to improve the overall smell of your household odors.
- Sprinkle crushed mint leaves in ant-infested rooms and grow mint near the entrance areas. Dried peppermint is also effective.
- Rub a raw clove of garlic over ant trails and entrances.
- Sprinkle lavender oil in ant afflicted areas and grow lavender near their entrances.
- Spread some oil of clove in ant zones or crush cloves and sprinkle it as a barrier.
3) Use bay leaves to keep ants from attractants
Ants are especially drawn to sugar, paprika, and flour. Place bay leaves in your sugar can, flour container, and paprika jar. Over time, the ant repelling strength of these leaves and lose potency. Replace these every month for best results.
4) Sprinkle Splenda over ant trails
Splenda is not harmful to kids, so it’s a great thing to use where children congregate, such as at school. It’s also pet safe, making this a great option if you have animals. Sprinkle Splenda over the trails of any ants you see. Once the ants consume the Splenda, they should die shortly after the fact. Be sure to replenish your Splenda as necessary.
5) Use coffee grounds
Spread coffee grounds on ant hills and along your house foundation. This safe material puzzles the worker ants because they lose their scent trails. This causes the hatched young in the ant colonies to have no food and starve.
Be persistent and patient with your use of grounds. It may take a season before you start noticing an effect. It is important to reapply grounds every year, at minimum. Refreshing grounds more frequently will have a stronger, more immediate effect.
6) Use dish soap with baking soda
Combine a small amount of liquid dish soap and baking soda in a bucket half filled with water. Agitate this mixture with your hand or a stirring implement. Spread a thin line of this liquid along the area where ants are coming in. This technique is a great solution for dealing with ants that are invading window sills.
Make Use of Baits
1) Create your own ant baits with boric acid and maple syrup
You can buy ant baits, but those will likely be chemical preparations that don’t fit well with natural attempts to control ants in the home. It’s easy to make your own ant baits. A particularly effective one is made with boric acid. Boric acid and sodium borate salts are naturally found in minerals like sassolite.
- When ants walk in or over boric acid, they ingest it and die. Boric acid is poisonous and should not be ingested or come in contact with the eyes, nose, or mouth. Handle it with gloves.
- A sample boric acid bait could be made with boric acid and maple syrup. Drizzle a spoonful of syrup on a plate or saucer. Sprinkle this liberally with boric acid.
- Use a skewer, toothpick, or cotton swab to distribute the acid evenly through the syrup.
- Place your boric acid bait wherever the ants are frequenting. Keep it out of the reach of children or pets. This method can take a week to take effect.
2) Use food against ants
There are many foods ants are not able to digest. These methods are effective, although you might have to clean up dead ants after the fact. Spread the following bait foods where the ants are appearing:
- Corn meal: This method is great around pets or children, as cornmeal itself is not poisonous.
- Cream of wheat (farina): Spread this raw where there are ants. It will expand in their stomachs, killing them.
- Coffee grounds: Ants are sensitive to caffeine. Leave used coffee grounds where the ants will carry it home and eat it. This method takes a few weeks for results.
3) Deal with carpenter ants as naturally as possible
An invasion of carpenter ants is a serious matter that should be dealt with immediately. They can compromise or damage your house structure. Piles of broken wings and ants with longer than average bodies are indications of carpenters. You may also see fecal pellets (which look like sawdust) and they can sometimes be heard rustling in the walls. Some ways to deal with them include:
- Baiting them: They like sugar, so you can turn this against them. Use the boric acid method described previously.
- Vacuuming their nests out of infested walls, if possible.
- Calling an exterminator: Professionals can drill holes in the wall and blow in diatomaceous earth, silica aerogel, or boric acid inside to eliminate the infestation. Pyrethrin spray can also be used.
Call in a Professional Exterminator
1) Verify the exterminator utilizes natural pesticides
Some exterminators specialize in using natural pest control methods. Search for one near you by doing an online keyword search for “organic insect and pest control” or “natural insect and pest extermination.” This kind of pest control is often poorly regulated. Some pest services are only “organic” or “natural” in name, but not in fact. Call exterminators and inquire directly about services, saying something like, “Could you tell me how your methods are all natural?”
2) Call a professional to deal with fire ants
Fire ants rarely enter the home, but if they do, immediately seek assistance. They’re aggressive, and their stings are painful and can sometimes trigger an allergic reaction. If the ants must be sprayed, insist on the use of bait that has an insect growth regulator, like abamectin, in it.
3) Follow all the advice given by the professionals
Exterminators are professionals who have been trained not only in pest removal but also prevention. If you’ve had difficulty with any of the techniques mentioned here, ask the exterminator for their advice. For example, you may have looked high and low but were unable to find the ants’ entrance into your home. An exterminator could help pinpoint this for you.
4) Attack the nest directly
Although you’re not a professional, using this professional technique can have professional results. Sneak up on an ant nest on a cool day. Then pour several gallons/liters of boiling water into the nest entrance. If you want to make the water more deadly, add vinegar, insecticidal soaps, citrus oil, pyrethrum insecticide, or ammonia. Repeat this process every day or so until it seems that the ants have given up and moved. This may take several days to take effect.