How to get rid of ants – discover the source and stop them from spreading

Got an invasion? Here's how to get rid of ants for good – plus tips for ensuring they don't come back

how to get rid of ants
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Got ants in your pants? Unfortunately we're not qualified to help you deal with that. What we can do though is teach you how to get rid of ants from your home if you've come under attack from these teeny tiny insects. 

As is the case with most household pests, an ant infestation can be pretty unpleasant – A Bug's Life was definitely misleading to that regard – and in particular if they're biting you. But, there are a few things that can be done to fight back and ensure your ant enemies stay away, for good.

Find plenty of tips and tricks over on our cleaning hub page.

How to get rid of ants

Before we cut to our tips, we'd recommend everyone with ants give their home a really good clean, and keep on top of the housework for the foreseeable future. And if you discover that you have an ants' nest, or too many critters to deal with alone, look to experts for advice. Only got a small ant issue? You can try the following:

  • Find the source of the problem: there's no point in treating an ant infestation if you don't identify the source of the issue. This is detective work, so you'll want to get out your magnifying glass (if necessary) and follow the trail of ants to wherever they're going. Our bet? It's towards something sweet.
  • Ensure food is stored in air tight containers: if you've discovered that the source of the problem is a tasty food source (shock!), do what you can to contain the issue. Place sweet foods in air-tight containers and ensure that jam, honey and the like are not leaking.

  • Empty your bins regularly: a bin bag full of rotting food is a literal theme park for an ant. So, make sure your bin is keeping the blighters out as best it can, and ensure you're emptying it as often as possible.
  • Use vinegar to cut their lines of communication: despite being teeny tiny, ants are actually pretty clever. You may not know this, but they actually communicate using pheromones which they release while crawling around. But now that you do know, you can outsmart them by spraying a water and vinegar solution in areas that you've spotted ants. This will disrupt their lines of communication.
  • Prepare a natural repellant: if you're not keen on using harsh chemicals in your home, create a solution of water and lavender or peppermint essential oils to repel the ants. Spray liberally in your home, particularly in ant hot spots.
  • Or pick up specific ant-repellents: natural stuff not worked? Perhaps it's time to bring in the big guns. Ant-repellants containing boric acid are essential, though you'll want to check that the solution you opt for is pet safe, and won't harm your children.

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