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Ants are a natural part of a healthy lawn ecosystem. You should be concerned with keeping them out of your house but not out of your lawn.

Ants are your lawn’s friend!

Ants prey on the larvae of flies and fleas and naturally aerate soil. They should only be considered a problem if they are getting into your house or if they are European Fire Ants, which sting.

Control Methods

  • Pour hot, soapy water into the nest. This will kill some of the ants and force others to relocate.
  • Sprinkle cornmeal around your home. Eating cornmeal will make ants thirsty, and they will drink water until they burst.
  • Use diatomaceous earth or boric acid dust to dehydrate and kill them. Caution should be used with these substances, especially if anyone in your family has lung problems. Be sure to follow all safety instructions that come with the product.
  • If you discover an indoor nest, spread corn meal, then use a vacuum with a HEPA filter to capture as many ants as possible. Seal and dispose of the bag immediately.

Keeping Ants Outside

To keep ants from moving into your house, there are a variety of things you can try:

  • Use silicone caulking to seal cracks and crevices that could provide access. Check around baseboards, moldings, pipes, outlets, ducts, sinks, toilets, etc.
  • Keep the kitchen as clean as possible. Any food that is not sealed in an airtight container or in the fridge could attract ants.
  • Clean up all spills right away, bring compost outside daily, and store garbage in airtight containers.
  • Ants could be attracted to pet food as well, so don’t leave pet dishes out and full of food constantly.
  • Replace rotten wood and keep moist areas well-ventilated to deter carpenter ants from establishing colonies.


Controlling ants with pesticides is not recommended for a couple of reasons, in addition to the health issues associated with pesticides in general.

  • About 95% of ants never leave the nest, so if you use pesticides to kill the ones that are foraging for food, you’ll only be killing 5% of the total population.
  • Using pesticides on indoor nests has been shown to cause the colony to split and establish two completely separate nests, doubling your problem.

Credit: Cumberland County Soil & Water Conservation District.
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