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How to Help Get Rid of Ants

Ridding your home of ants can be tricky. When they invade your home, you may need to fight back with a combination of cleaning, on-the-spot treatment, baits, and barriers to help keep your home ant-free.

A man caulking an indoor window.

Having an army of ants marching through your home can be unsightly and stressful. That’s why we’ve spent 60 years researching ways to help you combat these tiny critters at the SC Johnson® Institute of Insect Science for Family Health. Read below to find advice from our experts on ways to help protect your family and home from these uninvited pests.

Quick Tips to Help Get Rid of Ants

A colony of ants making themselves at home in your kitchen can be downright unappetizing. Take back control of your home with these simple tips:

  • Help kill the ants you see with an insecticide spray or aerosol labeled for killing ants

  • Use ant baits to help kill the ants you don’t see that are hiding in their nest

  • Be sure to read the label for best results

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Expert Tip

Do not place baits on or near areas that have been treated with an insecticide spray because ants traveling over sprayed areas may die before they have a chance to bring the bait back to the colony and kill the entire nest. And never spray an insecticide over ant baits or the ants may not eat the bait.

Cleanliness is Next to Antlessness

The best way to help prevent ants is by eliminating the things that attract them, like spills, stray crumbs, dirty dishes, and exposed food.

Tips to Help Keep Ants Out:

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Ants LOVE Fido’s food

A top view of a bowl of water with a bowl of pet food sitting inside it to create a moat.

Because ants will feast on pet food, it’s important to keep kibble in pet dishes only when pets are eating it. If that’s not realistic, try placing pet food bowls in a slightly larger bowl that has been filled with water. By doing so, you’ll create a moat that ants can’t easily cross.

Kill the Colony

Ants are attracted to food, which means most ants indoors are found in the kitchen. Place ant baits near the kitchen, pantry, dining areas, and places where ants are most likely to feed. Ant baits aren’t designed to trap ants. Instead of killing them on contact, the baits are designed to let ants feed on them.

After the ants feed on the bait, they return to their nest and transfer the bait to the queen and others, thereby killing the entire colony. So, if you see ants crawling around the bait, don’t kill them before they return to the colony! Give the product time to work in order to help get rid of ants in the kitchen and around the house.

Build Barriers

The best way to help keep ants out of your house is to prevent them from entering in the first place. Make sure you seal cracks, especially those leading into the kitchen or pantry. Seal windows, doors, and cracks with caulk to help keep ants from marching in. The three most common home entry points are through unsealed cracks and crevices, the open space between the door and the floor, and vents or utility pipes.

The Ant Dies, But the Colony Survives

The average life span of an ant is only a few weeks. However, the ant colony itself will live for generations, replenishing their numbers.