How can I get rid of little ants in my bathroom?

Question: I have been seeing little ants in my bathroom. They were in my bathroom this time of year last year too. There are tons of them, and I don't know where they are coming from or why they are there. They are only in my upstairs bathroom. How can I get rid of them? I live in Hanover, Minn.

Thank you!

Answer: From your description, it is difficult to conclusively determine the ant you have without a specimen, as there are many species of ants in the United States. One ant that you could have is one of the carpenter ant species (Genus: Camponotus). There are several species of carpenter ants across the U.S. Most are large black ants, but some are red and some are red and black. Most of the species produce swarms (winged males and female ants) in the spring. These ants feed on other insects and honeydew from aphids on plants and trees.

Carpenter ants nest in moisture-damaged wood, but do not eat the wood. If there is a carpenter ant nest associated with the house, it is because there is probably moisture-damaged wood somewhere. It may be in the bathroom where the tub or shower is not draining properly (or has overflowed and wet the wood), or a porch that is holding moisture, a roof leak, a door frame that gets wet from rain, a downspout or gutter that is not working. However, I am more inclined to believe it could be another species, as carpenter ants are usually larger and workers have different sizes.

It could be that these ants are pharaoh ants (Monomorium pharaonis) which will be seen in large numbers in bathrooms. Another species that could be in your bathroom could be Argentine ants (Linepithema humile) that have come from the outside and made their home in your walls or odorous house ants (Tapinoma sessile) and so on. Based on your description and location it could be any number of ants. It is extremely important that the ants are properly identified, as the wrong treatment can cause a bad problem to get worse.

Since your question is very vague, your best option is to call your Local Orkin Branch Office. A highly trained Orkin Pest Specialist, who is an expert in the science of pest control, will come to your house and conduct a thorough inspection and proper identification of the ants that are invading your home. Your Orkin Pest Specialist will develop a customized, scientifically proven treatment plan to match the ants and meet your needs.

Related Questions

Orkin used the information above to also answer the following questions submitted by Orkin.com users:

Question: We have lately had our roof redone. We have had problems with ants in the bathrooms, and we got rid of the nests that took up habitat under the tub area. But when we had the roof done the plywood was replaced and they found a nest. They sprayed and took out all of the wet wood and insulation. But now we are having a problem with some kind of ant coming from under our place. It has a soft body but the head of an ant. Is this a flush of queens or what? They do not have a hard outside skeleton, and they are a red-brown color. No wings. I did not see these ants on your list.

Answer: What you have seen are probably pavement ants; they are common this time of year. Their nests are often found around houses, sometimes on or near sidewalks, patios or against the foundation. Pavement ants nesting outside typically swarm in May and June, and the flight of the winged reproductives can last for days. Colonies nesting close to houses or heated buildings can swarm any time of year. These ants feed on other insects and usually remain outside, but they will forage indoors and can be a problem for short periods of time. They usually make and follow trails along edges, such as along the edge of baseboards, carpets and pipes. These trails can help homeowners locate the site of the nest; follow the ants that are moving out of the house.

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