How to get rid of tiny ants? (Do They Bite or Hurt In Any Way?)

Never underestimate the power of a small group committed to achieving something. Ants may be tiny, but the magnitude of problems they can cause can become intolerable. Ants are social pests. They live in colonies that can constitute as many as a few million individual ants.

For such a seemingly simple invader, ants are well coordinated. When scout ants leave their nest in search of food, they leave behind a trail of strong pheromone scent. After it finds a food source, it turns around and follows the pheromone back to the nest to inform other colony members. As it travels, it adds another layer of pheromone, leaving behind an even stronger scent.

All worker ants and any other ants that come across the pheromone abandon their random search for food and follow the trail to the food source. Seeing a trail of ants marching directly toward your picnic may not bother you. But if they're matching towards your home, you'll want to solve that problem fast and effectively! Here is a comprehensive guide on how to get rid of tiny ants for good.

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Why Are Ants Considered Pests?

Ants are generally considered harmless and more of a nuisance because they don't carry or spread diseases in the same way as other pests. However, a particularly large colony of ants can be very unhygienic in your home. In addition, some aggressive ants can sting, and some species (carpenter ants) can cause structural damage.

That is why ants should not be left to run amok. Besides, seeing an army of ants tampering with your pantry or opening your honey jar only to find the nasty pests having a sweet treat can be extremely repulsive.

Below we discuss deeper why ants are considered pests:

Ants Can Cause Health and Hygiene Problems

The National Wildlife Federation notes that there are more than 11,000 ant species in the world. While the vast majority of ants are harmless to people, some species can carry bacteria, harmful microbes, and viruses.

Ants are not picky, and they can eat just about anything, including sweets, oily foods, and dead insects. They often collect pathogens while foraging for food in filthy sources and can potentially transmit diseases and infections by contaminating food.

For instance, a small animal study carried out in 2019 found that little black ants, also known as Monomorium minimum, can carry pathogenic bacteria, which may be harmful to people. An earlier study shows that there is a potential link between pharaoh ants and ailments like respiratory allergies and bronchial asthma.

Because ants are social pests, they invade in large numbers. This means that they can quickly contaminate the uncovered food in your kitchen, better than any other pests. This is also why it's vital to learn how to eliminate tiny ants effectively.

Structural Damages

On top of posing health risks, tiny ants can also destroy your property. Although they commonly live outdoors, these little creatures are highly adaptable. Outdoors, they prefer to build their nests in the dark, protected areas such as under rocks, beneath rotting logs or decaying trees, and even in cement cracks.

When they invade your house, tiny ants like to build their nests in the warm areas close to food and water sources. Hence, they'll make holes in wall voids, baseboards, under carpeting, and even in your wooden structures like furniture. Signs of tiny ants may be difficult to notice in the early stages of the infestation. However, strict measures must be taken to eliminate the ants before they devour and destroy your property.


What Do Tiny Ants Eat?

Tiny ants have a big appetite. They also have a sweet tooth and enjoy munching on sweets, greasy foods, meat, seeds, and other insects (dead or alive). And as mentioned before, their menu accommodates just about anything they can find in your pantry, cabinet, counter, and waste bin. Should they come across some leftovers in your trash can or on the counter, that quickly becomes their next meal.

Their favorite meal is the honeydew produced by aphids. In fact, tiny ants protect aphids so that they can take a share of the honeydew they secrete. And even though they are tiny, these ants will pick a fight with the larger ant species if their food source is threatened, especially when they're protecting aphids.

Why Have Tiny Ants Invaded My House?

Tiny ants invade homes in search of food, moisture, and warmth. They are part of nature's cleaning crew and have a knack for finding and eliminating the improperly stored food in your house. In fact, to a larger extent, tiny ant infestations occur due to improper food storage.

You may also notice an increase in the number of ants coming indoors during summer. That's because ants are more active in the warmer months. Heavy rains can also flood ant nests, forcing them to come indoors in search of shelter. The general rule of thumb is that if you notice a few ants in your house, there is a larger infestation threat waiting outdoors or, possibly, in the house already.


How to Get Rid of Tiny Ants

When ants start becoming a nuisance, there are many effective ways to get rid of them for good from your property:

How to Kill Tiny Ants

  • Locate The Ants Entry Point

Tiny ants are, well, tiny. This means that they can enter your home via many different areas. Do a thorough inspection to determine the possible ant entry points. Ants creep into your house via gaps in walls, floor cracks, or unsealed plumbing holes. You should also pay keen attention to door entryways, window cracks, and the gaps/cracks in your exterior wall.

If you see a trail of ants marching into your home, follow them keenly to see where they are entering your house from. Once you have identified a specific entry point, you'll need to reduce the chances of ants gaining access into your home via the same avenues by focusing your repellant and deterrent efforts on those areas.

