Reading this article will give you the tools you need to get ants out of your walls for good.
If you suspect you’ve got ants in your walls then The simplest method that will get rid of ants would be setting up DIY boric acid and peanut butter traps at the entry points to the wall infestation. This article will show you how to set them up.
We’ll deep dive into easy DIY hacks, commercial products and tactics you can make use off to keep your homes walls ant free.
So take 5 minutes out of your hectic life and learn some valuable skills by reading this article from start to finish…
How do You Know There are Ants in Your Walls?
Ants in your walls. Now that’s a frightening thought to some. Not only are there lines of critters going back and forth, then disappearing to do who knows what, you are concerned about the foundational strength of your drywalls.
Ants will live anywhere they can safely nest, preferring dark, moist spaces close to food. If they get a chance to live in your wall, perhaps because termites have already hollowed out certain portions, then they will certainly do so.
There should be some major telltale signs if there are ants in your walls, beginning with visual evidence of lines of ants coming out of or disappearing into cracks. All evidence may not be quite as blatant, but there will be other clues. Here are a few common signs:
Dust piles or wood dust trails that you can find suspiciously close to walls – most often, these have been excavated to make homes for ants or termites:
- Visible ant trails going up to the oil
- Ants crawling out of electric sockets
- Ants streaming from the walls if you tap on them
- Hollow sound when you tap the walls
- Sounds of activity (scurries for example) within the walls
What Species of Ants are Likely in Your Walls?
There are quite a few species that will live inside your walls. 10 such species are named below.
1. Acrobat Ants: About 1/8 inches long, pale brown to black in color.
2. Argentine Ants: 1/8 to 1/4 inches long, light brown in color.
3. Carpenter Ants: About 1/16 inch long, black in color. These ants actively excavate wood.
4. Crazy Ants: 1/8 inches long, these reddish-brown ants can be distinguished easily due to their erratic running patterns.
5. Little Black Ants: These are the critters that are everywhere, 1/8 inches long and making a long trail to and from sources of food.
6. Odorous Ants: 1/8 inches long, brown and black, these ants emit a rotten coconut odor if they are crushed.
7. Pavement Ants: These light brown to black ants are around 1/10 inches long.
8. Pharaoh Ants: the smallest among the ants on this list, 1/16 to 1/8 inches in length. Light red to yellow-brown in color.
9. Red (Southern) Fire ants: These firecrackers, between 1/14 to 2/14; inches long, are some of the peskiest pests for a house, and their bites sting.
10. Thief Ants: These tiny yellow ants (between 1/20 to 1/10 of an inch long can be dangerous to a home. They forage on carcasses and can carry diseases indoors.
Some of these ants have distinctive characteristics. For example, Argentine Ants and Carpenter Ants are so-called “sugar ants” – they will be seeking out sources of sugar. Others, such as Pharaoh Ants or Thief Ants, may be more interested in proteins and fatty foods.
Pavement ants will eat anything. Knowing these facts and identifying the correct species is critical to help you devise the proper remedy to get rid of them on a permanent basis.
What Products are Most Effective at Getting Rid of Ants in Walls?
There are some natural remedies to help get rid of ants in walls, ones that do not necessarily involve destroying your own walls. Among home remedies that may work are established DIY methods that will help to repel or kill ants.
One consideration here is that if you concerned about the inside of your wall, you need to do better than just repellents such as peppermint oil or coffee grinds. You need solutions where the ants will actually carry some of the toxin back to their nests, killing the colony.
For this reason, you are better off using combinations of remedies, such as:
1. Boric Acid with something sweet, like sugar or peanut butter – make ant bait with the two, place around the entry or exit points
Incidentally we have an entire article dedicated to setting up borax powder traps. It’s focused on cockroaches but will work just fine for ants too. Check it out here:
2. Lemon Tree, Clove or Tea Tree Oil – maybe mixed in with Peppermint Oil – Either create a mixture with water and spray the entry and exit, along with any cracks you can spot, or soak cotton balls in the mixture, let them dry and place them strategically close to the entry and exit points
3. Cinnamon – Ground cinnamon works wonders
4. Black or cayenne pepper – Ants cannot stand the flavor of pepper, but for best results you must get the pepper as close to or even inside the cracks
5. Diatomaceous earth – Place diatomaceous earth close to the spots where you see the ant. The earth has sharp edges that harm the exoskeletons and dry them out
6. Talcum powder – These powerful desiccants clog the pores and stop the ants from breathing and also desiccate the critters.
