Why Do Ants Keep Coming Back?
You’ve done it all. You’ve tried almost every kind of ant repellent on the market, but somehow those tiny pests keep making their way back into your home. When it comes to these unwanted guests, nothing is less appetizing than watching a colony of rover ants march across your kitchen floor, and no one wants to fall asleep while nearby carpenter ants make a nest for themselves in your house. Whatever the situation is, Carolina Pest Management is here to assist you with getting ants out of your home for good.
Types of Ants in the Carolinas
One of the first steps when eliminating recurring ant invasions is to identify the type of ant that keeps coming back into your home. While you may practice some general pest control tricks to keep your home ant-free, certain types of ants may require specific pest removal techniques. Although there are thousands of ant species, here are a few of the most common types found in homes:
- Carpenter Ants: Carpenter ants are attracted to wood—not as a food source, but to excavate for nest creation. Carpenter ants prefer moist areas near a home’s woodwork. Carpenter ants vary in size and color but are usually larger than most other types of ants and have dark coloring.
- Dark Rover Ants: Dark rover ants have very large colonies and can make indoor nests in kitchens and bathrooms. They are especially attracted to sweet liquids. To identify a dark rover ant, look for one node and a dark brownish body color.
- European Fire Ant: These types of ants prefer warm areas with plenty of moisture and tend to make indoor nests around tubs and water heaters. Fire ants have a reddish color and have two nodes.
- Crazy Ants: These ants don’t show a preference for moist or dry nesting conditions. When they make their way indoors they head underneath carpets, inside houseplants and in between walls. Crazy ants have very dark coloring with very long legs.
Common Things That Attract Ants
Any of the ants above can invade your property, and an important part of ant control is being aware of what keeps attracting ants to your home. Even if you get rid of ants through pest control methods, you need to take precautions to keep them from returning to your home. Food is one of the biggest elements that attracts ants, but there are other things that may be bringing them into your residence as well. Here are some of the top things that can attract ants:
One common misconception is that ants are only attracted to food left out in the open—i.e. crumbs left on your kitchen counters. However, any type of food items in opened packages can attract ants into a home. Items such as flour, sugar, chips and cookies should only be stored in containers that can be tightly sealed. Sometimes dry good canisters can still attract ants into the home. A bay leaf added to these containers can repel ants due to giving off a pungent scent. Overripe fruit left out on counters can also attract ants and other bugs.
Deep clean any areas of the home where food is consumed. Pull out appliances such as refrigerators and ovens to remove any food debris that has been collecting underneath. Empty kitchen cabinets to clean even the deepest recesses. Scrub at baseboards and keep all flooring clean.
Remember to keep on top of all cleaning to prevent ant returns to your home. Clean up grease and drink spills immediately. Empty out any soda cans or glass bottles completely before throwing them in recycling. Never leave uneaten pet food in bowls and wash out the bowls frequently. Cleaning with vinegar is also helpful since it potentially removes scent trails left behind by previous ants.
See related: Are Pests Invading The Pantry Of Your Charlotte Home?
Excessive moisture is another reason why ants return to the same home again and again. All bugs, including ants, are drawn to moist areas of a home. Ants require a water source to survive and can even store water for later within their colonies.
Address any leaks within the home as part of your ant control process. Besides the kitchen, ants like to find their ways into bathrooms. Check toilets, sinks, showers and tubs for leaks. You should also check your laundry room or kitchen sink for any leaks that may be happening around the faucet. Waterproof your basement if you tend to get a lot of moisture or standing water.
Although you may love the idea of fresh plants inside your home, ants like them too. Ants seek out the fresh and damp soil you have provided for them by keeping plants inside. If you have an ant problem, switch over to artificial plants to prevent re-infestations.
Holes and Home Entry Points
Ants prefer dark and moist areas to reside inside a house. Nests are not always outdoors and underground. Ant nests can also be found behind your baseboard or inside your walls. Make any necessary home repairs to prevent ants from entering. This can include patching up holes in the wall or caulking around windows and doors.
Perform some general home maintenance to keep ants out of your home. Seal any cracks or openings around doors and windows. Look around the foundation for any problem areas. Any screens on windows or doors that have been torn or damaged could also offer a way for ants to get inside. Also, be mindful of your landscaping. If trees and shrubs are in contact with your home, the ants can easily travel from the branches onto the home.
What to Do When You Find Ants in Your Home
Although having ants in your home is a nuisance, they don’t usually pose a serious health risk. A stray ant or two by your patio doors isn’t cause for concern, but you will want to get rid of them immediately if you see multiple ants raiding your kitchen. Before you do anything, remove any potential food and water sources from the area. This includes leftover food from mealtimes or food scraps in your pet bowls.
You’ll also want to thoroughly clean and sanitize the area the ants traveled across. The reason you see so many ants at once is that ants leave behind a scent trail. Vinegar mixed with water acts as a good cleaner and will erase the scent trail of the ant.
You should also note any characteristics of the ants seen in the home. This helps pest control professionals with identification. In addition, note where the ants are coming from to assist ant control technicians with finding any nests.
Ants in the home can be difficult to get rid of without outside help. If ants have found a viable food or water source, they may not want to vacate the premises anytime soon. Contact Carolina Pest Management for assistance with any type of ant problem. Our Charlotte ant control methods are environmentally-friendly and without the use of harsh chemicals. We provide resources to help you get rid of ants and keep them gone for good.
Things to Avoid When Dealing with Ants
Here are common pitfalls to avoid when trying to stop ants from coming back again and again:
- Don’t squash ants you come across. Although your first instinct is to stomp on the tiny invaders, avoid the urge. The scent trail left behind when squashing ants could attract more into the home.
- Don’t ignore ants and hope the problem goes away. As soon as queens begin to reproduce, ant populations expand by the thousands.
- Don’t spray the entire home with ant repellent to get rid of the bugs for good. You’re possibly contaminating the home with harsh chemicals and many sprays are simply short-acting solutions.
- Don’t think ants are only a spring problem. Ants are more active in the warmer months, but some types tend to head indoors as soon as the weather gets colder.
- Don’t go at it alone. Ants aren’t always easy to get rid of. Despite all your best intentions, they may come back again and again. Pest control professionals can assist in not only removing current ant invaders, but also in taking preventative steps to keep them out of your home for good.
Carolina Pest Management has decades of experience in providing exceptional pest control services throughout the Carolinas. Contact us today to inquire about how we can help you resolve any pest issue, including ant control.