  • Set Up Commercial Ant Baits

Commercial ant baits are designed to eliminate ants by allowing them to eat the poisoned bait and carry it back to their nests. This way, you eliminate the scout ants plus the entire colony. For fast and highly effective results, consider using a bait that targets the specific food preference of the invading ants. For instance, you can use sugar-based bait for ants with a sweet tooth or grease-based/protein-based bait depending on the type of ants you're trying to eliminate.

If you're unsure of the type of ants infesting, you can purchase one of each bait. Set up the bait, and if the ants are not eating it, you can try replacing it. Alternatively, you can relocate the bait to a more active area, like near the nest or the pheromone trail. You'll also want to remove any messes like dirty dishes and food crumbs to ensure the ants won't find an alternative food source. Again, don't spray insecticides with a repellent mode of action near the bait, as it'll deter the ants from eating it.

  • Use Borax or Boric Acid to Poison the Ants

Borax and boric acid are different chemical compounds with equally high efficacy in killing nuisance ants. Though poisonous to ants, these chemicals are non-toxic to humans, making them ideal for use at home. However, it's crucial that you keep them away from pets and children's reach.

To kill ants at their source using Borax, mix one part of any sweet sticky substance such as corn syrup with one-part Borax. Spread the treatment on an index card and place it in places with high ant activity. The ants will feed on the poison and take part of it to their brothers and sisters in the nest, potentially eliminating the entire colony. This ant bait is best set at night when ants are actively foraging for food.

  • Pour Salty Boiling Water into The Anthill

If you're lucky enough to follow an ant trail back to its nest or anthill, you can pour boiling water with salt into the anthill via its opening. Consider using a container to pour with ease. This method effectively eliminates a large infestation of ants.


How to Repel Tiny Ants

Luckily, there are particular tactics you can use to repel tiny ants and drive them out of your house:

  • Seal Possible Entry Points

After a thorough inspection of your property, you may have identified possible ant entry points such as gaps in walls and cracks on the floor. The next step is to seal all possible ant entryways. This step is extremely helpful in controlling ants as it prevents chances of reinfestations. You can use silicone caulk to seal cracks and crevices. Even better, you can add a small layer of a deterrent, such as cinnamon or boric acid, into the crack and then continue to fill it up with the caulk.

  • Create A Barrier Around the Foundation of Your Home

The best way to repel ants and keep them from entering is by creating a barrier around your home's foundation. You can do this by scattering coffee grounds or putting chili pepper along your home's foundation. You can also grow chili and mint plants around the perimeter of your garden.  

Finally, scatter coffee grounds or apply diatomaceous earth around places where you may have noticed high ant activity. Diatomaceous earth is a natural desiccant that works by absorbing moisture in ant nests. When diatomaceous earth comes into contact with the insect exoskeleton, it dehydrates the insect to death.

  • Get Rid of Ant Trails

When you spot a pheromone trail, it's important to get rid of it to ensure ants are not following it into your house. Create a solution by adding a few drops of liquid washing detergent to the water. Use a sponge to clean the area meticulously while eliminating the pheromone trail. You can also spray vinegar over the pheromone trail and other ant activity areas and wipe them down. This way, ants can no longer trace the food source in your house.

  • Use Ant Repellent Herbs and Spices

Ants, like other insects, hate the smell of specific herbs and spices. Peppermint, cinnamon, cloves, and cayenne pepper are highly effective at repelling these pesky pests. You can strategically place the spices/herbs around your house to repel nuisance ants. Consider placing them in places you have seen ants, such as on the countertop. You can also plant some of these herbs in your garden to help combat ants.

How to Keep Tiny Ants Away from Your Home

Ants are in constant search of a potent food and water source. Therefore, ensure your sink is always kept clean and dry. Do not let uncleaned dishes sit in the sink for too long. After washing utensils, use clean paper towels to dry the sink completely. You can also pour a small amount of vinegar into the sink to help drain away any remaining food residues.

Vacuum the kitchen and places where food was consumed. Even the tiniest food crumbs can attract ants. So you must be proactive when trying to keep ants away. Sweep or vacuum the kitchen floor and places where food is consumed, for instance, the living room, basement, or dining room.

Wipe surfaces and floors with bleach or vinegar. Bleach works in a similar way as vinegar to keep ants away by eliminating their pheromone trails. Use it to wipe down surfaces, including countertops and cabinets, to discourage ants. To mop the floors, you can use a small amount of bleach in warm water to combat stubborn invaders.

Related resources:

Are Ants Attracted To Salt

Are Ants Attracted To Blood

Does Honey Attract Ants

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