Ants of all kinds that are found in the US: Argentine Ants, Carpenter Ants, Crazy Ants, Fire Ants, Ghost Ants, Leafcutter Ants, Odorous House Ants, Pavement Ants, or Pharaoh Ants, etc.; either way, are a nuisance. Majority people have had their own personal battle with ants at some point in life, and if you are one of those people who can say “no” to that, consider yourself one of the lucky few. There are many solutions and prevention methods to help with ants! One important note is: when inspecting with ants with wings, you have to decipher whether it is an ant or a termite. The way you can tell through their different appearance, a termite has four wings of equal sizes whereas a winged ant has two different shaped wings. The first step in preventing or taking care of your ant problem is inspection, it is imperative to be aware of what and where the ant problem is occurring both indoors and outdoors.
When first inspecting, look along these places: all areas of the kitchen, windows, doors, and along carpet edges. Note that if you are inspecting for carpenter ants, the best bet for inspection is to do it at night because this species of ant is nocturnal. Carpenter Ants in particular, will be seen emerging indoors from damaged wood; and outside in wood piles, rotting or water-damaged wood, and tree stumps. Be aware that carpenter ants are known to cause property damage and fire ants can pose threats to one’s health.
Ants leave a chemical pheromone trail when they lay down established routes. Along that trail leads from the food source to the nest. Two different ant issues are: ants that live outside and forage inside or ants that have an established nest built inside. To inspect the trail, you must find the food source and you can find the nest by finding where the ants go for the food and observe where they end up going which will lead you to their nest. Whenever you find the nest, it is important to treat it directly if possible. Treatment strategies depend on type of infestation and type of ant.
Here are a few steps to have ant control:
Know where the most popular locations are for ants, the most frequent is the kitchen due to the amount of food and water available which is what all pests in general need to survive. Other places include: bathrooms, bedrooms, living rooms, basements, inside walls, and in and around heating and air conditioning units.
Eliminate any access points. On the exterior of your home, trim away any trees and bushes from the home. Trees and bushes create easy access points for ants to go indoors. Also on the exterior, seal any cracks or crevices around the home, but also pay close attention around areas where utility pipes enter.
Reduce the amount of moisture and standing water around the structure. In terms of prevention this is an important step. Repair any pipes and check under sink for moisture. In places that have built up moisture such as attics and basements, a dehumidifier can be a good source to help bring down the level of moisture.
Cut off the food sources. If you keep a tidy kitchen by sweeping floors and wiping down counters regularly, removal of crumbs a residue from spills will discourage ants from entering your home. Store ripe fruit in the fridge, and keep food in sealed bags or containers, any excess from sticky things (jars, condiment bottles, honey, syrup, soda, etc.) need to also be wiped down. Like other pests, ants are talented with contaminating food. Last action to take in the kitchen is to have a lid on the trashcan and dispose of garbage regularly.
Pets in general (dogs, cats, etc.) can unintentionally invite ants into your home. Food and water bowls are main attractions for ants; clean any bowls of food and water. If there are any spills or loose food on the ground make sure to pick it up in a timely manner. Instead of keeping the food in paper bags that pet food generally are purchased in, store the food in a sealed plastic container. Ants can fit into the tiniest of openings so inspect any cat or dog doors as well.
If ants are not properly treated it can lead to infestations and can continue to grow. With professional help, you can get answers on identifying the species, spotting likely entry points, and determining an effective treatment method.