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How To Get Rid Of Ants In The Walls (Control & Prevention)

Ants in the walls are a common problem for homeowners. 

Ants can come from many sources and there are many ways to get rid of ants, but one thing is certain: you don’t want ants in your walls! 

In this article, we will cover what ants look like when they’re found on or in the walls, how to tell if you have ants in your walls, natural remedies that can help with ants in the walls, as well as chemical solutions that will kill them fast.

Why Do Ants Nest in the Walls?

Ants will nest in walls simply because it’s a better place for them to live in terms of food, moisture, warmth, and protection. 

They might be nesting there because they have easy access to food from your house.

ant colony taking care of eggs

Sometimes you can have a moisture issue in your walls, that the ants have picked up on before you have. Since ants are attracted to moisture, they’ll seek to nest in your walls.

Warmth and protection almost explain themselves. Ants, just as humans, also need warmth and protection against the harsh conditions mother nature can expose us to.

How to Know if You Have Ants in Your Walls

If ants are in your walls, you will notice them crawling around the house. Ants in the walls can also be detected by their nests under carpets or near entry points. When ants have made a home in your wall cavity they can cause damage to wires and insulation which then makes it harder for electricity-powered appliances to function properly.

Here are some signs that you have ants in your walls:

  • Visible ant trails
  • Ants coming out of the walls
  • Piles of dust
  • Sounds coming from the walls
  • Weird smells

Visible Ant Trails

When ants are making visible trails along with your floors and up your wall, this is a sign of an infestation.

Check around doors and windows for ants as they commonly make their way into homes from exterior breaches or vents that lead to outside spaces where ants can enter without being noticed.

ants creating a trail

Ants Coming Out of the Walls

Ants are a common household pest that can cause damage to your house and be very annoying. If you notice them crawling out of holes in your walls, it’s a clear sign of infestation.

Try following the ants back to their nest, if you catch them red-handed in your house.

canpenter ant trail

Piles of Dust & Wood Pellets

It is not uncommon to see ants in the walls and ant pellets. However, it can be a sign of an infestation if you start seeing small piles of dust on the ground next to your wall. Ants will dig out a living space, hence they need to dump their waste somewhere – on your floor.

Sounds From the Ants

Ants make noise in the walls. When ants are active, you will hear them crawling around inside your wall cavity. They may also be producing sounds as they chew on wood or other materials to build their nests and tunnels within the walls of your home.

Weird Smells and Odors

Many people say they smell ants in their house and it can be a real bummer. It is important to first understand what ants really smell like and if they’re truly are ants somewhere inside your home, outside, or both. 

The ant’s scent gland emits an odor that smells very similar to citrus fruits such as lemons

. If ants are inside your home it is likely you will smell this citrusy scent. It can be difficult to spot ants, as they might be avoiding you, but they can’t hide their smell.

How to Get Rid of Ants in the Walls Step by Step

If you want to learn more about dealing with ants, check out our complete guide on how to get rid of ants in your home and garden.

Step 1: Clean Up to Slow Down Further Infestation

The ants are in the walls, you have seen them crawling around your house and there’s no doubt about it – an ant infestation has occurred. You can help slow down ants by cleaning up any dirt, trash, or food residue in your house.

bleach cleaning to kill ants

Step 2: Inspection of the Infested Site

Ants infest your house because they are looking for food and water. Inspection is the key to understanding why the ants invaded your walls in the first place.

Give your walls a thorough inspection, looking for some of the reasons why ants might have invaded your home.

You also want to check around windows, doors, exterior vents, plumbing penetrations, etc., for signs of ants entering and leaving your home.

ant hill

Step 3: Pest Control Methods (Traps, Sprays, and Others)

Next up is the removal of the ants. There are different methods to do this, but the most popular include:

  • Ant traps and bait stations
  • Ant sprays and dust
  • Essential oils like cinnamon
  • Calling an exterminator

You might have to try out different methods to figure out what works.

mint oil against ants

Step 4: Seal Up Cracks and Holes

If ants are coming through your wall, it is likely that there is a gap somewhere where ants can easily access the interior of your home.

Sealing up gaps and holes in exterior walls will help prevent ants from entering your house, especially if you have an ant infestation or ants crawling around inside your living space.

adult male plumber in working overall fixing sink in bathroom

How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants in Your Walls

Carpenter ants are one of the most common ants found in homes. They have a preference for moist wood and can build nests inside walls or other structures that provide them with easy access to moisture. 

A lot of people want to try getting rid of these by themselves before calling for professionals, as this can be expensive. You can try out the steps above.

Also read: How to get rid of carpenter ants

How to Get Rid of Sugar Ants in Walls

Sugar ants are ants that we usually find around our kitchen [1]. They like sweet things, but they can also be found outside their nests as well.  A key element to getting rid of these is removing any food crumbs from your home.

Make sure everything is sparkling clean. You might have to invest in some plastic containers.

What Ant Species Will Nest in the Walls?

These ants are most commonly found nesting in walls:

  • Acrobat Ants
  • Argentine Ants
  • Carpenter Ants
  • Crazy Ants
  • Ghost Ants
  • Little Black Ants
  • Odorous Ants
  • Pharaoh Ants

Acrobat Ants

Acrobat ants are ants that live in trees and build their nests in the branches.  They like to make small holes inside your home, often near windows and doors where they can gain access. 

