2018 may be “the year of the dog,” but March could certainly be considered the month of springtime pests, especially ants. When the flowers bloom and temperatures rise, ants often march indoors in search of a consistent food and water supply, making home pest-proofing a much-needed spring task.
Ants have a sweet tooth, just like many of us, which leaves our kitchens particularly vulnerable to an infestation. Not only are ants attracted to the crumbs and spills we leave behind, but they are also drawn to the moisture from sinks. One of the most effective ways to prevent an infestation in the heart of the home is to practice proper sanitation at all times. Read below to see why ant proofing a home should be at the top of your spring to do list!
The three most common ant species that invade homes are:
Carpenter ants are threatening to homeowners because they can cause structural damage. They do not actually “build” like carpenters, but they will excavate wood, which can be damaging over time if not managed. They do not feed on wood, but rather dig it out to make room for nests and foraging arenas. There are a number of carpenter ant species found in North America, varying in color.
Odorous House Ants
These ants build colonies with many queens and many small homes. These homes are often temporary, such as under woodpiles and landscaping. Any trees, shrubs or other plants that touch your house will provide an easy access point for these ants to enter your home. With the multiple queen aspect of this ant, plus its temporary nesting sites, this ant is difficult to control. These ants are not known to bite and cannot sting.
Pavement ants also have many queens, but choose to nest under rocks and pavement. Homeowners become aware of these pests as they mine the sand and soil from under concrete slabs, patios, sidewalks, driveways or in basements. These ants do have a stinger, but will not sting easily unless the ant is caught in close circumstances such as resting an arm or leg over an infested area in a lawn. They prefer to forage food that is sweet or greasy.
To learn more about ants, be sure to visit our pest guide!
Ant proofing a home is relatively simple. Homeowners should consider implementing these tips from the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) to keep ants at bay:
- Seal cracks and crevices around the home using a silicone-based caulk.
- Replace weather-stripping and repair loose mortar around basement foundations and windows.
- Ensure downspouts and gutters are functioning properly so that water flows away from the home’s foundation.
- Keep trees and shrubbery trimmed away from the home.
- Wipe down countertops and sweep floors to remove crumbs and residue from spills.
- Store food in sealed containers and keep ripe fruit in the refrigerator.
- Routinely check under sinks for areas of moisture and repair any leaky pipes.
- Dispose of garbage on a regular basis.
- Keep pet bowls clean and wipe up any spilled food or water around them promptly.
- Store dry pet food in a sealed plastic container rather than the paper bags they often come in.
Many people attempt to address an ant problem on their own, but, given the potential size of a color, eliminating ants can be a challenge without proper treatment. If ants are found in the home, we recommend contacting a licensed pest control professional for expert advice. Contact us today for your free inspection.