Like other pests, ants are likely to appear in any home – even apartment complexes. Although they are small, they are frustrating to deal with, and if left untreated, they can create an ant infestation. It’s essential to search for signs you have an ant problem and have the proper supplies to keep them out for good. So if you notice ants in your apartment in Brooklyn, NY, loft in Los Angeles, or anywhere in between, we’ve got you covered.
We’ve outlined the types of ants found in apartment complexes, home remedies to keep them out, and even pest control insights that will get rid of ants for good.
How do ants get inside?
There are many ways ants can get into your apartment. Think about it; ants are small enough to fit through the smallest of cracks in your building and, once inside, can weasel their way into any room. Ants can also be brought in without apartment dwellers even knowing. Did you bring home a lovely bouquet or potted plants? Or did you leave the window open without a screen? Ants can find their way into your space more easily than you might think. So it’s a good idea to start checking for them regularly.
What are the signs that you have ants?
The common signs of ants include; finding an ant trail in common areas of your apartment like the kitchen counters, window sills, or floors. You will also notice them if you’ve left out food and ants begin to crawl to it. If you live in a garden apartment, you might find small mounds of soil outside your apartment indicating an ant nest. In worse cases, if you find sawdust trails, your home may have carpenter ants that you’ll need to get rid of fast.
5 household ant types to watch out for
Ants are highly organized pests – if there is one ant, there are more to follow. Knowing which type of ants you have in your apartment can help you identify the severity of your problem and create a solution to keep them out.
Carpenter ants are a reddish brown to a black color and are among the biggest ants in the U.S. Most carpenter ants don’t end up living in homes, but the ones that do should be taken seriously. They thrive and nest in decaying wood and will continue to weaken your home and cause structural damage if left untreated. Unlike termites, carpenter ants do not consume the wood but carve more paths to make more room for their colony.
Odorous house ants
Also known as sugar ants, these ant types are prevalent in households. Sugar ants are tiny – about 1/8 inches long and are brown and black. They’re known to emit a strong smell if crushed. They nest in heaters, pipes, and gaps in the walls and can be found in the kitchen looking for sweet crumbs or droplets. These types of ants pose no threat to your property or health but are considered a nuisance when they invade your space.
The Argentine ant enters homes through cracks and other small spaces in search of food sources and water. This ant is highly adaptable and can spread quickly, becoming a nuisance, so it’s important to find an effective way to keep them out. Although these ants do not cause any structural damage, they can contaminate your food.
Little black ants
Little black ants generally live outside, but when they get inside, they’ll build their nests in protected dark areas like baseboards and carpets. Like all ants, once these little black ants find food, they leave behind a pheromone scent trail which can lead to larger populations. While they both bite and sting, these tiny ants – like the name suggests, don’t affect humans, however, they are considered a nuisance.
These ants are attracted to moisture and are typically found in pavement cracks. Once in an apartment, they usually are found in ground-level units but nest in the walls, insulation, and flooring. Although these ants don’t pose any threat structurally, they will contaminate any food left out.
6 DIY methods to get rid of ants in your apartment
From deep cleaning to spreading essential oils, there are many home remedies to get rid of ants without calling your landlord. Here are six DIY methods to try:
1. Deep clean your apartment
One of the biggest contributing factors to attracting ants is leaving food, crumbs, and spills. You’ll need to maintain a spotless apartment to help get rid of ants. Start by cleaning the countertops, removing trash, and mopping the floors. Remember that ants leave a scent trail, so eliminating these trails will help prevent ants.
2. Make sure your apartment is secure
Securing your apartment is also a significant step in getting rid of ants. Ants are small enough to fit through the cracks, so ensure your windows seal correctly and store your food in secure containers. If you suspect ants are coming through your windows, try reinforcing your windows with sealing tape.
BugBros Pest Control servicing Tulsa, OK, shares, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so keep all food in airtight containers and clean up pet areas and food items quickly (this especially includes taking out the trash). Poor drainage issues around the exterior cause most ant problems, so locating an entry point and using an ant bait can eliminate the issue. Regular preventative pest control service, including exterior sprays, is critical, so be sure to request a reputable provider from your management if you are not currently receiving it.”
3. Add lemon juice to affected areas
Lemons are highly versatile and can be used to get rid of stains and ants. Lemon juice is a natural deterrent for ants and can eliminate their trails. Start with a few lemons, squeeze the lemon juice into a spray bottle, and spray in any areas where you believe the ants could have gotten in. This could be the window lining, doors, around the baseboards, and any holes or gaps in the walls. Not only is Lemon juice an excellent option to remove ants, but it’s also a great solution for other common household pests.
4. Add a few drops of essential oils
Essential oils are another great alternative to harsh chemicals that aid in ant removal. Add a few drops into a spray bottle with water and spray it where you believe the ants are entry points. Cinnamon oil, peppermint oil, and tea tree oil are excellent natural home remedies.
5. Baby powder and chalk paint
If you need a very temporary solution, try baby powder or chalk paint. These solutions are a strange alternative; although it doesn’t eliminate the ant problem, it offers a quick fix. Lightly spread the powder in the entry points or draw lines in chalk since ants don’t like to cross them.
6. Vinegar spray
Vinegar spray is another home remedy to help combat pests. Like lemon juice, vinegar is also versatile and can be used for more than just cooking. Add a vinegar/water mixture into a spray bottle and spray all of your apartment’s hard surfaces and wherever you see any trails.
When to notify your landlord
If home remedies aren’t helping your situation, you may need to notify your landlord. Once management hears of your problem, they will contact the necessary personnel like a local pest control to help get the ants out.
Ants in your apartment: the bottom line
Although relatively harmless, ants can quickly adapt to their environment and multiply. Too many ants can cause problems like food contamination and even structural damage. It’s best to look for signs of ants lingering in your apartment and prepare to get them out. If your efforts aren’t working to keep them away, contact your management so they can handle the situation with professional help.