When faced with drought or flood, ants will seek better accommodations, preferably someplace moist, but not wet, and warm. A large environmental change, such as the grading of woodlands can also drive them into buildings, seeking food. A home or office doesn't have to be 'dirty' to house these beasties. Ants are more than happy to dine on crumbs and bits of sweets you may not even notice, while our cupboards, baseboards, and walls provide them with shelter. Our wires and pipes provide ant 'highways'; ants prefer to move along these, carpet edges, and the corners of walls. |
Understanding what drives ants indoors can be a big help in watching for indoor infestations. All ants will move indoors under the right conditions, though most do prefer to remain outside. Three of the biggest reasons for ants to migrate into your home or office are drought, flood, and lack of food.
If you've spotted a trail of ants, crawling across the counter, in the cupboard, or marching brazenly across the kitchen floor. What do you do? Grab a can of bug spray and blast the suckers? No! While the instant death of the interlopers is an attractive prospect, remember that most indoor ant problems originate outside, and some species of ant will only spread further if disturbed and not destroyed.
The first step after spotting the besiegers is to determine what you have running around your house. Ants are ants, though, right? Not really. Poisons that work on species of ant may have little or no effect on another. It may only disturb the nest, making them split into separate nests, moving deeper into your cabinets, and walls. So, how to proceed?
To determine the best method of treatment for an ant problem, first determine which type of ants are currently plaguing you.
There are sixty species of ants in North America. Of those, only a few are actually deemed pests; even fewer are deemed a health risk. Here we'll discuss the most common pests, and various means of treatment should you find yourself under siege from these beasties.
Common types of ants are Carpenter ants, Pharaoh ants, Fire ants, Pavement ants, Velvet ants (actually a wingless wasp), Odorous House ants, and Argentine ants. Different types of ants will respond differently to attempts to stamp them out. It's important to try to determine what sort of ant you have before blasting them with poison.
Sprays work well on individuals and foraging scouts, some even have a residual effect, keeping ants from crossing it. Sprays are ineffective against nests indoors. Follow the trail of ants to find the nest. If they are coming in under a door, through a window, etc. then chances are they are simply foraging for food and the nest is outdoors. Spray away if this is the case, and while your at it, powder the nest outside to stop them coming back.
Powders and dusts: While effective, powders and dusts can be messy and difficult to use indoors. As with other methods, ensure it is registered for indoor use.
Professional Treatment: For difficult or recurring ant problems, leave it to a professional. These folks get paid to know how to treat insect infestation, and the treatments they use are much more effective than what consumers can purchase.
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