Make a list of places you don’t want to find ants and right up there at number one (neck-and-neck with ‘pants’) is ‘your home’.
Depending on the species, ants in your home can mean annoying nuisance to a serious threat. Keep reading to learn what to be on the lookout for—and when it might be time to call in a professional exterminator for ants.
Ants are rarely a welcome sight–whether it’s in your yard or in your home. Depending on the species of ant you’re dealing with, they can represent threats to your home as well as your health. Most ants trek through all sorts of unsavory and contaminated things on a daily basis and risk spreading bacteria and other microorganisms to your food if they get inside.
Some ants also pose a threat to the structure of your home as they make colonies inside. Depending on the size of the nest, homeowners might even be left with enough lasting damage to require repairs or replacements once the ants have been dealt with.
Plus, as scavengers, ants are constantly looking for food to carry back to their colony. They are omnivores which means they will eat just about anything, including almost all the food in your home.
How Do Ants Get Inside My Home?
Ants can enter into your home through the tiniest of cracks. From their perspective, even the smallest opening is like a highway to start moving in. Typically, ants start moving inside structures as the weather changes, looking to stay warm indoors or discover new food sources during the winter. For that reason, autumn is an especially good time to be on the lookout for these tiny home invaders.
Once inside, these scouts will mark the way for others to follow using pheromones, leading straight to the food supply. Then, if the conditions are right, the ants will settle in and make a nest to be closer to the food source.Once this happens, the only recourse may be hiring an exterminator for the ants.
What type of ant is in my house?
The most common types of ants found in our service area are Argentine ants, Carpenter ants, Fire ants and Odorous House ants. Each of these ants has different behaviors and genetic make-up which makes it hard to combat on your own. Because each species is unique, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution that protects against all of them at once.
Fortunately, the men and women at Terminix can help identify, treat, and prevent ant infestations.
Argentine Ants are an invasive species that can get out of hand quickly if they aren’t properly controlled. They are attracted to moisture, and are commonly found in damp areas like mulch. They are above-average at making themselves at home, and can adapt easily to a number of different environments.
With dozens—even hundreds—of ant queens per colony, Argentine ants reproduce rapidly, spreading out and establishing more and more nests along the way. Colonies have been known to span the length of a whole city block.
Carpenter Ants are known to nest both indoors and outdoors—so there’s a chance they could start a colony in your home. And despite their name, they’re not the sort you want to depend on for construction. The moniker refers to their behavior for making a nest: instead of underground or in an anthill, these large black ants tunnel into wood when making a nest.
But it’s not just your floors and walls you need to watch out for. If provoked, they’ll bite humans too.
We probably all think of fire ants as more of an outside pest, but these stinging stinkers don’t care where they find you—indoors or out, their bites are just as unpleasant. Fire ants might seek shelter in your home after heavy rains or flooding, since they prefer to nest underground.
Odorous House Ants
Odorous House Ants are unique in that they can be identified just by smell—if you step on them, that is. These ants are small, black or brown in color, and are most well-known for releasing a pungent stench that smells like rotten coconut when crushed, making them even more annoying than normal ants.
Avoiding Ants in Your Home: Ant Control Tips
When it comes to ants, the best course of action for control is calling in the professionals, like the local, expert technicians at Terminix. Different types of ants require different approaches for treatment.
Still, there are some quick and easy things you can do yourself to help make your home less inviting to ants. Here are a few tips to avoid an ant invasion and keep your home ant-free:
- Make sure there are no crumbs, spills or food waste in your pantry or cabinets.
- Keep pantry items properly sealed, preferably in airtight containers
- Keep your fruits and veggies in the fridge.
- Be diligent about cleaning up quickly after spills on your floors and counters.
- Fix any leaky pipes, remove and replace any damp wood. Be vigilant for moisture buildups.
Even if you’ve done all these things, you might still find yourself with an ant problem. If that’s the case, you may need to call in the pros. Extermination for ants requires specialized approaches that target the specific behaviors of the different ant species.