Ants have a wide variety of nesting habits and food preferences. Some ants build nests in soil, producing characteristic mounds while others nest in homes behind moldings, baseboards, counter tops, and similar places. It's important to track down the ant colonies to identify the species and choose the right control |
If you can find the ant colony early, you can typically prevent ants from causing serious damage to the home.To find an ant colony, place food such as jelly, honey, sugar or bacon where you have seen ants, and watch the ants that show up for dinner. They will typically create and follow the same route to and from their nest.
Knowing what species of ant is present helps to determine the nesting site, food preference, and the best method of management. In most cases, the most effective, permanent solution is to find and treat the nest; queens must be killed to properly eliminate a colony.
Ants build their nests in many different locations both inside and outside of buildings. Species nesting inside, or foraging indoors for food or moisture, tend to be the most challenging to control.
The mistake most people make when attempting to control ants is only spraying the ones they see. This approach usually fails because the ants seen foraging over exposed surfaces is only a small portion of the colony. Typically, there will be thousands of additional ants including one or more egg-laying queens hidden somewhere in a nest. Eliminating queens and other colony members within nests is often the key to effective ant control.
Here are some of the odd spots ants where you might find ant nests, and how to identify the ant colonies and control them.
In foundation walls
Several types of ants may build nests in or around foundation walls. The most common are known as larger yellow ants, which rarely cause damage or eat human food. Pyrethrins and other spray insecticides are effective for getting rid of most foundation infestations.
Under the concrete slab
If small ants are eating your meat, pet food, nuts and dead insects, you may be able to trace them to flooring cracks. If so, they may be living under the concrete slab. University of Minnesota Cooperative Extension experts recommend baiting for ant colonies under concrete slabs.
Various ants live in wall cavities and under floorboards. Many ant colonies can be controlled with syrupy baits.
Carpenter ants are among the ants that live in wall cavities, chewing lumber into sawdust and using the sawdust to help build their nests. However, they are also foam "carpenters," chewing up and reusing foam insulation. They can degrade both wood and insulation over time, so the University of Minnesota experts recommend finding carpenter ant nests and spraying insecticides directly into the nests.
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