Ants are a fascinating group of insects. There are literally thousands of species in the world. One collection of colonies stretches across three countries, from Italy, through France, and eventually into Spain.
As amazing as ants are in their own right, most of us don’t want them in our homes. An ant infestation can be a big problem. The truth is that ants usually hibernate in the winter, but an indoor colony may not notice the weather changing, especially if your home is heated year-round.
One of your best options is to hire a reliable pest control service to manage a potential ant infestation. These services can do a few different things to deal with an ant issue, and we’ll discuss them in this article.
Before you set about dealing with an ant infestation, you need to make sure that you’re actually dealing with ants. Many people confuse ants with termites, though the two are very different.
Termites have less defined body segments, so they look more like maggots than ants. Some termites have white bodies and orange heads, whereas most ants tend to be one color.
It’s important to tell the difference because ants and termites can cause very different problems. Ants will forage through your home for food and other materials, potentially contaminating anything they get into.
Termites don’t need to forage for food. They have a particular diet that consists largely of cellulose. Cellulose can be found in most plants and is built from glucose sugar. Carpenter ants also eat wood, but carpenter ants are only one type of ant.
One common source of cellulose is wood, which is why termites are known to feed on it. Ants tend to occur more often than termites, but both are quite common.
1. Identify the Nest
We’ve already mentioned that in the case of an infestation, the ant colony may already be inside your home. However, this isn’t always the case.
If the colony is outside your home, the next step is to keep the ants outside. However, if you have a colony in your home, you’ll need to deal with it.
You’ll have to clean out the nest, and this may require the use of insecticides. The safety of your family always comes first, though, so a good pest control service will try to find other ways to get rid of any ants residing in your home.
You may see numerous ants in your home and never notice the nest. That’s because ants build their colonies in hidden areas of the home, like under the floorboards or tucked away in the corner of the attic.
2. Seal Off the House
Once you’ve dealt with the ants in your home, the next step is to seal the home. Pest control services may do this in many different ways.
One such method involves creating a physical barrier, such as silicone caulk. Keep in mind that it must be silicone because ants can eat through other types of caulk given enough time.
You could also use certain insecticides because a few of them can also be used as barriers to keep ants out. The good thing about sealing off your home is that it’s a bit more humane. Ants that try to get into your home may die, but the rest will be fine.
Benefits of Outdoor Ants
While nobody wants ants in their home, there are many benefits to having them in your yard. Ants are fiercely territorial, highly aggressive, and aren’t picky about their diet.
The result is often the vicious destruction of whatever garden pests they run into.
They also build elaborate tunnels as part of their colonies. This tills the soil, making it better for growing plants in. They also pollinate plants accidentally getting pollen stuck to them as they search for food, and throw away their garbage, which helps with fertilization and natural decomposition.
3. Clean the House
Cleaning the house may seem like a strange way to deal with an ant infestation, but it can help. It’s not the first thing you should try, but it’s a useful step.
We’ve mentioned that ants are in your home because it’s warm and full of food. The food issue can sometimes be caused by simple stuff like crumbs being spilled on the floor or a dish not being washed. Cleaning the home will eliminate some of these food sources and may make the ants less interested.
An important part of cleaning your house to get rid of ants is to destroy pheromone trails. Pheromones play an important role in the feeding habits of ants.
Scouting ants are sent out ahead of other ants to locate food and other resources. Once these have been found, the scout ant leaves a pheromone trail that other ants will detect and follow.
You can wash away these trails with a mixture of water and vinegar. Use it in places where you’ve seen ants before, and the ants will abandon the trail.
How to Stop an Ant Infestation
A pest control company may try a few different things to stop an ant infestation. We’ve talked about some of those methods in this article. However, most pest control groups, including ours, can do more than just what’s listed above.
You may want to ask about the services we offer when you visit our store. If you have any additional questions or concerns, feel free to contact us.