Ant infestation on apartment floors always surprises many apartment owners.
They assume that ants are a menace only to houses and the ground floors in apartment blocks.
But unfortunately, ants can reach high-rise apartments, build their nests, and cause a damaging infestation.
Ants and many other bugs can quickly infest apartment floors higher than ground ones.
In this guide, you’ll find out the sneaky ways ants use to get into apartments higher than the first floor and their hiding places.
You’ll also learn the hacks to get rid of ants in apartments and prevent an ant infestation.
Why Do Ants Climb Three Or More Floors In An Apartment Building?
Let’s face it. Ants are scavengers. They’re always looking for food and moisture sources to keep themselves alive.
And they don’t shy away from exceeding their boundaries.
Ants in the apartment buildings will climb as high as possible to find a food source.
If ants discover a food and moisture source in your apartment, they’ll build their nests and colonies inside your apartment.
That’s the beginning of an ant infestation in apartments.
So, the question is, how do the ants find out the apartment blocks?
The reasons are the same for ants finding houses to invade.
First, they occupy the outdoor area.
And when ants’ numbers increase, they venture out for more food sources and hiding places.
That’s how they spread.
In an apartment complex, the ants will keep scouring for food, especially when their numbers increase and the owners don’t get rid of them.
That makes the ants spill over to other apartments in the apartment building.
Ants On The Third Floor Of The Apartment – 4 Ways Ants Reach There
There are four common ways that ants reach the higher apartments in an apartment complex.
- By crawling
- By being present in the things that apartment owners bring inside
- The nearby apartments have an infestation
- And the most underrated way, through the drains
Let’s find out more about each of these ways.
Ants Crawl Inside The Third Floor And Higher Apartments
Ants are perfect crawlers. They can crawl on the walls, pipes, and slippery areas.
When their numbers increase on the lower floors, ants will move out, looking for other places to hide.
They’ll crawl on the exterior pipes on the apartment walls to sneak inside new apartments through open windows.
Cracks and crevices on the windowsills and walls of apartment blocks are also standard entry points for the ants.
You might have noticed a trail of ants climbing up the pipes, walls, and trees near homes and apartment buildings.
It all begins with one random ant leaving its colony and searching for a new food source.
And while doing it, it leaves pheromone trails behind while crawling up on the higher floors in the apartment buildings.
Pheromones are a type of scent that bugs emit to communicate.
Other ants follow the scent in the form of ant trails.
And that’s how they invade a new apartment, no matter how high it is.
By Being Present In The Things That You Bring Inside Your Apartment
Ants can also hitchhike by latching on to specific things.
Things like potted plants and cardboard boxes can have ants, especially when you bring them outdoors.
Used furniture and even second-hand soft furnishings like carpets, rugs, and mattresses can also have ants.
But ants in potted plants are one of the most common ways for ants to sneak inside homes.
Many apartment owners buy potted plants from poorly maintained nurseries.
These potted plants can have hidden bugs like ants and gnats that you accidentally bring inside your home.
When inside your apartment, these ants will look for places to hide.
Later in the post, you’ll find where ants hide in an apartment.
Before that, let’s find out the third most underrated reason for ants in an apartment building.
The Nearby Apartments Have An Ant Infestation
Like bed bugs, fleas, termites, and roaches, ants also spill over on nearby homes and apartments.
That occurs when the entire apartment complex has a severe ant infestation.
Ants can also move from the infested apartment through the vents, electrical wiring lines, and even electrical outlets.
A dirty neighborhood or locale also plays a significant role in spreading the ant infestation in homes and apartments.
Poor waste management or disposal systems and blocked wastewater disposal lines can also draw ants and other bugs.
The Drains Can Be The Source Of Ants On The Third Floor Of The Apartment
Shower drains, sink drains in the bathroom and kitchen, and even laundry room drains can be the source of ants.
The drains of your apartment are the sources of many invasive bugs like drain roaches and drain flies.
Drain roaches and drain flies lay eggs on the scum and gunk that chokes the drains.
