Ants are the number one nuisance pest. With more than 700 species occurring in the country and more than 20 types known to infest homes and other structures, it's not surprising that so many people report having issues with this pest. |
If you have never encountered ants in your house, office or school, count yourself among the lucky few. But if you're like most people, you've fought your fair share of battles against this annoying pest – whether it's a nest ofpavement ants in your garage or a parade of odorous house ants marching across your kitchen counter.
There are some simple steps that homeowners can take to reduce your chances of unintentionally inviting ants into your home. Ants can be tricky to get rid of as they often come by the hundreds (if not thousands) and are small enough to get in your home through the smallest cracks and crevices. But these tips will go a long way in greatly reducing the number of ants in your home.
1. Know the popular hangouts
It's probably not surprising to hear that ants most frequently infest kitchens. After all, kitchens are full of food and water, everything ants (as well as all other pests) need to survive. Bathrooms, bedrooms, living rooms, basements, inside walls, and in/around air conditioning and heating units are also known to attract ants.
2. Eliminate water sources
Reducing moisture and standing water around your home can go a long way to help prevent ants. Repair leaky pipes, and routinely check under sinks for areas of moisture. Consider using a dehumidifier in damp basements, crawl spaces or attics. Outside, ensure that downspouts and gutters are functioning properly so that water flows away from the home's foundation.
3. Eliminate food sources
Keeping your kitchen tidy will help to discourage ants from coming indoors. Wipe down counters and sweep floors regularly to eliminate crumbs and residue from spills. Store food in sealed pest-proof containers, and keep ripe fruit in the refrigerator. Wipe down sticky jars, especially any containing honey, syrup, soda or other sweets. Finally, use a lid on trashcans and dispose of garbage regularly.
4. Don't discount your pets
Cats, dogs and other pets can inadvertently invite ants into your home. Their food and water bowls are an attractant for pests, so be sure to keep pet bowls clean and clean up any spilled food or water promptly. Opt to store dry pet food in a sealed plastic container rather than the paper bags they often come in, which can be easily accessed by ants and other pests. Inspect dog/cat doors to ensure that pests cannot get through. Remember that ants can fit through even the tiniest openings.
5. Block off or eliminate access points
Take time to inspect the outside of your home for easy access points. Trees and bushes should be trimmed away from the home, as branches can provide highways indoors for ants. Seal any cracks and crevices on the outside of the home with silicone caulk, paying special attention to areas where utility pipes enter.
6. Don't go it alone
Without the proper training and tools, battling ants can be an uphill battle. What's worse, an infestation can continue to grow if it is not properly treated. Some species of ants can cause serious property damage (like carpenter ants) and others (like fire ants) can pose health threats to your family. Even species that are considered nuisance pests (like odorous house ants) can contaminate food.
So if you do find ants in your home, contact a licensed pest control professional right away. They will be able to identify the ant species, spot likely entry points, and determine an effective course of treatment.
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