Carpenter Ant, Army Ant, Allegheny Mound Ant, Leafcutter Ant, Wood Ant, Sugar Ant, Field Ant, Harvester Ant, Pavement Ant, White-Footed Ant, Pharoah Ant… the list of ants goes on and on. But when you have an ant infestation, you don’t care what kind they are, you just want them gone.
There are hundreds of species of ants, and no single pest control – especially home remedies – works for all of them. For the most part, ants are content to live outdoors, where in most cases they are perfectly harmless and even helpful to the environment. There they prey on flea and fly larvae and aerate the soil. When they enter your home, they’re typically looking for shelter or food, particularly during very rainy weather or during drought. Note that in the spring, ants develop wings and are frequently confused with termites.
Ants can enter your home or any building through the tiniest cracks in floors, walls and foundations. They’re typically looking for water or sweet, greasy food substances and are most likely found in the kitchen or food storage areas. Once they locate a source of food (primarily grains and sugars), they leave a scent trail of pheromones for other ants to follow. One of the best ways to avoid an infestation of ants is to keep your kitchen and storage areas very clean.
Unfortunately, there are some types of ants that nest inside homes exclusively. These species may be present year round, but will be most active in spring and summer. Spraying the ants you see with insecticide is rarely successful, as thousands more are living in a colony inside your home. Locating and destroying the nest is the best way to eliminate this kind if ant infestation.
Ants will nest just about anywhere: in your lawn, tree stumps, even under your home’s foundation. They may also cause structural damage by hollowing out wood for nesting. Colonies can number in the millions and last as long as 15 years, but will quickly uproot and relocate when threatened.
If you apply a household insecticide, depending on the species, the ant colony may just split up and form additional colonies, making them more difficult to control. You’re only spraying the ants you see, which are foraging over exposed surfaces. Typically, there are thousands more ants nesting in your home which also must be destroyed.
If your Lehigh Valley home or building is infested with ants, a County Pest Control specialist will inspect the structure, identify the kind of ant living there, and choose the appropriate control for that species.
How to control ants around your home:
- Use caulk or screening to seal even small cracks and crevices anywhere you see them
- If you see ants or ant trails, wipe them up with soapy water to remove the pheromone trail
- Ants can be vacuumed up and disposed of outdoors
- Keep garbage in a sealed container, empty it daily and thoroughly rinse recyclables
- Regularly empty and wash garbage cans and recycling bins to remove any potential food sources
- Keep kitchen counters, floors and stove tops clean
- Clean up crumbs and spills in your home, especially sticky sweet substances like soda
- If ants are inside your home, store food in sealed plastic or glass containers. Ants can easily penetrate paper and cardboard containers
- Store sugars and honey in the refrigerator where ants aren’t likely to go
- Store firewood – a favorite nesting spot for carpenter ants – as far away from your home as possible
- Keep rain gutters clean
- Repair any moisture-damaged wood