Widely recognized as the top nuisance pest in America, ants are likely to make an appearance in many homes around the country this summer. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) encourages homeowners to take proactive steps to reduce the likelihood of seeing ants crawling across the kitchen counter in the coming weeks.
While ants inside your home can be a year-round problem, summer heat and longer days worsen the problem. Many ant species build their nests outdoors and become a nuisance when they seek food inside your home. Once found, they may continue to come inside, indulge in their new-found food source, and then leave to bring their ‘spoils’ back to their outdoor colony. However, there are some ant species enter that will enter and build their nests inside and become permanent residents. Some of these include: pavement ants, carpenter ants, odorous house ants, thief ants, acrobat ants and pharaoh ants. While ants may be challenging to control, the pharaoh ant is most difficult. These inside ants are typically found near their food sources, moisture and in hidden, protected places (like wall voids, under appliances, behind window frames and beneath floors). Ants like to reside close to people and often share (and enjoy) the same foodstuffs we do; meats, sugars, and liquids.
So why do ants love the Summertime?
- Temperature – elevated temperatures cause ants to be more active, often looking for sheltered areas. Your home can be an excellent respite from the heat!
- Moisture – every living being needs water to survive; ants are no exception. And while summertime humidity with heat makes ants more active, soon as the parching sun arrives, they seek cooler damp indoor areas.
- Food Sources – as the summer heat arrives, our grasses and gardens grow; a veritable feast for ants.
- Life Cycle – ants are cold-blooded and are highly influenced by the weather. High heat means higher activity during many stages of their life cycle.
- Daylight – longer daylight hours in the summer offer more time for ants to forage for food. As we spend more time outdoors in the summer, we’re met with more opportunities to be greeted by ants.
How do you control ants as a homeowner or building manager?
Most people agree that ant control is one of their most worrisome problems because they are frequently encountered and persistent. Prevention and control often differ with various ant species, nest locations and their preferred foods. Some important components of a successful ant control program are:
- Correct identification is crucial because ants are not all the same. Different ant species may have very different behaviors, habits and habitats. Rely on your professional pest control provider to offer strategies based on where they are found; their behavior and what attracts or repels them.
- Remove and minimize moisture since ants need moisture to survive, fix water leaks around pipes and anywhere on the roof. Make sure gutters and downspouts direct rain away from your house.
- Remove remaining food in the kitchen and other places where you eat. Keep floors and countertops clean. Don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink overnight. Clean the dishwasher and other appliances regularly. Empty and clean trash containers. Keep all foods sealed in containers or inside the refrigerator.
- Don’t forget to inspect those other areas where you eat or snack, like the television area, recreation room or the grill outside. Keep the patio and deck clean, and free of any food.
- Try to seal those holes or cracks where ants foraging for food enter your home. Don’t forget conduits, wire entry points and pipes. Try to keep tree limbs from contacting the house as ants will trail into your home using a limb as an entrance ramp.
- Keep ants away from your house by removing or minimizing their harborage sites. Remove mulch and wood away from the foundation as these offer protection and moisture. Keep vegetation away from the outdoor perimeter of the home as best possible. Do not mount debris or rocks alongside the home. Store firewood inside or in the garage rather than alongside the home’s foundation.
- Vacuuming is a great and easy tool to remove ants from both inside and outside the home. But don’t forget to clean out the canister once finished.
Do-it-yourself pest control for inside ants is rarely effective. Save time, money and aggravation by consulting with EcoChoice for the removal of ants, especially those inside.
Frustrated with Ants?
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