Since ants are so prevalent as a pest, understanding how they behave and ways to control and prevent infestation can be essential. In this short guide, we’re going to give an overview of why an infestation occurs, the seriousness of an ant infestation, and ant behavior.
Why is my home infested?
Ants will infest any location that has food and water sources. If you leave your food unsealed and you have a leaky pipe, you will definitely attract ants and other pests. Any food source, from open pet food containers to unlidded trash cans will attract hungry ants, and what will initially be an attraction to a few foraging ants will soon turn into a full-blown infestation, where the ants establish a colony in the walls or foundation of the home.
How dangerous is an ant infestation?
While ants may not seem anything more than a nuisance at first, they can be quite dangerous because they lead to food contamination. Ants carry around a lot of bacteria on their bodies and they spread it around wherever they crawl, which is usually the kitchen. However, it’s important to put things into perspective here and note that only a few species of ants carry dangerous diseases.
Carpenter ants come with their own set of problems. They are similar to termites in that they damage wooden structures in the home, leading to thousands of dollars in property damage. Fire ants have venomous bites which can be quite painful, and which can lead to allergic reactions.
In order to effectively control ants, you have to understand their behavior. To start, they will find the tiniest entry points in your home, so sealing and caulking is an essential component of keeping your home ant free. They will leave invisible chemical trails wherever they go, which allows ants to create pathways towards food sources. They can nest anywhere on your property, including stumps, lawns, foundations and walls.
In terms of colony size, you can have up to 500,000 ants in a single nest, and the entire colony can uproot itself and move to a new location if the ants feel threatened. The lifetime of a colony can go up to 15 years, which is the average lifespan of an ant queen, with the workers being able to live for seven years.
Does DIY ant control work?
In most situations, DIY ant control only targets visible ants, which are workers and non-essential to a colony. Truly effective treatments target the nest in a variety of ways with the aim of killing the queen and removing the entire colony permanently. Home remedies are also not specialized enough to deal with various types of infestations, each of which require a unique approach.
If you currently have a stubborn ant infestation, it is best to work with a professional. Contact us today for more information.