Your bedroom is supposed to be a sanctuary. A refuge from the world where you can get cozy and relax… which is probably why it’s so upsetting to find creepy crawlies in there.
Unfortunately, ants are capable of getting just about anywhere and have no respect for the privacy of your bedroom. If you find ants crawling on your bed or along your bedroom carpet, I understand that you’re going to want to get rid of them as soon as possible.
In this article, you’ll learn how to get rid of ants in your bedroom and make sure they never come back. Read on to reclaim your bedroom from these six-legged invaders.
Why Are There Ants in My Bedroom?
Ants are a fact of life, especially in the warmer months. Almost everyone will find a few ants inside their home every year as they scavenge for food and water sources.
This doesn’t mean your bedroom is immune from ants. The best way to start getting rid of ants in the bedroom often requires understanding why they are there in the first place. Here are a few reasons why you might be seeing them.
Like all living things, ants need water. Often, this is what brings them inside, especially during periods of drought. Plumbing that carries water to our kitchen and bathrooms can be a reliable source of water for ants.
Your bedroom can also be a source of moisture for ants. If you have an en suite bathroom, that’s the first place I’d inspect for increased ant activity. Often, the water that collects on the outside of a water pipe is enough to give ants something to drink and keep them coming back.
A leaky pipe in the wall or in the roof can give ants plenty to drink, and it may be hidden from view. Carefully inspect your bedroom to see if anything is leaking. If it is, this is probably what’s attracting the ants.
A Nearby Colony
It takes a lot of food and a lot of water to keep an ant colony thriving. Colonies find the resources they need by sending out worker ants to forage.
Ants can travel up to hundreds of feet from their nest to search for resources, but if you see large numbers of ants regularly, that could indicate that the colony is close to your bedroom.
Check around your bedroom windows or the walls and foundation outside of your home. You’re likely to find several ants crawling about at any given time which could mean a colony is underground very close by.
In these scenarios it’s possible the ants aren’t finding anything particularly interesting in your bedroom, but they’re going to keep checking since it’s so close.
Just like us, ants don’t like extreme weather. When it starts to get cold, ants will often come inside houses in search of warmth. The same thing can happen during extreme heat. Ants like it warm, but there is a limit to what they will tolerate. Storms can also drive them inside for shelter.
If you only see ants periodically, think about whether the appearance of the ants is connected to periods of extreme weather. If you see more ants when the weather is bad, that might explain why.
Ants are Finding Food
For a foraging ant, much of life is taken up by the search for food and water. If you consistently see large numbers of ants in your bedroom, it may be because they’ve found something good to eat.
Most of us don’t keep food in the bedroom. However, you need to think about things from an ant’s point of view. Do you ever eat in the bedroom? Dirty plates, dropped food, or even a few crumbs on the bedsheet can provide a feast for ants.
The same applies to stained or dirty clothes. If you get food spills on your clothes and leave them in the bedroom, that can be attractive to ants.
Once an ant finds a good source of food, it will bring back help to gather it. The ant heads back to the colony while creating a pheromone trail for other ants to follow. That way, one foraging ant can quickly turn into dozens as they all follow the trail to the delicious food source.
What Kind of Ants are in Your Bedroom?
An ant is an ant, right? Not necessarily. There are thousands of different species of ant, and each has its own behaviors and food preferences. The reason you’re seeing ants in your bedroom may change according to what kind of ants they are.
If you want to get rid of ants in your bedroom for good, it’s important to know why they are there, and that means understanding what kind of ants they are.
Odorous House Ant
This is a very common species of ant around the world and is often found in people’s bedrooms. Also known as the little black ant, the tiny black ants, or the sugar ant, the small black ants are around 2.5 to 3.5 millimeters in length. They will eat more or less anything people will, but they have a preference for sweet sugary foods.
If these are the ants you’re seeing in your bedroom, it’s because they are looking for food and water.
Carpenter ants are another species that is sometimes found in people’s bedrooms. They are easily distinguished from odorous house ants by their size. Carpenter ants are black, though they sometimes have red legs, and are huge by ant standards. They can measure up to 13 millimeters long, making them the biggest ant species in North America.
If you are seeing carpenter ants in your bedroom, there’s a good chance you have a bigger problem. These ants like to build nests in wood, including the wood in your home. Often, they nest in water-damaged wood, so the presence of these ants may indicate you have a moisture problem in your walls, attic, or around a window.
For most ant species, bait can be an effective way to control the population. However, in the case of Carpenter ants, baits are less effective. You may need to try several different kinds of bait to find one the ants will accept.
If you find winged carpenter ants in your bedroom, that’s a very bad sign. Only mature carpenter ant nests produce winged ants, which are the reproductive members of the colony. That means the ants are breeding inside your house and will have to be destroyed before they cause structural damage.
Check out our signs of carpenter ants if you’re concerned this could be what you’re up against.
Steps to Getting Rid of Ants in Your Bedroom
1. Eliminate all food and water sources
In most cases, it’s the presence of food and water that brings ants inside. This applies in the bedroom just as much as it does in the kitchen.
Clean your entire home thoroughly, washing your bedding and any dirty clothes in the room, then vacuuming thoroughly to remove food debris from the carpet.
Cleaning areas with heavy ant activity with a household cleaner will help to destroy the pheromone trails which will make it less inviting for ants to come in. While you’re cleaning, it’s a good idea to check for any leaky plumbing or failure of the roof that is causing moisture problems in your home.
