Ants are insects that usually live outdoors in the garden or surrounding green spaces. However, sometimes they settle in our homes, causing an invasion of these small pests. We are giving you some tips on why ants have invaded your home and how to effectively keep them out.
The Main Reasons for an Indoor Ant Invasion
Search for Food
One of the main reasons ants enter homes is to search for food. These insects are particularly attracted to sweet foods, proteins and fats. Thus, the presence of unprotected foodstuffs and crumbs can attract a colony of ants.
It is therefore important to store food in airtight containers and to regularly clean surfaces and floors to remove food residue.
Humidity and Water Sources
Ants, like all living things, need water to survive. Stagnant water sources and humidity can attract them to your home. So make sure you fix leaks, air out rooms and eliminate standing water around your home.
Shelter for the Colony
Ants are also looking for shelter to build their nests and protect their anthills. Dark, damp, low-traffic areas such as basements, attics or hollow walls can provide an ideal refuge. Accumulations of firewood or plant debris near the house can also encourage their settlement.
Consequences of an Ant Infestation
Although seemingly harmless, ants can cause serious problems, especially when it comes to carpenter ant infestations.
Damage Caused by Carpenter Ants
Carpenter ants are a species of ant that digs galleries in wood to build their nests. They do not feed on wood like termites, but they can cause serious damage to the structure of a house by weakening frames and beams. Carpenter ant galleries can extend several meters and cause significant stability problems for the house. Thus, it is essential to detect their presence and act quickly to prevent the damage caused by the infestation from getting worse.
Food Contamination by Ants
Ants are constantly on the lookout for food and can easily get into our homes to find food. They are particularly attracted to sweet foods, proteins and fats. Ants can contaminate food by coming into contact with it, depositing bacteria and germs. In addition, they can cause spoilage of packages, making the food unfit for consumption. An excessive presence of ants in a house is therefore a health risk that should not be ignored.
In addition to contaminating food, ants can also access water supplies, causing health problems for the inhabitants of the house. It is therefore essential to take measures to limit the invasion of these insects and protect foodstuffs.
Allergic Reactions Caused by Ants
Some people may develop allergic reactions to the presence of ants in their environment. These reactions can be mild, causing itching and redness on the skin, or more severe, causing breathing difficulties, swelling and headaches.
These allergic reactions are usually caused by ant bites, but they can also be caused by simple contact with these insects or by inhaling the particles they produce. It is therefore important to consider the risk of allergies when dealing with an ant infestation in a home.
Diseases Transmitted by Ants
Ants are potential vectors for disease transmission, as they can carry bacteria, viruses and parasites on their bodies or in their saliva. This can pose a health risk to the residents, especially if ants have access to food and water supplies.
How to Detect the Presence of Ants and Signs of Infestation?
Early detection of the presence of ants in a home is essential to prevent the infestation from worsening and causing property and health damage. Here are some signs that may indicate the presence of ants and the need to intervene :
- Lines of ants: If you observe lines of ants moving through your home, it is likely that a colony is located nearby. Ants follow chemical pathways to move around and find food.
- Sawdust piles: The presence of sawdust may indicate that carpenter ants have burrowed into the wooden structures of your home. Inspect beams, framing and firewood regularly for evidence of these insects.
- Ant nests: Ant nests can be found in a variety of places, such as under pavers, in firewood, or even in the walls of your home. The discovery of a nest should alert you to the presence of an ant colony and require intervention to eliminate the infestation.
- Scratching noises: Carpenter ants make scratching noises as they burrow into the wood. If you hear these noises, it is likely that carpenter ants are present in your home.
When in doubt, it is recommended that you call a pest control company near you to determine the presence of an ant infestation and to determine what actions to take to eliminate these pests.
How Do Pest Control Companies Get Rid of Ants and Their Nests?
Pest control companies offer customized solutions to get rid of ants and their nests. Here are the steps they take.
Identify the Ant Species and Assess the Invasion
Before beginning the pest control process, it is important for the professional to assess the situation to determine what type of ants are present and the severity of the invasion. Each ant species has specific behaviors and needs, and identifying them is essential to implementing the most effective treatment:
- Carpenter ants: As mentioned earlier, carpenter ants dig tunnels in the wood to build their nests. They are often responsible for significant damage to the wooden structures of homes. It is crucial to detect their presence early to avoid irreversible damage.
- Red ants: Also known as Solenopsis invicta, red ants are aggressive insects that sting when they feel threatened. Their bites can cause pain, itching and allergic reactions. It is important to properly manage a red ant infestation to preserve the health of the occupants of the house.
- Pharaoh ants: Also known by the scientific name Monomorium pharaonis, these ants are small in size and feed primarily on animal proteins and fats. They are able to enter our homes to find food and can contaminate foodstuffs, posing a hygiene problem.
- Argentine ants: These ants are attracted to sweet foods and liquids. They can form large colonies and move quickly from one place to another. Their presence can cause problems with hygiene and food contamination.
Assessing the invasion also allows pest controllers to determine the size of the colony and the extent of the problem. This can include identifying ant nests, locating entry points and looking for signs of activity, such as ant trails or debris piles.
Use of Chemical and Biological Products
Once the ant species has been identified and the invasion assessed, pest control companies implement a suitable treatment. The use of chemical and biological products is a common method of eliminating ants. These products are specifically designed to target ants and their nests, while being safe for humans and pets.
Chemicals include insecticides, which can be applied as a spray, powder or gel. Insecticides work by paralyzing or killing ants, preventing them from feeding and reproducing. Biological products, on the other hand, use micro-organisms, such as bacteria or fungi, to infect and kill ants. These treatments are often environmentally friendly and can be a greener option for pest control.
Ant Traps and Baits
Ant traps and baits are another effective method used by pest control companies. Baits usually contain substances that attract ants, mixed with an insecticide. The ants are attracted to the bait, consume the insecticide and take it back to their nest, where it is shared with other members of the colony. This process allows for the gradual and systematic elimination of ants.
Traps, on the other hand, are devices designed to capture ants and prevent them from escaping. They often contain pheromones or attractants to lure the ants inside. Once captured, ants can be removed manually or by applying a chemical.
Prevention and Protection
In addition to treating the existing invasion, pest control companies also implement preventive measures to protect your home or business from future ant invasions. These measures can include installing physical barriers, such as seals around doors and windows, or putting in natural repellents, such as plants that keep ants away.
Prevention also involves simple actions, such as keeping the area clean, eliminating food and water sources for ants, and ensuring that waste is properly disposed of. By eliminating conditions that are conducive to ants, you reduce the chances that they will invade your space.
Are you facing an ant infestation and would like to get rid of it permanently? Do not hesitate to contact a pest control company near you. Hiring an experienced pest control company will not only ensure the effective removal of the insects, but also prevent future invasions and protect your home or business.