How to Get Rid of Grease Ants: A Complete Guide

You’ve probably encountered grease ants at home. They are the most common and persistent indoor and outdoor ants. They are commonly referred to as thief ants from their ability to steal food from other ants.

Pictures of Grease Ants

These ants prefer protein-rich and greasy foods such as meat, cheese, peanut butter, oils and dairy products and many others. They can live in different environments and usually build their colonies anywhere they find favorable conditions.

Whenever they build larger colonies it can be hard to control them. You should eliminate them before the infestation becomes large otherwise it can be a serious to deal with them.

How do you get rid of grease ants? To eliminate these ants, you have to first remove any food source and any other thing that could attract them. To effectively get rid of grease ants in your house, inspect the level of infestation and apply ant baits, insecticide sprays and dust.

Always check the area you have treated to avoid re-infestation. In this post, we will discuss comprehensively on ways to deal with grease ants and how to control their infestation.

What Are Grease Ants?

Grease ants are named so because of their fondness for greasy foods. They are also known as thief ants for the simple reason, they build their nests near the shelters of other ants and steal their food, larvae and pupae. Their small size makes them fit anywhere.

Grease ants move and live in large numbers and usually leave pheromone trails behind for the other ants to follow. You are likely to see their infestation during summer season. It is easy to confuse grease ants for pharaoh ants, but they are somehow tiny in appearance.

Grease ants queens and the drones have wings that help in reproduction. They are usually active during July and late fall. The queen can lay up to 387 eggs each single day. It takes up to 8 weeks for the egg to develop into an adult.

What Does a Grease Ant Look Like?

What does a grease ant look like? The worker ant are yellow to light or dark brown appearance. They measure between 1.5 to 2.2 mm.

Grease ants have a smooth and shiny bodies with six legs, with a rectangular shaped abdomen, small compound eyes and with uneven thorax having no spines.

Their antennae are divided into 10 segments, which end with bi-segmented antennal clubs. These type of ants are polygynous meaning that they can have up to eight queens in a single colony. The queen’s body measures about 5 mm long. The body is relatively thicker and a large abdomen.

Are These Ants Attracted to Grease?

Naturally, grease ants eat can eat anything. They are omnivorous in nature. They eat meat, honeydew producing insects, fungal spores, dead animals, larvae and pupae of host ants. Grease ants travel over a long distance looking for food. Your house becomes the prime attractant to them.

These ants can eat both sweet and greasy food but tend to prefer to eat food such as olive oil, vegetable oil, peanut butter, fats, nuts, seeds, cheese snacks and dairy products.

Do Grease Ants Bite?

These ants are not known to be a threat. Neither do they bite nor sting. But, a large infestation of grease ants in your home can be a nuisance and hard to deal with.

These ants are small in size and can infiltrate food containers and packages ending up to destroy them. Remember they are also called thief ants, and also feed on dead organisms thus carry pathogens into your home. This can causes disease like diarrhea, fever, or vomiting.

These ants are intermediate hosts for poultry tapeworms. It is not surprising to see the tapeworms segments into your homes.

How to Get Rid of Grease Ants

Grease ants are tiny creatures and can be hard to deal with especially when they invade you home. Their small size allow them to build nest in small spaces and openings such as cracks and crevices.

Here is a guide on how to get rid of grease and prevent a possible re-infestation.

1. Identify the type of ants’ infestation

When you want to effectively get rid of grease ants or any other type of ants, you have to accurately identify them. We mentioned earlier that some people confuse pharaoh ants for grease ants simply because of their similarity in size.

Check the markings to distinguish the two. You can also distinguish them from their body color. While pharaoh ants have three dubbed antennae, grease ants have two clubs on their antenna. Grease ants have a yellowish to brownish color, the pharaoh ants have a reddish body with black markings on their abdomen.

2. Inspecting the infested area

Once you identify the type of ants invading your home, the next step is to inspect the area where the ants have invaded. Such places include your kitchen cabinets, counters and the ants moving around the floor.

As pointed earlier in the post, grease ants tend to build their nests in remote and inaccessible areas. This can be quite difficult to reach but just follow their trails and monitor their nesting sites. This should thereafter call for immediate action such as applying insecticides, ant baits and sprays.

3. Applying Ant Killers such Insecticides, Ant Baits

The most important and final step to apply insecticides to get rid of the grease ants infestation. Below are some of the selected ant killer methods to get rid of grease ants for both indoor and outdoor control.

Ant Baits for Indoor Grease Ants

Here are some of the recommended ant baits for grease ants:

1. TERRO T300B Liquid Ant Killer Bait

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2. PIC Homeplus Ant Killer Bait

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3. Combat Ant Baits

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4. Optigard Ant Bait Gel Box

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Ant Killer for Outdoor Grease Ant Control

To treat the outdoor infestation of grease ants, first locate the outdoor nests and trails to tell the how you are going to treat it.

Apply the insecticides directly on the nests or infested sites to get rid of the grease ants. Avoid direct contact or exposure to the chemicals in the insecticides. Then again, read the labels and follow guidelines on the effective pest control.

Here are some of the outdoor methods to deal with grease ants outdoor:

5. Cutter Backyard Bug Control Spray Concentrate

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6. Raid Ant and Roach Barrier Spray

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Home Remedies for Grease Ants – Natural Methods

This sections will cover some of the effective home natural remedies to get rid of grease ants. All of the natural methods discussed here are eco-friendly and non-toxic ways to get rid of the thief ants.

 a) Soap and Water

Soap and water is a good natural method to get rid of ants at home. It can be used to get rid of grease of grease ants too. Here’s how to make the home remedy:

  • Mix one part of dishwashing soap and two parts of water
  • Pour the solution in a spray bottle
  • Shake well
  • Spray the mixture in the infested area and all the access points of the ants
  • Do this twice or thrice for good results

b) Peppermint Spray

Peppermint spray is also another natural ant killer and to be used to get rid of grease ants infestation in your homes. Add 10 or 20 drops of peppermint essential in 3 cups of waters and mix them together

You can add a few drops of lemon juice or tea tree oil to make the natural ant killer even more effective.

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c) Peanut Butter and Borax

Use this combination of peanut butter and borax to get rid of grease ants in your home. To make this mixture, take two teaspoons of peanut butter and mix it with two teaspoons of borax to make a paste.

Place the bait on a container and put it neat the ant trails and their nests. You can also add honey to increase the effectiveness of the bait.

d) Vinegar and Water

Vinegar and water mixture is another effective natural home remedy to get rid of grease ants. Mix equal amounts of vinegar and water and put the solution into a spray bottle. Apply the solution directly on the ants and their nesting areas. Vinegar has a strong smell that keeps the grease ants away.


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