What are ants?
When it comes to ants, there is one thing you need to remember, if you see one ant, there are many more nearby. Ants are social insects that live together in large colonies; they work together as a cohesive group to care for and protect the colony.
An ant colony divides its members into three groups: queens, reproductive males, and workers. Workers are the ants we see out and about regularly. They do most of the work, including leaving the nest each day to forage for food to bring back to the nest.
Ants are excellent communicators and leave pheromone trails to help other colony members identify food sources. Their ability to communicate is usually why one day you may see a couple of ants and the next day hundreds!
Are ants dangerous?
There are some species of dangerous ants living in our area. Take, for example, the tiny, reddish-brown fire ant. Fire ants can cause physical harm by biting or stinging and often get into machinery and electrical equipment, causing short circuits and other damage.
The fire ant's large nesting mounds are often placed in the middle of our yards, turning mowing into a difficult task that you dread. Nobody wants to have to avoid large piles of dirt and the bites of angry ants when trying to mow their lawn!
Crazy ants are another example of ants living in our area that we should take care around. Though they are not nearly as aggressive as fire ants, they will bite people if provoked. These ants also get into and cause damage to electrical equipment inside our homes. Identifying crazy ants is fairly easy as they move together in a frantic or "jerky" pattern.
Most of the ants we find living in and around our homes are nuisance ants. They are annoying, invade in large numbers, contaminate food, and spread bacteria; however, they are not a significant threat. The most common nuisance ants living in our area are odorous house ants, sometimes called sugar ants. These ants are small black ants identified by the foul odor they produce when stepped on or otherwise squished.
Why do I have an ant problem?
There are several main reasons why ants decide to move into any indoor or outdoor space. We have compiled a list of some of the most common things that attract ants to a property.
- Easy access to food will always attract ants, usually through things like open trash cans, gardens, and outdoor eating areas.
- A water source will provide ants with the moisture they need. Things like leaky pipes, faucets, and poor ventilation can provide them with the water they are looking for.
- Unsuitable weather conditions will drive ants indoors. If it becomes too wet, hot, or cold, they may move inside as an escape and decide to stay and build a satellite nest.
Where will I find ants?
When ants decide to forage for food in a home, you will see them traveling together over counters, floors, and tables. While the ants themselves may be quite visible, usually, their nesting sites are well hidden. Where they prefer to nest depends on their species:
- Fire ants like to create their large nesting sites outside in open sunny areas. They aren't as likely to nest indoors as other species, but if they do, expect to find them in air conditioning or HVAC units.
- Crazy ants will nest in our homes to escape harsh weather or a food shortage. They will build their nests behind walls, usually near hot water pipes, air conditioners, or electrical equipment.
- Odorous house ants (sugar ants) commonly invade our homes searching for food and will build satellite nests near their newfound food source. They like to build their nests near moist areas such as behind walls or under floors near sinks, tubs, air conditioners, or leaky pipes.
How do I get rid of ants?
Ants are frustrating and difficult pests to eliminate; partnering with a professional is the easiest way to take back your property from these pests. At Men In Black Pest Control, our qualified and trained pest professionals are committed to providing our customers with the services they need to maintain an ant-free home. We will meet your property's pest control needs through our customized services.
How can I prevent ants in the future?
Let us help you live pest-free with our professional pest control services and the following ant prevention tips:
- Ants love nothing more than coming across an open trash can or compost bin where they can forage for food; always keep locking lids on both.
- Keep outdoor eating areas clean and free of food debris.
- Sources of water often attract ants. Fix leaky pipes, use dehumidifiers, and cut back shrubs and bushes from your home's exterior to keep the ground from retaining moisture.
- If cracks or other openings form in the foundation of your house, repair them with caulk or another appropriate material.
- Place door sweeps on all exterior doors.
- Inside your home, regularly vacuum and place all leftover food in the fridge. Don't store food out on counters or tables.