If you’re anything like me, you may have fallen into the very common habit of eating and drinking right beside your laptop.
I can’t help it. It’s hard not to put my feet up and relax in front of a screen with some of my favorite snacks, especially with the endless libraries of Netflix, YouTube, and seemingly infinite online articles hosting pretty much any kind of entertainment I could ever want.
However, luxuries like this don’t come without their downsides.
No, I’m not talking about crumbs under the keys that make them hard to press, although it is related. I’m talking about ants in your laptop. Before I had ants in my laptop, I would have laughed if someone had told me that was even possible, but it truly is.
Worst of all, they can be a nightmare to take out.
If you thought getting rid of ants in your home was bad, try getting them specifically out of your laptop. That’s exactly what we’re going to be focusing on in today’s guide. Below is everything you need to know when it comes to getting rid of ants in your laptop.
I’m going to be covering every approach, from the harmless chemical-free techniques to the more nuclear options. Let’s jump into it.
Why Do I Have Ants in the First Place?
A valid question.
If you haven’t experienced ants in your laptop before, you’d probably laugh at the idea like I did. Seeing them roam around over your keyboard is a weird experience, and it’s safe to say you’re going to want to get rid of them as quickly as possible.
There’s something creepy about ants that makes my skin crawl.
There are two main reasons why the ants come in the first place.
Firstly, and most commonly, leftover food. Crumbs of food are a massive draw for ants. It’s their reason for living. I’ll speak more about this just below, but if you’re letting crumbs dust and fall into your laptop, you’re increasing the risk of getting ants.
The second reason is that it’s said ants are drawn to magnetic forces. This, and the fact that your laptop is warm after use, means your laptop is looking like a charming home indeed for a small ant colony. While this particular idea still needs proving, if you’re reading this then one of these reasons is true, so let’s start thinking about how to get them out again.
Stop Ants from Coming Entirely – A Simple Chemical-Free Approach
As with anything in life, prevention is always better than cure, which means stopping ants from coming and infesting your laptop in the first place. The easy way to do this is to stop eating at your laptop! Sounds simple, right?
If you’re anything like me and love binging with snacks, then this probably isn’t an option entirely, in which case, you need to be way more careful with where you’re eating. Put your laptop on a chair next to you, or at least away from your mouth further down your bed.
Do what you can to stop crumbs falling into your laptop.
The fewer crumbs in your laptop, the less chance you’ll have of getting ants turning up, and the less chance there will be of them returning. That’s important to remember because even if you clear them out but still treat your laptop in the same way, they’re just going to come back.
Using Anti-Ant Chemicals
If there’s food around your laptop for a long period of time, sooner or later the ants are going to come, but using some anti-ant chemicals can be a great way to stop them from getting close, even when you leave your laptop unattended.
Once your laptop is free from ants, or to stop them coming in the first place, place a naphthalene ball or mothball near your device. Ants despise these balls.
This might not be entirely effective against some species of ants. Still, if you have some mothballs laying around your house, it can be an affordable method to try, as you can find them for pretty cheap online.
The Water Platform Technique
Suppose you’re looking for an approach that’s simple, effective, and doesn’t require buying anything. In that case, this is the method you’re looking for. All you need to do is build a platform above water for your laptop to sit on, and then leave it overnight.
The best way to do this is to get a plate or large bowl, fill it with water to near-enough the top, and then place four upside cups in it. The taller the cups, the better, but you can use whatever you want. The most important thing is that the platform is stable and won’t fall over or break.
You then position your laptop on top of the platform, again, making sure it won’t fall over, and leave the screen either open or closed. Now the important bit. You need to create one single exit point for the ants to get out of the laptop.
I used a fork and created a little ladder for them to explore, but a pencil, pen, or a bit of cardboard or metal will do fine. It needs to be slim, however. From here, you just leave your laptop overnight, and the ants will be gone by the morning!
This method works because ants hate being above water. When the scouts of the ant colony come out to explore the area, they’ll see the setup and know it’s time to relocate.
The important tip to remember here is not to leave your laptop in the position where it’s going to fall over, i.e. if you have kids running around. Nobody wants to deal with a wet or broken laptop, as well as one with ants inside it.
Using a Borax Bait
A very common, inexpensive, and effective way to rid ants from your laptop, and indeed any part of your home, is to use a Borax bait. Simply purchase a Borax bait set online and mix it up with a sweet treat that ants won’t be able to resist. Sugar mixed with water usually gets the job done.
Put the bait liquid into a small dish next to your laptop and leave the set up overnight. When the ants come out to look for food, they won’t be able to resist the bait, they will come across the trap which will kill them. If you want something a little stronger, you can add your own insecticide in with your Borax trap for extra potency.
I recommend using the Terro Liquid Ant Bait Ant Killer. It contains 12 individual, ready-to-use bait stations. Just take a bait station, mix it with your water, and leave. It’s simple, effective, and works.
If more ants turn up, then you’ve got several more stations to go again!
Using a Vacuum Cleaner
If you have experience with laptops and the hardware that goes into them, you could easily open your device up and vacuum the ants out. However, you need to make sure you know what you’re doing.
When you open a laptop up, usually by unscrewing the rear panel, there’s a lot of sensitive circuitry and equipment, and even moving a component a tiny bit can break your computer, as it might unhook some vital cable or cause a short circuit between two closely positioned metal connectors.
The method is as easy as opening the computer up and vacuuming the ants out, but if you don’t trust yourself to open it, then don’t do it. You could take your laptop to a computer hardware store where they could do it for you, as well as removing the ants on your behalf.
Use a Pest Control Service
By far the most expensive method to remove ants on this list is to hire the help of a professional. You should only really be using this approach if you really can’t get rid of your ants, or you have them in your home as well as in your laptop and want to fully get rid of them.
The cost will, of course, depend on the individual service you choose to use, so make sure you’re researching available pest control services in your area and choosing which is best for you. Each specialist will have both chemical and chemical-free services, so pick whichever suits you.
Does Having Ants in Your Laptop Damage it?
Just in case you’re wondering, yes, having ants in your laptop can be extremely damaging to your device. The longer you leave the ants in your laptop unattended, the higher the risk of damage.
Ants can damage your laptop in several ways. Since they roam around and make a home for their colony, there’s a risk of them biting through computer chips and wires, which would most probably render your laptop unusable.
Another problem is that a lot of ants in your hardware can cause the air not to flow through your device correctly, ultimately leading it to overheat. Whether your laptop is overheating or not working like it used to, if you see ants roaming around, you’re going to want to get the problem sorted as quickly as possible.
The more damage that’s caused, the more expensive it will be to fix. In extreme circumstances, it may be entirely impossible for fix altogether, so don’t leave ants in your laptop for too long!