How to Control Ants Outside Your Home

Ants can establish nests outside the home, and this may lead to garden and crop damage. But foraging ants may enter your home, looking for food and water. Once they find a way inside, some ants can even establish nests inside walls, cabinets, behind refrigerators, stoves, ovens and other appliances, behind windows and window frames, and beneath floors. The best way to prevent this is to exterminate the ants outside before they enter your home.

Some ant species even present a health hazard to humans and animals. Stinging ants such as Fire Ants may present a medical problem to individuals who are allergic to their stings. To eradicate a stinging ant population, it is vital that you find the nests. Nests may be in the ground, but also may be hidden under stones or sidewalks. Refer to Red Fire Ants and Fire Ant Treatment and Top 10 Things to Know about Fire Ant Treatment for more in-depth information.

Controlling Ants that Enter from the Outside

Many times ants that live outside will find their way inside and become a major nuisance. These ants may not be simply foraging for food and going back outside. They may be seeking a hiding or nesting site. Ant control bait treatments and insecticides can be used to control ants in both outside and inside nests.

The best insecticides for ant control are non- repellent insecticides such as Taurus SC, Fuse Insecticide, Termidor SC, or Phantom Aerosol. Ants cannot detect the presence of non-repellent insecticides; since they cannot avoid it they quickly make contact. Repellent insecticides will simply scatter the ants and stress the colony. Once an ant colony is stressed, the ants scatter and recolonize in other locations. Once this occurs, you will have more ant colonies to exterminate.

Follow these steps to help prevent ants from entering your home:

  1. Caulk and seal cracks and crevices to eliminate passages into the home. You may not be able to seal all the entry points as ants are incredibly industrious in finding entry points.
  2. Clean around entry points with a detergent to remove the pheromone chemical trail.
  3. Spray a non-repellent residual insecticide such as Taurus SC around the perimeter and entry points. This method is probably the most successful method to easily and quickly get rid of Ants.
  4. Place ant baits around ant activity. If you choose to bait, set the bait in areas of ant activity or trails so the ants can find the bait and take it back to their colony. Do not to use a repellent residual insecticide in the same areas that have bait placements.
    • Use both sweet-based bait and a greasy/protein-based bait combination in order to make sure that the bait choice will cover the entire range of Ant dietary needs.
    • Click here to see a summary review of Ant baits for all ants.
    • It may take a couple of weeks for baiting to work. When the ants eat up their baits, replace it with more baits. When you see the baits disappearing, you know it is working, so just be patient!

Controlling Ants Outside

Unless you can treat the nest directly, spraying is not an effective solution for ants, unless you use non-repellent insecticides or "undetectable" liquid treatments. There are many insecticide options: spray with a non-repellent residual insecticide such as Taurus SC around the perimeter and entry points, use a broadcast slow-release granule, and/or place ant baits.

Non-Repellent Insecticides

Unlike older insecticides, non-repellent insecticides can't be smelled, tasted, or even felt by pests. They crawl through the treated area, and ingesting treated materials or merely contacting the residual insecticide results in their eventual death. When baits are placed, the worker Ants eat the bait, take it back to the nest, and feed it to the queen and larval Ants. This type of control is incompatible with repellent spray treatments that prevent workers from returning to the nest with the bait.

Phantom Aerosols or Alpine Aerosols, and Arilon Insecticide. are labeled for use inside the home.

The preferred non-repellent insecticides mentioned above are only labeled for perimeter or treatment of ant trails, so cannot be used as a broadcast application. Broadcast applications should be done with Bifen It Insecticide or Bifen LP. The Bifen LP Granules will last three months. Bifen IT will last about a month. Bifen It is more versatile, and can be used for a variety of outside insects such as Fleas, Ticks and Mosquitoes.

Note: Taurus SC and Termidor SC are labeled for outdoor use only.