Keep Ants Away from the Patio: Ideas That Work

Do you have an ant problem on your patio? It can be frustrating when these little creatures invade your space, especially when you want to relax outdoors. We’ll explore deeper how to get rid of ants on your patio using various methods. Some of these methods are natural, and some are artificial, but all of them should help you solve your ant problem!

Types of ants that might be on your patio

The common backyard insect that most people are familiar with is the ant. Ants are small, hard-bodied bugs that live in colonies.

First, let’s go through the many species of ants you could find on your patio. But the most frequent in the United States are fire ants, carpenter ants, black ants, and pavement ants.

If you have Fire Ants, they will most likely be red or black. These ants are harmful because they sting and, in some cases, produce serious allergic responses.

Carpenter Ants are black with a bit of brown in color and are often more prominent than other varieties of ants. Because these ants like to nest in wood, they may be nesting on your wooden patio.

Typically, Black Ants are simply that: black. They are drawn to sweet items such as fruit and sugar. Finally, Pavement Ants are petite, black or brown in color. Their name has derived from the fact that they often nest in cracks in the pavement.

Other prominent ants are found in the United States and globally.

  • Odorous House Ants: These tiny black or brown ants are attracted to sweets. They release a rotten coconut-like smell when crushed.
  • Argentine Ants: These tiny, light-colored ants are common in the southern United States. They travel in large clusters and can be challenging to get rid of
  • Crazy Ants: These black or brown ants get their name from their erratic movements. 
  • Pharaoh Ants: These tiny, light-colored ants constitute a significant problem in hospitals because they can spread disease. They are regularly found in warm, humid climates.
  • Thief Ants:  These small, light-colored ants are so-named because they often steal food from other ant colonies.

Why are ants drawn to patios?

ants are super strong
A macro shot of an ant carrying a rock Photo by Image by wirestock on Freepik

There are tons of reasons why ants might invade your patio garden and house. For example, they may be looking for food or water. Ants are especially drawn to sweet foods and can sense when something is sweet from a distance. If you have any food waste or pet food lying around, the ants will be sure to find them.

Another reason ants invade your home is that they are looking for shelter. Ants need somewhere warm to live, and they will take advantage of any opportunity they can find. If your house is warm, the ants will be attracted to it.

Finally, ants may invade your home because they seek a place to nest. Nests can have up to 500,000 ants, so if you have an ant problem, it is likely because of their nest. Queen ants can lay up to 5000 eggs a day, so the population of an ant nest can quickly grow out of control.

How to get rid of ants using natural methods

If you don’t want to use chemicals, you can use several natural methods to get rid of ants.

Diatomaceous Earth. This is a type of powder made from the fossilized remains of algae. It works by piercing the ant’s exoskeleton and causing it to dehydrate and die.

Baby Powder or Baking soda. Similar to diatomaceous Powders obstruct ants’ breathing pores to kill them. Sprinkle it about your terrace. As the ants travel, they’ll inhale the powder and suffocate.

Hot boiling water. Boiling water will kill any ants that it comes into contact with. Be careful not to burn yourself, and ensure that the water doesn’t come into contact with your belongings.

Soapy water. This works by coating the ants and making it difficult for them to breathe. The soap will also kill any eggs or larvae that are present.

Vinegar.  Vinegar is an acidic substance that will kill ants on contact. However, it is also harmful to plants, so be careful not to use it near any of your plants. White vinegar kills insect-repellent ants inexpensively and effectively. (Vinegar, mixed at a ratio of 1:1, is also an effective disinfectant that is suitable for use around most pets and may be used to clean the hard surfaces found on a patio.)

Nematodes. Nematodes are micro worms that prey on ants. They enter the ant through its mouth and then release bacteria that kill it from the inside out.

Peppermint. Repels ants and mosquitoes. 10 to 20 drops of peppermint oil and 2 cups of water spray around the patio edge. Peppermint oil may sicken pets, especially cats, so be careful.

Neem Oil. is derived from the Indian neem tree. It’s great for patio plants for aphids or ants. Poisoning aphids using neem oil kills ants and aphids at the same time.

