If you want to get rid of ants safely, our latest article is packed with useful info. Even though most ants enjoy living outdoors, some species are attracted to homes because of the prospect of food, water, and shelter. If you want to learn more about how to get rid of them, keep reading.
Why are ants in your home?
Ants are never welcomed guests in one’s home. Even though they can be spotted in people’s houses no matter the season, they tend to be most active in the spring and summer.
To avoid an unwanted invasion, you should make sure that you remove all the stimuli that attracts them to your home.
Food, water, shelter
By nature, ants are foragers. This means that worker ants spend most of their time looking for food. Once they find some, they notify the other ants by leaving behind pheromone trails. This way, they can easily find their way to the food and back to the ant colony.
The best way to avoid an invasion is by keeping your beloved kitchen and pantry clean of crumbs and other food debris or spillage. All fruits and vegetables should be refrigerated if possible. On top of that, you should make sure that you clean all the spills and that you do the dishes before going to bed.
Even though ants do not depend on large quantities of water to survive, they still need to have access to water. Because of this, these insects tend to be attracted to all sources of water they find.
This aspect is particularly true when speaking about carpenter ants. This species likes damp and moist wood cupboards. So, if you want to be sure that you won’t have to face an infestation, it is recommended that you address any plumbing issue in due time.
Unlike other pests, ants are not necessarily attracted to unkempt homes. In numerous cases, ants set their nests inside a house only because they are in desperate need of shelter.
Weather and climate change
A recent Stanford study has pointed out that ants are also likely to invade your home because of weather and climate change. According to the researchers, these insects are likely to look for shelter in peoples’ homes in the wet season.
Because of the changes in climate, outdoor colonies and nests are often endangered by the excess of rain. As a direct consequence, when they feel like their lives are in danger, most species of ants start looking for shelter indoors.
What is more, in the winter, ant colonies are often forced to remain underground so that they can preserve their body heat. To avoid having to deal with long winters, some ant species prefer to set their nests indoors.
By doing so, they can keep themselves warm at all times and they can also have access to nearby food sources.
Which kinds of ants are known for invading homes?
Studies have shown that there are currently more than 12,000 species of ants worldwide. However, only a limited number of them come in contact with humans. So, which species are the most common and the most likely to set home in your house?
One of the first species that you probably know about is the Formica or the field ant. This insect is common in rural areas and they are known to get inside a farmer’s home when looking for food. Still, the field ant generally does not nest in houses.
Because it has a stinger and given that it can create formic acid in its abdomen, this type of ant should be avoided.
Another popular species you might know about is the Crematogaster or the acrobat ant. These insects stand out because they have a habit of lifting their abdomens in the air when they feel threatened. As a result, they have a posture similar to that of scorpions.
Even though this species is not that popular, it is fairly aggressive. What is more, acrobat ants can also sting.
Dark Rover ants or the Brachymyrmex patagonicus are medium-sized and they are common invaders of homes. They like seeking refuge in bathroom walls, kitchens, and even floorboards. These ants do not sting. Still, they love sugared liquids and, because of their size, they can become quite a nuisance.
If you own an older home, you’ve probably already had to deal with carpenter ants before. They are not as dangerous as termites, but they can cause a lot of damage to any wooden structure in your home.
There are numerous sub-species of carpenter ants. As a consequence, it is somewhat difficult to provide you with a list of features that you should look for. If you suspect that you are dealing with an invasion of this sort, be sure to call the exterminators before it is too late.
Argentine ants are also rather common. These insects are large and they like to set their nests inside empty spaces and in the insulation. One positive thing about these insects is the fact that they do not sting. So, you should not be afraid if you spot some of them in your kitchen or bathroom.
How to get rid of ants?
Because not a lot of species of ants are known for invading homes, eliminating them is not a particularly difficult task. However, because various ants might react differently to the methods that you employ, you must make sure that you know what type of insects you are dealing with.
In the case of ants, you must start with eliminating the insects that you do not see fist. By this, we mean that you have to start by eliminating the queen. Just like in the case of bees, the queen is the ant that lays all the eggs and that never leaves the nest.
To efficiently get rid of her, you have to do some detective work by following the trailing ants. This way, you will be able to find the nest.
While following the trailing ants, it is strongly advised that you do not kill them by using pesticides of any type of sprays. If you do so, chances are that the colony will simply send more ants to look for food.
Therefore, instead of killing these trailing ants, you should follow them. Along the trail that you have identified, you should place bait. Then, the workers that find the food will most likely transport it to the queen and, thus, eliminate it.
Instead of cleaning right away, the specialists argue that you should wait until other workers return to eat the remaining bait. If you do not wait, the odor trail left behind by the other worker ants will be destroyed and the colony will send out other ants to look for new food sources.
Once you place the baits, you should wait between a couple of days and a couple of weeks, depending on the size of the colony before you remove them. In larger colonies, there is more than one queen. So, the process of eliminating all queens might take a while.
If the workers keep coming for more food, but the bait stations are empty, it is time that you add new bait.
If the trail that you have discovered leads outdoors, you can use a spray to get rid of the intruders. To avoid a new infestation, it is a good idea to use an insecticide spray that has been rated as safe for humans.
How to avoid further infestations
As we were mentioning earlier, ants usually are tempted to create their nests inside a person’s home when they are in search of food, water, and shelter. Even though you cannot 100% avoid an invasion, you should always keep your home clean and dry as this will discourage infestations.
On top of that, you should seal all crevices and cracks around the doors, windows, wire entry points and pipes.
If you own pets, it is also a good idea to feed them on a set schedule. This way, you can remove the leftovers and you can store them properly. Also, remember to clean and wipe down the food bowl that you use with your pet. Doing so will also minimize the risk of an ant invasion.