Ants are one of the most intelligent and hardworking bugs you will ever meet. It’s almost a shame to class them in with the common pest. What other bug do you know that people keep in a small ant farm just to watch them work?
Although it might seem obvious, food is not the only thing attracting ants to your home. Ants in your home may be searching for shelter or water sources and can be attracted to your plants. House clutter, pheromones from other ants, and pleasant scents can also attract ants to your home.
Outside of food – water, shelter, and mating all have the potential to bring ants into your home. You may be providing for ants without even knowing it! Read on to gain knowledge and control over your ant invasion.
Ants May Be Searching For Shelter
Ever notice ants appearing after a hard rain? They may make a beeline for your room from the outside. Pavement ants are the most common and they live in the cracks in the sidewalk outside the home. If it rains or floods, they do not want to drown.
So, they come marching. The same applies to other ants who create hills in your yard, including fire ants. However, it would have to be marked flooding.
If they make it, they will come inside. Other ants can live deep beneath the hill in the ground, low enough to avoid the water.
Flooding and rain are not the only attractors to the home. Just the opposite weather condition will send them packing.
It sounds frustrating, but it is true. If there are droughts, ants will find your place more appealing. You’ll be able to catch them marching into the kitchen and the bathroom to look for the water not present outside.
Cold and extreme heat will also send ants looking for cool or warmth. So, you cannot win for losing with ants. You just have to understand your climate, keep track of when you see them and be aware of what is going on outside.
How Do I Keep Ants Out?
We could suggest some things here, but this is the number one issue we mention because it is the most challenging to fix. Unfortunately, you may have to consider pest control company if you have a large ant infestation.
If you want to be proactive yourself in the meantime, you can repair any cracks and crevices you see outside the house. If you see them walking through, start there. it is hard though.
Seriously, call a pro if it’s very bad.
If it’s something you think you can manage, read our guide: The 12 Best Ant Traps for Tiny Ants and How to Use Them.
Pet Food Bowls Attract Ants
Pet food and water bowls are one of the most overlooked possibilities to attract ants and many other bugs and critters. With other pests, you may not see evidence of them having been there. With ants, though, you can typically catch them in the act.
They are not easily distracted from the duties put upon them by her majesty the Queen ant. They know no matter the consequence they can face from you, it may be off with their little heads if they are not pulling their weight.
If you go to the dog food or water bowl, you are likely to witness anything from a small yet lengthy string of ants going to and from the bowl. Food and water in the same spot is a gold mine to to ants.
How To Keep Ants Out Of Your Pet Food
The food and water are subject to attack at any time of the day or night. This makes the solution a little more challenging.
Many people do not feed their dogs at a certain time, but this is the best way. Leaving bowls out, dry or wet attracts ants.
However, if you are adamant about feeding all day, or your schedule means you have to, there is a solution.
The moat method works great. Take a baking tin of any shape and as long as it’s larger than the pet bowl. Fill it just an inch full of water, and place your pet bowl inside of it. The ants will crawl inside the tin and get stuck – and won’t be able to get out.
Water Sources Attract Ants
The water source is a big one because there are so many water sources in your home in several areas. The pet bowls we just mentioned are a culprit with water being left out. You may have to dump and refill the water quite a bit if you have many ants inside.
The best thing you can do is to have the bowls in a dedicated space. Vacuum and spot mop any drips and spills. A pet door to an enclosed, Isolated space may be necessary when you have a severe ant issue.
The next water source is the kitchen. You may see ants in or around the sink, maybe even in the drain. Make sure you clean your garbage disposal regularly.
How To Keep Ants Away From Your Water
Habitually clean your sink and any food debris in it. Keep a dry kitchen towel on hand and wipe the water droplets out of the sink. They want water, period and after they find it, within a matter of hours they have alerted the whole family!
Ant traps in places like the windowsill and sink top would do well, but make sure to read all of the saftey and placement instructions on the trap packaging.
The TERRO T300B Liquid Ant Killer traps can be set out of the way from innocent hands or paws, and keep your space clear of ants. They come ready to use and are designed to keep from drying out!
