Ants can be a persistent nuisance in homes and gardens, and finding their nest is often essential for effective control. You can find an ant colony indoors and outdoors, and can be in various locations like wall voids, rotten stumps, or even within the wood itself.
Following a trail of foraging ants can often lead to the nest site of flying ants. Look for ants leaving highly visible piles of dirt or shavings, as this could show carpenter ant nests.
One effective way to find an ant nest is to use a sugary borax mixture. This can be placed in a small container and left in an area where ants are commonly seen. A pile of dead ants can signify the colony isn’t too far away.
Once the nest has been located, it’s important to determine the type of ant species present to choose the treatment method. In our guide, you can learn more about how to find where ants are coming from. By the end, you’ll better understand how to find carpenter ant nest in your house or yard and what is the best way of dealing with these pests. (Learn How Much Light Does A Snake Plant Need)
Can You Follow Ants Back To Their Nest?
Following ants back to their nest can be tedious, but it is possible to locate an ant nest this way. Worker ants leave the nest to forage for food and water, and they leave a pheromone trail to guide them back to the nest. By following this trail, you can locate the nest site.
However, following one ant may not lead you directly to the nest. It is better to observe multiple ants to determine the general direction of the nest. Trailing ants are often seen moving in a line, like a highway, with traffic in both directions. However, ants rarely walk in a straight line and zig-zag as they trace the scent of previous ant explorers searching for food.
Some ants, like pharaoh ants and pavement ants, build their nests inside wall voids or other hidden areas. If you are dealing with a carpenter ant infestation, you may locate the nest by tapping on wood surfaces to listen for a hollow sound.
Carpenter ants build their nests in wet or rotten wood, like in a rotting stump or a previous ant explorer’s excavation. You may also see highly visible piles of wood shavings near the nest site. Once you have located the nest, you can use various ant killing solutions to get rid of the ant invasion of entire colony.
How to Find an Ant Nest Indoors
Follow Trailing Ants
If you spot a few ants crawling around your home, follow them to see where they are going. Worker ants often leave a pheromone trail behind them, which attracts other ants to follow the same path.
Listening for Ants
It could show ants if you hear rustling or scratching sounds from inside your walls or floors. Carpenter ants, in particular, make noise as they excavate wood to build their nests. Listen closely for any sounds that may show ants inside.
Look for Signs of Ants
Ants often leave visible signs of their presence, like piles of fine dirt or dead ants or insects. Dead ants are a sure sign and ant colony is close.
Look for these signs, which could show a nest inside. If you have trouble locating the nest site, try setting out bait for the ants. A sugary borax mix can effectively attract ants and slowly kill the colony. (Read Is Terro Ant Killer Safe For Pets)
Where Do Ants Build Nests In Homes?
Ants are social insects that live in colonies. They can build nests in various places both indoors and outdoors. In homes, ants typically build their nests in areas that provide them with food, water, and shelter.
Here are some common places where ants build nests in homes:
- Wall Voids: Ants can build their nests inside wall voids, which are the spaces between the walls of a house. They can use small cracks and crevices to enter the wall voids and build their nests.
- Rotting Wood: Carpenter ants are known for building their nests in rotting wood. They can excavate the wood to create galleries and chambers for their colony.
- Moist Areas: Ants are attracted to moist areas, like bathrooms and kitchens. They can build nests in areas that are damp or have water leaks.
- Dead Insects: Ants can build their nests around dead insects. They use the dead insects as a source of food for their colony.
- Piles of Dirt: Many ants, including pavement ants, will excavate dirt from their nests, leaving highly visible piles of fine dirt. These piles can show an ant nest nearby.
Some ant species, like pharaoh ants, may build their nests inside homes in hard-to-reach areas, like wall voids or electrical outlets. Other ants, like fire ants, may build their nests outdoors in soil or in mounds of dirt.
Note: Fire ants and crazy ants can bite.
How To Find An Ant Nest In Your Yard?
Follow Trailing Ants
One of the easiest ways to find an ant nest is by following a line of worker ants. These ants leave a pheromone trail other ants follow to find food. Following an individual ant will usually leave you guessing, so follow several ants all walking in the same direction.
Look for Mounds of Dirt
Many ant nests outside can be identified by a mound of soil with a hole at the top. These structures serve as the entrance to the nest. Check for these mounds in your yard, especially where you’ve seen ants.
Look Under Objects
Ants crawl under objects to build their nests like rocks, rotten stump, and patio furniture. Check under these objects for signs of an ant nest. You may see a mound of dirt or a hole leading into the ground. (Read Carpenter Ant Frass Vs Termite Frass)
Watching an Aphid Attack
Some ants farm aphids for their honeydew excretion. If you see aphids on your plants, watch for ants crawling up and down the stems as they harvest honeydew as the aphid feeds. This could be a sign that there is an ant nest nearby.
Check House Exterior
Ants can also build their nests inside walls or in other areas of your house. To kill the entire colony, use a slow-killing borax mixture or other ant bait that contains slow-killing particles. Outside signs can also lead to most ants causing an interior infestation or ant’s nest.
Use an insecticide solution for ants that need to be killed on contact. When searching for an ant nest, observe multiple ants, not just one. This will help you find the nest site faster.
Eliminating Ant Nests
There are several natural methods to eliminate ant nests to be effective:
- Worker ants can be killed with slow-killing particles like diatomaceous earth, a powder made from fossilized diatoms.
- Natural solutions like vinegar and lemon juice can kill ants on contact.
- Essential oils like peppermint, tea tree, and cinnamon can be used as a deterrent to keep ants away from your home.
Chemical methods can also eliminate ant nests:
- Indoor bait stations containing a borax mixture are great for battling ants. The carpenter ants, or any ants carry the bait back to the nest, killing the entire colony.
- Ant dust can be spread in areas where ants are present. This ant dust continues to kill ants inside over time as they come into contact with the dust.
- Insecticides can include a kill on contact solution, or others have the same ant killing power to battle insects infesting wood in your home.
It’s important to note that when using chemical methods, it’s important to follow the instructions carefully and use the appropriate safety precautions. Aerosols blast ants yet do nothing for battling ants inside building nests. You will also need to determine you have carpenter ants, and not termites as the treatment are different. (Read Scotts Turf Builder Triple Action Safe For Dogs)
Regardless of the method used, locating the ant nest is important to eliminate the colony effectively. Here are some tips on how to find an ant nest:
- Look for highly visible piles of dirt or wood shavings, which can show a nest site.
- Observe ants to see where they come from and going to.
- Tap on wood to listen for hollow sounds to help find nests inside walls.
- Check for water damage in your home, as ants are attracted to wet wood.
Once the nest has been located, it can be excavated and eliminated using the appropriate method.