Ants are pesky and invasive pests that can disrupt your home. It’s worse when these ants are nesting inside your home, and you can’t see them.
When ants hide inside your walls, it can make it much more challenging to get rid of them because you’re not sure where to treat them.
Don’t worry; I’m here to help. In this post, I will go over eight ways you can use to get rid of ants inside your walls and how you can prevent them in the future.
Let’s get started.
Why Do Ants Nest In Walls?
Ants nest in walls for the same reason that they nest in other locations.
Walls provide shelter and easy access to food for ants. This is the primary reason that ants create nests in walls.
One of the main reasons that ants create nests inside walls is when the weather outdoors is harsh. Excessively high or low temperatures can force ants to nest indoors.
Another reason ants might nest indoors is that there is easy access to the inside of your walls. This is common if there are lots of cracks or crevices around your home including on the walls, floor, or ceiling.
Types of Ants that Nest in walls
Not all ants enter structures but there are several species of ants that will enter your home and nest in walls.
Below is a list of the most common ants that enter homes and nest in walls.
1. Acrobat Ants
Acrobat ants get their name for their ability to contort their abdomen over their head. When in this position acrobat ants look like they are performing a gymnastic move.
Acrobat ants are about ⅛ inch long and can range in color from light brown to black.
Unlike other ants, acrobat ants have unique yellow mandibles while the rest of their body is a pale brown or dark color.
2. Argentine Ants
Argentine ants are one of the few ants that can create supercolonies. They tend to prefer areas with high moisture or humidity.
They are commonly found in kitchens and restrooms and one o the most commonly found inside wall voids.
|Argentine Ant Identification|
Color: Black Body, Yellow Mandibles
Pattern: No Pattern, Triangular Head
Region: West, Southwest, Northwest, and Southeast
Food: Sweets, Seasonal
Nest: Shallow and Deep Mounds, can create Super Colonies
3. Carpenter Ants
Carpenter ants are one of the most common species to live inside walls. This is because they create their nest by burrowing inside the wood.
Carpenter ants create their nest inside the wood and can create their nest inside the wood of your walls.
Carpenter ants are brown or black and prefer wood that has moisture which allows them to easily create nests inside the wood.
|Carpenter Ant Identification|
Size: 1/4" - 5/8"
Color: Red and Black
Pattern: Golden Hairs
Region: Coastal U.S States From Fl to WA
Food: Sweets, Insects
Nest: Inside Damp Wood
4. Little Black Ants
Little Black Ants are one of the most common types of ants found inside.
They can nest and forage nearly anywhere in your home.
They are known to infest inside of walls and around sources of water or damp wood.
|Little Black Ants Identification|
Color: Shiny Dark Brown To Black
Pattern: No Pattern
Region: Across the U.S
Food: Sweets, Proteins, Oils including human food.
Nest: Near moist soil, wood, or bricks, wall voids
5. Odorous Ants
Odorous ants are versatile in that they infest both indoors and outdoors. They commonly migrate indoors during cold weather or when it is raining outside.
Odorous ants are attracted to water and you will commonly find them nesting near water sources such as inside the kitchen or the restroom.
|Odorous Ant Identification|
Color: Dark Brown to Black
Pattern: None, but distinct coconut smell when crushed.
Region: Across the U.S
Food: Sweets, Human food (salts, grease, dairy, and protein)
Nest: shallow mounds, inside wall voids.
6. Pharaoh Ants
Pharaoh Ants are commonly found foraging and nesting inside structures.
They commonly hide inside homes in locations that are hard to reach, such as wall void and underneath cabinets.
They tend to place their nests near food and water sources when possible.
|Phoraoh Ant Identification|
Size: 1/16" - 1/8"
Color: Yellowish-Light Brown to Red
Pattern: No Pattern
Region: Coastal U.S States From Fl to WA
Food: Sweets, Protein, Insects
Nest: Near water sources, common indoors
Can Ants Live in Walls?
