Maintaining a clean and tidy home is at the top of the list for any homeowner and one thing that can certainly impact that is having unwanted pests that find their way into your home. One such pest that most people have experienced is ants. Ants can quickly and quietly enter your home and spread contaminants. Ants are communal in nature and they form large colonies or groups. Each of these colonies are made up of male ants, queen ants, and workers. Each of these have different roles within that colony. Ants are very resilient and can flourish in various environments. There are over 12,000 different ant species in the world, and over 1,000 different species within the United States.
Why Do Ants Enter Our homes?
Various species of ants create nests in the soil outside, in the cracks in sidewalks and driveways, and inside tree stumps. These locations are often found very near the homes that we live in. Because ants are so small in size that gives them the ability to access entry into a home with relative ease. They do this by finding very small openings in a home and once inside their mission is to find food. They are very good at finding food because of their antennae which allows them to detect the food source. Once a food source has been discovered the ants will generate a pheromone chemical. This pheromone chemical will act as a way to communicate the good news of the food discovery to other ants.
Typically most ants are found inside a home where there is plenty of access to food and water sources such as kitchens, pantry’s and bathrooms. It does not take much time, typically only a matter of days or weeks, and the ants can expand to cabinets, attics, basements and other areas of the home. It is critical that once an ant infestation is discovered inside your home that you eliminate it as quickly as possible because the ants can spread germs. These germs can contaminate household items such as food, dishes, and other items.
Ways to prevent ants from coming into our homes?
Regular cleaning is one of the foremost steps you can take for preventing these pests. By not cleaning up food crumbs or sugar spills on countertops or on the floors you are creating a huge attraction for ants. Dirty and used dishes should be promptly washed and put away and not left sitting on the counter or in the sink for any extended period of time. All trash cans should ideally have a sealed lid on them as this will help to restrict access by ants and other pests. You should also be sure to check under anything that has been sitting on the floor in the kitchen to make sure there is no additional food debris. Periodically, you should also move large kitchen appliances like your refrigerator, stove, and dishwasher and conduct a through cleaning.
Be sure to fix any water issues that you may have in your home right away. This could be things such as a leaky faucet or pipe. These can create moisture which in turn attract ants.
At least once a year you should inspect the foundation of your home to look for any cracks that may have developed near the home. If you do discover these cracks you should fill the cracks with a sealant that you can purchase from any home improvement store.
When you are doing your inspection of the foundation of your home you should also check the seals around the doors and windows of your home. You are looking for any openings that could potentially allow easy access by ants and other pests.
You should also periodically apply all purpose weather sealant around the base of the doors. This helps to seal up any potential access points of ants.
How to Deal with an Ant Infestation?
If you have applied all of the above listed techniques and find that you still are dealing with an ant infestation there are a variety of different techniques you can undertake to try and eliminate it.
First, many stores carry off the shelf ant baits that can eliminate an infestation. These are typically placed in corners inside of your home or along the baseboards. Within these baits are a food source that attracts the worker ants, but it also contains a low dose of a chemical that will be toxic to the ants and the queen ant. The worker ants will continually bring back this food to the queen ant, effectively killing her.
If you have tried consumer do it yourself solutions and still not have had any success than it may be best to bring in a qualified pest control company. A pest control company has the knowledge, experience, and training to properly identify the source of your pest problem and can recommend the best method for dealing with it. Pest control companies typically have access to more effective pest control products than the average homeowner is able to get.
If you suspect that an ant infestation or other pest infestation has gotten out of control we recommend reaching out to a professional pest control company.
About the Author:
Mike Charles is the owner of Lansing Pest Control, a company that specializes in pest control such as ants, spiders, bees, termites and more in Lansing, Michigan