Those little black ants crawling all over your lawn or kitchen floors are unlikely to be welcome guests. The very sight of them can be unsettling or, at the very least, make you question whether your home and garden are really as clean as you thought. But there’s some good news: there are several simple and effective ways to get rid of tiny black ants.
Getting rid of thousands of unwanted ants may seem overwhelming but don’t worry. Follow my tried-and-true advice and you’ll be ant-free in no time!
There are two main types of ant infestation that require pest control management. An infestation of your lawn and infestation in your home. In this article, my focus will be on treating infestations within the home.
- 4 Simple Steps To Remove Little Black Ants
- How To Prevent New Ant Infestations
- Ant Identification
- Locating Little Black Ants Within The Home
- Hiring Professional Ant Exterminators
- Final Thoughts On Managing Small Black Ants
- Frequently Asked Questions
4 Simple Steps To Remove Little Black Ants
Locating the ant colony is an essential part of getting rid of ants completely. The ants you see running around your kitchen floor are worker ants searching for food.
Eliminating these will help but it won’t completely eradicate your problem. The colony will simply send out more ants to replace the soldiers missing in action.
You need to find the entry point into your home and block it, or locate the nest within your home and destroy it.
1. Find The Ant Trail
Finding the ant trail will lead you to their entry point, their nest, or a food source.
The ant trail is a pheromone pathway that the ants follow. It’s not the line of actual ants, as you may think. It’s a smell they are hardwired to follow. This means the ant trail is actually invisible to the human eye. More often than not, you will only find the trail if the ants are using it, giving away its presence.
Once you notice the ants marching in a line, follow it. This will lead you to the ant entry point, the nest, or lead you to the reason they invaded your home…food.
If you cannot find the ant trail then place a dab of honey or jam on a piece of card and lay it on the floor where you have seen ant activity. Wait a couple of hours for the worker ants to give away their trail. Follow the trail and find the ants’ entry point or nest.
Establish if the ants are coming into your house from outdoors or from an infestation inside your home.
2. Remove The Food Source
If the ants give away the food source, it is essential to clean thoroughly. Remove any trace of food residue with a detergent. Seal any loosely packed foods in airtight jars.
3. Block The Entry Point
Next, you need to block the entry point into your home. You may remember me asking you to explore both ends of the trail. The food source and entry point.
Use caulk, expanding foam, or silicone to block the entry point any prevent any future invasions.
4. Treat The Nest Or Colony
If you find the infestation is inside your home or an outbuilding, you will want to treat the nest to permanently fix your problem. There are several ways to do this but for an internal ant problem, traps, baits, and insecticide powders work best. So let’s look at these options in more detail.
Using insecticide powder is an effective way to treat ant colonies. Just sprinkle the dust across the known ant pathways and into the opening of the nest.
The dust particles from the powder are picked up by the ants on contact. The powder will be effective within 30-60 minutes, killing the ants.
The presence of ant powder in the nest will also prevent re-infestations for about 12 weeks. If needed, re-apply the powder until the colony is completely eliminated.
Ant traps contain lethal chemicals mixed with food materials to attract worker ants. Workers carry small portions of the ant trap (which has the killing chemical) to the nest to feed other workers ants, larvae, and queens. Using this method, you can successfully kill the entire colony.
Baiting is one of the most effective ways to treat the ant colony both indoors and outdoors. Place them on the ant trails you have located. Put them near the entry point or in other areas of ant activity.
Each manufacturer may use different kinds of bait inside their traps, some use sweet-flavored bait or maybe a protein-based ingredient. All of which are effective.
Be patient! It can take several days or even weeks to eliminate the entire ant nest. Just keep reapplying until the bait traps until all signs of ant life are gone.
When using ant bait, be sure you remove all other food sources such as dirty dishes, crumbs on the floor, or pet food. This is to ensure that the bait is the only food available to the ants.
How To Prevent New Ant Infestations
The best way to avoid infestations is by not attracting them into your house in the first place. Most species of ants are simply in search of food. You can’t blame them for wanting to munch on the candy you left on the table, or the sugary crumbs lying on your floor.
Here are a few actionable steps that will help you prevent new infestations:
Practice Good Sanitation
Sanitation is key to a pest-free environment. Like all living creatures, ants need food to survive. If there are no leftovers in your home that the ants can access, they will not stay for long.
Keep the floors swept and the kitchen workbench cleaned. Sweep and vacuum regularly. Sometimes, we won’t notice the food crumbs on the floor, or behind the kitchen furniture.
Clean up dirty dishes. It might not be the most fun thing to do right after a scrumptious meal but dirty dishes invite ants and you don’t want that, right?
Keep food in sealed containers. It is not likely for ants to crawl into airtight containers, so seal all the food storage containers after use.
