What Causes Ants?

Ants are attracted to food and moisture that they can carry back to their nests and use to feed their colonies. Since they eat many different types of food, they will venture just about anywhere in order to find it, from kitchens to bedrooms to bathrooms to even vehicles. Also, different types of ants are attracted to different kinds of foods and environments, so you may see various species depending on your location.

What Ants Eat

Ants can oftentimes be considered omnivorous due to the large variety of foods they consume. In nature, ants often eat honeydew, a waste substance excreted by aphids and mealybugs. However, ants will also eat other insects, alive or dead, and are known to gather together to take down insects that are much bigger than them. Many kinds of ants are also attracted to seeds, nuts, fruits, eggs, meats, oils, fats, and sweets. Whenever an ant or group of ants finds a new food source, it sends signals and uses pheromone trails to guide its fellow ants to the source in order to carry it back to the nest. Learn more in our complete guide for ants.

Other Factors That Attract Ants

Some ants prefer different habitats over others when building nests or finding food. Dozens of species of ants exist in North America alone, it can be difficult to keep track of all the environmental factors that can attract ants. However, some varieties are more common than others. Knowing where each of these common species can be found can help you figure out how to best prevent an ant infestation in your home.

  • Acrobat ants and crazy ants are attracted to electronics and wiring, and are known to cause short circuits from chewing on and stripping insulation.
  • Argentine ants and carpenter ants need a constant source of moisture to survive, so they may be found near pipes and idle or stagnant water sources.
  • Pavement ants live under sidewalks, driveways, and roads.
  • Red imported fire ants are often attracted to landscaped yards and structural foundations.
  • Carpenter ants are attracted to damp, old, or rotting wood that can easily be tunneled, from dead trees to wooden structures in the home. In many ways, carpenter ants are attracted to the same things termites are, so try to keep the outside of your home free of debris.

Why Are There Ants In My House?

Ant problems start outside the home. Many ants are attracted to sources of standing water and easily accessible food sources, like trash cans and other forms of debris. If your yard is messy, it may be a prime target for an ant colony to grow. As ant colonies grow, they usually need to start foraging for more food sources. This is usually when ants will venture inside to search of food, much to the dismay of homeowners.

Since they are so small and can fit through even the tiniest spaces and cracks, they can enter homes through pipes, gaps in walls, holes in doors, windows, and screens, and crevices in brick and wood alike. They are attracted to food waste, decay, moisture, and unsealed leftovers, so if they find discarded or poorly stored food or sources of excess moisture like drippy faucets or leaky pipes, you’re far more likely to find them in your home.

During an ant invasion, you’ll usually notice dozens of ants crawling on countertops and other surface areas where food is commonly placed. You may also notice them looking for water in your bathroom or kitchen sink. As ants settle in, they leave behind scent trails to mark paths to food sources which is why you’ll sometimes see them following one another in uniform lines. If you start to notice these kinds of behaviors, you should contact a pest control company.

How to Get Rid of Ants

Treating ants isn’t easy. If ant invaders have entered your home, it’s best to contact a professional pest control company. Ant infestations are rarely eradicated through DIY solutions, as the source of the infestation, the nest, is what pest control technicians target with pesticides you can’t buy at the store. At Dodson Pest Control, we use high-quality products and treat ant invasions at the source. Our exterminators can help you get rid of ants and give you tips for how to prevent them in the first place. If you think you might have an ant problem, contact us today!

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