Noticing an ant infestation in your home or property can seem like a harmless problem since most ant species are generally harmless. Noticing them around your home will likely lead you to research what type of ant they are and how to get rid of them. But depending on the species, there can be damage to your home or structure that you won’t notice until the issue is excessive or unrepairable.
Out of over a thousand classified ant species found in North America, only a few typically infest homes and cause any damage. Most ant species take shelter in the garden and generally do more good than harm, like freshening the soil up or controlling the spread of damaging pests like aphids.
It is undeniable, though, that having ants inside your home is very annoying, and not only can they do damage to wood or create structural issues, but they can even spread bacteria all over your abode. Carpenter Ants can cause structural damage as they can burrow through the wooden elements of your property.
How to Get Rid of Ants | Shouldn’t We Just Spray?
Merely spraying the ants that you see will not solve your ant problem, as these are just older worker ants that are following ant scent trails to and from a nest that is concealed somewhere on your property. This scenario, although common, is because the queen—the mother of all ants that lays all the eggs—never leaves the nest.
And so, if all you’re doing is spraying the worker ants, you’re doing next to nothing in solving your ant problem since the queen will most likely reproduce more to take the place of those you eradicated. Your target should be the queen ant, but this can be challenging since the nests are most often hidden deep in your home, whether behind walls or underneath concrete slabs.
What Causes Ants to Flock to Your Home?
Ants are usually found in homes since these offer food and shelter for them. Crumbs and spilled food attract ants, and the cold, dark areas in walls or below floors are ideal places to create nests. The key to eliminating ants’ presence on your property is to deny them any sustenance and nesting areas.
3 Ways How to Get Rid of Ants
The first step to solving an ant infestation is to locate the trails worker ants use to transport food to and from the nest. Worker ants are continuously looking for good, and once they find some, they carry it back to the nest. And by doing so, the ants leave a chemical trail that other ants follow to gather more food. This information is crucial in tackling ant infestations as you can now fool the worker ants into bringing poisoned food back to the nest.
1) Use ant bait
As mentioned, it’s utterly pointless to spray pesticide on the ants that you see. While this tact can eliminate ants, it’s ultimately futile since the queen would reproduce more to replace the ones you killed, and it’ll just be a frustrating cycle. What you can do, though, is use these worker ants by placing ant bait that they can carry back to the colony. Ant bait is typically sweet food that is laced with material that is specifically toxic to ants. Most times, boric acid is used in ant bait, as this is a natural substance that is harmless to humans and other pets. The worker ants will bring the ant bait back to the nest, and this strategy typically takes weeks before it genuinely destroys the colony, especially if it is a large one with several queens.
2) Spray pesticides
If you’ve already identified the ant trail and nest for the colony, then the next thing you should do is apply a considerable amount of liquid pesticide that can reach the queen. Doing so with an insecticide spray is an effective tactic, if you have correctly identified the colony that is causing your ant infestation problem.
3) Make sure your surroundings are clean
As discussed above, ants find homes attractive because they are a good source of food. Ants are living creatures that depend on food, water, and shelter to survive. Knowing this, you should make sure that the areas in your home are clean. It would be best if you were vigilant in doing this, especially when you’re targeting the queen, as this is to make sure that the ant bait you’ve laid down is the only thing available to the ants.
Tips For Getting Rid Of Argentine Ants
Argentine ants are often mistaken for Carpenter Ants but be sure what they are dealing with because there are different approaches to eliminating each species. Argentine ants are known to be tenacious, and spraying near their nests or even around your home will cause them to move and create brand new nests, thereby worsening your infestation problem. The best way to deal with Argentine ants is by using ant bait wherein the worker ants bring the poison back to the colony and killing them all off wholly but gradually.
Tips For Getting Rid Of Carpenter Ants?
Carpenter Ants are relatively large ants that are reddish-orange to black. If ever you notice ants with wings, then those are most likely worker Carpenter Ants. This kind of ant should be taken more seriously than other species as they feed on decaying wood, and the tunnels that come as a result of their feeding can wreak havoc on your property’s structure. If ever you see residual wood or debris around a foundation or the sill plate of your home, this is a clear sign that you have Carpenter Ants boring tunnels in your home.
Cornell Cooperative Extensions Research on Carpenter Ants is a straightforward and consistent approach. That is, leaving active materials in source areas over an extended period is the best way to eliminate a Carpenter Ant colony. This method remains especially true when the treatment is focused on these source areas throughout the ants’ life cycle or biology. This biology and life cycle can be up to 10 months, considering the hatching cycle of Carpenter Ants. This biology and treatment recommendation is why many professional companies will apply materials on a 60-90 day cycle.
One Time Treatments For Carpenter Ants Don’t Work
Like any ant, a short-term method to eliminate them isn’t likely going to resolve the issue. This would involve killing them by locating all the colonies, which isn’t going to be easy. First, find the nest by spotting their poop near a wall or by detecting a rustling sound in the wall. Then drill holes in the area where you believe the nest might be before puffing in pesticide through the holes. This method may or may not work as typically finding the colony and eliminating all the ants in the colony is rare. In fact, as a professional pest control company, we have found this happens in about five out of a hundred homes. We dream of finding the colonies and the sub colonies in each house, but the reality is different.
Another way to kill Carpenter Ants is to create bait. They’re attracted to sweets, so some jam mixed with baking soda will work. You can then place this into a shallow dish that the ants can reach. The baking soda in the mixture will kill the ants naturally.
The best way to eliminate ants, including Carpenter Ants, from your home or property is to hire a professional company. Not all ant exterminators are the same. Some promise the world and spray to keep them out of sight. This method may seem cheap and effective for a while, but a good company will set you up on a plan to eliminate them from your home over time when you know the results are there. That’s us, that’s EnviroPest.