How to Get Rid of Ants Outdoors | Powerful Techniques

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These creatures can be seen anywhere. They are a nuisance, and once they discover a place with food or shelter their numbers can grow rapidly.

So, how to get rid of ants outdoors? First, you should inspect your outdoor areas for the presence of ant hills and colonies. Then, destroy the ant nests and trails using natural and artificial ant repellents, sprays, baits, and insecticides. Finally, regularly clean and organize your outdoor space.

In this article, we’ll cover how to identify ant types, products to use in deterring their presence, and a few excellent techniques for stopping and preventing their infestation.

Why Are There So Many Ants Outside Your House?

Why Are There So Many Ants Outside Your House

These tiny creatures are always on the lookout for food. They are attracted by open meal containers, food remnants that have piled up, unclosed trash cans, and insect provisions. Once they discover a source of food they will keep coming back.

Why Is Your Yard Infested With Ants?

Why Is Your Yard Infested With Ants

Your yard may be infested with ants because they discovered a food source in the vicinity. They love to eat sweet, fatty, high-protein, and greasy food items. When these things are readily available they will surely invade the place to collect food so they can bring it to their nests.

There are ants that consume bugs, aphids, meat, and dead animals. So when these are prevalent in your yards, ants are soon to follow. Moreover, if your outdoor space has numerous damp areas and water sources where they can comfortably stay these are ideal living conditions for ants.

Can Ants Ruin Your Lawn?

The constant mounding and creation of ant hills in your green turfs can cause damage to their roots, thereby preventing their healthy growth and emergence. Also, the prominence of ant colonies in your lawn can ruin its aesthetic look as the green field will be replaced with soil, mud, and dirt that have piled up.

Related: Ants in Lawn: How to Get Rid of Ants in Lawn

How to Find an Ant Nest?

It’s crucial to locate the nest, even if it can not always be simple. Trailing ants can frequently direct you to the nest if you follow them. Look at a few potential hiding places for ants.

  • In soil, many ants construct their nests. These nests will resemble dirt mounds with a little hole on the top. In addition to your yard, you can find them in the spaces between the paving stones.
  • Some ant species create nests beneath objects, such as yard waste. Look behind decaying timber, bricks, pebbles, and logs.

How to Get Rid of an Ant Infestation Outdoors?

The effective solutions are the utilization of natural ant repellents like peppermint oil, tea tree oil, citrus fruits, and cayenne. Commercial insecticides can also be used if the infestation is too severe or it is a recurring one. Baits and traps can also be effective in getting rid of these insects.

You can do the following methods to get rid of an ant infestation outdoors:

1. Inspect your outdoor areas for the presence of ant hills and colonies. 

When you search for these ant territories, look for piles of soil or dirt around the foundation structures of your house or within the vicinity of tree logs, rocks, and shrubs. You will probably see a huge throng of ants swarming around it.

2. Destroy the ant nests and trails using natural and artificial ant repellents, sprays, baits, and insecticides.

Utilize natural ant repellents such as tea tree oil, peppermint oil, cayenne pepper, oil of lemon eucalyptus, and cinnamon leaf oil. You can also use commercial insecticides containing substances such as permethrin and bifenthrin.

You can use ant baits by mixing sugar with boric acid and water and placing it in a bait container. Other homemade remedies that are effective include the application of boiling water directly on the anthill or mopping your outdoor floors with detergent, cleaning solution, or vinegar.

3. Regularly clean and organize your outdoor space.

Frequently cleaned and organized outdoor space is less likely to have ant infestation as the ant attractants will not be available. This can be done through the following:

  • Disposing and storing the garbage properly.
  • Mow the lawn regularly.
  • Trim the shrubs and trees that are near your house.
  • Keep firewood away from your home structures.
  • Remove unnecessary debris and clutter from your yard.
  • Clean pet bowls after use.
  • Transfer your compost pits away from your outdoor area.

How Can You Get Rid of Ants Outside Without Harming Pets?

You surely want to get rid of ants without harming your pets. The best thing to do is to use repellent sprays and insecticides made from natural and organic ingredients. Spices and herbs like cayenne pepper, cinnamon, peppermint oil, tea tree oil, and black pepper can be effective in repelling ants because they abhor and despise the scents of these plants.

Other harmless and natural methods of killing these insects include the application of boiling water, flour, and vinegar or detergent sprays in ant nests and trails.

How to Keep Ants Out of Outdoor Cat Food Bowl?

You may employ the following strategies in keeping ants out of your outdoor cat food bowl:

  • Put only the amount of food that your cat can eat.
  • Keep your cat food in closed containers and airtight canisters.
  • Clean the cat food bowl properly after use.
  • Surround the cat bowl with ant repellents such as cinnamon, black pepper, coffee grounds, or cayenne pepper.
  • Get a plate larger than the cat food bowl and fill it with water. Place the food bowl in the center to create a moat. This will prevent the ants from crossing to the food found in the bowl.
  • Apply petroleum jelly on the outer side of the cat food bowl to make its surface slippery. This will make climbing through the bowl difficult for the ants.

Related: How to Keep Ants Out of Pet Food – Complete Guide

How to Get Rid of Ants on an Outdoor Patio?

To get rid of these insect territories, you can apply vinegar or boiling water to the center of the nest once you have raked it.

You can also spray the surfaces of your patio with vinegar and natural repellents to create a barrier between the said area and your lawn.

How to Get Rid of Ants in Outdoor Flower Pots?

The use of natural methods in exterminating ants is the best thing to do if you don’t want to harm your plants and flowers. You can sprinkle natural ingredients like cinnamon, black pepper, and diatomaceous earth granules on the top of the soil.

