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The ant, a highly social insect

 Have you noticed ants in your home ? While their presence is very useful in the garden, they can sometimes be a nuisance, or even very disruptive in everyday life when they have invaded your home. If ants are settling in colonies in your home, we can give you tips, solutions and natural products to either keep them out or get rid of them. To get rid of them properly, it's important to understand why they are attracted to your home and how they get in.

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Find out more about ants

(identity, feeding habits, reproduction, etc.)


Combat the ant

(method of action, natural insecticides, etc.)


Who are ants ?

The house ant - Lasius brunneus

Order : Hymenoptera
Family : Formicidae
Size : 1.5 to 5 mm
Location : all habitats
Period : all year round

A fully metamorphosing insect with four unequal membranous wings and crushing mandibles. There are over 12,000 species on Earth! In France alone, there are 160 species. They know how to adapt to all climates and all predators.

There are 4 main species in our homes :

  1. The Argentine ant (Iridomyrmex humilis): preferring warmth and humidity, it is found mainly on the Côte d'Azur.
  2. The Pharaoh ant (Monomorium pharaonis): of tropical origin, it lives only in houses.
  3. The brown supply ant (Lasius alienus): this is the most common in houses, but can also be found in gardens.
  4. The black wood ant (Lasius fuliginosus): with a size of 5 mm, this is the largest of the ants. 

What you need to know about ants

The ant - Lasius emarginatus

Ants are particularly hierarchical social insects. The queen spends her life laying eggs. Her daughters, who are sterile, build the nest, look after the food and defend the colony. Only young queens and males are winged.

During the summer, they appear in very large numbers: this is swarming.

Although they pose no danger to houses, ants are somewhat invasive and quickly become a nuisance. Attracted by food and humidity, they can be found very quickly on worktops, in kitchen cupboards, sinks, leaking pipes and, of course, in sugar tins! Ants feed on different types of food and their preferences can vary throughout the year.

In houses, ant colonies nest in the hollows of partitions, in attics and in water-damaged roof timbers. 

In terms of biomass, ants outnumber humans. According to estimates, these insects account for between 10 and 20% of the planet's terrestrial animal biomass, with several million billion individuals in all.

The worker ant has 2 stomachs. The first is used to digest the food it ingests. The second, called the social stomach, stores most of the food and then regurgitates it when another ant needs it. This method of transferring food is called trophallaxis.

Ants practise entomoculture : Ants often rear aphids to milk them. Aphids excrete honeydew, a viscous liquid rich in sugar and amino acids, which ants love. In exchange, the ants protect the aphids from potential predators (e.g. ladybird beetles), but it is not uncommon for ants to use the honeydew as food. 

How can ants be harmful ?

1 - Ants can infest and contaminate your food.

2 - As ants are fond of the honeydew secreted by aphids, you may find large numbers of them in your pot plants ... covered in aphids !
3 - The clods they build can be unsightly in the garden, and even more so in the house.

4 - Ants that sting or bite (such as fire ants) can cause severe pain and allergic reactions in some people.

5 - Carpenter ants are often as destructive as termites and may be a sign of damp or water damage in your home.

Tips for keeping ants out of your home

1 - Cleanliness and tidiness remain the key !

Eliminate sources of food, water and other things that attract ants :
- Clean up all traces of spilt food and avoid leaving food out in the open.
- Keep as much food as possible in airtight containers.
- Wipe down the bath, sink and washbasin after use and check for water leaks where you see ants.
- Rinse glass jars, tins, plastic packaging and food paper before recycling/discarding them.
- Clean all kitchen surfaces regularly and vacuum up any dry food spills.
- Avoid leaving dirty dishes in the sink.
- Don't eat food in the bedrooms and living room.
- Cover your pets' bowls and clean up any spillages.
- Store green waste (wood, stones, rubble), mulch and dead branches away from the foundations of your house.

2 - Block access to your interior
- Seal any cracks and fissures that could allow ants to enter your home from the outside or from adjoining buildings
- Check that your doors and windows are airtight.

3 - Avoid classic mistakes
- Continue to treat sensitive areas even after the ants have disappeared.
- If you use bait, don't drop it where you've sprayed or poured insecticide, as any ants that pass by will die before they manage to take the bait back to their anthill. 

How do you repel and keep ants away ?

Once ants have settled in, it's not easy to get rid of them !The house ant - Lasius brunneus

Here's a little tip for preparing a 100% natural repellent : essential oils of lavender and peppermint. Ants hate their smell.