7. Vinegar and water – The acid in vinegar will tend to kill ants. Mix vinegar one to one with water and spray along routes where you find ants.
8. Table salt or Epsom salt can work if you can spray ant routes with them.
9. Chemicals such as Hyrdramethylnon, sulphuramid and fipronil.
Certain other remedies, such as soapy water or boiling water, may not be usable quite as readily given that you want to keep your walls dry.
Do the Tactics Change Depending on the Species?
The baits must be changed based on the species, mainly because different types of baits attract different species of ants – based on their food ants. A few representative remedies are mentioned below.
In each case, baits are prepared in one of three ways: (a) balls or pastes that are placed in containers (e.g. bottle caps) and left along the routes frequented by the ants, (b) mixed into a compound with water and sprayed, or (c) cotton balls dipped into the compound are allowed to dry and left close to the ants’ nest or close to their routes.
1. Argentine Ant Bait – Sweet sugar baits with boric acid will work throughout the year, protein baits should be used in the spring
2. Carpenter Ant Bait – Boric acid baits (less than 1% concentration) in sweet sugar liquid.
3. Odorous Ant Bait – Sweet sugar baits with boric acid, protein baits will also work.
4. Pavement Ant Bait – Boric acid baits (less than 1% concentration) in sweet sugar liquid, or protein baits.
5. Pharaoh Ant Bait – Sweet baits alone may not suffice, use in combination with fat-based baits for best results.
6. Southern Fire Ant Bait – Granular toxic baits, using fipronil and hydramethynon should be used, best to use them outside to avoid hard to pets and small children.
7. Thief Ant Bait – Protein balls are somewhat effective but must be changed frequently. Best if left outside the house if feasible.
As you can see above, you need to do some research before deciding what type of bait to use, when to switch and also what concentration of toxins to use.
What Can You do to Keep Ants from Getting into Your Walls Again Forever?
There are a number of things that can be done besides the home remedies mentioned above. Once your infestation has gone down, you can help keep ants away with the following actions:
1. Clean surfaces regularly – The more foodstuff, dampness and exposed soil (e.g. planters) are left around, the more the chances of ants showing up. Put food away, clean behind appliances, clean pet food bowls after use and use vinegar or lemon water-based cleaners regular on surfaces, counters, windowsills, backboards and doorjambs.
2. Seal cracks in walls if you find them – Make sure the ants are out before you take this step, though. Otherwise you will be providing a safe haven for the ants to expand their nests. Sealing the wall works best if the colony is nesting outside and entering your house through an exterior wall.
3. Get rid of plants and soil, especially if you see signs of nests.
4. Take out rotten wood or drywall and replace if possible.
5. Surround the spots around the infested walls, backboards, doorjambs and windowsills with strong repellents such as lemon rinds, peppermint essential oil, vinegar, pepper, oranges, salt, cinnamon, clove or similar substances.
6. You can buy gels that can be squeezed into cracks or spread near entry and exit points. There are slow acting poisons that kill the ants. Examples are Maxforce Quantum Ant Bait gel, Maxforce PC, Advion and Optigard.
7. If none of the above remedies produce the necessary result, there are a number of excellent bait box type remedies that are available. Bait boxes have the advantage of being safe for use. The idea would be to use slow acting poison so that ants carry them back to the nest. Some possibilities are Raid Ant Baits and Combat Ant Baits.
If you’re enjoying this article and want to learn more about how to control pest infestiations in your home and garden, then we have an entire section of school of bugs dedicated to this.
Can I Do This Without Making Holes in My Wall?
Like we mentioned above, hopefully none of the remedies above will require you to punch holes in your wall, unless you are replacing rotten wood or drywall which needs to be replaced for structural integrity anyway.
Should I Call a Professional?
If the DIY home remedies do not work, by all means call a professional. It should be easy enough to spot if the infestation abates.
If not, do not leave the problem unattended. Ants in walls can lead to some serious problems in terms of disease, long term nests proving difficult to get rid of and even structural damage – especially if you have carpenter ants who will continue to expand their nests by hollowing out your wall.
Take care of the problem one way or the other so you can sleep well at night.
If you want to learn more about various insects, then checkout our site categories, we have a bunch of articles there that are totally worth reading:
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All the best
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