Ants trailing on a wall

Knowing how to follow an ant trail helps you locate and eliminate the source of your ant problem: the nest.

 

What is an ant trail?

An ant trail is a line of traveling ants. It is created when a foraging ant lays down a chemical scent called a trail pheromone. The scent helps the ant find its way back to the nest and for nestmates to find the food or water source. Ant trails may comprise a few ants to a few thousand ants. In large trails, you may see separate columns of ants coming and going, like cars driving on a divided highway.

 

Why should I follow an ant trail?

Ant trails lead to the ant colony. To eliminate your ant problem, you likely need to kill the entire colony and especially the ant queen or queens. Otherwise, the queen will continue to lay eggs and the worker ants will continue to come back to your home or business.

 

How do I follow an ant trail?

Start by watching the ants and track where they go. Trails with many ants are easy to follow, even for hundreds of feet outdoors. Others are harder to see and may require a magnifying glass, flashlight and patience to find and track. Ants are especially active at night, so look for trails then, as well.

You may lose sight of the ant trail in one spot but find it somewhere else nearby. For instance, the ants may disappear under the door threshold but appear outside crawling down a seam in the siding. Some common places to find ant trails are:

  •  along hard edges of carpet, wood and tile flooring; baseboards; siding; sidewalks, driveways and patio pavers
  • on wires and plumbing pipes
  • on gutter downspouts (ants travel horizontally and vertically)

 

What if I can’t find an ant trail?

Sometimes ant trails can’t be found because they’re behind walls and baseboards. Or you may be dealing with an ant species that doesn’t make visible trails.

Even if you can’t find the ant trail, it is still possible to get rid of ants in your home or business, such as by using ant stations with insecticide bait. With these DIY or do-it-yourself pest control products, the ants carry the bait back to the colony and share it with other workers and the queen, thus killing the colony.

Applying dusts can help reduce the number of foraging ants, while ant repellents kill ants on contact and create a defensive barrier the ants will not cross.

Learn more about how to choose the best DIY ant killers in Canada.

 

Also read:

5 Steps to Get Rid of Ants for Good

The 7 Common Ant Pests in Canada

Why Do I Have Ants?

How to Inspect for Ants

The Best DIY Ant Killers in Canada

How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants

How to Keep Ants Out

How to Get Rid of Ants Outside

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