How to Keep Ants From Taking Over
Follow these tips to keep ants outside where they belong
Sooner or later, living in Miami means that you will encounter a battle with ants. If you haven’t, the chances are high that you will. Ants are the number 1 complaint here at New Era Pest Control, and are the number one pest problem in the United States. There are over 700 species in this country and with some 20 or more known ants to infest your home or business. Pavement ants in the garage, ghost ants on the kitchen counters, carpenter ants (Bull Ants) around the perimeter of your home, are all very common problems to deal with. However, there are some simple steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of unknowingly inviting ants into your home.
1. Pay close attention to where you most frequently see ants
You will notice that in most cases, that ants typically frequent the kitchen or bathrooms. Think like an ant (or other pests), and you will wind up in these areas. Think about it. Ants need food and water to survive. They are not in your home to “Drive You Crazy” on purpose! To survive, they MUST have food and water. Kitchens and bathrooms provide a great water source and the kitchen also provides an endless food supply.Bedrooms, living rooms, basements, inside walls, and in/around air conditioning and heating units are also known to attract ants.
2. Remove water sources
Reducing moisture and standing water around your home, can really assist you in preventing ants. In the kitchen area, after washing the dishes, make sure to dry up any water on the counter. Repair leaky pipes, and regularly check under sinks for areas of moisture.
3. Eliminate food sources
Keeping your kitchen clean will help to discourage ants from coming indoors. Wipe down countertops and sweep floors on a regular basis to remove crumbs and residue from spills. Store food in sealed pest-proof containers, and keep ripe fruit in the refrigerator. Wipe down sticky jars, especially any containing honey, syrup, soda or other sugary sweets. Finally, use a lid on trashcans and dispose of garbage regularly.
4. Don’t forget your pets
Cats, dogs and other pets can invite ants into your home. Their food and water bowls are an attractant for ants, so be sure to keep pet bowls clean and clean up any spilled food or water quickly. Store dry pet food in sealed plastic containers rather than the paper bags they often come in. Ants can easily get into bags of dog food, no matter how tightly you roll the bag up. Inspect dog/cat doors to ensure that pests cannot get through. Ants can fit through even the smallest openings.
5. Seal, Seal, Seal
Take time to inspect the outside of your home for any easy access points. Window screens are a good place to start. Make sure window screens are tight fitting and in good repair. Another little secret is to pay close attention to the pressure release flaps on the exterior of your windows. Many homes in South Florida are equipped with some type of hurricane resistant windows. To allow the pressure in the home to equalize, these windows are equipped with flaps that will open to allow pressure to escape during high pressure. In some cases, when the windows are installed, the installers will not install the flaps, in order to save time during installation. This allows ants and other insects to easily enter through those holes. Trees and bushes should be trimmed away from the home, as branches can provide highways indoors for ants. Seal any cracks and crevices on the outside of the home with silicone caulk, paying special attention to areas where utility pipes enter.
6. Don’t Fight the Problem Alone
Without the proper training and tools, battling ants can be an uphill battle. What’s worse, an infestation can continue to grow if it is not properly treated. Spraying insecticides in a futile effort to gain control can in some cases create a larger problem. This is true! Spraying the ants you see only kills the worker caste of the ant. These ants have a specific job. That job is to seek out food and water. Once it is found, their job is to take it back to the nest to feed larvae, other ants in the nest and the QUEEN. When the queen realizes the nest is under stress due to non returning worker casts, the nest may split up into smaller nests in other areas of the home, creating an even larger problem. This phenomenon is known as “Budding”. Some species of ants can cause serious property damage (like carpenter ants) and others (like fire ants) can pose health threats to your family.
Even species that are considered nuisance pests (like odorous house ants) can contaminate food. So if you do find ants in your home, contact us immediately, and we will get you scheduled for an appointment. We can easily identify the ant species, spot likely entry points, and determine an effective course of treatment.