Yes, Ants can live inside walls. Ants can create nests inside walls. These can be both primary and satellite nests depending on the species of ant.
While ants can live inside walls, they will leave the walls to forage for food.
They can leave the walls and enter your home or forage outdoors.
It’s important to inspect both outdoors and indoors to determine where the ant trails are leading. If they lead indoors, but you don’t have any ants indoors, this is a clear sign that the ants are inside your walls.
They are often nesting inside walls because it gives them protection against the harsh weather from outdoors.
Ants commonly seek shelter indoors when temperatures outdoors are too cold or too hot.
Signs of Ants in Walls
Identifying ants inside your walls is not easy. Since the ants are inside your walls sometimes there are very few signs that there are ants inside your walls.
Some key signs to look for to determine if there are ants inside your wall are:
- Ants trails going into walls
- Ants scurrying out of wall crevices when you knock on them
- Ants inside electrical sockets
- Ant trails entering your home from outdoors but there are no ants inside your home
Carpenter ants are another common ant that lives inside walls but since these ants burrow inside the wood they leave very different signs compared to other species of ants.
Some of the most common signs of carpenter ants include:
- Sawdust or wood shavings coming from exit holes on wood
- Hollow wood
- Noises coming from walls
- Small 1/8″ exit holes on wood
- Ant trails coming from ceiling, walls, or the floor
How To Get Rid of Ants Inside Brickwork
Depending on if the brickwork is outdoors or indoors will dictate how you should treat the ants.
If the brickwork is outdoors there are more treatment options.
I recommend a two-step approach when treating bricks outdoors for ants.
- Apply residual insecticide to the surface of the bricks. This will kill any ants that walk on the surface.
- Apply dust into any cracks or holes on the brickwork. Sometimes the grout between bricks can break and create tunnels for ants to travel. Dust will travel into these tunnels and coat any ants that are hiding inside.
- Apply gel bait near the entrance of any cracks or crevices in the brickwork. This will allow the ants to take the bait back into their nest or hiding spots. Giving you primary, secondary, and tertiary kills. If the weather is harsh you want to use bait stations to protect the bait.
How To Get Rid of Ants in Walls
1. Inspect your Home For Ants
The first step to getting rid of ants inside walls is to inspect your home. You need to determine where ant activity is happening around your home.
You want to pay special attention to where ants are going and returning.
Rooms that ants often nest or hide include areas with food or moisture.
- Boiler Rooms
- Storage rooms
Some key areas to look at include:
- Under the sink
- Near food
- Along guidelines
- In trash cans
- On shelves
- Near sources of water
- Under appliances
When you do spot ants, it’s essential to follow trails and any activity. Take notes on where you see them, any exit or entry points, and what they are feeding on.
This is information that will help when you are treating ants later.
After your inspection, you should be able to:
- Identify the type of ant.
- Identify areas of high activity
- Identify potential sources of food and water
2. Eliminate Items That Attract Ants
One way you can get rid of ants inside your walls is to eliminate anything that attracts ants.
For most ants, this includes eliminating food and water sources.
Food is one of the main things that attract ants indoors. If they are nesting inside your walls they are likely there for shelter and food.
It’s important that you eliminate all potential food sources.
You can eliminate potential food by doing two things
- Cleaning your home thoroughly
- Sealing all open food
It’s important when cleaning that you don’t only do a superficial cleaning.
Ants are small and can get into small cracks and crevices where food and get stuck.
You want to perform a deep clean on areas that are not cleaned frequently.
Some key areas to clean include:
- Under appliances
- On the side of appliances
- Under or behind cabinets if possible
- Inside pantry
- Shelves where food is stored
- Cooking areas
- Near the dining table
- On food storage containers (we sometimes leave jars and containers dirty after using them)
- It’s also important that you seal any open food.
Ants commonly nest near water. This is the reason identifying and eliminating any sources of water is crucial to getting rid of ants.
When looking for sources of water, you want to focus on your kitchen and bathrooms.