Their larvae feed on the gunk. And when they mature, they come out of the drains.
With ants, it’s a bit different.
Unlike roaches and drain flies, ants can’t get inside your apartment through the drains if the drains are wet and choked.
But when the drains are dry, which is often the case with vacant apartments, ants will use them to get inside the apartments.
Ants will follow the drains in the opposite direction.
They’ll come out of the drain holes and invade the kitchen, bathroom, and your entire home.
Where Do Ants Hide In An Apartment?
The hiding places of ants in an apartment are no different from ants’ hiding places inside a house.
The most common places where ants hide in an apartment are –
Ants In The Apartment Kitchen
The kitchen is the most favored real estate for ants. Why?
Your kitchen is an abundant food and moisture source.
Both are vital for ants to survive.
Consistent water usage keeps your kitchen damp.
And if there’s water leakage underneath the kitchen sink, it’s even better for the ants.
Water leakage causes the dampness to spread. And high moisture damages the walls, furniture, and floor of the kitchen.
That makes these places a perfect place for the ants to build their nests because the moisture makes these places easy for ants to drill inside and establish their colonies.
Food stored in the pantry, food stains on the kitchen sink, food wastes in kitchen garbage bins, and food droppings on the kitchen countertop are easy pickings for the ants.
Ants will feed on them.
Once the ant infestation peaks in the kitchen, it spreads to the rest of the rooms in your home.
Ants In Apartment Bathroom
After your kitchen, your bathroom is the go-to place for the ants to hide and breed.
Your bathroom is moist for apparent reasons.
The wastes in the bathroom, like human hair, nails, and even dead bathroom bugs, make your bathroom an ideal place for ants to hide.
Ants can enter bathrooms through the drains and bathroom vents, and windows.
The cracks on the bathroom floor and walls give ants the hiding and nesting place they need.
At times, the ants can also hide in the toilet tanks.
And depending on the ant species, your bathroom can be the center of ant infestation in your home.
Ants In Apartment Bedrooms
Bedrooms aren’t the primary place for ants to hide, like the kitchen and bathroom.
There’s no food source for the ants in your bedroom.
A cluttered and dirty bedroom also attracts ants.
Things get worse when you’ve got a habit of eating on your bed, and there are food crumbs and stains on the bedsheet.
Those food deposits on the bed and other soft furnishings like carpets and rugs in your bedroom attract ants and bed worms.
Ants on the bed can leave itchy and painful bites while you’re asleep.
Bites occur when your skin presses them against the bed while sleeping.
Ants in the bedroom will hide in the gaps and cracks on the baseboards, furniture, walls, and floors.
Like the carpenter ants, some ants can also hibernate in these crevices in your bedroom during the winter season.
During the winter months, ants suddenly disappear because they go for overwintering.
They didn’t quit your home.
They remain hidden inside your home, overwintering and waiting for the spring months to arrive.
And with the arrival of spring, these ants suddenly appear out of nowhere in your home.
Carpenter ants can also build satellite nests in your bedroom.
The satellite nests are supportive nests that cater to the central nest where the queen resides.
So, ants in apartment bedrooms are not a strange occurrence.
Ants in the apartment bedroom indicate that the ant infestation has spiked up, and it’s time for you to act to eliminate them.
How To Eliminate Ants On The Third Floor Of The Apartment?
Dealing with ants in the apartment isn’t as tricky as dealing with ants in the house.
You don’t have to treat your yard or garden, which are the primary sources of ants in a home.
But in an apartment, you’ll have to be more thorough in finding ant nests.
It’s because the ants in the apartment can also build their nests.
And these nests become the source of skyrocketing ant infestation in your apartment.
Here’s what to do if you’re finding ants in your apartment.
Step#1 – Do A Thorough Cleaning Of Your Apartment
Ants love dirt and clutter. It’s because these things provide them with places to hide.
You must remove clutter from your apartment and clean it thoroughly.
Get rid of old and useless cardboard boxes, books, newspaper piles, and magazines in the storage sections of your apartment.