They will also nest behind baseboards or moldings because these areas provide them with a secret place away from ants that eat acrobat ants.


Argentine Ants

Argentine ants are ants that like to live in warmer climates and prefer temperatures around 80 degrees Fahrenheit. They will create their nests indoors because they seek out the warmth of your home. 

They also love moist areas or humid environments where you may find them nesting near plumbing leaks, sinks, etc., especially if water is accessible inside these areas.

argentine ant

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants like to build their nests inside trees, in dirt or wood that is decaying. They will also find walls and other structures indoors because they can provide shelter away from ants that eat carpenter ants. They are most commonly found nesting behind siding on the exterior of your home or in a garage.

carpenter ants on wood

Crazy Ants

Crazy ants like to build their nests in piles of debris or other areas where they can easily hide. They will also nest inside walls and under siding because it provides a cool, dark location. 

They are most commonly found nesting near garbage bins or outside kitchens where food is accessible for them to eat.

crazy ant

Ghost Ants

Ghost ants will nest in both the exterior and interior of your home depending on where their food sources are located or if it’s cooler outside than inside your house. They like to build nests under siding, behind baseboards/molding, etc., but they can also be found nesting in walls because ants that eat ghost ants will not be able to get inside the walls.

Ghost ants are most commonly found nesting in kitchens after they have found food sources near their nest location, but you can also find them under siding on your house exterior.

ghost ant
Image from antweb.org

Little Black Ants

Little black ants like to build their nests in soil and moist areas.  They will also nest inside walls or under siding because animals that eat little black ants can’t get into the wall cavity where they are nesting, making your home a safe place for little black ants to live. 

They are most commonly found nesting near sinks or drains underneath bathrooms, but you will also find them near water sources like leaking pipes.

army ants

Odorous Ants

Odorous ants like to build their nests in soil and moist areas. They will also nest inside walls or under siding, much like the previous species mentioned here.

They are most commonly found nesting near sinks or drains underneath bathrooms, but you will also find them near water sources like leaking pipes.

odorous house ant

Pharaoh Ants

Pharaoh ants are ants that move quickly. They reproduce quickly which makes it important to get rid of these ants fast.

Pharaoh ants are most commonly found nesting near plumbing or electrical lines under sinks or behind baseboards/molding because these areas provide easy access to food sources left behind by you or other animals.

pharoah ant 1

What Walls Will Ants Nest In?

Ants in Brick Walls

Even though it sounds weird that you can find ants in your brick wall, they will nest here. While they don’t borrow directly into the bricks, they make their nests in the spaces between bricks.

Ants in Bathroom Walls

Ants that live inside your walls will build their nests near plumbing or other water sources. They also love places where there is a moist environment or decaying wood.

This makes bathroom walls the ideal place to hide.

Read more about how to get rid of ants in the bathroom.

Ants in RV Walls

While you might’ve not thought about it, ants will also nest in RV walls. If you don’t use your RV very often, the little bugs might strike. Now, if you use your RV frequently, they might know not to nest there, as they will be disturbed often.

Professional Help Against Ants in the Walls

As ants in the walls are no easy task to deal with, it can be best to let professionals handle this job. 

A pest control company will be able to come and assess your ant problem within 24 hours or less if necessary. 

The ants can also infect other areas around your home which might require a separate inspection. 

When ants live in the walls, this can be a sign that they have been there for some time. In order to get rid of ants from the inside out you will need both ant-killer spray as well as bait traps. The ants eat the poison which takes anywhere between 24 hours and two weeks to kill them all.

How Can Ants Walk On Walls?

Ants can walk on walls due to little pads underneath their feet called arolia [2]. These act as small grappling hooks that let ants really dig into any surface that has just a tiny bit of irregularity.

Since most walls are completely smooth, ants can climb these.

This is also why ants can’t climb out of glasses. These are too slippery, and they’re too smooth for ants to grab onto anything.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Ants Live In Walls?

Yes, ants can live in walls. It is not unusual for ants to find their way into home walls. Unfortunately, ants are difficult pests to get rid of once they have infested a building or house wall. These tiny insects can chew through wood and even concrete with relative ease making it hard to keep them out over the long term. 

Unfortunately, ants can cause further problems by bringing in other pests like roaches and termites that will only make the infestation worse.

Ants are social insects that live together as part of a colony or nest. It is not unusual for ants to form nests within walls where they have easy access to food sources inside the home. 

While it may seem that ants are found in one place at a time, this is not the case. Ants have been known to travel through walls using their own form of ant communication. 

They will leave chemical trails for other ants to follow and often crawl up exterior building materials like brick or block surfaces where they can find easy access between interior rooms of homes.

Can You Hear Ants in the Walls?

Yes, you can sometimes hear ants in the walls. If you aren’t aware that it’s ants, it can indeed be a scary problem. You might also be able to smell ants in the walls as well.

About Teodoro Pittman

Teodoro is a nature and animal lover. He specifically focuses on insects, such as ants, bees, and the like. In his free time, he takes care of his own ant farm, where he analyzes their behavior. Teodoro has spent the last 7 years studying the intricate behavior of these small creatures.

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