Figuring out how to get rid of ants in your carpet can be a little tricky. These insects are relentless, and carpet isn’t the easiest thing to keep clean!
This guide will teach you everything you need to know about dealing with ants in carpet. From how to get rid of them to ways to prevent them from coming back, we’ve got you covered!
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What Causes Ants To Get In Your Carpet?
When most people think of ant infestations, they picture the usual spots like kitchens and bathrooms. Ants are hungry little insects constantly searching for food that they can bring back to the nest. So it often comes as a surprise when you suddenly see a ton of ants in your carpet.
Seeing ants in carpet isn’t normal, and it usually indicates a particular type of issue.
Ants only go where they can find food. In most cases, scouts discover a viable food source and create a scent trail for workers to follow. Then, the transportation line commences, and hundreds of ants move from the food source to the nest.
If you see ants on your carpet, there’s a good chance it’s riddled with food remnants! It might not seem dirty at first glance. But even after vacuuming, it’s possible for food crumbs and residue to be left behind.
The core design of a carpet makes it pretty difficult to keep pristine. It doesn’t take much for food to fall into the fibers, getting trapped and disappearing forever. If the carpet is in a high-traffic area, the constant pressure from footsteps only pushes the food deeper into the fibers, eventually compacting it.
Where’s the food coming from? It could come from anywhere! If you’re prone to snacking in your living room, there’s your answer. The food can also come from sloppy kids, hungry pets, and more.
If it’s not food to blame, a rotting subfloor might also be the cause of ants in the carpet. Rotting wood is often the byproduct of unnoticed moisture exposure. You might have a leak somewhere, causing the wood to deteriorate over time.
Moist and rotting wood is like a feast for ants. While food is the priority most people talk about, water is right up there with it. A water-damaged floorboard is a perfect place to get water for the colony.
Unfortunately, carpet often masks structural issues like this. It stretches from wall to wall, creating enough tension to prevent you from realizing that the floor sinks with every step!
The only way to check and correct this problem would be to rip up the carpet entirely.
How Long Can They Live In Your Carpet?
Seeing ants in your carpet carries good news and bad news.
The bad news is that you’re dealing with a pretty severe infestation. If ants have gone past your kitchen and entryway to make their way into a carpeted room, it’s too easy for bugs to get into your home. You have a potentially serious problem on your hands, and you need to address it.
The good news is that you don’t have to worry about ants setting up a colony in your carpets. Contrary to what some might believe, carpets are nothing like the grass-filled surfaces of your backyard.
Those fine carpet fibers are difficult to maneuver, even for a tiny ant. It can’t support life and is an awful place to set up a colony. As a result, ants won’t try to set up shop and call your precious carpets home despite the abundant food source. They’re incapable of living in, on, or under the carpet.
Most are simply passing through. The ants you see are likely going to the nest or making an additional trip to grab more food. They’re transient and cannot live in your carpets for extended periods.
Expert Tip: It’s worth noting that this doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. Ants could set up a colony nearby, but it won’t be in the carpet itself.
How To Get Rid Of Ants In Carpet
Dealing with ants in any part of your home can be challenging. These pests are surprisingly resilient, and the sheer number can be daunting. When you throw the complex surface of a carpet into the mix, it can feel impossible to figure out how to get rid of ants in the carpet.
Luckily, you have options. Here are a few ways you can address the problem.
1. Vacuum More Often
Of course, you should always start by finding the source of the problem. Don’t be afraid to get an inspection to look under your carpet and make sure that a rotting subfloor isn’t to blame. Structural damage and water leaks require immediate attention.
Once you rule that out, you can turn to one of the more obvious solutions: Vacuuming.
Stray food is the most common item that attracts ants. As we mentioned earlier, your carpet can look almost pristine. But that doesn’t mean it’s not hiding some remnant between those fibers.
Vacuuming is the best way to start getting rid of the ants in your carpet. Double down on your vacuuming habits, and consider making it more regular. Focus on the critical problem areas where you see ants. Also, prioritize the spots where food is more likely to fall.
Expert Tip: When you’re done vacuuming, empty the canister or toss the bag outside. Please don’t put it in your kitchen bin! The ants can easily survive and escape.