Books and paper contain cellulose. And cellulose is a source of nutrition for many bugs like roaches, termites, and ants.
Inspect your entire apartment for clutter, especially in your bedroom.
Spiders, too, can hide in these heaps of clutter.
Step#2 – Clean Your Kitchen
Cleaning of the kitchen needed a special mention. Your kitchen is the food and moisture source for ants that keep them alive.
The food spillovers on the kitchen shelves, pantry shelves, kitchen cupboards, and cabinets are easy pickings for the ants.
Those things drew the attention of ants.
So, ensure that you clean them all.
Also, clean the kitchen sinks and kitchen countertops.
Food stains and droppings on the kitchen sinks and countertops draw ants.
It’ll be best to use a disinfectant or a reliable stain remover to get rid of the food stains on the hard surfaces of your kitchen.
Also, use proper food storage jars and containers to keep your stored food.
Thin and weak food storage containers that aren’t airtight allow ants and many pantry beetles to sneak inside them.
Result? They damage the stored food.
Another thing that draws ants to apartment floors is the trash in the kitchen garbage bin.
The food wastes in the kitchen trash bins draw ants, roaches, and flies because, over time, they start to decay and emit a stench.
Don’t leave plates with food stains on the kitchen sink overnight. They also attract ants.
Step#3 – Seal The Gaps And Cracks On Your Apartment’s Walls, Floors, And Furniture
The gaps and crevices become the hiding and nesting place for many house ants.
These ants will drill inside the gaps and establish their colonies.
Inspect your entire apartment, including the bathroom, for these cracks.
On finding these gaps and holes, try to poke them.
You may find ants coming out of these holes and cracks if there’s an ant nest inside them.
If that happens, use an ant spray on the holes and crevices.
Also, look out for gaps and cracks in the doors and windows. They’re the entry points for ants into your apartment.
Seal the gaps that you discovered. It’ll be best to use a silicone-based sealant to caulk those gaps.
Ants and bugs can’t chew through the silicone-based sealants, and these sealants are durable too.
Step#4 – Use Window And Door Stripping To Cover The Gaps In Doors And Windows
The gaps in the window frames and underneath the doors are easy entry points for ants and bugs.
Rodents like rats and mice can also sneak inside through these gaps.
In cities like NYC, where rodents are a big menace in apartments, the door striping is a lifesaver.
Door stripping or weather-stripping are cheap. They cover the gaps in windows and doors that ants and bugs use to sneak inside the apartment.
Step#5 – Use An Ant Spray To Get Rid Of The Ants
Now that you’ve cleaned your apartment and sealed all the gaps that are entry points for the ants, it’s time to go on the offensive.
Use an ant spray on the places where you’ve noticed ant trails.
Also, if you see ants in your apartment, use the ant spray on them.
The ant spray will kill those ants.
There are some natural, non-toxic options too.
Things like diatomaceous earth and boric acid kill ants.
After scattering them, you’ll need to wait for a few hours for them to work.
Then use a vacuum cleaner to remove them and the dead ants.
But the main problem is that many ants will escape and hide while you’re spraying or using the natural and removers.
And to lure out those hiding ants, there’s a solution. And that’s ant traps.
Step#6 – Keep Ant Traps In Places Where You’ve Noticed Ant Activity
Ant removal in apartments is incomplete without ant traps.
Ant traps help by drawing the ants out of hiding and even preventing ants from entering the apartment.
There are many types of ant traps and ant baits available. That includes both toxic and non-toxic ones.
Depending on what you prefer, you can choose either of them.
Ant traps are sticky traps. The toxicant traps contain chemicals that smell like pheromones and have poisons that kill ants.
The non-toxic ones are also sticky. The gluey surface of the non-toxic traps makes the ants stick.
There are also ant baits that allow ants to chew on them. And when the ants eat those baits, the poison in the bait kills them.
Some ants carry these ant baits to their colonies to feed them to the soldier ants, larvae, and the queen ant.
When they eat the poisonous ant baits, the entire colony perishes.
