How To Kill Ants And Prevent Them From Coming Back

When you see dozens or even hundreds of ants crawling around your kitchen or yard, it’s hard to imagine ever getting rid of them. But killing ants isn’t as daunting as it first seems. You can learn how to kill ants of all kinds. 

This simple guide will take you through the steps, give you natural solutions, and teach you how to prevent ants in the first place. Ants may be a big part of your everyday life now, but they won’t be forever. If bed bugs are your problem, we’ve got a solution to them too!

Determine The Best Ant Bait

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The best way to start killing ants is to find out which bait works best for the ants that you have. You can start by picking out baits that you’ll learn about later and putting them on a place or countertop. 

You likely won’t have to buy any bait, as you probably have perfectly good ant bait in your home right now. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t even be seeing ants out, now would you? 

After you place the bait test, you wait a day or so and see which bait is attracting the most ants. That’s the bait you’re going to want to use. Remember though, that sticky baits will appear to have more ants since dry baits will allow the ants to travel home between trips.

How To Kill Ants Naturally

There are more natural ways to kill ants than chemical ways. Ants are naturally attracted to food, so of course, there are dozens of different baits you can use that you probably have in your home right now.

You can always buy ant killer or traps, but these are the easiest ways to take care of ants without investing any money. Plus, we need more natural solutions for every purpose. Keep it green with these repellants and attractants. 

Natural Repellants 

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Most of us don’t care about killing ants, we just want them to stay away from us. These natural repellants will keep ants away from any area you leave them. Use these in places you want ants to stay away from at all costs.


Pepper is one of the simplest repellants to ants. You can sprinkle it around baseboards or behind appliances as ants do not appreciate the smell. Both black pepper and cayenne pepper seem to work equally well. 


Although we may love the smell of peppermint, it works as a repellant for ants and other bugs. Mix 10 to 20 drops of peppermint essential oil with two cups of water and spray it around the perimeter of your room or house.


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Cinnamon is another strong scent that can get rid of ants. The best part about cinnamon is that you can buy cinnamon sticks so you won’t have to leave a mess behind in order to repel the ants. However, sprinkling cinnamon in problem spots is more effective. 

Tea Tree Oil

Like peppermint oil, tea tree oil works well in repelling ants. Only with tea tree oil, you use half as many drops per cup of water. You can also dip cotton balls in the solution and set them where you want to deter ants. 

Just remember with essential oils to keep them out of reach of pets and children. 


Vinegar is great because it’s safe for dogs and children. You can clean your kitchen with vinegar from top to bottom with a 50-50 solution. Or use straight vinegar to kill ants directly or to spray on problem spots. 

Natural Attractants 

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These attractants are used as baits. The thought of attracting ants may be appalling, but it’s the best way to kill them. These baits attract ants in order for you to poison them or spray them will ant killer. Use these in areas you want ants to gather. 

Honey or Sugar

Honey is one of the very best baits for ants. Ants are more attracted to sugary substances than anything else. But honey is used over other sugars because it also catches ants like a trap, not allowing them to leave.


Cheese is a good option if you don’t want the mess that crumbs or honey will bring. It’s a solid piece that is easy to clean up. However, it’s not usually quite as effective as honey or high-carb foods. But if it works, it’s completely mess-free.


Crackers are crumbly, letting ants pick a piece off and take it home. If you’re trying to track ants, crackers are probably your best option as they will carry a crumb all the way home. We all know how strong ants are! 

Greasy Food

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Greasy foods work well because they are usually high in carbs and they leave oil behind that the ants can track. Foods like these also leave crumbs and smell strong so ants will know when you’ve left them out. 

How To Kill Ants In The House

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The most common place that unwanted ants are found is the kitchen. People can deal with outside ants, but those in the place that they eat are more than they can take.

So when they appear in the kitchen, you want rid of them ASAP. Sometimes, you just can’t wait for baiting and repelling. Sometimes, you need ways to kill ants immediately on sight. 


This may be the messiest way to kill ants but it’s also effective. Sprinkle cornstarch over large groups of ants. From there, you can either vacuum the smothered bugs up or pour water over them to finish the deed. 

Boiling Water

This works on most bugs. You pour boiling water over ants and they will boil and drown immediately. Use this method with caution and only in small amounts indoors. If done outdoors, you can pour it down an anthill. 

Coffee Grounds 

This only works if the coffee grounds are used and wet. They repel ants or smother them. Sprinkle them over problem areas or leave them laying out on a piece of paper. Just make sure to replace them often.

Boric Acid

With this method, you must be very careful if you have pets and children around. This is one of the few certified ways to kill ants as boric acid is officially ant poison. Create a boric acid sugar solution and the entire community will be gone in about three weeks. 

Diatomaceous Earth

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You probably won’t have this lying around the house, but if you can find some, it’s well worth it. It kills ants and other bugs by absorbing the oils in their skeletons. This dries them out. Avoid inhaling it when using it. 

If you’ve tried everything else and it hasn’t worked, then diatomaceous earth may be your best bet. 

How To Kill Ants In The Yard

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Killing ants in the yard directly isn’t as easy as killing them in the house. However, there is a benefit to having ants all over the yard rather than clumped up in the house. When they are in the yard, you can spray the whole thing down.

After you mow the lawn, spray the entire yard with insecticide. You may need to rent a sprayer if you don’t have one. Spray early in the morning or evening as that is when ants will be most active. Don’t forget shrubs and trees too! 

Remember that you don’t want to eradicate ants in the yard, so don’t freak out if you see them. Ants are an important part of the outside world, all you want is to get rid of the majority of the one pestering your family. 

Ant Home Prevention

If you get rid of the ants in your home but don’t try to prevent ants from gathering again, then your work will have been for nothing. You can start preventing ants even before you kill the ones you see. But if you don’t start until you do, then that’s okay.

Erase The Ant Trails

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You may not know this, but ants leave behind a trail that other ants can sniff out. So if you want to stop that seemingly inevitable ant parade, then spray the trail that you see one ant or more leave behind.

Just follow them, spraying behind them as they go. Make sure you don’t kill the ant until it has made its final journey back home. If you do, you’ve lost your guide and trail, leaving ants to follow it once again.

Find The Ant Nests

With that same trail, you can also find out where the ants are coming from. When indoors, ants often live in the wall, so exterminating them alone isn’t easy. When outside, you can find an anthill and pour a liquid deterrent in it. 

If you can’t get rid of the ants on your own, you may need to call an extreminater. Just make sure you tell them where you think the nest is for the cheapest and most efficient way to go. 

Search For Entryways 

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If you want to keep ants out of your house, then you’ll need to find out how they are getting in. Search the border inside and outside of your house for holes. Fill them with spray foam or something similar. 

If you kill the ants in your house and eradicate every route they have to get in your house again, you’ve accomplished the task with flying colors. 

Keep Things Clean

The most important thing you can do to prevent ants is to keep your kitchen clean. Wipe your counters multiple times a day. Don’t leave food out and make sure boxes remain closed. 

If you want to take that extra step, then buy containers to put bags of chips and cereal in. That way, the ants won’t even know there’s any food to be had. Not to mention, you’ll be cutting off their food source. 

It’s a great practice to keep things clean anyway, especially during a pandemic. 


No matter which way you decide to kill ants, know that you’re not alone. Millions of homes are faced with the same problem. Not every home will have the same solution, so find out what works for you.