How To Get Rid Of Little Black Ants For Good

Many common species of pest ants seem to have an insatiable sweet tooth, hence we generically call them sugar ants. There is a species of ant called the banded sugar ant, but it is only located in Australia. Here in the United States, what we colloquially referred to as sugar ants are usually called a ghost ant, pharaoh ant, or odorous house ant. This article is part of the do it yourself pest control for homeowners series.

The very sight of them can be a bit unsettling and affect your peace of mind. But the good news is, there are simple and effective ways to get rid of these tiny black ants.

Getting rid of thousands of little black ants may seem overwhelming, but don’t worry, just follow our guide and you’ll be ant-free in no time.

Identifying the Little Black Ant

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.

Little Black ants range from dark brown to black in color, and they also appear very shiny. They are widespread, especially dense in Eastern part of the United States.

Worker ants measure only about 1/16 inches long, queens are about twice the size or ⅛ inches in length. They are often grouped under larger general terms for ants such as field ants, or garden ants.

The Pedicel or ant waist is in two-segments. The thorax is unevenly rounded, with no spines. They have 6 legs and 12-segment antenna, and end in a three-segmented club.

Lifespan:

Monomorium minimum live up to 1 year

Behavior:

Swarms of little black ants are common throughout mid-summer.

Habitat:

Little Black Ant is 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.

Diet:

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.

Colony Size:

Little black ants have moderate to large-sized colonies, usually holding a couple of thousand ants. Moderate in size compared to other ant species like the carpenter ant, who colonies in groups of 30,000 ants or more, with some species holding 500,000 ants per colony.

How to Get Rid of Little Black Ants for Good?

First, establish if the source of the ant infestation is in your garden or home.

In the case of a garden infestation, your main concern is finding 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.

An internal infestation, on the other hand, is more problematic to find and to 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 hold up inside the external wall cavity or some other similar space where it is warm, dark, and sheltered.

House ants will find the smallest gap in your external brickwork or around doors and windows and move through it in search of food or shelter.

Use Black Ant Bait Traps

Ant baits are designed to allow ants to eat the bait and carry it back to the nest. This helps ensure the entire colony will be eliminated and not just the ants you see.

Step 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.

If you cannot find the ant trail then place a dab of honey, jam or peanut butter on a piece of card and set up bait stations or lay it on the floor where you have seen ant activity.

Step 2: Remove Food Source

If the Little Black 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.

Make sure to remove any other food sources, like crumbs, so the ants eat the bait. 

You’ll also want to avoid spraying insecticides with residual repellency near the bait. This will deter ants from going near the bait.

Step 3: Put Bait

Once you notice the ants marching in a line, place the bait near trailing ants. This will help to prevent them from finding an alternative food source.

If you can find the nest, you can also place bait near it.

Step 4:  Block 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 a domestic decorators filler, expanding foam or mastic gun to block the entry point to prevent any future invasion.

Use Black Ant Powder

Step 1: Find the Ant Trail

Finding the ant trail will lead you to their entry point, their nest or a food source.

Step 2: Sprinkle

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 little black 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 eliminated.

Use Black Ant Sprays

Sprays can be used indoors and outdoors and work well as a spot treatment for Fire ants you see, as well as for killing Little Black ants nesting in cracks, crevices, baseboards, and wall voids. 

Sprays can also kill winged ants or flying ants and hard-to-reach ant nests.

Step 1: Find the Ant Trail

Finding the ant trail will lead you to their entry point, their nest or a food source.

Step 2: Remove Food Source

Remove any trace of food residue with a detergent. Seal any loosely packed foods in airtight jars. Make sure to remove any other food sources, like crumbs, so the ants eat the bait. 

Step 3: Spray

Spray around the perimeter of your house to create a repellent barrier of protection by preventing Little Black ants from getting inside.  It will also kill them on contact.  Plan to repeat spraying about every 45 to 60 days.

Keep in mind that sprays are not the best long-term solutions, as they only kill ants you can see, like a pavement ant, but not the source of the problem, which is the colony. With that being said, sprays can help curb ant populations in the short-term.

Professional Ant Exterminators

Depending on the danger posed by the ant species, or the size of the infestation, you must choose between the do-it-yourself products or calling a professional ant exterminator, ant control, or ant killer.

