Anthills – how to spot and get rid of them

[] In this article, we dig a little deeper and find out details about ant holes and also share a few simple tricks to help you truly get rid of them.

Let’s admit it, we all have felt distressed with the sight of ants parading through our house countless times. The more upsetting matter is that there’s always more to just the line of ants that we see. One of the best approaches to get rid of these insects is to trace them back to their nests. In this article, we dig a little deeper and find out details about ant holes and also share a few simple tricks to help you truly get rid of them.

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What are anthills?

Ants are hive-minded social insects that live and work in groups. They live in ant house /ant holes known as anthills. Anthills are underground ant homes where the worker ants stack up soil gathered during chamber construction and tunnelling, close to the entrance, forming a mounded nest. Anthills are mainly made of mud, sand, or clay. They help ants keep the temperature and climate of their nests in control. Ants move their broods to different locations within the ant house name  at different intervals of the day.

Anthills Source – Pinterest

What does the interior of an ant hole look like?

An anthill can be distinguished into parts – one underneath and one visible above the ground. The interior of an ant house has an intriguing system of chambers/rooms interlinked by tunnels. Anthills are made efficiently to satisfy as many requirements as possible. The anthills can have 26 – 28 ° C temperature even when snowing outside. 

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How big can an anthill be?

The size of ant houses can vary greatly. They can range from tiny ones to huge ones with a height of 65 ft! 

How long-standing can an anthill be?

Numerous anthills are believed to be surviving for more than several hundred years. The longevity of an anthill depends on factors like the environment and the species of ants building the anthill. The colonies of woodland/Formica ants survive longer since they have an arrangement of multiple queens (polygyny). On the other hand, the monogyne colonies don’t live longer than their queen.

What are satellite nests?

Many species of ants don’t limit themselves to a single nest. The additional nests are called satellite nests. No other ants or insects are permitted to reside in the area managed by the mother colony.

Picture of Ants

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Source: Pinterest

How to spot an ant infestation inside your home?

Wood shavings beneath beams can be a sign of carpenter ants. Heaps of dead ants are another sign that indicates the existence of ant holes nearby. Ants need moisture, routes to wet food, leaked pipes, etc., can help track ant holes.

How to get rid of ant holes?

  • Diatomaceous earth (silicon dioxide)

Diatomaceous earth eliminates ant houses by absorbing oils present in the skeleton of ants. Food-grade diatomaceous earth is readily available online. Even though it isn’t poisonous, it should not contact the skin.

Diatomaceous earth (silicon dioxide)Source: Pinterest

  • Liquid detergent and glass cleaner

Ants use a scented pheromone track that helps them with directions. Spraying a mixture of liquid detergent and glass cleaner on ant-infested areas helps eliminate the scent and prevent them from entering your home again and building ant houses.


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Source: Pinterest

  • Tea tree oil

anthill 5Source:  Pinterest

Ants hate the scent of tea tree oil as it acts as an excellent ant repellant. Tea tree oil can be purchased from local grocery stores or online. 5-10 drops of the oil need to be mixed with 2 cups of water and sprayed in places where ants are usually spotted.


  • Boiling water

Pouring boiling water into the openings of anthills is an instant and cheap way of killing many ants.

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anthill 6Source: Pinterest

  • White vinegar

Apart from being a natural cleaning agent, white vinegar also acts as an effective insect repellent. A 1-1 mix of water and vinegar can be used to smother a large number of ants and destroy ant houses.

anthill 7Source: Pinterest

  • Neem oil

Neem is a natural insecticide. Besides ants, neem oil is also used to kill aphids (small sap-sucking insects).

anthill 8Source: Pinterest

  • Boric acid

It is reported that boric acid can kill certain worker ants and their queens within 2-3 weeks of contact. Spraying a mixture of ½ tsp boric acid, 8 tsp sugar and 1 cup of warm water will kill ants by eroding their stomach and outer shells.

Boric acid

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Source: Pinterest

  • Professional help

The methods mentioned above can only help provide a temporary solution to your ant problems. Ants typically live in well-protected places. Although it is possible to kill a few working ants visible to us, it’s almost impossible to harm the large ant colony living underneath. Hence, it is always advised to call for professional help to deal with persistent ant problems. Only professionals have the proper knowledge and tools to penetrate deeper into the problem and help you bid goodbye to ant houses. 

Professional helpSource: Pinterest

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Debora Berti

Università degli Studi di Firenze, IT

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