A constant stream of ants on a patio can quickly spoil a space typically used for relaxation. Your first thought might be, where are they coming from, and why do I have so many ants on my patio? Typically, the ant colony nest is close by if you spot ants on your patio.
Ants will invade a patio for one of three reasons; there’s a food source on the patio, the patio is a pathway to food, or the patio is in close proximity to the colony’s nest. It may turn out that the ants’ nest is situated underneath your patio, which is worse than them being on your patio only as you will need to destroy the nest to have relief from the ant infestation.
Patios are made for family, friends, and relaxation. For most people, it’s a space of tranquility, a haven where you can enjoy some peace while some meat is grilling on the BBQ. This picture-perfect setting can quickly lose its appeal when ants take over your patio space, typically during the summer months, looking for food. What can you do to stop them?
What’s The Reason For Ants On My Patio?
Ants’ nests are typically built close to a house, whichever spot is closest to the food source inside or outside. Patios make ideal nesting spots, as the soil found beneath the concrete is typically soft and perfect for tunneling a nest between joists that are not sealed with a sealant or cracked.
You may not be able to regulate the cause of these pests’ attraction to your porch, but luckily you can deter the ants from returning to the porch surface.
So why do ants always seem to end up on a patio?
The Ants’ Colony Is Located Close To Your Patio
Ants establish their nests in the ground and construct sophisticated tunnels and chambers below to store eggs, food, and their young. The telltale indication of an anthill is a little mound of earth with an entrance at the top. Anthills can be found worldwide, and in this case, on your patio or nearby.
Ants have been observed to establish nests in cracks in the pavement, within lawns, and near or behind houses. Ants will sometimes find their way indoors when looking for food, and if they discover a good source of food, they will leave a trail that will attract other ants, resulting in an interior ant infestation.
If you find ants on your patio, the chances are that the colony is close by and could be right under your nose – a nest built below your patio!
Helpful Hint: Should you spot little anthills around your patio, or even worse on top of your patio, typically around stress cracks, you are dealing with an ant infestation. Ant nests are built close to curb edges, sidewalk cracks, underneath your patio paving, or right next to it.
Your Patio Supplies A Source Of Food To The Ants
Before you get angry at the never-ending row of ants, who seemingly have an endless supply of militant staff, you need to look closely at where they are marching to. Don’t be surprised if the ants’ holy grail turns out to be your garbage bin.
Ants are always on a mission to find food, and when they find it, they will unashamedly help themselves until the food source is depleted. Barbeque leftovers will keep them busy for days. Some will inadvertently end up in the garbage disposal truck, and not even that dark fate will deter them.
Helpful Hint: Don’t leave garbage bins on your patio, and clean up after a barbeque.
Ants Are Using Your Patio As A Path To Get Inside Your House
Ants are among nature’s most well-organized organisms. Every ant has a specific job, and the colony collaborates to keep the community alive, safe and fed. Scouts, or worker ants, will leave their colony searching for food.
They leave pheromones or chemicals behind to help them find their way back to the nest. In some situations, they will go far from their nests, relying on their antennae or other senses to locate a suitable food source.
They lay down more chemicals once they identify a food supply, which the rest of the colony will utilize to return to that food source until it is depleted. Ants use their antennae to follow the pheromone trail, which feels along the ground to detect the chemicals.
The scouting ants may have missioned across your patio on their way to the inside of your house, leaving a chemical trail across the patio for the others to follow, and that’s why they are constantly moving across your patio.
Why Do Ants Enter Your Home?
Most of the time, ants are inside your home hunting for food. It only takes one scout to find a morsel of food to return to the nest, leaving a chemical trail for other ants to follow.
Ants are most likely to be discovered in the kitchen because it is the easiest place in the house to find food.
How Do Ants Enter Your Home?
Ants are little insects that can enter homes and other structures through even the tiniest openings. They may detect flaws and holes not immediately visible from the outside and beneath the surface since they build their nests underground.
Cracks in the foundation and any apertures in the outside walls for ventilation drains or cables can and will be used to access your house.
Ants can also enter through cracks indoors, which is why door sweeps that extend to the ground are essential on garage doors, front doors, and any other outside doors.
How To Stop Ants Crossing Your Patio
Without destroying the whole ant nest, the flow of ants will continue on your porch and in your house. There are innovative ways to get rid of these pesky critters and some remedies you can make from items found in your house:
Glass Cleaner Will Deter And Kill Ants
As mentioned earlier in the article, ants leave a pheromone trail for other ants to direct them to a food source. These ant trails are easily identified on surfaces. Take some glass cleaner, and a spray bottle, mixing the cleaner with some liquid detergent.
Spraying ants directly with this mixture will kill them immediately, but also make sure to spray their trails so that their ant colleagues can’t smell the trail. Mopping the patio with this mixture should give you some relief from the militant ants.
A concoction of water and white vinegar can also be used in place of glass cleaner and liquid detergent.
Natural Oils Will Repel Ants From Your Patio
Some natural oils make excellent insect repellents. Mix some of the following oils with water in a spray bottle, and spray the patio’s perimeter:
- Cinnamon Leaf Oil
- Neem Oil
- Peppermint Oil
- Oil Of Lemon Eucalyptus Oil
- Any Citrus Oil
- Lemon Eucalyptus Oil
Dipping cotton balls in oils and placing them close to anthills and along the patio perimeter should do the trick, as ants can’t handle the smell of the above-listed oils.
Here is a great and helpful video on getting rid of ants naturally:
Boiling Water Will Kill Ants On Your Patio
Put the kettle on, wait until the water is boiling, and throw it on the ants. The boiling water method works best if you can throw it on the actual ant nest. Remember to protect yourself from splashing boiling water by wearing protective clothing, don’t do it barefoot or in shorts.
Use Ant Baits On Your Patio
Ant traps are devices that contain ant bait (food mixed with insecticide.) Worker ants will eat the ant bait and transport it to the nest for the rest of the colony to feed on, in the process killing themselves.
Try a product like Terro Outdoor Liquid Ant Baits to get rid of patio ants.
Find A Pest Exterminator To Get Rid Of The Ants
Hiring a pest exterminator is another great option, especially for an ant infestation that has not responded to the above methods. Getting rid of an ant infestation is sometimes a pretty involved process and can require the application of several methods. Methods that are second nature to an experienced pest exterminator who gets rid of pests for a living.
Ants are everywhere, and since humans have taken up residence in their natural environment, they are often found outside and inside our homes. It’s not a big deal when spotting ants on your patio, as long as you act quickly in disposing of them and destroying their nest.
When confronted with an ant infestation it is best to utilize a combination of the above methods and if none of them are working, you can call an exterminator to handle the infestation.
One other common bug infestation is spiders, if you have a problem with spiders in your garden or patio check out this article.