Ant Control Options for Your Home

Ants are found almost everywhere in the world, so it’s not surprising these tiny bugs are pestering you. There are about 12,000 ant species in the world and in New England alone roughly 10 of the area’s 100 species are considered pests to your home. Permanently removing ants from your home is not always as easy as going out and purchasing an insecticide spray. Do it yourself methods can often mask the problem, and complete eradication typically requires using a pest control service.

Types of Ants

Here is a look at three ant species you most likely are dealing with in your home or business:

  • Carpenter Ant: They are considered the leading pest problem in the Northeast and their presence can cause structural damage. Carpenter ants, much like their name implies, live in damp or dead wood by hollowing out tunnels to make nests. They don’t eat wood like termites; rather, carpenter ants move it away and create piles called frass. Frass looks like sawdust and finding it is an easy clue you have carpenter ants. Prime nesting spots include decks, leaky roofs, under insulation in cellars and attics or where additions attach to the home.
  • Pharaoh Ant: The pharaoh ant nests in walls, behind baseboard and in odd places like electric outlets or small appliances. They are hard to combat with household sprays because the ants will split their colony and move to new areas when insecticide sprays are detected. Because they are so sensitive to insecticide treatments, pharaoh ant control is best accomplished by thorough inspection and treatment with baits.
  • Pavement Ant: Pavement ants get their name because they live in or under cracks in pavement, but they will also live inside structures (walls, under floors and insulation). Alerting you to their presence are small mounds of dirt near sidewalks, the side of your house or driveway. Removal of pavement ants involves using sweet baits.

Do-It-Yourself Ant Removal

Now that you have a better idea of the likely foe you are up against, determine a battle plan that suits your situation. Attacking the problem yourself starts and ends by locating the nest and destroying the entire colony using killing agents specifically intended for the ant you are targeting. If you fail to locate the nest or use the wrong insecticide method, like using sprays against pharaoh ants, you can end up with a bigger problem than when you started.

If you are looking to save some money there are a few home remedies that have proven to be successful at getting rid of ants. When you experience your next ant attack try placing borac acid powder, cornmeal or diatomaceous earth near the place the ants are entering your home. When using borac acid, mix it with one cup of water and two cups of sugar. These methods might require some fine tuning, especially the borax method, and could take a few weeks to months to completely kill the ant colony.

Hiring a Professional Ant Control Service

Hiring an ant control service will bring trained professionals to your home and end any guess work you might have. Choosing this battle plan takes the ant war out of your hands and means you don’t need to identify the type of ants you have, figure out which baits work best or search for the nest. Pest control companies are trained to find ant colonies and use the proper equipment and insecticides/baits to end your ant problem.

Hiring a professional pest control company is not as cheap as buying a can of Raid, or using the other methods mentioned above, but do come with tons of experience and removal guarantees. These companies also offer follow-up services in case the ant colony reformed.

Erick D. Smith blogs about home improvement topics, including ways to deal with pest problems for a Massachusetts pest control service company. Unfortunately, pests are something everybody deals with and if you need help with ant control in Massachusetts contact Colonial Pest Control.

Carpenter Ant Photo Credit:

Image: Arvind Balaraman /

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