How to Find an Ant Nest

If your customers are besieged by ants, then you need to help them. The best advice you can give is this: Go after the entire colony, not just the ants you see.

This is a great strategy, but they may have no idea on how to find the colony. In fact, it can be a lot more difficult than you would expect. After all, ants can disappear into places where it’s impossible to follow them – whether they slip behind a baseboard or disappear into the lawn.

Regardless, knowing where an ant colony is hiding itself is helpful when your customer begins the eradication effort.

ant nest


Trailing ants back to their nest is possible, but it’s also difficult. Their size make them hard to follow. Still, with patience and determination, a customer can follow their ant invaders.

However, let the customer know that ants rarely walk in a straight line. Instead, they usually walk a zigzag pattern -- the result of previous ant-explorers searching for something to help feed the colony. Those scouts laid down a pheromone trail for other ants to follow. Since these trails often meander, it can take an ant a long time to cross even a short distance.

Quick Tip: Don’t follow one ant, instead observe multiple ants! Following an individual ant back to its nest can be tedious. Try to observe a wider area to see if you can spot several ants on their way back to the nest.

How to Find an Ant Nest Indoors

Here are the top signs of an indoor ant nest:

  • Wood Shavings– This could be a sign of carpenter ants. These shavings will often appear underneath beams in a cellar or attic.
  • Swarmers –First, check if the “flying ants” are indeed ants and not termites. For ants, know they may nest outside and enter the home through an opening. Indoor swarmers are a primary sign of pharaoh ants or carpenter ants.
  • Dead Ants – Piles of dead ants, particularly around a window, is a sign of an interior infestation. Once again, make sure the insects are not termites, and then take the appropriate steps to further locate the nest site.
  • Moisture –Aside from food, ants need moisture. Inside a home, wet wood can invite an ant invasion. Leaky pipes and condensation are also big attractants. Since a route to water should be well established, it should be easy to follow these ants back to their nest site.
Terro Ant Dust

Three Great Ways for Battling Ants Inside the House

TERRO® has many options for dealing with ants inside the home. Advise any of these methods:

  • Method 1 – Bait –TERRO® Liquid Ant Baits hold a sugary Borax mixture that’s blended to take down an entire colony of ants.
  • Method 2 – Dust –Spread TERRO® Ant Dust in the cracks and crevices where ants crawl and hide. Our Ant Dust continues to kill for up to 8 months.
  • Method 3 – Aerosol –Blast ants and other bugs with TERRO® Carpenter Ant & Termite Killer, which delivers a kill-on-contact solution. It remains active for up to 4 weeks. It’s a helpful treatment to battle insects infesting the wood in your home.

How to Find an Ant Nest Outdoors

To uncover an outdoor ant nest, advise your consumers to look for these indicators:

  • Mounds of Dirt – Many ants, including pavement ants, will excavate dirt from their nests, leaving highly visible piles of fine dirt.
  • Aphids –Some ants, including carpenter ants, have learned that aphids (an insect) excrete a sweet, nectar-like substance called honeydew, which the ants harvest as the aphid feeds off a plant. Therefore, a plant that’s suffering an aphid attack may also be helping an ant colony.
  • Rotten Wood –Fire ants and carpenter ants will use a rotten stump (or any other non-treated wood) to build their colony inside.
Terro Ant Bait

Three Great Ways for Battling Ants Out in the Yard

TERRO® has many options for dealing with ants in the yard. Advise any of these methods.

  • Method 1 – Granules – Shake the granules of TERRO®Perimeter Ant Bait Plus around a home foundation. It entices foraging ants to carry these slow-killing particles back to their nest and share.
  • Method 2 – Spray – Spray ants directly with TERRO® Outdoor Ant Killer Spray, which can hit targets up to 15 feet away and keeps killing when it dries.
  • Method 3 – Outdoor Baits – TERRO® Outdoor Liquid Ant Baits offer the same ant-killing power of our indoor bait while remaining weatherproof.
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