Warmer weather and open windows can lead to some unwelcome guests coming into your house.

Wasps, mosquitoes, fruit flies, bluebottles – there are many little pests that like to invade homes in the summer months, and it can be hard to stop them when it’s too warm to keep windows and doors closed.

Ants, in particular, can be a big problem because they can enter through cracks in the walls rather than just an open door or window.

They often come into houses in search of food and, in particularly dry spells, water.

That’s why you’re most likely to find ants in your kitchen and bathrooms, and it can feel like you’re fighting a losing battle when you try and get rid of hundreds of the tiny insects.

Deterring ants can actually be quite simple, and household products can be surprisingly effective – here’s how to get rid of ants in your house.

Why are there so many ants in my house?

Ants live in colonies, often containing hundreds or even thousands of them, and they are masters of co-operation.

You’ll often see ants marching in a line towards a source of food or water. This is because when worker ants find a piece of food they place a tiny droplet of pheromone on the ground and then trail the pheromones back to the nest.

The rest of the colony can then follow the trail to the food source – and you’ve got yourself an infestation.

Ants lead each other to food using pheromones

How to stop ants coming into the house

There are a few preventative measures you can take to stop ants entering your house, and they mainly involve cutting off access to food.

  • Clean up food spills before ants can find them
  • Store ripe fruit in the fridge, and all other food in airtight containers
  • Keep pet bowls, and the area around them, clean and free of spills
  • Regularly clean out bins, especially food bins
  • Filling in any cracks in walls and gaps in windows and doors

Sticky and sweet foods are a particular attraction for ants, so make sure you put away fruit and clean up spills of things like honey promptly.

How to get rid of ants in the house

If you already have ants in your house, don’t stress about calling in an exterminator just yet. It can be quite easy to get rid of ants in natural ways that don’t damage the wider ecosystem.

Ants are an important part of urban ecosystems and can be beneficial predators. They also help to spread the seeds of native plants and keep things clean and tidy – going after crumbs and discarded food isn’t always a bad thing.

With that in mind, it’s better to deter ants rather than use insecticide to kill them. Many insecticides will hurt other insects, and it isn’t always necessary to kill ants to get them to go away.

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The best and easiest thing to do to get rid of ants is to keep the area clean. Using a normal household cleaner in the areas where you’ve seen ants crawling will disrupt the pheromone trail, meaning they won’t know where to go to get to the food and water and should leave you alone.

Vinegar or bleach can also be used to disrupt the chemical trail and deter the ants from the area, as can simple soapy water.

Everyday products like Vaseline or vinegar can also be used as barriers around access points, such as small gaps in window panes or door frames.

Keeping the general area clean and free of exposed food will also help drive the ants away – if there’s no food to search for, they won’t need to be in your house.

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