Below are some key places you can inspect for water:
- Under the sink
- Under the refrigerator
- Pet water bowls
- Empty cups
- Inside and under the dishwasher
- Around the bathtub
3. Pre-Bait Your Home
Pre-baiting your home is important to get rid of ants inside walls because the species can vary widely.
Pre-baiting will help you determine two things that will improve your treatment process.
- Identify food preference of the ant
- Locate areas of high ant activity
Prebait is a non-toxic lure used to identify an ant and determine its food preferences.
The best prebait for ants is a 1:1 solution of water and honey. Place the pre-bait on wax paper for easy monitoring and cleanup. If the ants aren’t attracted to the honey water, this means they are not interested in sugar.
At this point, you should consider using peanut butter to test protein or oil to test grease. This will help you determine what attractant you should use with the insecticide.
Prebaiting will help you do two things
- Locate areas of high activity
- Identify the type of ant
- Identify the ant’s food preferences.
Once you establish the ant activity, you can easily swap the prebait for toxic bait to begin the treatment process.
Common places you want to place prebait for ants are inside the kitchen or restroom.
- Under appliances
- Small crevices
- In corners
- Behind or under furniture
- Near door or window sills
- Under the sink
4. Use Gel Bait Indoors
Gel bait is a bait that comes in a syringe and can be easily applied to different areas of your home.
This bait already contains an attractant to attract ants. Typically, most gel bait will have a sugar or protein base.
Insecticidal ant bait is a slow-acting bait. The slow-acting bait is designed to take advantage of the ant’s eating habit. Since foraging ants will feed the other ants of the colony, a slow-acting bait will ensure the bait delivers primary, secondary, and tertiary kills.
Once your prebait has drawn ants out of their nest, you can begin using your toxic bait.
All you need to do is swap the prebait wax paper for the toxic bait wax paper.
I recommend against placing bait directly on ant trails. Place them off to the side of an ant trail so the ants can find the bait naturally.
Gel bait is versatile. It allows you to place bait in hard-to-reach areas easily or adjust the amount to target large quantities of ants.
Also, it’s much easier to monitor the activity of gel bait than bait stations.
Use Bait Stations Indoors (If Neccessary)
Bait stations are easier to use because all you have to do is place them around your home.
These are sealed containers that only allow ants to access the bait.
These are ideal if you have kids or pets that may try to disrupt exposed gel bait.
They are larger and not ideal for targeting small cracks or hard-to-reach areas.
Monitoring them can be difficult due to the enclosed casing.
5. Target Ants With Outdoor Bait Stations
Although an ant nest is inside your home or your wall, it doesn’t mean that the ants don’t leave your home.
Often ants inside walls will forage for food outdoors. Also, nests inside walls can be satellite nests.
Satellite nests are secondary nests that ants build away from their primary nest. This typically means that there is a primary nest outdoors and a satellite indoors inside your walls.
This is why it’s important that you also treat outside of your home and not just indoors.
One way to attack primary nest outdoors is to use outdoor bait stations.
You can place outdoor bait stations at each corner around your home. You can also locate outdoor nests or potential trials by pre-baiting.
Once you locate areas of high ant activity, you can place your bait stations near these to encourage the ants into the stations.
Bait stations are ideal for targeting ants outdoors because it protects your bait from the weather.
6. Use Dust Treatments
If there are ants inside your walls, dust treatments are a great way to help treat your walls without causing damage.
Potential sources of dust application include
- Boric Acid
- Insecticide Dust such as Delta Dust
The great thing about dust treatments is that you can apply the dust to any crack or crevice that you see ants coming out of.
You can also insert dust into wall sockets.
If the cracks are too small you can drill small holes that will allow you to inject dust into walls.
Avoid using dust in walls or areas that you suspect water damage or excess moisture. This will make the dust ineffective.
Dust is highly effective because it will remain in areas for a long period of time.
They are also effective because the ants only need to walk over the dust.
They will track the dust into their nest as they walk. They will also eventually eat the dust when they clean themselves and feed the other ants in their nest.
