Can You Kill Ants With Bleach?

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Ants marching into your home and lining the walls, kitchen counter, and entryways are never a welcome sign. When ants come into your home, the reason is usually related to a lack of food, water, or shelter or a change in weather conditions. There are different options and home remedies for getting rid of ants, including using bleach. Although bleach can be diluted with water to kill ants, it's not an effective option since it only kills the ants it actually touches.

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Products such as ant bait will likely work better, as ants take the bait back to their nest. However, bleach can immediately deal with a visible ant infestation; then you can complement it with ant repellent sprayed in cracks or along doors and windows where you see the ants entering your home.

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Why You May Have an Invasion

Ants typically make their nests in the soil, which can be under rocks and trees, next to sidewalks, or near buildings. The time of year and the type of ants influence where they live and what they eat. Some ant species eat sweet substances, known as honeydew, which is produced by aphids. Ants also snack on fruit, cooking oil, animal carcasses, and insects.

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Ants are susceptible to the weather — a hot climate or very wet weather and flooding can affect their movements and may send them in search of better conditions, which may be your home. They may also seek shelter or a warmer environment.

Before Deciding to Use Bleach

Using bleach can be an option to get rid of ants that you can see moving about in your home, especially if there is a long line of ants on the wall or counter. But this method will only eliminate the ants that you can see since you need to spray them. This means the ants that are hidden or aren't part of the marching lineup will continue to move about freely in your home.

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Before diluting bleach in water to make a bleach spray, be aware that bleach or bleach spray can emit fumes that can be harmful if inhaled. If you decide to use a bleach spray, make sure to use a ventilation mask, open windows and doors to let in fresh air and ventilate the area, and keep children and pets away until the area is dry and the smell of bleach has dissipated.

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Ants take in air through their exoskeletons. When they are sprayed with bleach solutions, they can no longer breathe and essentially die by suffocation. In addition to spraying ants with bleach, use a quality ant bait or ant spray. It's also a good idea to eliminate food odors and food particles on the floor. Mopping the floors with a bleach and water solution can eliminate food smells or sticky substances that may keep attracting ants.

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Ant-Prevention Tips

It's important to take preventive measures and reduce odors that may be enticing ants into your home and encouraging them to stay. These prevention tips will help get rid of ants in your home and minimize them from invading in the first place.

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  • Seal and caulk cracks, including in the building foundation and entryways.
  • Store food items in clean, air-tight containers, including sugar, honey, and other sweets as well as pet food.
  • Clean up any crumbs on the floor or counter that may be attracting ants.
  • Toss the trash.
  • Clean, rinse, and dry the garbage can and then place a new trash can liner.

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