How to Get Rid of Ants Outside (Yard Version)

Ants are pests, and if you have them overtaking your lawn, you’ll want to know how to get rid of ants outside.

This is very different than getting rid of ants indoors.

Traditional ant traps won’t work, and an outdoor ant killer can be harsh on the local insect population. You need to think about the beneficial insects in your yard because the insect population is declining – fast.

Insect populations are falling so fast that there is a threat of a collapse.

And what would this mean? The human species would be at danger. We rely on insects to pollinate the food we eat. It’s important when trying to get rid of ants outside that you keep other insect species in mind. You can kill ants without killing other insects in the process.

4 Ways to Get Rid of Ants Outside

1. Diatomaceous Earth Works Wonders

Diatomaceous earth is all-natural, so it’s a pet safe ant killer that actually works. It may sound a bit harsh, but this product works by entering the exoskeleton of the ants. The DE, as many people call it, will do two things:

  1. Suffocate the ant, or
  2. Dry out the ant’s body

In either case, the ants will die. You can put DE in areas that are highly trafficked by ants, or you can place it right on top of the ant mounds that you see. It’s a fast and simple technique that actually works to get rid of your outdoor ant problem.

I recommend keeping a close eye on the ant population and reapply the DE as needed.

If you’re trying to figure out how to get rid of large ant hills, I recommend applying DE around the perimeter of the ant hill, too.\


This will attract ants that are trying to leave the colony. But large colonies may also require you to use several methods on this list to finally kill the queen and the entire colony in the process. Ants are resilient, so it’s important to adjust your techniques and methods as necessary.

2. Liquid Dish Soap and a Touch of Canola Oil

If you’re scrambling to find items in your home that are great for killing ants, stop right there. Before you decide to use boiling water (it doesn’t work well anyway), do have any of the following items?

  • Liquid dish soap
  • Canola oil
  • Spray bottle

Now, you’re going to do the following:

  • Measure ½ teaspoon of soap
  • Measures 1.5 tablespoons oil
  • Add the two into a mixing bowl
  • Add in 1 quarter of water
  • Whisk the ingredients together
  • Pour the mixture into a spray bottle

Now, all you need to do is go and spray areas where there is a high concentration of ants. If you want to get rid of ants in grass, this method works great.

And if you see a large colony of ants or an ant hill, you can simply pour the solution on the ant mound. It’s a quick and easy solution to all of your ant problems. You see, the soap and oil will enter the ant’s exoskeleton.

Once inside, the combination will effectively suffocate the ants.

It’s a harsh way to die, but since colonies can span into the hundreds of thousands, you need to take control of these pests when you can – before they become a major hazard.

3. 5% Concentration White Distilled Vinegar

A hit-or-miss for many people, white distilled vinegar seems to work on some ant species and not others. I recommend taking the time to try this method because white distilled vinegar is very affordable.

You can buy this product on Amazon or in any grocery store.

I want you to pay close attention here because you want to have a concentration level that is at least 5%.

If you have your distilled vinegar, all that is left to do is to pour it on the ant mound. You can also add the vinegar into a spray bottle and spray any ants that you see. Keep a close eye on the ants for any sign of struggle or death.

This method is easy and affordable, but if it doesn’t work for you, I’m about to mention another method that will.

4. Cayenne Pepper, Liquid Dish Soap and a Touch of Water

I’ve spent a lot of time learning how to eliminate insects and pests, and one thing I continue to come across is cayenne pepper. I love this spice in my food, but as it turns out, ants will be smothered and actually burn from it.

Who knew?

Cayenne pepper is a great insect killer, but you need to make a mixture if you want it to be truly effective at killing all of your pests. You’ll need to gather a few items before getting started:

  • 3 tablespoons cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon of liquid dish soap
  • 1 quarter water

Add all of these ingredients into a bowl and start to whisk together. You need to make sure that you whisk everything together thoroughly. The mixture will be somewhat thick,and it will smell strongly of cayenne.

You can add the mixture into a spray bottle and decide to go on a massive killing spree. Be careful when spraying indoors because you may stain carpeting. I recommend taking the mixture and pouring it on the ant mound.

The ants will die quickly, but keep a close eye on the mound and infestation.

You’ll want to reapply the mixture as many times as needed to kill off the ants. You may only need to pour the mixture on the mound once, or you may need to perform the same routine multiple times over the course of a week.

Other insects will be deterred by the smell of cayenne, so it’s a great overall option for all insects.

Get Rid of Ants Outside Instantly (With a Proactive Approach)

There are over 13,000 species of ants, and while you may not come in contact with all of them, they often have similar traits. And if you know the traits and characteristics of the pests that are invading your yard, you have a much better chance at eliminating them.

Luckily for you, I know a lot about ants and their behavior.

In fact, I know enough about ants to help you take a proactive approach to keeping them out of your yard in the first place.

  • Trim back any trees or foliage that may come in contact with your home. Why? Ants and other insects will use this foliage to enter your home – no one wants that.
  • Remove shrubs and other shade-producing items. Ants like to make mounds in the shade, and if you remove the shade, they’re less likely to build a mound in your yard.
  • “Flip” mulch often so that moisture is not retained. Ants will flock to these moist areas.
  • Drains and gutters are also key problem areas because ants love these spaces. You should clean out the gutters often to keep ants away and also better maintain leaf buildup in the gutter.
  • Mow the lawn often. If you allow your grass to become overgrown, there’s a better chance that ants and other insects will begin building nests in your lawn. Keeping your lawn properly groomed will help.
  • Wood, leaf and grass piles need to be removed. These piles are the perfect spots for insects and snakes to hide.
  • Dumpsters and trash bins provide food for ants. Clean out these items and also do your best to make sure that there is no outside trash left.
  • Fruit trees and gardens also provide another source of food, so you’ll want to be diligent when removing fruits and tending to your garden. Pick up any fruit that may have fallen on the ground because ants love the sweet taste.

These are just the basics, but you can also choose to preemptively spray the yard with repellents or pesticides. While not recommended, this is an option when ant infestations are well-known and common in your area.

But there’s also a problem with spraying too many insecticides: evolution.

Ants, like most other species, will evolve. Some insecticides that worked well in the past are no longer effective. When this happens, it becomes even more difficult to kill these pests. I recommend following all of the all-natural advice you can to stop the ants in your area from gaining an immunity to the pesticides or insecticides you’re using.

Granular bait seems to work best outside, but a lot of people are also choosing liquid bait. These baits may be harmful to animals, so if you have a dog or a cat, you will want to keep them away from the treated area. There are a few pet safe options, but the best option when you have a pet is an all-natural method.

It’s better to be safe than sorry when using these harsh products near your pet.

Pest control may be needed in the most serious infestations.

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