Things we love about summer include sunny days at the swimming pool, family vacations, and picnics in the park, complete with ice cream and popsicles. Things we don’t love? Ant infestations!
In fact, nobody likes ant infestations: ants have been ranked the number one nuisance pest in the U.S.!
Now that summer is here, it’s high time to talk about ants: how to prevent them from coming into your home and what to do if you already have an infestation.
Don’t let an ant infestation ruin your picnic!
What You Need to Know about Ants
To combat an ant problem, you need to know a few facts about this pest.
First, there are many different types of ants. Here in the Midwest, the common types of ants you might encounter include odorous house ants, pavement ants, pharaoh ants, and carpenter ants.
Second, ants are social creatures. They nest in large colonies. In each colony is the egg-laying ant queen and many worker ants. The worker ants are responsible for building the nest, defending the nest, and finding food for the colony. Depending on the type of ant, they might eat sweets, fruit, grease, oil, meats, or corn meal. When foraging for food, each ant lays down a pheromone trail. This allows the other ants to follow the trail to the food source.
That’s why it’s key to stop an ant problem at the source: the nest. Killing one or two ants isn’t enough. The other ants in the colony will simply follow their trail back to your doorstep. If you have an ant infestation, you need to get rid of the whole colony. And to get rid of the whole colony, you need to find the nest—which brings us to our next key fact.
Ants can nest outdoors or indoors. Outdoors, ants might build a nest underground, under rocks or pavement, in rotting logs, or under piles of bricks or lumber. Indoors, ants might build a nest in the spaces behind walls, cabinets, and appliances, in door and window frames, or under floors. Ants can fit through the tiniest of cracks to enter your home. While most ants will nest indoors in spaces already available, one type of ant—carpenter ants—actually chew holes in your home’s wood to make their nests!
How to Keep Ants Out of Your Home
If you can, it’s better to avoid an ant infestation entirely! Preventing an ant infestation involves making sure ants don’t seek food or nest in your home. But how do you do that, exactly?
Here are our top tips for making your home unattractive to ants:
- Keep it clean. Make sure worker ants don’t flag your home as a food source. That means wiping crumbs off counters and tables, cleaning up spills promptly, taking out trash regularly, sweeping floors, etc. Food should be kept in airtight containers in the cabinets and pantry. Even pet food can attract ants, so putting away dog and cat food in a sealed container at the end of the day helps!
- Manage moisture. Moisture buildup can also attract ants. Carpenter ants in particular are known to nest in damp areas like bathrooms. (Remember, carpenter ants are the type that destroy the wood in your home!) Make sure to fix leaky pipes and check for spots of excess moisture in kitchens and bathrooms.
- Seal all entries. Get rid of ant entryways by sealing the spots where they often come in. This includes places like door thresholds, around windows, and openings where utility pipes and wires enter your home.
- Prune vegetation. Make sure trees and shrubs stay pruned so they aren’t touching your house. Also, be sure to place mulch so that it isn’t touching your house. (Bonus: this tip helps prevent not only ants but also other insects, like termites, from reaching your home.)
- Treat the exterior. Keep ants outside, where they belong, by having a professional (like the experts at ScherZinger Pest Control) perform a regular treatment around the exterior of your home.
How to Get Rid of an Ant Infestation
If you already have an ant infestation, it’s time for a multi-step approach. Getting rid of an infestation involves eliminating ant attractants, killing the ants you see, and eliminating the nest.
Keeping your kitchen ant-free is a process that often requires the experience, knowledge, and equipment of an exterminator. If your home has an ant problem, we’re happy to help.
Contact ScherZinger Pest Control, a trusted pest control company in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky areas, including Dayton, OH, and now Columbus, OH. We’ve been pioneers, engineering new standards for ways of eliminating and controlling bugs and pests. Contact us by phone at 1-877-748-9888 or through our website, Facebook, or Twitter.