Above all else, have a conversation with your family about their eating habits! Vacuuming won’t do you any good if someone comes right in after you to spill food everywhere! You don’t have to change the rules all at once, but everyone in the home should be more mindful about how food gets into your carpets.
2. Place Bait
In addition to vacuuming, try placing bait traps. Ant bait is pretty universal. These pests aren’t super picky, so there’s no shortage of formulas. You can even make your own DIY bait trap (more on that later).
Commercial ant traps are easily accessible and take the stress out of dealing with ant issues.
The concept is simple: Ants in your carpet will think that the bait is real food. Because of this, they take some of it and bring it back to the colony for consumption later. Many ants will feast on the bait that scouts and workers bring in.
Baits typically include chemicals that will kill the ants in your carpet. It might destroy their central nervous system or dehydrate them. Either way, the process is slow-going.
As a result, many ants will eat the food before the colony becomes aware of the poison. It’s a sinister but effective way to eradicate entire nests!
Bait traps come in many forms. Some come with plastic containers, making setup as easy as placing the traps throughout the carpeted area. However, other products come in liquid, granule, and gel forms.
In those cases, you might have to make your own bait station using scrap pieces of paper. Plop some of the bait on the paper and set it on the carpet for easy ant access.
Alternatively, you can squirt some liquid and gel into any voids the ants are using. Pay attention to how they move between the carpet and the nest. If they’re utilizing cracks and gaps, fill them with the bait.
3. Spread Powder
If the baits aren’t getting rid of the ants in your carpet, try insecticidal powders. There are many products on the market today. They have unique formulas, but they work in similar ways.
Expert Tip: Some are chemical-based, so you’ll want to consider the safety of children and pets before applying the product. If you’re worried about residue, plenty of natural alternatives don’t cause issues.
Sprinkle the powder onto the carpet and work it into the fibers. A rake is a great tool to have on hand. Lightly moving the rake over the carpet can help distribute the product for maximum effect.
The powder doesn’t have to get onto the ants directly. It can sit and wait until ants come around. Once the bugs step into the powder, it’ll dehydrate them, killing them in no time.
How Can You Get Rid Of Them Naturally?
Want to get rid of ants in your carpet naturally? We don’t blame you. Natural pest control is becoming increasingly popular as homeowners become more aware of the chemicals inside the products they use at home.
Natural ant-killers can sometimes be just as effective as the more potent commercial stuff. But they’re cheaper, safer, and use items you already have around your pantry!
Here are a few popular natural solutions for killing ants in your carpet.
Sprinkle Baking Soda
Baking soda is a pretty innocent-looking powder. We use it in baked goods, and ants see it as nothing more than another edible product.
However, ants can’t eat baking soda. If they do, the powder dehydrates them internally. They can die a slow and painful death from ingesting the powder, making it a powerful tool in your natural pest-control arsenal.
Some homeowners see good results by simply sprinkling baking soda around the carpet or putting some out on a dish. The latter method is the cleaner route.
But if you want to increase the chances of ants taking the bait, try mixing the baking soda with powdered sugar. Ants love sugary foods, so the mixture is irresistible to the pests! But powdered sugar also has the same consistency as baking soda.
Combining the two creates a lethal mix that ants won’t even realize is dangerous until it’s too late.
If you don’t have any baking soda, you can try borax. Borax is an everyday cleaning pantry staple. However, it’s also pretty lethal to ants and other bugs.
The issue comes from digestibility. Borax can wreak havoc on an ant’s system, interfering so much with the digestive system that the bug dies!
The best way to use borax to get rid of ants in your carpet is to mix it with powdered sugar for palatability. You want the ants to think the bait is nothing but free food. You can also combine borax with baking soda if you have both on hand. They’ll take the bait as long as the powdered sugar is there.
Expert Tip: Whatever you do, don’t use cornmeal or cornstarch. It’s a common myth that those corn-based products work. However, they aren’t as effective as old wives’ tales say.
Ants can eat cornmeal and cornstarch without issues, so sprinkling the powders around may only attract more ants to the area. Please stick with borax and baking soda instead!
Use Diatomaceous Earth
If you’ve never used diatomaceous earth, you’re in for a life-changing treat! This fine powder is ground-up fossilized remains of diatoms. We won’t get into the scientific details here, but the fossilized remains are made of silica.
