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Does Bleach Kill Ants? How Ants React to Bleach

The short answer is yes. Any bleach can kill ants. 

Clorox is the most well-known brand of bleach, but other kinds may also be used to kill ants. 

Although bleach may kill ants like traps and baits, it will usually not eliminate the ant issue – it will most likely just slow the little creatures down.

5 Things You Didn't Know About Ants x
5 Things You Didn't Know About Ants

Another issue with using bleach to treat an ant infestation is that it may emit fumes hazardous to people and pets. When using bleach to kill ants, some people experience this issue – so be careful with using this method to get rid of ants.

Does Bleach Kill Ants?

bleach killing ants

Yes, bleach does kill ants. However, as mentioned, it does not eliminate the ant problem, and its hazardous fumes make bleach a less desirable option for people with pets or children in their homes. 

Other options available may be safer for you and your families, such as boric acid or even natural methods like vinegar.

Why Does Bleach Kill Ants?

Ants breathe via the use of their exoskeleton. When you spray bleach on them, they breathe it in through their exoskeleton and die. 

This is why publications about using bleach to kill ants advocate putting it in a spray bottle. 

spray bottle to kill ants

The issue with using bleach is that you will only be able to kill the ants you can see, and you will only be able to eliminate the ants you spray. This implies that the entire infection may persist.

How to Kill Ants With Bleach (Step-by-Step)

  • Step 1: Clean your floor and wash off your counters and tabletops with a bleach-based cleaning solution.
  • Step 2: Spray the bleach cleaner around the border of your walls since food may have been spilled there.
  • Step 3: Spray bleach cleaner onto a cloth and wash the borders of your windows since ants often enter via window gaps.
  • Step 4: Pour two to three cups of bleach into a pail of boiling water, then pour the solution over the nest.
  • Step 5: Leave the windows open for at least four hours to eliminate the strong bleach odor.

Does Bleach Repel Ants or Destroy Ant Trails?

ant trails

Yes, bleach does destroy ant trails, but bleach will not be carried back to the nest by the ants. The bleach may repel ants but will only affect the ones you can see and leaves others alive to continue spreading trails around your house.

The fragrant paths that ants leave down as they travel are referred to as “ant trails.” Ants leave various smells behind when they go to a food source and return to the colony with the meal.

This assists all of the other ants find the food, grab a portion, and successfully return to the colony. These smell trails are no match for bleach, a strong household cleaner. Even a very diluted bleach (such as 1/2 cup per gallon of water) will readily remove any odors left behind by ants.

Reasons to Use Bleach to Kill Ants

bleach cleaning to kill ants

A reason to use bleach to kill ants is that it does kill the ants.

But be careful as it can have adverse effects on your family members or pets, like leftover odor or residue after eliminating ants.

Bleach most likely kills insects by dissolving their waxy exoskeleton, interfering with their ability to breathe, and enclosing them in a chemically hypertonic high-pH solution that disturbs their water balance. In layman’s terms, this implies that bleach kills insects by drastically altering their cells’ environment.

Reasons Not to Use Bleach to Kill Ants

man spraying on plants

Although bleach can kill ants and may even have repellent qualities, it is far from the most acceptable solution on the market for killing or repelling ants. Aside from the fact that bleach is only moderately effective in comparison to other treatments, there are a plethora of reasons NOT to use bleach:

  • Bleach destroys all vegetation it comes into contact with, even your grass and houseplants.
  • Many surfaces, including worktops, hardwood floors, and even concrete, may be discolored by bleach.
  • If not used properly, bleach may damage your clothing. Bleach can also kill non-target species such as soil bacteria and worms — organisms that are helpful to your lawn and garden.
  • Bleach wasn’t made to kill ants.

Alternatives to Bleach for Killing Ants

There are many options for removing ants from your home, including both natural and synthetic treatments. Bleach may be effective, but all of these products will be much more effective.

Natural Products to Kill Ants

natural product to kill ants

Diatomaceous Earth is a dust-like powder formed from the silica shells of microscopic sea creatures known as “diatoms”.

These shells are razor-sharp, and they operate by piercing through an insect’s exoskeleton and gradually dehydrating it. Dust the route ants and use dust on and around the colony, and it should die or move on in a few days.

Plant essential oils include a variety of naturally occurring compounds that may both kill and repel ants. For example, Mint, peppermint oil, clove powder, and many other essential oil products have been tested as contact poisons against fire ants. While some of these items are available for purchase directly, other businesses specialize in producing natural ant repellents.

Synthetic Products to Kill Ants

Ant Baits

These items are fantastic since they precisely target ants without releasing harmful chemicals around your land and house. 

ants on apple as bait

The most effective ant baits combine a delicious ant treat with a synthetic pesticide, such as spinosad or abamectin. 

The ants consume the bait and pesticide and bring them back to the colony, wiping out the whole colony in a short time. Ant baits are very effective for long-term ant management.

Ant Sprays

ant spray

Companies such as Raid! and Ortho manufacture spray treatments designed especially for ant colonies. Some ant sprays include pesticides that operate over time and may spread throughout a settlement, while others are designed to kill any insect they come into contact with immediately. 

Choose the right spray for the job – an ant colony developing in your kitchen may need urgent action, while a steady flow of ants from the outside may be best handled with a slow-action solution.

Ant Granules

ant granules

Many brands on the market package synthetic insecticides into granules that you may spread over your lawn. These items function similarly to bait stations in that the ants transport them back to the colony for eating. 

On the other hand, these granules are considerably simpler to spread across a larger area, such as a lawn or outdoor space.

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.