In a spray bottle, mix :
- 5 drops of lavender essential oil,
- 10 drops of peppermint essential oil,
- 1 quart of 40° alcohol.

Spray several times a day in the areas where the ants come and go.


Other solutions :
1 - Put a few drops of lemon essential oil on the path taken by the ants to scare them away. They don't like the smell either !

2 - Use our neem oil-based Creepy Crawly Barrier spray. This substance is harmless to humans and pets. It acts by direct contact with the insect and affects its vital functions: inhibiting feeding, growth and reproduction.

Organic Lemon - Zest - Essential oil

Purifying, Lemon essential oil is ideal for purifying the air. Its fortifying and energizing action makes Lemon essential oil...
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How do you get rid of ants ?

The ant - Lasius emarginatus

1 - Store all your food in airtight tins.
2 - Place one or more ant-proof cans in the path of the ants or ant-proof gel as close as possible to the anthill and, if you can, directly in the hole through which they pass.

This Spinosad-based product won't kill the ant straight away, but it will fill its crop and carry it back to the anthill to feed the whole colony, which will disappear after a while.

3 - You can also spray All Insects (4J diluted at 5%) on them, but this will only kill the individuals affected and not the whole colony. However, we have found that ants do not return to interior surfaces treated with our 4J insecticide (repellent effect).

4 - You can also treat infested areas or the nest with ant oil.

5 - You can also sprinkle our diatomaceous earth over all infested or busy areas. For action in the tiniest nooks and crannies, small holes and hard-to-reach gaps, choose diatomaceous earth in aerosol form.

6 - Kapo Vert anti-ant pellets radically eliminate all types of ants. They have an immediate curative effect and remain active for up to 3 months after treatment to prevent ants returning.

7 - Another solution is fumigation. For this, use the Habitat fogger : an insecticide based on active ingredients of plant origin (pyrethrum + geraniol), designed for basic treatment of the home. Highly volatile, the solution settles in the smallest nooks and crannies where parasites and insects live. Immediate and prolonged action, for up to 4 months. 3 different formats are available: 75ml for treatment of less than 15m², 150ml for treatment of less than 30m². Finally, 250ml, for a treatment of more than 30m². 

The products you need against ants

Go directly to the detailed product sheets for ant control products.

Insecticide 4J diluted 5% - All insects -...

Ready-to-use  4J insecticide diluted to 5% . With this concentration, you will destroy  most flying and crawling insects  very quickly....
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4J Insecticide concentrate with plant...

4J insecticide concentrate to be diluted. Effective against a large number of crawling and flying insects in our homes. Available in...
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Diatomaceous earth – Kieselguhr Celatom -...

Diatomaceous earth (also called Kieselguhr Celatom) is a completely ecological and natural insecticide that helps fight against...
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Fogger Habitat with plant-based active...

This is fogger composed of plant-based assets is intended for the background treatment of the habitat in case of infestation by mites,...
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*PAE : ready to use


Discover our full range of natural products to combat ants.

Go to our page


Frequently asked questions about ants

Q: I have a family home in Corsica, with a terrace, in the middle of a garden where there's an infestation of black ants, with lots of ant hills. How can I limit this invasion before the holidays (without danger) when my 15-month-old grandson, who will be playing on the ground on the terrace, and my sister, who is undergoing treatment for cancer, are due to come this summer ?
A: Apply ant gel to each ant farm. On ants, we have good results with our 4J insecticide spray, but you can also use the ARIES anti-ant oil that we offer on our site.

Q: We live on Reunion Island and as soon as the heat comes back, which it does, we're invaded by ants in the house and garden; they devour all the plants in the garden and anything else lying around in the house; it's very unpleasant and we can't have anything. According to some people, they are ether ants here; I don't know how they're spelt but they're very small black ants and it's very difficult to follow them to find their nests, so I try to destroy them. I've already spent a small fortune on various products, but they're not very effective; it's true that we have fewer of them in the house - that's a good point in principle - a mixture of dishwasher detergent and bleach keeps them away, but only for a short time. Do you have a solution that I could use with a sprayer (easier for me) given the surface area, in order to set up a barrier to protect the house and partly destroy them in the garden to protect our plantations and, if so, which one, at what cost, including transport ? Thank you in advance, even if you need two products, one for the garden and the other for the house, if they are effective I'm a taker here, it's a plague.
A :In a technical room, we treated areas where there are always large numbers of ants with our 4J insecticide diluted to 5%. Following this treatment, most of the ants affected died. What's more, we haven't seen them for months. I think we would have had the same result with our insect repellent, but at the time we didn't have this product. Because they contain pyrethrum, our products are less effective outdoors, as this is degraded more quickly by the sun. Outdoors, you can try Aries anti-mouse oil. For delivery costs, see the order form after filling your basket.

