Ants are one of NEPA’s most common household pests found in yards and homes alike.

The problem with ignoring an ant infestation is that ants tend to attract more ants until you gradually notice them swarming all across your kitchen and bathroom. For this reason, professional ant control is the only surefire way to deal with an ant problem.

However, if you want to get rid of ants on your own or don’t know whether to call a professional for help, follow the steps below.

Identifying Your Ant Colony

First, identify the type of ant you have and the severity of the infestation.

Common house ants, such as odorous and thief ants, can generally be dealt with using store-bought traps. However, carpenter ants should necessitate professional intervention to prevent damage to your home.

The most common types of ants in Pennsylvania include:

  • Odorous House Ants: These ants are small, dark brown to black in color, and emit a distinctive odor when crushed, often described as smelling like rotten coconut.
  • Pavement Ants: These ants are commonly found nesting under sidewalks, driveways, and patios. They are dark brown to black and are known for creating small dirt mounds around their nest entrances.
  • Carpenter Ants: Carpenter ants are larger, typically black or reddish-black. They excavate wood to create their nests, which can cause damage to wooden structures if left unchecked.
  • Allegheny Mound Ants: These ants build large mounds in open areas like lawns and fields. They are reddish-brown to black in color and can be aggressive if their nest is disturbed.
  • Thief Ants: These tiny ants are pale yellow to light brown in color and often invade homes in search of food. They get their name from their habit of stealing food from other ant colonies.

Another thing to consider before dealing with these pests is whether you plan to use pesticides or chemicals. While effective, these treatments can be dangerous to children and pets, and may kill other insects or creatures that are essential to the ecosystem.

For this reason, we highly recommend professional assistance when dealing with pesticides.

Signs of an Ant Infestation

While the presence of ants crawling across your floors and walls is difficult to ignore, many ants can linger around your property for months without your knowledge. Here are a few signs that you might have an ant infestation on your hands:

  • Visible ant trails: You might notice well-defined trails of ants moving back and forth between their nest and a food source. These trails can often be found along walls, countertops, or floors.
  • Trails of frass: This is the number one telltale sign of a carpenter ant infestation, as these creatures will burrow through wood to make their nests.
  • Rustling sounds in walls: While this may indicate another pest, it could also indicate an ant infestation.

7 Steps of Get Rid of Ants on Your Own

If you encounter an aggressive ant infestation in NEPA, here are seven tips for getting rid of them yourself.

1.  Keep the Inside of Your House Clean

Eliminating what attracts ants is an easy way to discourage them from entering your home. Ants are always looking for a comfortable place with easy access to food and water.

Here are some cleaning tips to get rid of ants already in your home and prevent future ones from arriving.

  • Regularly clean your cabinets and seal food away in airtight containers.
  • When you finish cooking or serving a meal, clean up any dishes and leftover food.
  • Seal all sugars and spices and open food boxes
  • Seal up pet food as well.
  • Try to keep mealtime to one room.
  • Keep garbage in a sealed container and empty it often.
  • Eliminate any possible water sources like dripping pipes, pet water bowls, or even wet towels.
  • Vacuum often and make your home ‘unappealing’ to avoid an ant infestation.

2. Seal Any Entry Points

Next, block out any additional ants that may have an established nest outside your home. Even sealing off any gaps and cracks will discourage other ants from making their way inside that may smell pheromone trails from other colonies.

Make sure to routinely check your windows, doors, and walls for any cracks. Ants don’t need too much space to wiggle through, so landscaper’s caulk and spray foam will be necessary to seal off tiny cracks.

If you do spot ants in your home, try to find and monitor where they are coming from. This will point you to their nests and allow you to eliminate them using one of the solutions below.

3. Keep Your Property Clean Outside

Before we arrive at individual products, it’s worth pointing out the importance of yard pest control for ant prevention.

You’ll most likely be able to spot an ant infestation by the large number of ant hills in your yard. Remove all ant hills immediately using boiling water or one of the solutions below.

Remove any possible food or water sources, like puddles, clogged gutters, or open trash bins. Additionally, remove any overgrown areas on your property; overgrowth is not only the perfect place for ant nests but many other unwanted and dangerous pests as well.

Trim bushes, cut the grass regularly, and be sure not to overwater any plants. This will discourage ant colonies and other pests from building their homes on your property.

4. White Vinegar

An all-natural cleaning product that’s effective against ants is a 1-to-1 white vinegar and water solution. Apply this mixture on hard surfaces, including hardwood floors, tile, and countertops to eliminate pheromone trails and keep ants away.

5. Diatomaceous Earth

If you do find that you have an infestation, a natural solution is a diatomaceous earth. It is a soft, sedimentary deposit formed from the fossil remains of diatoms.

This natural substance acts as a natural pesticide when placed around entry areas or near colonies. It dehydrates insects to the point of death. Also, it doesn’t have any known effects on animals and children.

6. Soapy Water

An easy and quick solution to ants can be found in your kitchen. It’s as simple as putting soap in water – because it is. Fill a water bottle with a dish soap concoction and spray those invaders.

Soapy water acts as a natural insecticide–in fact, you can take a bucket of soapy water and pour it on anthills in your yard. Be aware that if you want to spray them, you must lure them out for this method to be effective.

7. Baits and Sprays

If you’re going to go the chemical route, you can try ant baits or sprays to handle your ant problem. The key to this method is strategically placing bait, traps, or spraying where ants frequent.

It’s a better idea to use baits and traps near sinks, by the stove, or kitchen countertops. Sprays are best utilized on door frames, windows, and other entrance areas. Whether you use sprays or baits should depend on whether your ants have already established themselves in your home or are just finding their way in.

When to Call a Professional

Depending on the size and situation, it may be a good idea to seek professional help. If you’ve tried to get rid of ants on your own and they keep coming, the problem may run deeper than you think. Also, if you have pets or children, handling chemicals or having them around your home might be too risky.

Your local ant exterminator is equipped with tools and knowledge to get rid of ants in your home quickly and safely without putting your loved ones at risk.


Can ants cause structural damage to homes?

Ants themselves typically don’t cause structural damage to homes like termites do. However, some species, specifically carpenter ants, can excavate wood to build their nests. Over time, this activity can weaken wooden structures, leading to potential damage. It’s essential to address ant infestations promptly to prevent any structural issues.

How long does it take to get rid of an ant infestation?

The time it takes to eliminate an ant infestation varies depending on several factors, including the severity of the infestation, the ant species involved, and the chosen eradication method. In some cases, natural remedies or DIY solutions may provide temporary relief but could take longer to completely eradicate the infestation.

Professional pest control services typically offer quicker and more effective solutions, with complete elimination possible within a few days to a few weeks, depending on the circumstances. Regular monitoring and preventive measures are crucial to ensuring that the infestation does not return.

What are the dangers of using chemical pesticides indoors?

Using chemical pesticides indoors presents various dangers. Health risks include respiratory issues and skin irritation due to exposure to toxic ingredients, environmental impact through the release of harmful substances into the air, water, and soil, and heightened vulnerability of pets and children to poisoning or adverse health reactions.

Persistent residue build-up on treated surfaces leads to ingestion of toxic substances, development of ant resistance to pesticides, indoor air pollution from volatile organic compounds released during application, and increased risk of accidental exposure through mishandling or improper storage, emphasizing the need for caution and consideration of alternative methods for ant control.