Black ants, while not particularly harmful, can be an absolute pain in the neck. And you can safely assume if you see one or two scouting around, they’re not alone. Ants are social insects and live in colonies with thousands of roomies.
If you’re being ant-agonized, then you need our complete guide to get rid of black ants. Carry on reading to find out how you can get rid of the troops once they invade.
How To Get Rid Of Black Ants
What do you call an ant that won’t go away? Perman-ant. And that’s pretty much how it feels when they move into your home. If you’re dealing with unwanted ten-ants (okay, we’ll stop with the bad jokes), here’s a step by step guide that’ll help you get rid of black ants, once and for all.
Get To Know Your Enemy
Is it a full-blown infestation or just a few scouts sussing out the area? Is it your typical garden variety black ant, or are you dealing with black carpenter ants? Knowing these critical details will help you in your quest to remove these pests.
The most common types of black ants you’ll find in or around your home include:
Odorous ants are one of the most common species you’ll see running around. They’re dark brown to black in color and are tiny, measuring one-eighth of an inch. They can be found indoors as well as outside.
Another common species is the pavement ant. Also, brown to black in color, they’re only slightly bigger than odorous ants. Their diet includes grease, meat, insects (living or dead), and seeds. A word of warning when it comes to these ants, they have a vicious bite and sting when their nest is disturbed, so steer clear.
While they’re only 6-12 mm in length, they may as well be man-sized given the havoc they wreak on homes. Carpenter ants often have two different nests, so keep that in mind when you’re trying to get rid of them. They prefer protein to sugar, and although they don’t actually eat wood, they do bite through it when making their nest. Signs of a carpenter ant infestation include piles of wood shavings near door frames and windows.
Crazy ants are known to run all over the place if their nest is disturbed, hence the name. They’re approximately 2-3 mm in length and are dark brown or black. Happy indoors or outside, this species tends to build their nests in dense vegetation, houseplants, under carpets, and in the garbage.
Acrobat ants vary in color and can be yellowish-brown, brown, reddish-black, or black. They’re an outdoor ant and like to nest in moist wood or damaged wood structures. They’re pretty aggressive and are known for their painful sting.
Under 10mm long, field ants can be yellowish-brown, brown, or black and are found in, you guessed it, fields. Like pavement ants and acrobat ants, they have a mean sting, and when they feel threatened, they spray formic acid, which can also be incredibly painful.
Keep It Clean
Unfortunately, there’s no getting around it. Ridding your house of black ants takes patience, perseverance, and a little bit of effort on your part. To stop an infestation, you need to keep your home as clean as possible, especially the kitchen, pantry, and dining area.
Clean up crumbs, wipe up spills, and mop up messes as and when they happen. Also, remember to check the pantry for any open containers and packets. Ants have a keen sense of smell, and the slightest hint of free food will attract them in their thousands.
Don’t Leave Dirty Dishes In The Sink
Dirty dishes are like an all you can eat buffet for ants. As tempting as it is to leave dinner plates in the sink overnight, we recommend you don’t. Ants are opportunists, and even scraps and gravy splashes are a delicious treat. Using a dishwasher? It’s a good idea to first rinse dirty dishes before packing them in. If you don’t have time to do that, instead do a cycle immediately.
Keep Your Food Sealed
Another easy way to get rid of black ants is to keep your food properly sealed and stored. Use airtight containers and plastic bags for crisps, cereals, cookies, and cakes, and make sure perishable items are in the fridge. Keep lids on spreads and jams and cover fruit.
Get Rid Of Black Ants With Vinegar
Yup, you read that right, ants hate the smell of vinegar. Get them to vamoose with your very own vinegar spray. Simply mix one part vinegar with three parts water and then spray over the ant trails.
The smell, which they find overpowering, destroys their scent trail and throws them off course. If the idea of a vinegar fragranced house isn’t that appealing to you, you could use soap instead.
Get The Coffee Out
No, we’re not suggesting you invite black ants in for a cup of coffee. But you can sprinkle ground coffee, cinnamon, or any other strong-smelling spices around possible entry points.
Essential oils, like peppermint or lemon, also work. Just soak a couple of cotton wool balls in the oil and place in your pantry. There are loads of everyday items you can use as natural remedies that effectively get rid of black ants.
Sweeten Them Up
Certain back ant species are suckers for anything sweet, even if it’s laced with poison. Borax, an ingredient found in cleaning products, can be mixed with sugar to kill ants effectively. Make your own mixture or buy it ready-made and place it in areas where you’ve seen ant activity. The sugar attracts them, so don’t be alarmed if you see a whole lot of ants. In fact, the more there are, the better it’s working.
Get The Sealant Out
Given their size, it’s no wonder ants can get into your house through the smallest cracks, crevices, and holes.
Gaps between window sills and door frames also make for easy entry points. If you want to get rid of black ants, you need to seal up holes and cracks with a waterproof sealant or caulk. Although it’s impossible to get close up very nook and cranny, it’s worth doing as many as you can to keep them out.
Get Serious With Ant Baits
Serious ant infestations call for serious measures. If you feel like you’re winning the battle, but not the war, then you might want to consider setting up ant baits or traps around your house. Ant baits work by attracting them to what they think is a food source.
They then carry the poison back to the nest where the rest of the ants, including the queen, eat it and die. Ant traps use a sticky like substance or glued paper, which the ants get stuck in. Both work well to get rid of ants, but ant bait is more effective as a long-term solution.
Get An Insecticide
If you’re after a more immediate solution, then you might want to think about getting an insecticide that kills ants on contact. These work well when you can see the ants, but won’t solve an ongoing ant problem.
Some pesticides work long after you’ve sprayed them, thanks to a fine residual layer that kills ants when they walk over it. For the best results, use a product that contains permethrin, bifenthrin, or deltamethrin. Always read the instructions and use with caution around children, pets, and food.
How to Prevent Black Ants In Future
Once black ants have moved into your yard, it’s only a matter of time before their pheromone trail winds its way to your home. Keep them where they belong (i.e., your neighbor’s yard) with our handy tips.
Get Rid Of Potential Nesting Spots
Think of mulch as a comfy Airbnb for ants. To stop them from making your home theirs, use crushed rocks or stone around your yard as well as under the perimeter of the house.
Keep It Dry
Ants love moisture, and leaking taps and pipes are like an oasis in the desert for these pests. Do regular checks to make sure there is proper drainage and keep your gutters clean.
Keep Trees And Shrubs Trimmed
You’d never think that trees and shrubs give ants easy access, but they do. Maintain trees and shrubs and keep an eye open for overhanging branches.
Move The Firewood
Wood piles, like mulch, are ideal nesting spots for ants. Even though it’s convenient to store wood close to your house, stacking it at least 20’ away will keep black ants on the perimeter.
Yes, black ants are a pain, and getting rid of them can be a painful process. Thankfully there are still a few months to go before ant season officially starts, so you’ve got time to prepare.
Our handy guide will help you get through an ant-pocalypse, regardless of the type or seriousness of the infestation.