There is a natural ecosystem in your yard. If you understand how this ecosystem works, you can reduce the number of ants around your Bay Area home. And, it can reduce your chances of having interior ant problems. Habit modification and sealing entry points in your exterior can be a natural way to prevent infestations. Here are a few tips to help you make ants want to find another place to live.

Ants are driven by food. If food sources are abundant, not only will ants move into your yard, they'll multiply quickly. When they do this near your exterior walls, it is only a matter of time before they start coming in. Perhaps they've already started coming in. Either way, here are a few tips to help you reduce food sources that attract ants.

ants on countertop
ants on white plate


When aphids and other plant-damaging insects get into your landscaping, they can leave honeydew on your plants. This excretion is sweet and tasty to ants. If you want fewer ants, you need to consider aphid control. If aphids are rare, you can simply pluck them off your plants and eliminate them when you see them, or spray them off with a hose. If they are more abundant or more common, you'll need to do more to keep them away. Peppermint oil in water can put a coating on your plants that will produce a smell aphids don't like.


Many ants are attracted to organic matter, especially decaying organic matter. When things begin to rot, they give off a stronger odor. You can reduce ants by keeping your exterior receptacles deodorized as much as possible.


Ants eat insects, both alive and dead. If you have lots of insects in your yard, you shouldn't be surprised when you have lots of ants. There are many things that can attract insects to your property. Here are two likely culprits.

Moisture. If you have an oversaturated perimeter, it is going to be highly attractive to many insects. Oversaturation can be caused by many conditions.  One that we see most often is clogged or broken gutters. Clean those clogs and fix your gutters to reduce perimeter dampness.

Light. Many insects are attracted to light. If you leave lights on overnight, you're likely to have more insect activity around your home. White lights are more attractive. If you replace white light bulbs with bulbs that put off yellow light, you can reduce the insect populations around your home.


Ants can feed more than just insects. They'll eat centipedes, millipedes, spiders, and other critters that aren't insects. When you consider food sources, you don't want to leave these guys off your list.

  • Blow leaf litter out of your landscaping and remove leaves from your property as soon as you can. Leaves provide a moist habitat underneath that is perfect for bugs of all shapes, sizes, and numbers of legs.

  • Move wood piles away from your exterior. You would be amazed at how many bugs are drawn to cut wood.

  • Remove weeds from your landscaping and thin things out so the air can move through your plants and keep things dry.

  • Remove lawn clutter. Bugs like to hide under anything that blocks the sun.

Cookout Items

If you have a grill and you like to have cookouts, you could leave enough food for ants to enjoy. Do your best to keep the grill clean and put away food after you're done grilling. When ants discover food, they are more likely to encroach.

Ant Control Products

Some homeowners turn to over-the-counter insecticides to get control of ants. We don't recommend this. You can't address ant issues with a topical solution. Sure, you'll kill a few ants, but you'll do nothing to kill the colonies. Worse, these products can cause a colony to bud. This will turn one colony into two, three, or more colonies in your yard.

You may have success using bait to address ants, but there are pitfalls to ant baits. If you select the wrong bait, you'll have no success. If you select the right bait, but administer it wrong, you can get the ants to refuse the bait. This will make it more difficult to get control of them. It is best to have a licensed pest management professional choose and implement an appropriate treatment plan.

If you live in the Bay Area connect with Bay Pest. We can guide you in selecting the right ant and pest control solution for your property. With over 40 years, we have the experience and professionalism to get the results you're looking for. Drop us a line today and tell us about your pest control needs. We're here to help.


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