Ants can come out of nowhere. One minute your house is a perfect haven, and the next, you have ants in unmentionable places, like your bathroom.
That sanctuary of peace, quiet, and cleanliness can become a house of horrors when ants bring their germs and creepy looking faces to visit.
You might be wondering why they chose the bathroom when there is no food on offer? Well, it’s not all about the snacks.
Sometimes ants are driven to the bathroom because it offers the perfect damp nesting place to breed. As well as other sources of sustenance that you may not be aware of.
In this article, we will show you why they might set up shop in your shower room. And why they head there in the first place.
We’ll also take a look at what they are probably searching for. And, of course, how to get rid of them with a step-by-step guide.
So, pay attention reader. It’s time to scrub up on your bathroom ant knowledge.
What You'll Learn
- 1 Why Would Ants Go to Your Bathroom?
- 2 What Types of Ants Invade Bathrooms?
- 3 Getting Rid of Ants in Your Bathroom
- 4 Conclusion
Why Would Ants Go to Your Bathroom?
Ants in the home usually mean that they are looking for food, water, shelter, or all three. If your home offers all three, there is a good chance they will be moving in and setting up a colony.
While some ants like warm underground homes and others like building colonies in mounds, particular species love moisture for one reason or another.
Bathrooms offer a prime breeding ground for ants as it provides warm, damp areas to nest. Water literally on tap for survival, and believe it or not, wet decaying hair as a source of protein nutrients.
Yes, you read that right, the scummy rancid hair that collects in the plug will attract ants because they can eat it.
Additionally, if you have a leak that has caused wood and structural timbers to go soft or rot, the ants will use this to their advantage. They will burrow into it to create the nest and galleries within.
Ants in the bathroom could be the least of your worries if the structural integrity of your house has been compromised.
What Types of Ants Invade Bathrooms?
There are thousands of ant species across the world, with over 700 recognized and active species in the state of California alone, for example.
You could encounter any type of ant in your bathroom if they pass through, but they are likely an ant species that prefer moisture if they are there to stay.
Typically, ants in the bathroom are likely to be one of the more common ants such as sugar ants, carpenter ants, pharaoh ants, Argentine ants, and the dreaded aggressive fire ant.
- The carpenter ant measures between 6 to 12mm. They are one of the most destructive, and they leave piles of sawdust as they chew their way into the wood.
- Fire ants are small and red. They also bite, so they are easily identifiable. Just don’t get that close in the first place.
- The Argentine ant is 2.2 to 2.8mm long and wingless. They let off a musty odor when squished.
- The pharaoh ant is usually a pale, yellowish to reddish color with a darker abdomen. They are 1.5 to 2mm in size.
- Sugar ants are between 7 to 12mm in size and have brown-orange bodies with large black heads.
Getting Rid of Ants in Your Bathroom
Thankfully, there are certain things that you can do to get rid of the visiting critters. Here are the most crucial factors to think about so that you can plan a successful eviction.
Why are They Coming in? Food or Shelter?
The odors that emanate from bathrooms are a strong attractant to ants. Sanitary drains with their trapped decaying hair and stagnant water will let ants know that it is an excellent place to set up shop.
There is an abundance of water and possible food sources, and fermented hair offers various ant species nutrition.
Most bathrooms also have enclosed wood-paneled units for boxing in plumbing and cupboards for hiding all our sanitary products. This, coupled with the moisture created by showers, baths, and running taps, means that condensation and collected water will cause wet areas.
These areas are especially useful for ants as they are hidden away from us. So they are left in peace to create colonies and nests undetected.
Prevent Drips / Leaks
One of the first steps to prevent infestation is to cut off the water source that the ants have come for. Eliminating the drips and leaks that enticed them in is the place to start.
Adjusting faucets that drip or replacing washers to stop drips is an easy fix. Plus, a moisture meter used on stud walls and bath/shower panels will allow you to check for leaks that you cannot see.
Keeping the washroom and kitchen clean is the next step to take. Standing water, dirt, soap scum, and decaying hair are all rich sources of food for ants, so get rid of them.
You can either clean them manually or make up a home remedy solution with sodium bicarbonate to flush your plugs and U-bends, keeping them fresh.
Where are They Coming from / How are They Getting in?
Like many other insects, ants will move from place to place to establish new colonies. To support the new settlement, the workers will seek out supplies of food and water.
This is where your house comes into play. Location, location, location! And your home is abundant in everything they need.
Once you notice the ants in your home, they will be coming in from two places. Either a colony established outside the property. In which case, they will be entering and exiting via the cracks, crevices, and holes found in every property.
Or they could already have an established nest within the house and are now out in the open collecting water and food.
Can You Find the Nest?
People are often overwhelmed with where to start with ants and getting rid of nests, but it isn’t as hard as it seems. Ants are renowned for their hierarchies and organization, making it all the easier for you to find them.
The ants you see going back and forth are workers. They follow patterns and trails that they have laid from the nest to both water and food sources.
All you have to do to find the nest is to follow them until they disappear. If they disappear under baseboards or through floorboards, chances are the nest is in the house somewhere.
If they exit the house via cracks in external walls and you can see them coming out of your house, good news, the nest isn’t in your home.
Use Ant Baits / Ant Killers
Once you have an idea of where the nest is likely to be, you can decide how you will deal with the ants. If it is in the house, you will need to use a slow-release ant killer bait.
These are designed to be eaten by the ant and carried back to the colony. There it will be shared around before the poison takes effect and kills the ants, the queen, and eventually the entire colony.
If you have children or pets that might be harmed by toxic chemical ant killers, you can choose to use natural products such as essential oils. They can be a great way to kill on contact and repel ants from the property.
Cedarwood oil and geraniol have proven very useful on both counts of killing and repelling. They attack the ant’s central nervous system leading to paralysis and death.
If the colony is outside, you may wish to remove the ants currently in the house. In which case, a spray can kill and repel the immediate number of ants you can see.
Then once you are free from them, you can move onto ant proofing your home by closing off their entry and exit points.
Seal any Cracks and Entrance Points
Access points for ants can be minuscule. So, as well as sealing anything that can be filled, you will need to think about how you stop ants coming through holes that can’t be closed. Items such as heating ducts, air vents, and chimney breasts will need a slightly different approach.
By placing strongly scented aromatic herbs and homemade mixtures in these openings such as bay leaves, mint, or rosemary, you can deter ants from entering. The overpowering smells will wreak havoc with their senses, meaning that they will not be able to lay or follow their pheromone trails.
Outside the property, shrubs, power and utility lines, and overhanging tree branches will touch the house and give the ants a highway into your home.
With the shrubs and trees, prune them back to a minimum of one meter from the property. Cable and line entry points can be closed with weatherproof sealant.
Another frequent access for ants is via cracks and gaps in walls and between bricks, tiles, and timbers. Using decorators caulk and fillers, it is an easy job to close most of these spaces.
Just be sure to allow it to harden entirely in damp areas like bathrooms before you use them again.
That’s a wrap, folks. The simple steps you can take to get rid of pesky ants are, well, simple!
Like any scavenger or animal, if you take away sources of food, water, and shelter, they will move on to the next location to find it. So, get to it and ant proof your home before the infestation takes hold.
A pro tip to take away is that moisture-seeking ants can sometimes be a blessing in disguise. If you have a leak that is slowly causing dampness and rot in your home and the ants have come to make the most of it, chances are you need to undertake a survey.
Have you ever encountered ants in your washroom or kitchen? How did you eliminate them? Did you opt for pesticide chemicals or all-natural solutions? Share your successes and failures in the comments with us, and we will see you there.