Do not forget to wipe down the outside of the storage bins and waste containers. Ants can nibble on even the smallest morsel of food stuck in a container.
Seal Off Gaps And Cracks
Though ant colonies are usually found outdoors, they can form in the cracks of rotten wood and gaps in the walls, window frames, and cabinets. It is often hard to locate an ant colony, as most of them are hidden in these tiny gaps and cracks.
Seal all the cracks in your home, and the ants will have a hard time setting up a nest. This will prevent ant infestations to an extent.
Remove Ant Trails
When a worker ant finds food, it leaves a trail made of pheromones along its route for the other ants to follow. Removing ant trails will eliminate the scent, which will prevent them from following the same route.
There are many ways to remove ant trails. You can use a mix of vinegar and water or baking soda and water to clean the trail completely. Or a good detergent will do the trick.
But don’t try to remove the trail as soon as you discover it. Remember to use it to locate the source of your ant infestation first.
Repair Leaky Pipes And Faucets
Ants typically live outdoors in decaying wood and other open areas but they also build their nests in cracks in walls. A few species of ants prefer to live in moist areas. Look out for leaky pipes and faucets, as these may serve as ideal sites to set up ant colonies.
With over 10,000 species of ants worldwide, it’s no surprise we have difficulty with ant identification.
Identifying the ant species, like any form of pest control, will allow us to understand their behavior, biology, and habits. Making the removal or termination procedures you employ as effective as possible.
What Species Are Little Black Ants?
Monomorium minimum is the scientific name given to the ant species we commonly call little black ants. They are often grouped under larger general terms for ants, such as field ants or garden ants.
Biology and Behavior
Binomial Name (scientific name)
Worker ants are typically 1.5-2.0 mm in length. Queens can measure up to 4 mm.
The pedicel, or ant waist, is in two segments. The thorax is unevenly rounded with no spines.
Number of Legs
12-segmented antennae that end in a 3-segmented club.
Black to dark brown.
Black Ant Lifespan
Monomorium minimum live up to one year.
Swarms are common throughout mid-summer.
Common in woodlands. In domestic locations, they will be found under log piles, rocks, or bricks. In your home, they will nest in woodwork, wall cavities, gaps in masonry, or behind facades.
Being omnivores, these pests will consume anything from fruits and vegetables to meats or dead insects. This is often the primary influence in their choice of home — close to a food source and somewhere that provides a favorable shelter.
Widespread across North America and adjacent regions.
How Big Are Black Ant Colonies?
These ants have moderate- to large-sized colonies, usually holding a couple of thousand ants. Moderate in size compared to other ant species like carpenter ants, whose colonies contain 30,000 ants or more, with some species holding 500,000 ants per colony.
Is There Usually A Queen?
There is often more than one queen in a single colony of little black ants. This ant species is polygynous, which means that there is more than one queen in a colony.
Locating Little Black Ants Within The Home
You have a few options when dealing with ant infestations within your home. You call in a professional exterminator or use home treatments such as an insecticides or traps.
It’s always sensible to try and deal with the infestation yourself before incurring the call-out charges of pest control professionals.
First, establish if the source of the ant infestation is in your garden or home.
Ants In Garden
In the case of a garden infestation, your main concern is locating the point of entry into your home.
There will be a small gap somewhere for the army of ants to get through. Typically this small gap is the passageway that leads the ants to a food source indoors.
Ants In House
An internal infestation is more problematic to find and control. Generally, the ants have decided your home provides better shelter than a pile of logs or the underside of a rock. Usually, they will hole up inside the external wall cavity or a similar space that is warm, dark, and sheltered.
They will find the smallest gap in your external brickwork or around doors and windows and move through it in search of food or shelter.
Hiring Professional Ant Exterminators
Depending on the danger posed by the ant species, or the size of the infestation, you may choose between do-it-yourself products or calling a professional.
Given little black ants pose no risk to humans, we suggest you roll your sleeves up and tackle the critters directly.
If you can’t stomach it, you can expect to pay between $150-$300 per home visit from a pest control professional.
When Should You Call An Ant Exterminator?
If ants continue to make their way into your home, even after multiple DIY treatments, it means that something else is in play. In this case, calling a licensed pest control professional is the best option to effectively treat and seek advice on how to prevent future infestations.
When the ants can sting, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Even though these ants have stingers, they’re not dangerous. But if you notice severe or strange reactions, it is most likely another species. Seek medical attention immediately.
In this case, call a pest control professional to locate and remove the ant colony.
Final Thoughts On Managing Small Black Ants
Even when you see thousands of ants rampaging across your kitchen floor, there is still hope. In truth, it’s not a complicated process to rid your home of the army.
Simply locate the ant trail and work your way back to the entry point or nest. Take appropriate steps to block the entry point to prevent re-infestation. Then apply one of the treatments we have recommended to destroy the colony and queen.