Remember, if your schedule just does not permit this type of maintenance, call a professional.
Cracks And Fissures Let Ants In
Cracks and fissures are those places ants will find even when you cannot see them. It is impossible to fill every crevice inside a home, but secure the ones you can see in the most common entry points.
How Can I Seal Up My Home From Ants?
Do an inspection of window sills in each room. Note several things.
- Can you see ants entering or find remnants of ants?
- What are the window sills made of?
If the window sills are older and made of wood, you can use wood filler and fill the entire window sill. Typically, they will have long cracks and small fissures along the surface horizontally across the bottom and vertically up and down the side where the glass meets the wood.
This is a time-consuming job but can be worth it if you live in a wooded or rural area and are subject to frequent ant visits.
If caulk and wood filler is not your style, TAROSE Weather Stripping may be the solution you need. This tape can be used to seal your windows and doors from the heat, cold, wind, and most importantly, insects.
You may also want to check the seals around the window. If they have dried out, replace them. If your windows are not wood, then caulk along cracks will also work.
Make Sure You Remove Any Ant Attractants Outside
There are other ways to combat ants entering windows and crevices. We say this because, without pest control, there is no foolproof way to deal with ant invasions.
Inspect the land around the house. Do you have things there they like? One big ant attracting issue is dead tree stumps and trees.
Do you have any of these on the property? If you do, call an arborist or dispose of it yourself if you’re experienced and able to under local ordinances. However, it’s always best to leave things to a trained arborist.
Do you have a body of water, fountains, or places where water pools a lot during the rainy season? If so, you may find ant hills and mounds upon inspection. Check with a professional to get rid of those too, especially if they are fire ant mounds.
Plants That Ants Like Can Attract Them
Your room and property could have plants they like. Below is a short list of common flowers ants like the most.
The key here is, they pollinate, yes most people are not aware ants are an important part of pollination. They come to small sweet blooms mostly but address large blooms too.
Here is the short list. So, these and any sweet, small flower could be suspect for ants and warrant an inspection.
- Peony: Only some Peony breeds will attract ants. However, when they do, you will find them among the closed buds and not when they are flowering.
- Clematis: These flowers attract ants when they have aphids in them.
Bonus Tip: Aphis On Your Plants Lead To Ants
Wherever you have aphids, which destroy plants and flowers, you will find ants. Most times with Clematis and other plants that attract aphids, once you get rid of the aphids, you will rid yourself of your ant issue.
- Roses: For some species of roses, like the climbing, tea, and wild roses, the same rules apply as the Clematis. Eradicate the aphids and the ants have no reason to be there. Ants will not destroy the roses, so you don’t need to worry.
- Beard Tongue: Sometimes referred to as a Pentstemon. These attract the radiant hummingbird and unfortunately, they also attract ants.
It is easier to just treat your entire garden or land for aphids to keep away the ants they attract.
Scents That Attract Ants
Ants have an incredible sense of smell. They have a much stronger sense of smell than most other bugs. They love sweet things, obviously, but sometimes you have to think out of the box.
- Candy: Do you have candy in your room? Even wrapped candy, if not in a hermetically sealed bag, is going to attract ants to your room. You may not consider it food.
- Your Energy Drink: You may not have food in the traditional sense in your room but you may have an energy drink packed with an outrageous amount of sugar. Check to see if you left any small rings on a desk from the can, which is more than enough to attract an army.
- Teas: Same rule applies to teas, and other drinks like soda as does the energy drink. Any spillage or even an open, empty can or glass or tea bag will do.
- Your favorite scented candle: Scented candles mimic many smells ants may be attracted to. If it smells like any type of food, whether it is sweet or savory, an ant could find that interesting. This is especially so with fruit scents.
- Your Perfume: You may have the same issue on your bureau as you would with an energy drink. Small spillages happen. Even if you are meticulous, it may only take you spraying perfume on yourself in your room with any regularity to attract them.
- Snacks: We all have a snack now and then in our room watching TV or doing a favorite activity. Make sure you throw any wrappers, bags, or cans that have had nuts, seeds, or any fruit snacks in them out of the trash in your room.
