It’s indisputable that ants are always unwelcome inside the household. These little critters are nothing short of annoying. That is why they are considered nuisance pests because they go marching into our homes uninvited and keep coming back even after our attempts to get rid of them. Most of all, these stubborn pests bite, and carpenter ants, for instance, cause damage to our belongings, including the structures of our homes.
Dealing with an ant infestation can be frustrating because these creatures do not go away easily. Nevertheless, according to Lupo (2022), ants, particularly the ones usually roaming in and around the house, do not necessarily cause real damage. The author went on to say that only very few, out of more or less 1,000 species of ants, infiltrate people’s homes and even fewer of them tend to cause harm. Apparently, the rest of the classified ant species prove to be quite useful for the outdoor environment as they help aerate the soil in the garden and even control other destructive garden pests.
Why Get Rid of Household Ants
Despite its seemingly low-key appeal, ants are in certain ways still considered harmful. They have been found to be damaging not only to our property but also to our health. It is just that not so many people take these tiny subtle pests seriously thinking that ants are not capable of inflicting major danger. Contrary to common assumptions, however, having ants at home is quite risky and here’s why:
- As food contaminators, ants are propagators of germs and bacteria. They disregard hygiene and traverse different paths and dirty trails just to get to their food source.
- Ants are destructive to home structures. The same as termites, carpenter ants can cause serious damage to structures. In their efforts to build nests for their colony, they chew on the wooden structures.
- Ants are aggressors. One annoying thing about ants, particularly fire ants, is their tendency to bite and cause a painful stings. Ant bites, if not properly treated, can become infected.
What Makes Ants Difficult to Exterminate
Simply applying bug spray and killing those ants you see do not really end an infestation. We need to understand that it takes more than just bug spray or DIY methods to totally wipe out an entire ant colony. Also, seeing ants, no matter how many they are, only indicates that there are still hundreds even thousands more nearby. To successfully get rid of these nuisance pests, one needs to target the nest that shelters the queen and the rest of the colony. Lupo (2022) explained that unless you kill the queen, which stays hidden and keeps reproducing more, you cannot really do away with the infestation. The truth is that the ones we see are simply the worker ants whose role is to forage for food. That’s the reason we keep seeing these annoying pests still roaming around and not backing off because killing those worker ants is not the solution. Therefore, it is important that we know where to start when attempting to apply ant control at home.
Pest Control Tips to Make Ants Go away
Having a heavy ant infestation can be a huge headache. Homeowners, therefore, should not allow ants to thrive and should take necessary actions immediately. To effectively solve an infestation, you must:
Identify the ant species you are dealing with.
- Family Handyman (2022) recommends first and foremost be sure of the type of ants, including their nesting habits, that are infesting your property so you can also determine what specific and appropriate method to use to get rid of them. If you are unsure of the ant species you have at home, you may take a photo of the ants and show it to your local pest company.
Locate the ant nest.
- As a follow-up step to number 1, you also need to find the ant nests so you can locate the colony, where the queen is, and then exterminate it. To do this, you have to act like a detective and follow the trails of the worker ants as they march to and fro their nest. You may also search for ant nests in damp areas of the house, especially those places that are susceptible to water damage (i.e. bathrooms and attics). To really be sure of what and where to look for when hunting for the ant nest, you can ask for assistance from pest control experts.
Use ant baits to destroy the nest.
- Once you have located the nest, you can make use of ant baits–besides pesticides–to target the nest. There are different edible substances (i.e. sugary or sweet carbohydrates) that you can use as bait for the worker ants so they can carry the poisonous bait back to the nest. The Spruce advises homeowners to make sure that the surroundings are sanitized while using ant baits to make sure that the ants could only sense the smell of the bait and nothing else. Note: Do not clean up the ant trails yet while still applying the bait.
- Ants’ nature is to scavenge for food. The main things that draw ants to your home are food and water. Thus, keeping food unavailable for these pests is one practical way to keep them at bay. According to Hope (2020), although ants eat just about anything they can find, they are particularly attracted to sweet stuff and protein, and storing food in airtight containers surely helps avoid captivating their attention.
Keep your home clean. Cleaning your environment–including baseboards, cabinets, appliances, floors, and furniture–and keeping it free from dirt, food spills, food crumbs, and other food debris definitely help prevent ant infestations. You should also vacuum regularly.
Regularly dispose of your trash. Trash bins are among those places ants frequent for food. To avoid these annoying critters, you have to dispose of your garbage on a daily basis as possible. It’s not a good idea to allow your garbage to stay for long and get all smelly and overflowing.
Seal entry points. Practicing effective ant control at home entails the removal of any possible access points. You can cover or seal holes, cracks, and anything that provides ants entrance to your household.
Ants are undoubtedly troublesome household pests. Apart from the preventive tips enumerated above, using home remedies also do the trick. Kumar (2020) lists eight home remedies that certainly work effectively as ant repellents. These are cinnamon, white vinegar, pepper, lemons, oranges, peppermint, salt, and chalk. For a more guided approach to eliminating ants, you may visit your local pest control company and coordinate with professional ant exterminators just like ants pest control in Shrewsbury, PA.