Given that Little Black Ants are tiny ants that pose no risk to humans, we suggest you roll your sleeves up and tackle the critters directly.  

You can expect to pay between $150-$300 per home visit from a pest control professional.

Safe ways to get rid of little black ants

Diatomaceous earth

Diatomaceous earth causes insects to dry out and die by absorbing the oils and fats from the cuticle of the insect’s exoskeleton. Its sharp edges are abrasive, speeding up the process. It remains effective as long as it is kept dry and undisturbed.

Diatomaceous earth can kill many different insect pests, including ants, cockroaches, silverfish, beetles, bed bugs.

Peppermint

Peppermint oil is a natural insect repellent that may be very effective at repelling ants and other bugs, such as mosquitoes.

Mix 10 to 20 drops of peppermint essential oil with 2 cups of water. Spray the mixture around the baseboards and windows of your home. Let dry.

White vinegar

If you see ants, wipe them up with a solution of 50-50 vinegar and water, or straight vinegar.

White vinegar kills ants and also repels them. If you have an ant problem, try using diluted vinegar to clean hard surfaces, including floors and counter-tops, throughout your home.

Ants can smell the vinegar after it dries, but the scent doesn’t remain discernible for long to most people.

Coffee Grounds

This anecdotal ant repellant requires you to brew the coffee first. Brewed coffee grounds have been found to keep ants away.

Try sprinkling the coffee grounds on disposable surfaces, such as index cards, and leaving them near areas that attract ants, such as pet bowls and plants.

You can also place the grounds on windowsills. They may lose their potency once they’re dry, so make sure to change often.

Boric Acid

Boric acid is a type of poison, which has been used to kill worker ants and their queen within 3 weeks of exposure. It does this by eroding their outer shells and stomachs.

If you want to make your own spray you can create a mixture of 8 teaspoons of sugar water to 1 teaspoon boric acid and 1 cup of warm water.

You can also use boric acid as an ingredient in DIY ant traps. Mix the powder with something sweet that will attract ants, such as maple syrup or corn syrup.

Borax

Borax and boric acid aren’t the same chemical compound. Anecdotally, both may be equally as effective at killing ants in the home.

Like boric acid, don’t use baits prepared with borax where children or pets can reach them.

Make a solution of borax, sugar, and warm water, using the same procedure as you would with boric acid.

Preventing Little Black Ants

  • Sweep, mop, vacuum regularly
  • Keep your sink free of dirty dishes
  • Keep your trash sealed and take it out regularly
  • Caulk and seal gaps, cracks, and holes in exterior walls to keep Little Black ants from getting inside. 
  • Outdoors, remove firewood and any other yard debris away from the side of your home.  
  • Landscaping mulch shouldn’t be more than two inches thick, and should be kept at least 12 inches away from your home’s foundation.
  • Avoid sprinklers from spraying the side of your home/foundation whenever possible. 
  • Keep the lawn mowed and trees/shrubs trimmed away from touching the side of your home. 
  • Treat plants for aphids regularly. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if I have a little black ant infestation?

The main sign of an infestation is spotting ants. Even if their nest is outside, they could still be invading your house.

These ants enter homes searching for food and water. It’s common to find their trails in kitchens and bathrooms. Check areas where moisture or food can accumulate including cabinets, sinks, and counters. 

Are little black ants harmful?

No, these small black ants are not considered to be dangerous. Little black ants do have a stinger, but it is too small to have any real effect. They are also not as aggressive as a fire ant or red ants.

However, they are a nuisance pest that can invade your home and the food in your kitchen in large numbers. Note that they do crawl over everything they can, making them carriers of bacteria.  

Conclusion

Ending the problem before it starts is the best way to get rid of little black ants for good. You can do this by making sure you have no food sources readily available for them.

This will entail keeping food tightly sealed in containers or plastic bags. Keep in mind that ants are attracted to sweet and starchy things like sugar, honey, and cornmeal.

It can be next to impossible to seal every nook and cranny but check your home for cracks in the walls and holes near floorboards and in radiators. You can fill these up or treat them with repellent. Also check for rips in window screens, which you can mend.

After sealing and repairing, follow our guide above to remove little black ants for good, but if all else fails, professional exterminators can surely remove ants from your home, but this comes with a price.

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