- Rotting Plants: As plants decay, they can leave a scent ants like. Make sure you are caring for your plants or spring for the silk variation.
If you’d like to read this more in-depth, check out our guide: 9 Types of Smells That Attract Ants (Avoid These Scents)
Ants Can Smell Other Ants
Other ants have a scent, a pheromone other ants will smell, and they will follow the trail of others. If you have had an issue recently, and have taken preventive measures, do not be discouraged if you see some new ants wander in for a short while.
What Can I Do About Ant Pheromones?
Time to investigate again. Take some time to find any remnants of ants in your room. Follow the trail and see if it leads to a nest in some area that attracts ants, like your bathroom.
If you have ants in your room and you have an ensuite bathroom, this may be a reason you are finding them.
Ants May Come From Your Neighbors House
Sometimes, you have to blame it on the neighbors. Not really, they may just be taking care of their own bug business. This means you may just get the exodus of ants and other bugs after a neighbor has fumigated their home.
The issue should not be permanent or ongoing, but if you have the right atmosphere for the ants, they may just think they hit the jackpot after being rudely evicted from your neighbor’s home.
Do not let it surprise you if you wake up in the morning with a grateful ant colony bearing gifts!
Your House May Be A Pass-Through For Ants
Apart from a tented neighbor, if there has been any construction nearby or a home being built, your house may be in the way. You may experience an ant invasion for no apparent reason.
There is a pattern here if you have noticed. Many outdoor factors lead to your home invasion of ants. Your room may be the pass-through or the last stop on the way elsewhere.
House Clutter Can Attract Ants
Face it, clutter is an attractor for many bug species. If you have papers and shoe boxes or cardboard lying around, it creates a cozy place for an ant colony to form, not to mention cockroaches and more.
Freshly washed linens in perfumed laundry detergent or dryer sheets may attract pests as well.
The best way to keep any bugs out is to have extra linens in plastic storage tubs. Hang up or fold and store your clothing in drawers and use a neutral, unscented detergent in the wash.
Summary: Why You Have Ants In Your House And What To Do
Here, let’s summarize the reasons you may have ants in your room without food being there and what you can do to prevent it.
You may have ants in your room due to:
- Scents they Love
- Food and Sugary Drink Spillages and Stains
- Perfume Spillage or Sprayed Regularly in Room
- Clothing and Laundry washed with Perfumed Detergent
- General Clutter
- Degrading House Plants
- Other Ants
- Outdoor Construction
- Neighbor’s Have Just Tented or Pest Controlled their Home
- Plants they Love
- Rotting Tree Stumps and Dead Trees
- Pet Food Bowls
Preventive measures to repel ants:
- Keep your room clean and free of clutter.
- Wash clothing and linens with unscented detergent.
- Take care of your houseplants or trade them in for silk or plastic.
- Put a moat around your pet bowls with one inch of water.
- Throw your trash out in your room regularly and don’t leave any empty cans of drink, K Cups, or tea bags in it overnight.
- Do a full inspection outside on the property for any rotting tree stumps and dead trees.
If you follow most of these steps, you should mitigate the issue if it is not an infestation. It is situational, but most times, it is nearly impossible to rid yourself of ants permanently without ongoing and professional pest control.
There’s not much more to say about ants. They are persistent, hard to track, and harder to beat. If you found these tips helpful in the meantime, then we are happy, but we strongly suggest professional pest control.
Zack is a Nature & Wildlife specialist based in Upstate, NY, and is the founder of his Tree Journey and Pest Pointers brands. He has a vast experience with nature while living and growing up on 50+ acres of fields, woodlands, and a freshwater bass pond. Zack has encountered many pest situations over the years and has spent his time maintaining and planting over 35 species of trees since his youth with his family on their property.
Download My Free E-Book!
Take a look at my guide on Pest Proofing Your Home In Under a Day! I get into the nitty-gritty on the most common types of pests you’ll see on your property including BOTH insects and wildlife, along with the specific signs to look for regarding any pest you have questions about.