Little black ants are one of the most common types of ants found in homes. The little black ant gets its name from its dark black color and diminutive size. These ants are native to the United States and are found throughout the country, although their heaviest populations are found in the eastern half. Swarms of these black ants are common from June to August.

Little black ants will come indoors in search of food, heat, and moisture. Their colonies usually start outdoors under debris in your yard and quickly expand to your home. Once indoors, nests can be found in woodwork, masonry, or structural voids. Once you see black ants in the house it is generally a good indication that there is a larger infestation nearby.

Little black ants feed on grease, oil, meats, fruits and vegetables, corn meal, and sweets. Their presence indoors is often the result of improper food storage or food residue that hasn’t been properly cleaned. They are typically seen crawling on the bathroom floor in search of water or on kitchen counters, cabinets, and floors in search of food.

These ants are highly adaptable and can be difficult to get rid of. Here are 3 steps to getting rid of little black ants:

1. Prevent an Infestation

The best way to get rid of ants is to prevent them from getting into your home in the first place. Practicing good sanitation habits is essential in how to prevent ants. Keep kitchen counters and floors clean and swept regularly. Make sure any spills are cleaned up immediately. Keep food stored in sealable containers. Limit food prep and consumption to 1 or 2 areas of the home and make sure to clean these areas daily. Fill any gaps and cracks in foundations, baseboards, window and door frames with caulk or other appropriate material. Get rid of any piles of debris in your yard including lumber, stones, bricks, mulch, leaves, etc. Trim the branches of trees, shrubs, and other landscape vegetation away from the house so that ants and other pests can’t use them to access your home. Ensure firewood is kept at least 20 feet away from your home. Repair any leaky pipes or faucets.

2. Find Where They Are Getting In

Little black ants can typically be seen in trails leading from the colony to the food or water source they have discovered in your home. You can follow their trail back to the entry point they are using to access your house. If the trail is not obvious, you can try to bait them and figure out where they are gaining entry.

  • You will need index cards or aluminum foil, honey, and peanut butter.
  • Place a large spoonful of honey and peanut butter side by side on either an index card or a piece of aluminum foil.
  • Place the card/foil on the floor near the area of highest ant activity. If there is more than one area, use multiple cards/pieces of foil.
  • Within a few hours, the ants find the honey and peanut butter and establish a trail from the colony to the food source. You should then hopefully be able to follow the trail to the entry point and, better yet, to the colony outside.

3. Treat the Colony And/Or Nest

Little black ant nests can be found in wood, structural voids, mulch, soil, under stacks of lumber, bricks, etc, or even in slab foundations. Each nest location requires a different type of treatment. Hand dusters with dust insecticides can be used on nests in wood and voids. Gel sprayers and insecticides can be used for nests in soil, mulch, and under debris piles. Nests in slab foundations can be a little more difficult to treat. Baits may be necessary or they could require drilling holes into the foundation and using insecticide specifically labeled for application under slab foundations. Treatment should also include the perimeter of the home with a liquid residual insecticide. This should be applied in at least a 3 foot band near foundations and around window and door frames.

Contact a professional pest control company who can help identify the type of ants you are dealing with, identify any potential entry points, and provide you with a thorough ant control treatment that is best suited for your individual situation.