While you may expect to find an ant here or there around your house during the Summer, discovering a whole swarm of them can be pretty distressing. And unfortunately, it's not uncommon to find a whole colony of ants taking up residence in different rooms in your house — including your bathroom. They might be harmless, but any unwanted visitors in your home like insects can be pretty gross. Getting rid of ants may not be as difficult as other household pests (we're looking at you, bedbugs!), but it does require some planning. Keep reading to find out how.
Find the Cause
Before you start your battle with your new guests, it's important to figure out where the ants are coming from. Often, if you have ants in your bathroom, it's likely that a colony has made itself pretty comfortable somewhere in the bathroom, and they're probably not coming in for a quick visit. Inspect your bathroom to see if you can find the colony, or watch the ants to see if they lead you there. If you're lucky, the cause of your ant problem will be pretty obvious.
Identify the Species
Not all ants are alike, and identifying the type of ant you have could help in your fight against them. But it might take a bit of guesswork if you're not an insect expert. Most ants you find in your bathroom will be either carpenter ants or pharaoh ants. Carpenter ants are attracted to moisture and wood, so they may actually be a sign of a bigger moisture issue. Pharaoh ants like warm spots for their nests, and their colonies can grow to be pretty huge.
Try a Nontoxic Spray
Sprays are great for killing ants on contact. There are lots of ant sprays available on the market, and they can also act as a deterrent for other ants to enter your home. But there are a couple of things to be aware of when using an ant spray. First, you should use a nontoxic spray in smaller, less ventilated areas like your bathroom. And second, they won't get rid of your ant problem completely.
Set Some Traps
Even if you kill all of the ants you can see, they're still likely to come back. Plus, those little creatures are so small and can hide almost anywhere. That's why traps can be a good addition to your arsenal. Typically, they work by attracting the ants with "food" — which we know as poison. After they feed on it, they take it back to the colony and the idea is that they transfer it to the queen and kill the whole colony. And most traps are child-resistant, so you won't have to worry about your children ingesting the poison.
Clean Your Toilet
The truth about ants is that they're always looking for food. And as gross as it may sound, urine and other matter around your toilet is considered food. If you notice little ants around the edge of your toilet, this may be what's attracting them in the first place. Consider upping your cleaning routine and keeping the area in and around your toilet especially clean. Even a quick wipe with a disinfectant every day should help curb the problem.
Ensure Proper Drainage
In addition to being attracted to food, ants are attracted to moisture — and your bathroom can harbor a ton of moisture. Try to make sure you never leave any puddles or reservoirs of standing water for long periods of time. If your shower has a drainage problem, consider getting it fixed.
Replace Broken Tiles
Cracked or broken tiles provide the perfect living situation for ants. The cracks allow them to hide out of sight and out of danger, and often cracks in bathroom tiles are also moist to boot. If you have an ant problem, whether you notice them in the cracks or not, it's a good idea to replace the broken tiles. This can help you prevent the colony from spreading and making it their new home.
Keeping ants at bay from the get-go will help you prevent any future ant problems. If ants in the bathroom are a common problem for you, seal any cracks in the walls, floor, and elsewhere to give them fewer places to enter from outside and fewer places to live if they make it to your bathroom. You should also make sure your toilet has adequate caulking where it meets the floor.