Ants are most often seen in locations close to warm and wet places, inside kitchens, outhouses, and in your garden. They are frequently drawn to your property due to uncleanliness, in search of more nutritious food sources or improved environmental circumstances. A very attractive place that ants are drawn to is your bathroom, which is ideal for them to thrive and build colonies. How can you get rid of these annoying pests in your bathroom?
The most frequently used technique to get rid of ants in the bathroom is ant baiting. The technique works slowly, but it may eliminate the entire ant colony in a week. Boric acid, borax, and diatomaceous earth can all be used to eliminate ants in the bathroom; however, they only work if you can see the ants.
Why Are There Ants in My Bathroom?
Firstly we need to understand why ants are in your bathroom. Ants are known to invade places for food and water. They use the cracks in the walls, holes in windows, heating ducts, AC units or ventilation points, crevices in your walls, and even tree branches that might be touching your walls to make their way in.
A bathroom can have a different set of scents that attract ants. For instance, drains that have not been used for a long time might have stagnant water and all kinds of junk in there. All of this starts to rot because it has not been cleaned and causes a stench that humans consider disgusting but it’s no big deal for ants.
Your shower room is another place that is great for ants. You would think that all the water would keep them out but in reality, it is a great breeding place for them. And it has fermented hair which is considered nutrition for some ant species. So, the very thing you want to drive away the ants might be bringing them in.
The reason they also like bathrooms is because these places have moisture and heat in the corners. They also have a little wetness which ants like quite a bit. And the place behind the cleaning supplies is a good one as a hideout for them.
Now, there are many different types of ant species that are found in the bathroom. We’ll get into that in a minute. This is relevant information because while food and moisture are the main reasons why you have ants in your bathroom, not all these species are inclined towards building a colony.
So, by knowing who has invaded your bathroom, you can estimate how big a problem it can turn into.
How Do Ants Get in Your Bathroom?
No matter which species is living in your bathroom, they have some tried-and-tested ways to enter that space. And ants are known to be hardworking insects. So, you should not be surprised to learn that they do a recon before moving the whole colony into your loo.
Typically, the ants that are there for the recon are trying to be discreet. So, they enter the house through:
- Ventilation pipes
- Cracks in the walls
- Holes in the windows
If you follow any of these paths back, they will lead you to the colony’s queen. Now, here’s the trick to tracing the path. Most of them are at a foundation or basement level.
So, that’s where you start checking. In wooden homes, you must check for cracks in the logs. That’s a bit tougher to get rid of. You might not find the queen in the basement but you will find the bulk of the worker ants.
Types of Ants in the Bathroom
There are thousands of species of ants in the world. But only a handful of them are likely to target your bathroom. Here’s what those are and what you need to know about them.
Sugar Ants or Pavement Ants
These ants are dark red or black in color. Their favorite way of entering a house is through cracks in the floor or walls. They are called pavement ants because they like building their nests in between pavement tiles.
Unfortunately for you, these ants are also good at making a home in the cracks of houses that have panels which makes it easy for them to move from one space to another. But this is also the least harmful type of ant you can find.
These ants are a little yellow in color and about 4-4.5 mm long. They are good at making nests and like to choose places that have a lot of humidity. That’s where they get their name from. So, your bathroom is a good choice for them. Having plumbing leaks in the bathroom is a dangerous thing if moisture ants pick up on it.
The presence of moisture ants could also mean that you might have moisture damage in the floor, crawl spaces or the foundation of your house. You must also check bath traps to make sure that isn’t the case. And act on them as soon as possible before the problem gets too much to contain.
Pharaoh ants are commonly seen as an enemy because they are often found inside homes. They enter looking for a little warmth and refuse to leave. They are not only good at entering apartments but also won’t spare clinics, schools and such.
All they want is warmth and they will go anywhere for it. That might be because they are original tropical species and are not great at living exposed to cold weather. These ants also like wet places that have a little bit of food and hence, your bathroom is an obvious target.
These ants are often found in the bathroom because they look for moisture specifically when it is time to build a nest. They are very good at entering a house through walls, tiles and dividers.
This one is the most popular variety of the Solenopsis thief ants. These ants come in many different colors from light yellow to red to brown. They are known for their anthill-building abilities near bigger ants.
Their name comes from the fact that they steal food from neighboring ant nests. Once they are in a house, they like to rot wood by settling into little holes that are typically present in walls and lockers.
These ants are quite big in size and like to make their nests in damp places. So, they take bathrooms to be a year-long standing invite for their activities. They like sugar-based food items which is such a typical ant’s choice. Keep that in mind when you want to lure and get rid of them.
These ants are white in color and they disappear just as suddenly as they appear. Ghost ants like bathroom-like environments as a food source that is close to their nest. But there are ways to detect their presence and get rid of them.
How to Get Rid of Ants in The Bathroom
Now that you know what kind of ants are likely to show up in your bathroom and also why bathrooms are pretty much the ballroom for a party of ants, let’s see how you can be the party pooper, so to speak.
Keep the Bathroom Clean
Firstly, the best way to make sure ants leave any part of the house and don’t come back is to make sure it is clean. This includes the bathroom because ants are always looking for water, food and shelter. Any residue of food items, dirt or decaying hair is a welcome mat for ants because they are all sources of food for these little guys.