2. Seal off exterior access
Ultimately, the ants you’re seeing inside almost always come from outdoors. Even in the case of carpenter ants, the main nest where the queen lives is usually going to be outside. So stopping ants from coming in can very effectively solve your problem.
Of course, ants are very small. Inspect the exterior of your home carefully, and pay special attention to anywhere pipes or wires come inside the house. Also inspect around doors and windows for any gaps.
Check water and gas pipes and air conditioner conduits. If you find any holes, seal them up with weatherproof silicone caulk or similar products. Look for cracks in the foundation of your home where ants could get inside and seal those as well.
3. Use ant baits to kill the colony
If you still have ants, it’s time to use some bait. Bait works by mixing ant poison with an attractive substance that makes the ants want to eat it. This way, they carry the food back to the nest and never realize that they are poisoning themselves. It’s an effective way to deal with an ant colony by killing the queen.
You can make your own ant bait with a mixture of borax and sugar water. Mix a cup of water, two cups of sugar, and two tablespoons of Borax and boil it. Once the mixture has cooled, you can put it on pieces of cardboard or in bottle caps and place it in areas where you have seen ants.
When baiting for ants, it’s important to remember not to kill them on sight. You need the ants to take the food back to the colony. Let them find and eat the food, then bring some back to the nest.
If you don’t want to bother making your own bait, you can buy many different types of commercial ant bait. Brands like Terro ant bait and Raid also use Borax, but they make it easy to use by premixing it for you and placing it inside disposable bait stations. They also make bait stations you can use outdoors to target the colony directly.
The speed of Fipronil is formulated for ants trophallaxis, which is slow enough for foraging ants to return to the colony to feed the bait to larvae and the queen so entire colony is killed in a domino effect.
Why DoMyOwn?DoMyOwn.com offers professional-grade insecticides to DIYers while ensuring proper storage of chemicals. Couple that with their impressive customer service and knowledgeable staff, it’s the #1 choice.
If you have a particularly persistent ant problem, or if you are dealing with carpenter ants, these baits may not be enough. You’ll need a commercial bait that uses a stronger pesticide and a formulation that attracts carpenter ants. A product like Maxforce Fleet can be very effective in these situations.
4. Exterior treatment of your home
Spraying outside your home with an appropriately labeled pesticide can create an effective barrier to stop ants from coming inside. Products like Talstar have a residual effect that will kill any ants that come into contact with the pesticide even after it has dried.
Talstar has a long residual, so it keeps on killing pests for over three months after you’ve sprayed it. Plus, Talstar One is odorless, dries clear, leaves no stains, is non-irritating to the skin, and won’t break down easily with rainfall. For termites, ants, mosquitoes, roaches, beetles, spiders, and everything in-between, Talstar insecticide is simply fantastic.
Spray around the entire exterior of your house, going two to three feet up the wall from ground level. Also spray around two to three feet out from the house. This will kill ants and other crawling insects on contact and also kill any that try to cross it for up to three months afterward. It’s a very effective way to protect your home from ant invasion.
If you would rather avoid pesticide use, you can try diatomaceous earth for ants. This naturally occurring product creates a physical barrier that will kill any ants that try to cross it.
Although the powder seems fine to us, to something as small as an ant, it’s very sharp and jagged to lacerate their exoskeleton. This causes the ants to dehydrate and die. Even though it’s an effective insect killer, diatomaceous earth is harmless to you and your family.
For the best results, sprinkle diatomaceous earth around the exterior of your home in a two to three-foot wide band. Don’t use too much to the point where it’s clumpy or a mound. You want a fine coat of powder that you can only just see with the naked eye. Adding more than that will cause the insects to avoid it completely, and it won’t be as effective.
DE also won’t be very effective when it rains, but when it dries out again it should be fine.
5. Ongoing monitoring
Once you’ve gotten rid of the ants, you need to stay on top of the problem. Don’t get complacent. Make sure you keep all food stored in insect-proof containers such as Tupperware.
Clean up any food spills as soon as they happen, especially of sweet foods. Pet food is often a problem too. Dispose of any uneaten pet food right away and keep your pet food stored in air-tight containers.
Also, be on the lookout for moisture problems. A moisture meter can help you find areas of high humidity in your home and may alert you to the presence of water leaks which can contribute to ant problems.
Are ants in the bedroom dangerous?
Generally speaking, ants in the bedroom are not dangerous. Even giant carpenter ants don’t do any real harm to people — only to buildings.
Fire ants are the exception to this rule. These small red ants get their name from the painful burning bite they can give, and this can be especially dangerous if you’re allergic. This is why it’s important to know what kind of ants you are dealing with.
How did ants get into my bedroom?
The vast majority of the time, ants come from outdoors. Maybe there’s a crack in your foundation. Maybe there’s a small gap beside a window or door. Check your home thoroughly and seal up any small gaps you find. It’s also a good idea to cut back any trees or bushes that touch the house since ants can use these as highways to reach the house from outside.
Why are ants in my bedroom carpet?
There’s no special reason why ants are found in carpet. They roam across the ground looking for food and water, and so you’re likely to see them on the floor.
Carpets can sometimes hold food crumbs or hide moisture problems that are attracting the ants, but ants don’t live in carpet and they don’t eat it either.