Bleach is highly toxic for the ants and will almost instantly end up killing ants. However, it will only kill those ants which come in direct contact with the bleach. Furthermore, we don’t recommend using bleach as it can be harmful to people and pets.
So unless you can locate the ant nest in the house, the vast majority of the ant colony will remain unaffected, and hence using bleach won’t solve the ant infestation problem.
Bleach has been used in pest control for a long time owing to its strong corrosive nature. But this high reactive nature of the bleach can end up acting as a double-edged sword if you are not too careful.
Disclaimer: FaunaFacts does not encourage or condone the use of unregulated or home remedy animal repellents. Animal repellents must be used in accordance with the product labels and local regulations. Placing pesticides and chemicals around your property may be dangerous and can contravene local laws. Do not approach wild animals. Consult a pest control professional for advice on what’s best for your situation.
Will Bleach Keep Ants Away?
Using bleach for ant control will work momentarily however it is not a long-term solution. Bleach works best when you directly spray them onto the trail of ants.
The problem is by this approach you can only succeed in killing just a handful number of ants while the majority of the other members of the ant colony will remain unaffected and hence your ant problem won’t go away by any means.
Bleach will only work if the ants come in direct contact with the ants. They will need to breathe in the bleach from the air and only then they will end up dying. The effectiveness of the bleach will diminish over time as it will slowly be dispersed by the air.
Hence after a certain time even after spraying the bleach in a particular area, it is not uncommon to again see ants loitering around there.
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What Does Bleach Do to Ants?
Ants, unlike humans, do not have any nose, they breathe in through tiny holes located on their exoskeleton.
When you directly spray bleach targeting the ants, they will end up breathing in the bleach which will end up damaging their internal organs and ultimately lead to a swift death.
Ants can protect themselves from letting excess water come flooding inside their body by closing in the tiny holes (spiracles) present on their exoskeleton.
Now you might be wondering that if they can do this to prevent water from coming inside their body then why they can’t use the same mechanism to prevent the bleach come inside their body.
Well, the ants can only do this as water is a liquid that has got a high surface tension. Also, their body contains a waxy coating that further protects them from the water.
However, closing in all the holes quickly in an airtight manner to prevent the entry of the bleach which is in vapor form is not at all easy.
So, the bleach will probably burn through their internal body and the chlorine vapor will continue to diffuse into the other organs. As a result of which they will end up being dead within a short while.
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The 3 Problems of Using Bleach to Kill Ants
1. It’s Not a Long-Term Solution
Ant colonies can contain thousands of ants if not millions of members. Spraying bleach on all of them is not a feasible task even if by some means you end up discovering their nest.
Sure, you may end up killing a sizable portion of the colony but that by any means won’t solve the ant infestation issue in your house as long as the majority of the members of the ant colony remain alive.
You will find much better results with commercial ant baits made of borax and boric acid which again can be highly poisonous so take extra caution in case you have children or pets in the house.
Related Article: Does Cinnamon Repel Ants?
2. It can Injure Humans and Pets
Household bleach products can have strong effects on humans as well as other animals. It can act as an irritant for the skin, lungs, eyes, etc. People who have breathing issues can be seriously impacted by the regular use of bleach in the house.
- Often bleach can lead to burns and children are very much prone to such accidents. So in case, you have breathing issues or someone in your house has asthma it will be best if you avoid using it.
- If you have children or pets in the house be very careful about its usage.
- Also in case you end up using bleach, take suitable precautionary measures. Wear gloves, masks, goggles, face shields, full-sleeved shirts, and make sure the bleach doesn’t come in any contact with your body.
Related Article: Does Mulch Attract Ants?
3. Bleach is Highly Reactive
Bleach by itself is a highly corrosive and reactive chemical. If you end up mixing other chemicals or acids into bleach, it can lead to dangerous outcomes.
For example, when you add vinegar into bleach, it can lead to the production of chlorine gas which can lead to severe breathing issues, chest pain, and watery eyes. On a higher level, it can be extremely injurious to the health.
Related Article: Is There Such Thing as a King Ant?
Other Ways to Kill Ants
We recommend seeking professional pest control services to help you out. Below are some methods they may use. Don’t do this yourself, as pests should always be handled by professionals.
1. Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous earth is nothing but silica which is made of fossilized remains of certain types of animals. The best thing is it not only works against ants but for controlling all kinds of pest infestation in the house.
Diatomaceous earth is completely natural and inexpensive. So it’s often a win-win situation for pest control agents.
Diatomaceous earth dries the ant body from the inside and the ants die owing to dehydration. Sprinkling them around the house or directly in their nests will do the job for you and will fetch you some quick results.
2. Essential Oils
Ants have a highly sensitive and well-developed scent picking up ability and they hate strong scents of any kind as they depend heavily on the process of picking up scents to communicate with each other.
Any kind of strong smell interferes heavily with this ability as a result they find it hard to pick up pheromone trails of one another.
Using a mixture of essential oils like lavender, citrus, tea tree or peppermint oil along with pepper will fetch you a handy ant repellent mixture that will help in minimizing ant problems in the house.
3. Using a mixture of Vinegar and Water
Ants hate the strong smell of vinegar and the best thing is even if it dries, its smell ends up loitering around for quite some time.
Make a mixture of 50:50 vinegar and water and spray it at all the susceptible regions of the house that are prone to ant infestation (kitchen cabinets, sink, bathroom, cracks in the walls, basement, etc.). If you can locate their mounds you can put vinegar in boiling water and directly pour it into the ant nest.
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Using bleach to kill ants is a very effective process especially if poured on nests or mounds. By applying bleach directly to their nest the majority of the ants will end up dead.
However, we don’t recommend this as it is not good for the environment and can be harmful to humans and pets. It will be much more logical to use other natural insect-repelling options as bleach can end up causing some serious health concerns if you are not too careful during its usage.
Stuart is the editor of Fauna Facts. He edits our writers’ work as well as contributing his own content. Stuart is passionate about sustainable farming and animal welfare and has written extensively on cows and geese for the site.