When a carpet is covering cracks and gaps on a floor, ants will move in them and nest. The carpet provides a warm roof over those openings and this encourages an ant infestation below it. After some time, you will see ants coming from under the carpet.
Ants can live under your carpet but since they hate disturbance, they will find a damp spot that is rarely stepped on. If the carpet is wide, ants will nest in a dormant area I.e. under the couch, table, fridge, or TV stand.
A fluffy heavy carpet traps air and accumulates moisture under it. Even if there is no water poured on it, it will still become damp after some time. Excess moisture below a carpet will cause decay which will attract the acrobat, pharaoh, and pavement ants.
In this article:
Causes of ants under the carpet
Moisture: Spilling water and drinks on the carpet without cleaning can attract ants under a carpet. If you accidentally spill any liquid, clean it as soon as possible. If it is in large quantities, ensure you wipe it and use a blow-dry to keep the area dry.
Warmth: During the cold season, ants will look for warm areas to hide and nest. There is constant warmth under a carpet and that will be a safe habitat for them to thrive in. They will use any small opening to find their way and nest where there is less activity.
Rot: If the carpet is rarely moved, water and moisture will accumulate under it after some time. This will encourage mold and eventually, the carpet will become too damp and begin to rot. The rot under a carpet will attract ants because there will be an emission of damp moist air from it.
Wooden floor: A damp and moist wooden floor will attract carpenter and acrobat ants under your carpet. Those ants like rotting wood that is consonantly moist. An infestation of those ants is therefore a sign that the wooden floor below a carpet is decaying and needs to be fixed.
Food: If there is a constant supply of food like those that are dropped on the carpet, ants will come out from under the carpet to eat. Ants can eat blood and other pests that are attracted to mold in a moist carpet. Rot will also act as a source of food for them.
How to get rid of ants under carpet
A permanent solution for ants under a carpet is to remove it and find their nesting areas. Mix 2 pints of hot water with 1 pint of dawn dish soap and pour it into the nest. Wash the carpet and clean the covered area. Then let the entire place dry completely before returning your carpet indoors.
You can place barriers on the ants’ routes. This way, they will be trapped under the carpet and they will eventually move out due to starvation. Ants hate baby powder because it weakens their pheromones and this distracts them from communication.
This can help in killing ants under the carpet when you spread it ta their entry and exit points. If you move the carpet and locate the nest, simply pour the powder into the nest and watch them die. If you do not have baby powder, you can use diatomaceous earth to get rid of them.
If the carpet is permanently placed or moving it is a challenge, you will have to opt for an ant bait. Borax is one of the best ant baits that can be used to eliminate an ant colony. However, you will need to be patient because this method may take a long i.e. 1 -2weeks.
There must be a route that the ants are using to find their way under the carpet. After locating that, mix 2 tablespoons of borax and 1 tablespoon of chocolate powder and place them there. The worker ants will eat this and take some back to their nest. Those that eat the bait will die after 1 day of ingestion.
Other baits that work in the same way as borax include cornstarch and baking soda. Use the same procedure above to mix them for ants. Alliteratively, you can replace the chocolate powder with sugar. Ensure you use sugar that has fine particles so that it blends well with the baits
3. Vinegar + hot water
After locating the nests, you can mix equal parts of vinegar and hot water and pout it on the nest to kill the ants. This can also be sprayed in cracks, -gaps, and holes that ants hide in under the carpet. Vinegar will destroy the ants’ nests and all their eggs that are inside the nests.
However, do not use vinegar on wooden floors because it may soak and cause corrosion on the finishing. The sprayed area will look faded as compared to the rest. Only use it on concrete floors to get rid of an infestation. Pavement ants are the common culprits that are likely to nest under the carpet on a concrete floor.
4. Ant spray pesticides
Once the carpet is removed and you have found the ants’ nest under it, you can spray them with ant spray pesticides. It is okay to use those on concrete floors that have cracks. This will penetrate into the cracks and kill all the ants in there.
However, do not use any spray on your carpet because it may take time to fade away. Those strong chemicals may also be harmful to your household. Just use them on the floor and cracks where you have removed the carpet.
5. Cleaning the carpet
Once the carpet is removed, identify the area that was covering the ants beneath it. Try and get rid of any mold and rot on it. Use a hard brush with soapy water to scrap off any mold that you can see. After that, wash it and let it dry completely.
After destroying their nests, do not return the carpet over that area for 3-4 days so that the area becomes inhabitable for ants. They will do anything to protect their colony and if the area has free airflow, they will move.
The worker ants will find a new habitat because there will be no shelter or cover from the carpet. A sudden change of environment from warmth to cold fresh air will make the ants leave.
Let the infested areas dry up and keep washing them daily. Mop and dust with soap and water for at least 3 days before you return the carpet. Additionally, you can add 5-6 drops of peppermint or tea tree oil to the cleaning water to repel the ants.