Perform sharp-hose watering on the plants to remove the ants that have been lingering on the leaves and stems. Additionally, you can also plant flowers and nectar-rich foliage that can induce frequent visits from natural ant predators such as antlions, butterflies, and hoverflies.

Related: How to Get Rid of Ants in a Chicken Coop | Proven and Safe Methods

What Is the Best Ant Killer for Outdoors?

The following are the best ant killers for the outdoors:

Ortho Home Defense Insect Killer

Ortho Home Defense Insect Killer for Indoor & Perimeter2 with Comfort Wand, Controls Ants, Roaches, and Spiders, 1.1 gal., 1 Pack
  • Ortho Home Defense Insect Killer for Indoor & Perimeter2 is a bug...
  • Provides a long-lasting bug barrier of up to 12 month protection...
  • Apply this pesticide anytime as a preventative treatment or after...
  • Use this pest control spray with confidence indoors (kitchens,...
  • The easy-to-use continuous spray Comfort Wand helps you control...

This ant-killing agent contains bifenthrin and zeta-cypermethrin that can deter ants in a speedy manner. Despite its instant results, this spray is very safe to use as it is non-staining, odorless, and does not leave any toxic residue.

It also provides comfort and convenience as its spraying wand lessens the frequent pumping of the spray structure, thereby preventing any form of hand fatigue.

Terro T901SR, Ant Killer Plus

TERRO T901SR Ant Killer Plus Multi-Purpose Insect Control for Outdoors - Kills Fire Ants, Fleas, Cockroaches, and Other Crawling Insects - 2 Pack, Granule
  • 2 shaker bags included
  • Kills ants, fire ants, cockroaches, fleas and other insects
  • Fast-acting granules kill insects in 24 hours
  • Keep insects out – use as band treatment around house...
  • Convenient, resealable shaker bag – no spreader required

If you want to employ a band treatment that can kill ants and keep them away, then this product from Terro is an excellent choice. Its powder can provide ant relief within twenty-four hours while providing convenience in an application through its resealable shaker bag.

Fire Ant Shield Mound Destroyer Granules

Spectracide Fire Ant Shield Mound Destroyer Granules, 3.5-Pound
  • MOUND DESTROYER: Use outdoors directly on fire ant mounds –...
  • KILLS THE QUEEN AND COLONY: Kills the fire ant queen and colony...
  • DEEP-REACHING FORMULA: Made with exclusive Accelerator II...
  • FOR BEST RESULTS: Apply in morning or evening hours when fire...

This is the perfect product when you want to eliminate ant hills and nests. It works by destroying the mounds in about a minute while starting to kill the queen ant and her colony as soon as possible.

Moreover, it utilizes a deep-reaching formula that increases the release of active ingredients into the ant territory. It is most effective in the morning and evening when fire ants are most active.

How to Kill an Outdoor Ant Colony?

If you want to eliminate outdoor ant colonies, you may utilize harmless and non-invasive methods such as raking the ant nests open and applying boiling water and vinegar to its center.

Another effective technique is the use of DIY ant baits that can facilitate the slow death of these tiny insects. It is done by mixing three parts of sugar with one part of boric acid and putting it on wax paper or a small container.

Ants will be enticed to go to the food bait to bring bits of the mixture to their colonies. Since boric acid is toxic to ants, these tiny creatures will surely die once they ingest it.

Does Vinegar Kill Ants Outdoors?

Vinegar is not only an excellent insect repellent, but it can also kill ants. This is one of the sought-after remedies for exterminating ants due to its effectiveness and easy availability.

It is used by creating a solution containing 50% vinegar and 50% water and spraying it in areas where ant infestation is evident, such as on kitchen surfaces, countertops, and garbage bins. Moreover, it can be applied on ant trails and mounds to discourage the said insects from marching toward your house or from expanding their colonies. 

Related: Does Vinegar Kill Ants? | Effective Ant Control Guide

How to Use Diatomaceous Earth for Ants Outdoors?

How to Use Diatomaceous Earth for Ants Outdoors

“Diatomaceous earth” kills ants when it sticks through their exoskeletons. Once the sharp and pointed particles of this substance enter through the ant’s soft bodies, their cuticles will be cut and their fats and moisture will be absorbed. This will lead to their dehydration, and subsequently, death.

This product can be used in a variety of applications. It can be sprinkled directly on the ant trails and ant nests using salt shakers and flour sifters, or you can mix it with water and other food ingredients to create an insect spray or ant bait. Once you have applied it, wait for at least 24-48 hours and monitor for any alternate route. You can also re-apply diatomaceous earth granules to other areas when necessary.

Related: Diatomaceous Earth Uses as a Natural Pesticide | Tips and Guide

Will Ants Go Away on Their Own?

Will Ants Go Away on Their Own

Ants will leave on their own in the absence of adequate food sources, water resources, and shelter in your area. This implies that if you cut off their access to food and water, or if you damage their territories and habitat, they will undoubtedly leave your area in search of better places.

Keeping Ants Away From Your Home And Yard

Sugar is a favorite food of ants, so keep garbage cans, compost piles, and similar items away from your grass. Move it away from the object or cover it with Diatomaceous Earth (DE) if you see ant trails heading toward it.

To keep ants and other pests away from your plants, mix a few drops of cinnamon oil. Cinnamon is so offensive to ants that it can actually cause their death.

Salt works as a desiccant to dry out the bodies of ants, rendering it deadly. Use it sparingly in trouble spots because it can affect plant life as well.

Related: How to Get Rid of Ants | Safe and Effective Methods

List of Sources

Ant management in gardens and landscapes. University of California Agriculture & Natural Resources.
Potter, M. F. (2018). Ant Control for Householders. University of Kentucky.
Ants. National Pesticide Information Center.

Thomas Matthews
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