This allows you to get primary, secondary, and tertiary kills using dust even if you don’t initially see the ants.
Typically 2-3 pumps are sufficient for each hole. Avoid using too much dust in each hole. More is not always better.
If there is too much dust inside the wall, the ants will begin to avoid this area due to the heavy dust.
What You’ll Need
- Dust Termiticide such as Boric Acid
- Dust Bulb
- Metal probe or screwdriver
7.Use Insecticidal Foam
Insecticidal foam is an insecticidal spray that you can spray into walls and it will expand to fill the entire wall cavity.
This type of insecticide is commonly used against carpenter ants or termites.
It’s highly effective because it’s a residual insecticide that the ants will spread once they return to the nest.
But this is still highly effective against ant nest as well.
This treatment should only be done if you locate the nest. Or locate a wall that has lots of ant activity.
You need to drill a small hole into the wall. Insert the applicator tip into the wall and inject the insecticide for 3-7 seconds depending on how large the wall void is.
To apply either foam treatment, drill into the wood until you feel less resistance.
Drill holes every 6-12 inches across the entire wood and inject them with pesticides.
Reapply treatment every three months for the best results.
8. Apply Insecticide Spray Outside Your Home
Another great way to get rid of ants from inside your walls is to apply a non-repellent insecticide spray to the exterior of your home.
You want to apply the insecticide to the walls and floor around your structure. It’s recommended that you apply to 3 feet on the floor and 3 feet up walls.
You can also apply around windows and doors.
Non-repellent insecticides are slow-acting and undetectable by ants.
Ants that walk over a surface that has been sprayed with insecticide will not react.
When they return to the nest, they will spread the insecticide to other ants.
After several days the insecticide will begin to kill the ants that were infected.
To expand coverage you can also apply this insecticide to your driveway or around your garden.
How To Prevent Ants in Walls
We’ve all heard the maxim: prevention is better than cure. And when it comes to ants, this is undoubtedly true.
Here are some of the best tips and strategies to stop ants from invading your home:
1. Seal Up Entry Points
The harder it is for ants to get in, the less likely they will try to enter your home.
To prevent ants from entering your walls you need to seal any potential entry points outside and indoors.
Ants are small so it’s important that you seal any small cracks or crevices.
The best way to do this is to seal up any cracks, holes, and crevices around your home using caulk.
Some common places to look outside are:
- Cracks in foundation
- Holes or cracks on walls
- Door or Window Sills
- Under or around windows and doors.
- Pipes or Wires that penetrate walls.
Common places to look indoors include:
- Cracks on walls
- Around windows and doors
foundation or edges walls
- under sinks where there are pipes
It is also a good idea to apply a dust insecticide into these crevices before sealing them up
This will allow you to kill any ants hiding inside these voids and give them no way of getting out.
2. Keep You Yard Clean
Keep your yard tidy. Piles of leaves, leaking water hose, dead branches provide shelter and protection for ants.
Keeping your yard clean will make it less attractive and harder to survive. It also makes it easier to spot and treat ant infestations.
3. Trim Vegetation
Keep your trees, plants, and bushes trimmed. I recommend you don’t let any vegetation come in contact with your home.
Overgrown vegetation can act as a bridge for ants to climb on your home.
If you have treated your foundation and the area around your home, this can help ants bypass the insecticide.
The harder it is for ants to reach your home, the less likely you will have ants in the future.
4. Eliminate Food
Eliminate any sources of food in your house. If there are no food items, it’s unlikely ants will remain in your home for very long.
Although ants prefer to eat sugar, many will resort to other human food to survive.
Clean regularly and make sure all food is sealed properly. This is the most effective way to prevent ants.
5. Eliminate Sources Of Water
Ants need water to survive.
If there are no food sources but there is an abundance of water ants will still enter your home.
This is particularly true when the soil outside is dry and they need to find additional sources of water.
Make sure you address any excess moisture issues both inside and outside of your house.
This includes leaking pipes or faucets.
Standing water or overwatering of plants and grass outdoors.