There are several ways to get rid of an ant infestation in your yard and kill ant mounds permanently. The best methods are:
- Pour boiling water into the ant mound
- Spread diatomaceous earth on and around ant mounds.
- Place ant baits or use pesticides to kill ants.
- Pour carbonated water on the ant mound.
- Mix vinegar and water as an ant mound killer.
- Flatten and compact ant mounds to drive out ants.
Each of these methods is effective at killing ants and driving them from your yard. We’ll review the benefits and drawbacks of each below, so you can get started eliminating ants right away.
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How Hard is it to Get Rid of Ant Colonies in Your Yard?
The conical mound you see in your yard is only a tiny representation of the size of the colony. Underground passages in an ant colony can extend to a depth of 4 feet (1.2 meters) and a circumference of 5 feet (1.5 meters). So, digging out the ants isn’t really an option.
- Ant colonies spread several feet underground below the mound.
- An ant colony can be eliminated by killing the queen.
Ant colonies have a weak point: if the queen of the colony is killed, the colony will die. The goal of the best anti-killing tactics is to kill the queen and wipe out the colony.
7 Ways to Get Rid of Ant Colonies in Your Yard
Lawns infested with ants can be saved in a variety of simple ways. The best course of action is to act fast, to stop ant colonies before they grow spread to take over more of your yard. Any yard can be saved, but the sooner you kill an ant nest, the less work you’ll have to do.
A simple and low-cost solution. Boiling water poured into a nest kills ants on contact, and water that remains in the nest drowns ants and larvae, including the queen.
- Boil 1/2 gallon (2 liters) of water.
- Rake away the top of the ant mound.
- Pour boiling water into the main entrance to the colony.
- Repeat boiling water application within 12–24 hours.
- Keep in mind, boiling water may kill any plants or grass that it is poured on.
Because some ant species can survive a remarkably long time underwater before drowning, it is beneficial to repeat the boiling water treatment within a day of the first application.
Diatomaceous earth is a chemical-free ant killer. It is made from the fossilized exoskeletons of tiny organisms called diatoms. When diatomaceous earth comes in contact with ants, it robs them of moisture, drying them out and killing them. To use diatomaceous earth to kill an ant mound:
- Rake or shovel away the top of the mound and break up the earth beneath.
- Pour diatomaceous earth onto the ant nest.
- Using your rake or shovel, mix the diatomaceous earth into the soil.
- Pour additional diatomaceous earth on top of the destroyed mound.
- Diatomaceous earth won’t harm plants, people, or pets.
This tactic will destroy the mound and drive ants out, preventing them from rebuilding their colony.
Outdoor ant baits are a great way to strike directly at the queen ant. Liquid ant baits are an ideal solution. To use:
- Place an ant bait station within a few feet of the mound you wish to kill.
- The poison bait will attract the worker ants, who mistake it for food.
- The workers will feed the bait to the queen. The slow-acting poison will kill both the workers and the queen.
When using ant baits or any pesticides to destroy ant colonies, be careful to ensure pets and children are not exposed to baits and poison. Some pets may be attracted to the smell and taste of ant bait.
If you’re dealing with invasive fire ants or other species with harmful bites, you’ll want to attack quickly. Choose an ant killer that stops fire ants and other species dead and prevents them from coming back. To use:
- Water the mound area the night before treatment.
- Spread the product on the mound and surrounding area.
- Water the mound killer into the ground, as directed on the product label.
This simple to use product will kill ants, including the queen, quickly. You can eliminate even the most stubborn ant mound this way.
Carbonated water is an extremely effective ant killer. If you pour regular water into a mound, there may be air pockets below ground where the ants can cluster safely. The carbonation of sparkling water actually drives oxygen out of the ant mound, suffocating any ants that find an unflooded tunnel.
- Rake or shovel away the top of the ant mound.
- Pour 2 liters of plain carbonated or sparkling water on the ant mound.
- Repeat carbonated water application within 24 hours.
- Won’t harm plants and grass.
Many swear that room-temperature carbonated water is far more effective than plain boiling water. It’s a cheap and simple option for killing ant hills and poses no risk to surrounding plants.
Vinegar and Water
Vinegar kills ants on contact but is not a toxic chemical. You may have the ingredients in your home to make an ant mound killer right now. To kill ant mounds with vinegar:
- Mix 4 cups (1 liter) water with 4 cups white vinegar.
- Pour mixture into ant mound.
- Repeat within 24 hours.
- Vinegar and water mix will kill grass and plants it comes in contact with.
This vinegar mixture is strong enough to kill ants, as well as any plants it is poured on, but isn’t powerful enough to harm people or animals. It is safe to use in your family’s yard.
Flatten Ant Hills
It may seem too simple, but destroying any mounds and compacting the ground to block mound entrances can be enough to starve out ants or drive them from your yard. The best way to flatten an anthill to prevent ants from returning is to follow these steps:
- Use a rake or shovel to destroy the top of the mound.
- Dig and turn the top 6 inches of dirt in a one-foot radius around the mound entrance.
- Tamp down the turned dirt with a shovel, tamper, or by stomping on it.
- Water the tamped earth to ensure it settles.
This process will destroy the upper tunnels of the ant colony, trapping ants inside. An ant colony attacked in this way is likely to die. If any ants survive, they are likely to view the area as unsafe and flee the colony.
How Do You Get Rid of an Outdoor Ant Infestation in Your Yard?
To wipe out ant mounds and kill the queen you can pour any one of the following into the mound: boiling water, room-temperature carbonated water, or water mixed with vinegar. All of these solutions require little effort and can be made with simple household products.
To wipe out stubborn ants, outdoor liquid baits are very effective, as is applying a pesticide mound killer and watering it into the soil. If you want to use a natural ant poison that won’t harm children or pets, mix diatomaceous earth into a destroyed mound to kill ants. If you want to skip these products altogether, dig up ant mounds and flatten the soil to trap ants inside. Each of these solutions is cheap and works to drive out harmful pests fast.