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 species of ants are attracted to different kinds of foods and environments, so you may see various kinds 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 source of food, it sends signals and uses pheromone trails to guide its fellow ants to the source in order to carry it back to the nest.
Other Factors That Attract Ants
Some ants prefer different habitats over others when building nests or finding food. Knowing where each 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.
Why Are There Ants In My House?
An ant infestation can show up from practically anywhere in the home, since there are likely many possible entry points in your home. Even though it can take several years for an ant colony to grow to full size, it may only take a few days or weeks for an ant infestation to get out of hand in your home. 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. Many times they will build nests outdoors in the ground (except for carpenter ants, which are known to build their nests within trees and wooden structures), but will venture inside to search for food near places like bathroom and kitchen counters, floorboards, and basements. They are attracted to food waste, decay, moisture, and unsealed leftovers, so if they find discarded or poorly stored food or sources of water like drippy faucets or leaky pipes, you’re far more likely to find them in your home.
What To Do About An Ant Infestation
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 store-bought traps, as the source of the infestation, the nest, is what pest control technicians target. If you think you might have an ant problem, contact us today!