Finding ants crawling through your carpet can be annoying and concerning. Not only do these pests make a mess, but they can also damage your carpets by staining them or compromising the padding underneath. Getting rid of ants in carpets quickly is important to prevent further issues.
At Eagle’s Eye Carpet Cleaning, we have over 10 years of experience dealing with ant infestations in carpets. We know how frustrating it can be to have these unwanted pests ruining your floors. That’s why we’ve put together this comprehensive guide on getting rid of ants in your carpets for good.
Why Are There Ants in My Carpet?
Ants invade homes in search of food and shelter. If you have ants in your carpets, there are a few likely reasons:
Food residue in carpet fibers – Bits of food, crumbs, and sticky spills provide food for ants. Carpet fibers trap these food particles, giving ants an easy meal.
Moisture – Leaks, spills, and high humidity attract ants and provide the damp environment they seek.
Access from outdoors – Ant colonies live outdoors until they find a way to enter your home. Damaged weatherstripping, cracks in the foundation, and other access points allow ants to march inside.
Nearby ant colony – If ants have colonized inside or just outside your home, workers will forage far and wide in search of food. Carpets nearby provide opportunistic ants access to crumbs and moisture.
Properly identifying the ant species invading your carpet provides clues about where the colony is located and how to remove it. Common ant species include:
Pavement ants – Forage up to 30 feet from their outdoor nests for sweets and grease. Follow their trails back outside to find the colony.
Odorous house ants – Seek out sweets and love to nest inside wall voids. Bait them away from the nest site.
Carpenter ants – Nest in moist wood, including hardwood floors and wood framing. Their presence likely indicates moisture damage.
How to Get Rid of Ants in Carpet
Getting rid of ants in your carpets involves three key steps – vacuuming, using ant baits, and eliminating access.
Vacuum Ants and Debris Thoroughly
Thoroughly vacuuming the carpets removes ants, eggs, food particles, and ant pheromone trails. Vacuuming discourages ants by:
- Removing food sources like crumbs and sticky spills
- Sucking up ants, including workers and queen ants
- Eliminating chemical ant trails used for navigation
Vacuum carpets daily until the ant problem resolves. Pay special attention to areas with heavy ant traffic. Use the crevice tool along baseboards and floor edges. Empty the vacuum contents into a sealed bag and dispose of it in an outdoor trash can immediately so ants don’t escape back into your home.
Use Ant Baits
Ant baits are a highly effective way to eliminate ants in your home for good. Bait contains a tasty attractant combined with a slow-acting insecticide. Foraging worker ants carry bits of the bait back to the nest to share with the rest of the colony. Within days to weeks, the entire colony, including queens, will die.
Gel Baits – Great for precise outdoor placement along foraging trails and indoor use in corners, cracks, or crevices where you see ants.
Liquid Baits – Liquid baits include sugary formulas ideal for sweet-loving ants like Argentine ants. Use indoors by saturating cotton balls.
Granular Baits – Sprinkle granules along outdoor trails. Granules can also be placed in bait stations indoors.
Position baits along ant trails and areas with ant activity. Replenish baits according to product instructions until ant activity ceases completely. Combining ant baits with residual sprays or other methods will reduce effectiveness. Allow baits to work before using other treatments.
Eliminate Access and Attractants
Solving the source of the issue is key for preventing future ants in carpets.
Seal entry points – Seal openings where ants enter like cracks and gaps along the foundation, damaged weatherstripping, and ripped door seals.
Fix moisture issues – Repair water leaks and use a dehumidifier to maintain indoor humidity below 50%. Moisture attracts ants and allows mold growth.
Manage food sources – Promptly clean up all food spills. Store pet food in sealed containers and clean up after pets promptly. Manage trash and recycling properly by using bins with tight-fitting lids.
Freshen carpets – Shampoo carpets and use carpet powders to remove odors that attract ants. Rinse thoroughly and allow carpets to dry completely.
Treat the perimeter – Apply a perimeter treatment like deltamethrin spray around the foundation to repel ants from entering your home from outdoor colonies.
8 DIY Ways to Remove Ants From Carpet
Along with vacuuming, baiting, and access elimination, the following common household products can help you remove ants from your carpets through DIY treatment:
1. Dish Soap
Dish soap like Dawn effectively kills ants and also removes the scent trails they use to navigate back to food. Mix 2 tablespoons of dish soap with 2 cups of water in a spray bottle. Liberally spray down areas of your carpet with ant activity. The soap solution will kill them on contact and erase pheromone trails.
2. White Vinegar
White vinegar is acidic enough to kill ants. Use it undiluted or mix equal parts vinegar and water. Spray it directly onto ants on your carpet. Vinegar also removes strong-smelling food odors that attract ants. Rinse the carpet with clean water once the ants are gone.
3. Diatomaceous Earth
The microscopic, sharp edges of diatomaceous earth damage the waxy coating on ants causing dehydration. Lightly dust it along baseboards, under furniture edges, and anywhere else ants travel. Wear a mask when applying to avoid breathing in the dust.
Borax is a natural mineral salt that acts as a stomach poison when ingested by ants. Mix equal parts borax and powdered sugar to attract ants. Sprinkle it onto cardboard and place in areas of ant activity away from children and pets. The ants take the bait back to the colony and feed it to the queen.
5. Lemon Juice
Lemon juice kills ants and repels new ones from entering the area. The citric acid damages ants on contact. Either spray lemon juice directly onto ants in your carpet or combine equal parts juice and water in a spray bottle. You can also rub lemon wedges and peels along baseboards.
6. Peppermint Oil
Peppermint oil deter ants with its strong smell. Mix 15-20 drops of peppermint essential oil into a spray bottle filled with water. Lightly mist areas of your carpet where you see ants or want to repel them. Avoid using too much oil, as this could stain light carpets.
Chalk works similarly to diatomaceous earth by irritating ants’ bodies and drying them out. Draw chalk lines around areas of ant activity. The calcium carbonate in chalk disrupts the waxy cuticles on ants’ bodies, causing dehydration.
8. Cucumber Peels
Cucumber peelings contain bitter-tasting chemicals that naturally repel ants. Place fresh cucumber peel segments in areas where ants are spotted in your carpet. You can also rub peels along baseboards and windowsills to deter ants. Replace peels daily.
When to Call a Professional Exterminator
For severe ant infestations inside carpets, calling a professional pest control company may be necessary. Licensed exterminators have access to commercial-grade insecticide baits, sprays, and dusts. They use specialized equipment to inject chemicals into wall voids and cracks where ants harbor out of sight.
Getting a professional carpet cleaning after ants are eliminated also helps revitalize carpets by:
- Removing eggs and lingering pheromones
- Lifting out deep-seated debris
- Killing remaining ants with high-heat steam
- Deodorizing carpets to discourage future ants
Signs it’s time to call in the pros include:
- Ants continue coming back after thorough DIY treatment
- Numerous ant colonies in various rooms
- Ants nesting inside flooring, walls, or baseboards
- Unsure of exact ant species to target treatment
- Need access to wall voids or cracks to reach nests
- Desire a warranty backing treatment results
At Eagle’s Eye Carpet Cleaning, we offer both eco-friendly pest control and expert carpet cleaning services to eradicate ants and revitalize your floors. Our techs identify ant species and use targeted baits and insecticides to kill them inside and out. We back our ant removal services with