Coffee Grinds. Deter ants. Sprinkle your morning coffee grinds on disposable surfaces and leave them in ant-prone places like pet bowls.

There are numerous home remedies that people profess will get rid of ants. However, most of these remedies are ineffective.

Salt. Salt kills ants on contact but can also damage your plants. In addition, salt is not an effective long-term solution, as the ants will simply avoid it in the future.

Cayenne pepper. Cayenne pepper works similarly to salt by killing ants on contact. However, it is also harmful to plants and is not an effective long-term solution.

Lemon juice. Lemon juice is acidic and will kill ants on contact.

How to get rid of ants using artificial methods

If natural methods don’t work, you can try using artificial methods.

Boric acid or borax. These chemicals work by causing the ant to stop digesting food. The ant will then starve to death.

Insecticide. Insecticides work by poisoning the ant and causing it to die. Be careful when using insecticides, as they can harm humans and pets if misused.

Some popular chemical ant killers are Spectracide Ant Shield Insect Killer Granules, Amdro Ants Killer Granules, or Bio Advanced Lawn Insect Fire Ant Killer.

These solutions function by killing ants on touch and dispersing granular in ant tunnels around the patio as a barrier and preventive approach. Bait stations may also be used. The granules carry a poison that the ants will transport back to the nest, killing the colony.

The significant advantage of employing a chemical insecticide is that it kills quickly. The negative is that it may cause injury to pets and children if they come into touch with it; therefore, use appropriate protective bait stations and plug holes with enclosed granules.

When using a garden sprayer and a liquid pesticide, uniformly apply the insecticide around the perimeter of your yard, taking care not to spray directly on plants.

If you’re using ant bait, such as Ortho Ant BaitTerro Ant Killer Plus, or Spectracide Ant Shield Liquid Ant Bait, place the bait stations in areas where you’ve seen ants cluster.

The fewer chemicals you use, the better. You don’t want to do massive harm to the environment or your garden that will be hazardous for years to come.

Tips for preventing ants from returning

Now you have eliminated the ants, you will want to take steps to prevent them from returning.

Clean up any food scraps or pet food that is lying around. Ants are attracted to these things, so it is essential to keep them clean.

Ensure you look for any gaps in your home. Ants may use them as entrance points.

Keep your house and patio clean. Ants will be less likely to invade a clean home.

When to call an Exterminator

If you have tried all the methods above and the ants are still present, it may be time to call an exterminator. Exterminators will be able to rid your patio of ants quickly and effectively. They will also advise on how to prevent ants from returning.

When natural means are insufficient, consider calling a professional exterminator. 

Fun facts about Ants

  • There are over 12,000 species of ant in the world.
  • Ants can lift up to 50 times their own body weight.
  • Ants are socially inclined insects and live in colonies.
  • The lifespan of an ant is about 45-60 days.
  • Some ants can spray formic acid as a form of self-defense.
  • Some species of ant can survive being submerged in water for up to 24 hours.
  • Ants are found in the most continent except Antarctica.
  • The largest ant colony was found in Australia and contained over 50 million ants.
  • Some species of ants can travel up to 20 miles daily.
  • Ants are believed to have first appeared on Earth over 100 million years ago.

Did you know that ants play an essential role in the environment?

These tiny creatures help keep other insects’ populations in check, loosen the soil, and enhance air and water circulation. Ants also help in the decomposition of plant and animal materials. Next time you see an ant on your patio, take a moment to appreciate these amazing creatures!

Ant Control the Natural Way

This video from the Natural Health Remedies channel illustrates my discussion on eliminating ants within and around your patio.

Natural Health Remedies. (2021, December 22). How To Get Rid of Ants in Grass Naturally [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HG_J81runMI&t=157s

Final Words

We hope you learned and gained helpful knowledge to address any ant issue.

 If you have any thoughts or would like to share your own tips on how to keep ants away from the patio. Please leave a comment below.

Thank you for reading!

Sources of Information

Pest, H. (2020, May 5). 5 Types Of Ants You Might Find in Your Home or Yard. Www.Homepest.Com. Retrieved September 1, 2022, from https://www.homepest.com/blog/5-types-of-ants-that-could-invade-your-home

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