How to Get Rid of Ants in an Apartment

Have you ever fought off an army of ants in your apartment? How do we put an end to their pesky invasions? You’re not alone. We have the arsenal to send these little intruders packing.

Let’s walk through what makes your apartment so alluring to ants, the risks of letting them hang around, the best eviction methods, and the art of keeping them away for good

Key Takeaways

Ants invade your apartment for food, loving crumbs and spills. Apart from being gross, they can spread bacteria like E. Coli, posing health risks.
Deep clean your apartment, store food in airtight containers, and take out the trash regularly to eliminate ant attractants.
Use ant baits strategically; brands like Terro, Raid, and Combat Max are effective. Natural solutions like essential oils are also potent and safer.
Regularly inspect and seal gaps, maintain cleanliness, keep your apartment dry, store food properly, use natural repellents, and manage garbage disposal. Prevention is an ongoing lifestyle, not a one-time task.
If DIY methods fail or are taking longer than you want them to, contact your property manager and have them hire a pest control professional.

What Attracts Ants to Your Apartment

In short, food.

An apartment with crumbs on the counter, a sugar jar not tightly sealed, or even just a piece of fruit left out. To ants, that’s a five-star buffet invitation. With its warmth and readily available food, your living space is prime real estate for these little critters.

Ants are experts at finding even tiny bits of food, a small drip of a sugary drink, or even worse your messy trash can.

The good news? You’ve got control. A slight change in habits can significantly turn the tables. By simply being more aware of how you store your food and maintain cleanliness, you can diminish the allure of ants.

Risks of Ant Infestations

Ants in your cereal? That’s gross! But it can be more than just an inconvenience.

Sure, they’re on a food quest, but these tiny invaders can bring along some not-so-tiny problems.

Imagine an ant traversing unsanitary places and marching across your dining table. Yup, contamination central. Some ants, when threatened, don’t hesitate to bite. But it’s not just about a little sting or dirt; some ants are notorious for causing more extensive problems

Ants can bring in unwanted bacteria and foodborne illnesses such as E. Coli.  You don’t want that in your food.

Clean Your Apartment First!

Before you grab that can of bug spray, you need to address the root problem. More often than not, it’s a messy kitchen.


Start with a deep clean. Do all your dishes, wipe down all surfaces with a cleaner, clean your floors, etc.

Your goal is to get rid of anything that ants might find enticing. They are after food – crumbs, sugar, whatever they can find.

Very Dirty Kitchen with Lots of Dishes Can Lead to Pests

Food Storage

Store everything – cereals to spices – in airtight containers. Not only does this keep ants out, but it also keeps your food fresher for longer. Win-win!

Empty the Trash 

By that, we mean take out your trash regularly—especially the wet waste. An overflowing bin is like a theme park for ants.

If there are spills inside your trash can, spray them with a kitchen cleaner and wipe them down. 

Effective Apartment Ant Extermination Techniques

Not all ant killers are made equal. While some might be super effective, they could also be toxic, especially in an apartment.

You don’t want to swap one problem (ants) for another (chemical exposure). Some methods can be risky, especially if you’ve got kids or pets.

Instead of going nuclear, consider safer yet potent apartment-compatible alternatives.

Ant Baits

One of the best methods? Ant baits. Here’s why they’re a favorite: worker ants don’t just snack on these baits; they take them back home. Before you know it, they’ve unknowingly eliminated the entire colony. 

Place the traps anywhere you see a line of ants. Typically this is up against wall baseboards, near cabinets, and under appliances like your fridge or microwave.

Respectable brands are Terro, Raid, and Combat Max. One of these brands will likely be available in a home improvement store and you can even find them in some grocery stores.

Terro Liquid Ant Bait Still in Box on White Background

Natural Solutions

And if you’re thinking green, plenty of natural repellents like essential oils or even non-toxic sprays are available. The key is to act swiftly, choose wisely, and always read the label!

Prevention – The Long-term Solution

Ants. You’ve faced them, fought them, and finally kicked them out. But moving forward, prevention is the real hero of the ant saga and how you can keep these pesky intruders from making a comeback.

Each time they return, they learn from their previous eviction. The health risks amplify with every new infestation. If a few ants carried pathogens the first time, imagine what a swarm can bring during their second, third, or fourth visit. 

It’s not just about inconvenience; it’s potentially a growing health concern.

The trick lies in not just driving the ants out but ensuring they never think of your apartment as a viable home again. This requires a thorough, sustained effort. It’s not just about cleanliness; it’s about creating an environment that’s actively hostile to ants.

Now, let’s get into the nitty-gritty.

How to Prevent Ants from Coming Back to Your Apartment

Regular Inspections

Take a tour of your apartment, especially after a season change or a rain spell. These are times when your apartment might become especially inviting for ants.

Seal Gaps

Every tiny gap, every little crack, is an open invitation for ants. The openings around windows, doors, or where utility lines enter your apartment can be the perfect entry points. 

Sometimes your apartment complex’s handyman will take care of this, but if they don’t, you can do the work for only a couple bucks and a little bit of time. 

Caulking and a caulk gun only run a couple bucks and is a pretty simple home improvement skill that everyone should know.

Cleanliness is Key

Regular vacuuming can pick up the tiniest crumbs, which might go unnoticed. Make sure to focus on those hard-to-reach spots. Under the fridge, beneath the couch, the sides of your oven are gold mines for ants.

Dry is Good

Water attracts ants just as much as food. A leaky faucet or dampness under the sink can be a significant draw. Keep your apartment as dry as possible, fixing leaks immediately and ensuring spaces like the bathroom and kitchen are well-ventilated.

Food Storage

Those cereal boxes or open packets of chips? They’re a feast for ants. Consider investing in airtight containers. Not only do they keep food fresh, but they’re also ant-proof.

Natural Repellents

Remember, chemicals aren’t the only answer. Items like lemon juice, peppermint oil, or even cucumber peels can deter ants. Place them near potential entry points or where you’ve seen ant activity.

Regular Garbage Disposal

Your trash can is like a buffet for ants. Make sure to take out the trash regularly and occasionally clean the bin.

In sum, prevention isn’t a one-time task. It’s a lifestyle. With regular attention and a little effort, you can ensure that the only guests in your apartment are the ones you invite.


Ant infestations in an apartment can be more than just a mere inconvenience. They pose challenges that touch on health, hygiene, and the overall comfort of your living space. By taking proactive measures and implementing the strategies shared, you can effectively combat and prevent ant invasions, ensuring a pest-free environment.

If ants persist, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. Contact a pest control specialist who can offer tailored solutions for apartments. Remember, a swift response is critical to preventing a minor issue from becoming a significant problem!

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Sean is the founder of Conquer Critters. With more than 17 years of experience in dealing with various pests, he is passionate about spreading his knowledge to help everyone manage their pest problem in the fastest, most effective manor possible.

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