When ground up, they create a fine powder that’s perfectly safe for humans to handle. But on a microscopic level, the individual pieces are like knives! Diatomaceous earth creates tons of little cuts all over the ant’s body.
Even with a waxy protective exoskeleton, the powder gets through to bleed ants out. It effectively dehydrates the bug, causing death faster than bait traps.
To use diatomaceous earth, sprinkle it onto your carpet and directly onto ants. You can also work it into the carpet fibers and wait for the ants to stumble on the powder. Either way, it won’t take long for you to have hundreds of dead, dehydrated bugs on your carpet.
Expert Tip: If using this treatment method, consider using food-grade diatomaceous earth to be on the safe side.
Peppermint Oil Spray
Here’s a fresh-smelling method to get rid of ants in your carpet. This trick might not kill the ants on contact. However, it will drive them away and might keep them from coming back!
Ants hate the smell of peppermint oil. They can’t stand other strong essential oils like citrus and eucalyptus, either. It’s far too strong for their delicate senses, so ants will actively avoid the oil and its aroma.
You can use that fact to your advantage and create an all-natural deterrent spray. Add a few drops of the oil to a quart of clean water. Give the bottle a good shake and start spraying!
Apply the mixture onto your carpet. Once again, work the fibers to facilitate deep saturation. If you get the mixture into the base of the carpet, it’ll stick around much longer.
If you know how ants get in before accessing your carpet, spray that area as well. Apply it to windows, doors, cracks, and voids to turn your home into an ant-free zone!
If you don’t have any essential oils on hand, you can use cucumber peels.
Ants aren’t too fond of the vegetable peels. Spread them around the carpet and watch the ants move away. Don’t forget to toss the peels after a few hours!
Lemon & Dish Soap
Lemon juice and dish soap are both robust liquid solutions for dealing with ants in carpet. You can dilute the lemon juice or citrus oil in some water. Or, you can combine them with soapy water and deliver a one-two punch of extermination.
These two solutions work a little differently than the peppermint oil from above. They can deter ants, but they do so by eliminating the scent trail.
Scout ants are responsible for finding food. Once they do, they create a scent trail that other worker ants will follow to bring food into the nest. By covering that scent trail, you’re leaving the ants in the dark.
They’ll get lost trying to find your carpet, eventually dying from exposure!
How To Keep Ants Away From Your Carpet In The Future
Even after addressing the existing infestation of ants in your carpet, there’s always a chance that they will come back. So, how can you stop them before they become an issue?
Your best bet is to maintain a clean home. Stick to your newfound vacuum routine and be more proactive about cleaning messes. Spray your carpets regularly and consider turning some of the recommended natural remedies into preventative treatments.
One of the most impactful ways to stop ants from ending up in your carpet in the future is to change how you and your family consume food. You might consider turning your living room and bedrooms into no-food zones (getting rid of ants in your bedroom can be challenging). Leave snacking to the kitchen and dining room.
That way, you can easily clean up messes and prevent crumbs from getting stuck on your carpet.
Is Ant Spray A Viable Option?
You can apply a pesticide spray to your carpets. But for most homeowners, it’s not a viable option.
The issue is that pesticide sprays leave residue behind. It’s hard enough to keep carpets clean. Worrying about chemical residues on those tiny fibers is far too much.
Spraying your carpets could make your kids, your pets, and even yourself sick. It’s best to stick with other treatment options and leave the pesticide sprays to other areas of your home.
Can You Use Vinegar For Ants In Your Carpet?
Contrary to what you might have heard, vinegar isn’t the best choice for killing ants in your carpet. Some people swear by the efficiency of white vinegar. But against ants, it’s nothing more than a minor nuisance.
You might see results using apple cider vinegar to eradicate scent trails. But even then, the effectiveness isn’t the best.
Vinegar can do more harm than good. The powerful acids can discolor your carpet. Plus, there’s the awful smell the liquid leaves behind!
Feel free to use white vinegar on smooth surfaces like your kitchen floors. However, it’s best to try other options for your carpet.
Now that you know how to get rid of ants in the carpet, it’s time to take action. Don’t forget that cleaning and treatment is only one part of the process, you need to maintain a clean carpet in the future as well.
If you’re dealing with ants in your carpet and are having some trouble, feel free to ask for some advice. We’ll get back to you as soon as we can.