Ants cause problems in homes throughout the United States. Some kinds bite, but mostly they’re unsavory little pests that are incredibly difficult to eradicate without help from professional exterminators. Exterminators can use products and techniques that are far more effective than ant control products from the store, whether you’re trying to kill pavement ants, sugar ants, moisture ants, carpenter ants and other types. There are five particularly good ways to deal with an ant nest, ranging from the traditional to the organic. These are using specialist poison ant bait, pouring boiling water into the nest, using a duster, white vinegar and using borax as bait. Four of these five methods use things you probably already have around the house, although the challenge with all of them is locating the nest - and in some cases getting to the nest.

Top 5 Ant Extermination Options:

  • Specialist poison ant bait
  • Boiling water
  • Duster
  • White vinegar
  • Borax

Specialist Ant Bait

This is what most pest control specialists use (although they can use alternatives if you are worried about pets or children getting hold of the bait. The ant bait contains a poison designed not to kill the ant right away. The idea is that the ant will go back to the nest before it dies and then be consumed by other ants, spreading the poison through the colony and even to the queen. Most of these baits are gel type - you apply the gel in places where you commonly see ants, but which are out of your way. The advantage of this method is that you do not need to locate the nest.


  • Professional quality
  • Effective
  • No need to locate the nest

Boiling Water

Yes, a straight up kettle full of boiling water. Find the nest and pour the water into the nest. This does require that you spend some time following the ant trails to locate the nest - and, of course, that the nest be somewhere that won’t be damaged by the water. This method works best for killing ant nests that are outside your home. The advantage is that you literally don’t have to buy anything to do this.


  • Cheap
  • May damage area around nest
  • Need to locate the nest


Using an insecticide duster with a poison that works well on ants is another method professionals might use. It does have the disadvantage that you have to buy a duster (although once you have one it can be useful for multiple pests). Again, you have to locate the nest, and then apply the dust into cracks and crevices where ants congregate, in the hope of getting an entrance to the nest. Dust gently - you should barely be able to see the dust.


  • Requires special equipment
  • Need to locate the nest
  • Must use the correct dust for ants

White Vinegar

White vinegar is toxic to ants - and furthermore, ants know it. It works well as a repellent - cleaning your kitchen counters with a 50 percent solution of white vinegar and water can be an effective, if smelly, way of getting ants to stay off the counter, and putting it on doorways and window sills can encourage ants to stay out of your home. To kill the nest, use a plastic syringe and squeeze vinegar into the cracks and burrows. The downside to using white vinegar inside is that the smell can end up repelling you.


  • Smells bad
  • Need to locate the nest
  • Good repellent


Borax, which can be found in the laundry aisle, is a sometimes cheaper alternative to using professional quality ant bait. Make a thin paste using water, sugar and borax, spread it on cardstock, and put it in places where ants tend to pass by or congregate. It works the same as the professional baits but, again, can be cheaper - although these days it can be a little bit harder to find. The downside compared to professional bait is that the mixture tends to dry out after a couple of days and you may need to use it more than once.


  • Cheaper than professional bait
  • No need to locate nest
  • Will dry up quickly and need to be repeated


Dealing with ants can be a pain in the neck, and if you don’t want to do it yourself then you should call a professional exterminator. This is especially true if you are having issues locating, or getting to, the nest. However, there are quite a few effective ways to kill ants.