Keep the ant traps where you’ve noticed the ant trails, near the entry points that we talked about, and in places like the kitchen and bathroom where ants hide.
If you’ve noticed ants in the bedroom, then keep a few traps in your bedroom.
Let the ant traps remain there overnight. Please dispose of the traps with dead ants stuck on them the following morning.
You can also make a non-toxic homemade ant trap using dawn dish soap.
Caution: If you’re using toxic ant baits or ant traps, ensure that pets and children can’t access them.
Step#7 – Inform The Apartment Complex Manager That There’s An Ant Infestation
One drawback of living in apartment complexes is that bug infestation spreads from one apartment to another.
And that applies not just to ant infestation but also many invasive bugs like bed bugs and roaches.
So, it can happen that ants are coming back despite you taking all the steps.
And the reason for that is that the other apartments, or even the neighborhood, have serious ant problems.
In that case, you should inform the apartment manager.
The apartment manager’s responsibility is to convince other apartment owners to check their homes for bugs.
If you’ve rented a new apartment and find bed bugs, ants, and roaches, contact the apartment owner as soon as you move in.
The apartment owner’s responsibility is to hand you over a bug-free apartment.
Step#8 – Use Scents To Repel Ants And Keep Them Away From Your Apartment
If you’re living in a house, you can use ant granules, which are chemical baits, around the perimeter of your home to keep ants away.
But if you’re living in an apartment, especially on the higher floors, you don’t have that option.
It’s because ant granules are for outdoor use. You need to bury them or scatter them on the soil to make them work.
In the case of apartments, you have options like peppermint oil spray.
Ants hate the scent of peppermint and keep miles away from places and things that emit the peppermint smell.
Spray the peppermint oil on your apartment’s doorways, windows, kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom.
You can also use a mixture of white vinegar and water and spray it. Ants also hate the smell of white vinegar.
But the smell of white vinegar can be quite discomforting for many people.
Some plants like lavender, thyme, rosemary, and catnip keep ants away. You can grow them in pots inside your apartment.
However, securing your kitchen from ants is of high importance.
The kitchen can become the epicenter of ant infestation in an apartment.
To deal with ants in the kitchen, spray the peppermint oil spray in the nooks, corners, and the food storage section of your kitchen.
Keeping spices like cinnamon sticks and bay leaves in your kitchen pantry and storage keep ants away because ants hate the smell of these spices.
Step#9 – Fix Leaky Pipes
Leaky pipes are the most overlooked problem in apartments.
Water leakage underneath the kitchen and bathroom sinks increases the dampness in the floors and walls of apartments.
That leads to the weakening of walls and floors and the development of cracks and molds in these places.
Ants exploit these damages.
They’ll drill into the cracks and build their colonies.
The molds on the walls and floors of your bathroom and kitchen will also attract mold mites which can cause allergies to sensitive people like children and the elderly.
So, check if there’s any water leakage in your apartment. If you find any, fix the problem.
Also, repair walls and floors that water from leaky pipes damaged.
Ants on the third floor of the apartment are common. Ants from nearby apartments can infest the third floor and above flats.
The four ways that ants reach higher floors in an apartment complex are –
- By crawling from adjacent and lower level apartments
- By being present in the things that apartment owners bring inside
- The nearby apartments have an infestation
- And the most underrated way, through the drains
This guide also revealed the nine steps to eliminate ants in your apartment and keep ants out of your apartment.
So, no matter which floor of an apartment building you’re living on and if there are ants in your apartment, you’ll need this guide.
If you can’t get rid of ants in the apartment, it’s a sign that the entire apartment building is infested with ants.
In that case, you’ll need to contact the apartment manager to initiate a building-wide ant inspection.
You may also need a pest controller to eliminate the ants from your apartment.
Nang Chen is an Entomologist and Arachnologist who is associated with Vienna’s museum of natural history. He’s also a consultant with real estate groups, insecticide conglomerates and law enforcement groups as a forensic entomologist. Nang Chen holds an M.S. from South China University and he’s a regular contributor to our site.