Q: I've got blight on my cherry tree. Is it serious and what should I do ?
A: It can be a nuisance for the fruit. There are commercial strips of glue that can be put around the tree for this purpose.

Q: I've heard about an insecticide or pesticide called dicampa... I don't know how to spell it. We have a lot of ants on our property (big pile of earth)
A: I'm sorry, but I'm not familiar with it. It must be a synthetic pesticide. We don't work with this type of active ingredient.

Q: My olive tree is overrun with ants. What treatment should I use to get rid of them ?
A: The most environmentally friendly treatment is to place a strip of glue around the tree. You can find this in garden centres. If there are ants, there may also be aphids. Check it out.

Q: How can I stop an invasion of flying ants in my home ?
A: The flying ants leave the ant nest to make another nest. In general, this doesn't last very long. The first thing to do is to find the place from which they come out, probably a crack in a wall. Either plug the holes or fill them with our ant gel.

Q: We've been invaded by flying ants in the garden. Would you have a solution to eradicate them ?
A: We're sorry, but we don't have a solution for you.

Q: How do I find a nest of flying ants in my house ? Every morning I get up and there are about ten of them on the floor. Do they come out through tiny holes ?
A:  In general, flying ants hatch in hot, stormy weather. You probably have a nest in your house - a small crack will do.

Q: Good evening, since the weather has warmed up (2 days) I've noticed what I think are flying ants in my stairwell. The only thing that makes me doubt that they really are flying ants is their abdomens, which are coloured a dark yellow tending towards brown and black, with two coloured files. So if you could tell me a little about their identity it would be greatly appreciated. I have several young children and I'm worried that something might happen to them if they come into contact with these insects. I've been trying for some time to kill the ants I have at home but they're all small (about 3 mm) but since these flying ants I've also noticed larger black ants about 7 mm long. Thank you for enlightening me, it's greatly appreciated.
A: Flying ants can appear when the weather is hot, humid and stormy. In general, this is more likely to be in July/August, as ants only fly when they are swarming! Now, there are hundreds of insects that resemble your description. Identifying an insect is complex. You'd have to tell us its size, the number of wings it has, the length of its tail, etc., and we're not experts enough to tell you. There is an insect that might look similar and that stings, perhaps the scleroderma ? You'll find it on our special scleroderma page.

Q: I've just moved into an old flat on the ground floor, lined with plasterboard. As soon as I leave food debris in my kitchen, no matter how small, the ants arrive: they come in columns, from the ceiling, the skirting boards... I tried putting the sugar in an airtight jar (with a seal), but they ended up getting in! They're invisible the rest of the time (apart from a few scouts here and there) and disappear as quickly as they appear. I should point out that these are very small ants. What product would you recommend for this type of ant ?
A: It's still a bit early days for ants, but it's true that the current temperatures are unseasonable! We've just brought in a special natural ant product that's harmless and very effective in the long term: the Ant Bait Gel Box and the Ant Bait Gel Tube. You'll need to be patient, as the aim is to destroy the whole anthill, and you should expect the product to last at least a fortnight.

Q: Hello! I live in Corsica and for the last two or three years we've been invaded by Argentine ants, which have wiped out all the other species we knew about. We've tried everything we can think of in terms of insecticides. Every year it gets worse and nothing seems to work. Can you help me ?
AI don't know enough about this species. But we have products that will act as a repellent, most of them based on spinosad (tin, gel) or pyrethrum (4J 5%). Diatomaceous earth is also an effective solution for getting rid of them. All you have to do is sprinkle it over the areas you've spotted. Ants that get it on their bodies get injured (very abrasive) and die of dehydration. Diatomaceous earth absorbs 3 to 400 times its volume.
Finally, our "Aries Pistal All Insects" insecticide will give very good results, but will only act as a direct spray on the ants you touch (it will not destroy the anthill unless you treat it directly).
Other natural solutions, this time repellent: a few drops of peppermint essential oil to put in their path, or coffee grounds, a slice of lemon, basil leaves or powders such as chalk, talcum powder or bicarbonate of soda