You should inspect your bathroom from top to bottom and eliminate anything that isn’t necessary. Clean beneath the tub and in all corners. Remove the trash and dirt from surfaces and walls with a cleaning cloth. Disinfectants are essential for cleaning surfaces and walls. Joints and crevices should be cleaned thoroughly
Try White Vinegar
If cleaning, in general, is not a helpful suggestion because the ants have already entered the bathroom, there’s white vinegar to save you.
Take a solution of white vinegar and wipe down the walls, countertops and cupboards with it. That will take care of the infestation.
You can also mix it with some water or soda and spray at the entry points of the entire house or just the bathroom. Just remember that white vinegar is not a solution if your countertops are made of stones like marbles or granite.
Use Pest Control: Baits and Traps
Pest control doesn’t always have to be done by a professional. There is a point up until which you can sort it out yourself without professional help.
Now, that process starts with the identification of the kind of ants in the bathroom. We already gave you a primer on what to expect. Now it’s time to see how to deal with them.
Identifying the species of ants helps you pick the right kind of bait and trap for that ant. You will find different commercial options for bait that are based on sugar or protein, two things ants really seem to like.
And if one type of bait doesn’t work, you can always get better results by switching it up. You don’t have to give up on the entire concept of bait and trap.
These bait and trap methods are a good way to lure ants out of their cracks, holes and any other hiding places they might have in the house. This is effective also because these are usually places that you cannot reach manually.
You must place the bait near the entry point or the ant’s nest whichever you have located. Now, remember that the commercial baits are poisonous. In a matter of days to weeks, they can get rid of entire colonies. This means you need to make sure you got the quantity right, especially if you have children or pets in the house.
Liquid Pesticide: Give Borax Solution a Shot
Another way of getting rid of ant infestations is to use good old Borax. This is a powerful chemical solution and is as poisonous as it is effective. Borax is popular for being hazardous to both animals and humans.
That is why the solution has to be mixed with 75 percent peanut butter. You can also try blending it with honey. Make a trail of the solution as bait and soon, the ants will be out to take it.
Buy a Gel
If you’d like a slightly easier option that doesn’t involve you making a solution, here’s one. There are quite a few gels in the market that can handle your ant infestation for you. They are a little slow to act and are toxic.
But once you apply the gel to the entry point of the infestation or the area where the nest is, you will see very good results. Gels also work just like baits. They lure the ants out and the insect takes the bait because these gels are sweet.
Make sure no kids or pets are near the area because it can be poisonous. But the big advantage is that since these gels take time, they actually tempt the recon ants into taking this as food to the queen and might kill the entire colony. It sounds diabolical but if you don’t stop them, the colony is coming to you.
Check Out Aerosol Pesticides
Luckily for you, the number of solutions in the market might be an abundance because if liquid pesticides are not working for you, there are aerosols to try. If you don’t have the time or energy to mix a white vinegar or Borax solution, get a spray and it might just take care of the ant infestation.
There are plenty of products that are deadly for insects but perfectly safe for humans. That said, don’t spray it in your face because even though they might not kill you, you should not breathe them in. Their harmlessness factor when it comes to humans is relative.
In fact, if you spray more than you should, it might even lead to mild poisoning. So, be sure to wear gloves and a mask while spraying it. And keep your children and pets away from the areas where you are using the spray.
Get rid of the dead ants right away so that your pets don’t accidentally ingest the dead ants and the poison on their body.
Try Essential Oils
Another thing that works on ants like a charm is any kind of essential oil. This is because ants are said to be extremely sensitive to any kind of essential oil.
But if you are looking at an infestation and want a permanent solution, you must try a mix of tea tree oil and peppermint. It is a natural repellant that does not put you, the kids or pets in any danger.
These essential oils will kill the ants instantly and are good for outdoor areas too. The only drawback might be that it needs to be done consistently for a few weeks for it to be effective. Essential oils are used most to get rid of carpenter ants in the bathroom.
You must mix about 15 drops of tea tree oil with the same quantity of peppermint oil. Add 6-8 ounces of water along with half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper powder to the mix. Make sure the pepper powder dissolves completely and line up the bait.
Get an Exterminator
Sometimes these solutions might seem rather gentle because the infestation is quite aggressive. In those cases, instead of self-medicating, it is best to go for professional help.
If you have a seemingly debilitating ant infestation in your bathroom, you must call for an exterminator. They use a combination of potent chemicals to make sure that all the pests are killed. But they also do you one better by telling you where the problem originated and will fix it for you.
Sometimes, depending on the amount of work there is to be done, they might charge you a little extra but that is always the better way to go. Some companies also give you a guarantee for a period of time for a little extra cash. This way, the ants will not return for at least that amount of time.
There are quite a few ways to prevent ants from attacking your bathroom too. For instance, you should clean your drain pipes and surfaces of the bathroom regularly. And that’s a general hygiene rule.
But what you can do is make sure that there are no humid and wet spots in the corners of the bathroom that might attract ants.
You should also make sure that there are no cracks or crevices which leave room for the ants to enter. These are pretty much the basics. Take care of them and you will be just fine.