Swatting away a few ants or using a magnifier to burn them off is something everyone can do. The problem is dealing with massive colonies and large ant hills that aren’t visible.
So, if you want to know how to get rid of large ant hills & colonies, you’ll first need to familiarize yourself with ant behavior, different types of killing methods, and the various types of products you can use.
How Ant Hills Work
Before getting into more detail on how to deal with ant hills and colonies, as well as dealing with different ant species, it’s important to understand how ant hills work. Knowing how they’re built, what purpose they serve, and what goes on inside, will give you a better foundation to start with and will also help you make better decisions when it comes to extermination methods.
Ant hills are complex structures. Each hill features an entire network of chambers and tunnels, created by careful earth displacement done by the worker ants. Some chambers are for resting, others house the eggs, while some serve as food storage.
The eggs are usually located in the deeper chambers, at least during the night. During the day, eggs are transported by worker ants to their queen. This is important, as it will affect the time of day when you should treat an ant hill, depending on the species and method or eradication.
Ant hills can house colonies of millions of ants. That’s because worker ants work tirelessly to create new tunnels, new chambers, and expand the colony’s home. It’s a cycle that can go on forever or until something disrupts them.
How to Find an Ant Hill
Believe it or not, not all ant hills will perch graciously over the grass line for you to see them. The majority will likely be hidden underground. This can pose a few problems and challenges. For one, you may have to buy a lot of bait and start spreading it all over your property.
Secondly, the ant hills could be outside your property line but the ants might still visit you for food. This may make it even more difficult to deal with the problem. Finding the ant hill is your first priority. However, this might require a bit of patience.
You’ll have to follow the ants. They almost always use the same path, because they’re guided by pheromones, back to their hill. Place some bait in a high-ant-traffic area and watch where the ants are going.
Method One – Boiling Water
Pouring boiling water over an ant hill is one of the quickest ways to cause it to crash down. You can collapse an entire network of tunnels by doing this and most of the ants will die instantly when they come in contact with boiling water.
Prepare a pot of steaming hot water and pour it over the entry point. With that in mind, you should understand that this might not kill all the ants in the colony. Ants that are still roaming around for food won’t die. Also, some of the deeper chambers may also survive.
But, this will cause serious damage to the colony and it will take the ants a long time to recover, giving you some breathing room.
Method Two – Homemade Boric Acid Solution
Boric acid has been used for a long time as the premier weapon against ant colonies. It’s an efficient ant killer and can be dispersed easily on top of a hill, as the insecticide comes in powder form. Because it kills on contact, it can take care of an entire ant hill rather quickly.
But, it also needs some help. Since it has no broadcasting capabilities, it’s worth mixing it in a solution with water and sugar. Sugar will draw ants and the boric acid will kill them. It also disguises the chemical. Finally, when using a watery boric acid solution, you’ll also be able to pour it directly into the ant hill, making sure that it reaches deep into the tunnel network.
Method Three – Bait Stations
Bait stations are another effective way of killing off entire ant colonies. But, they may take a while to work. Bait stations often involve a pesticide that acts as a slow-release poison. It is often masked with bait.
With that said, there are two types of bait stations. There are bait stations that drown ants. They draw them in with the bait and ants either drown themselves in the bait station or die when coming in contact with the pesticide.
Then, there are bait stations which hold slow-release poisons. Ants will be drawn to the bait station, take the bait, carry it back to the ant hill, and spread the poison among other ants. This is one of the most efficient ways to kill off ant queens and get rid of their eggs too.
Method Four – Granules
Some ant killers come in granulated form. These act just like slow-release poison bait stations. Ants will carry the granules back to the ant hill and spread the poison among other ants. But, if you opt for granules, you can spread them all over your property.
This is helpful when you simply can’t locate the ant hill. However, you should be careful with granules. They could be harmful to pets and children, and they could easily get picked up by anyone else other than ants.
Do You Spray Your Property with Insecticides?
Although there are many spray insecticides that can kill ants quickly, you should know that their efficiency will depend on various conditions. For example, rain could easily wash off the formula or dilute it to the point where it will no longer kill ants on contact.
The residual control of spray formulas is not very impressive either. Compared to powders and granules, which may be able to handle some watering, sprays won’t last as long. There’s also a concern about introducing insecticides to your edible crops, so keep that it mind when deciding which products to use.
A Final Tip on Dealing with Ant Colonies
The products used to eradicate ant colonies outside will often be different than the ones used inside your home. Make sure that you don’t use the same product inside and outside unless the ingredients are acceptable, pet- and child-safe, and if the weather resistance of the formula is adequate.