Ants are highly social creatures that play an essential role in our ecosystem. The tunnels of their extensive colonies help aerate the soil, and they help disperse plant seeds. Unfortunately, ant colonies can also find their way into your home when searching for food, which can quickly turn into an unwanted infestation.
What Attracts Ants: And Removing Attractants
Understanding what attracts ants to your home and ensuring they don’t have access to those necessities are essential for keeping unwanted pests at bay.
Although they seem to enjoy sweet foods the most, ants will eat pretty much anything you eat. If an ant finds any uncleaned food spills or gains access to improperly sealed packages in the pantry, it’ll leave a scent trail for the rest of its colony, attracting ants from afar. Other potential food sources for ants include leftover food in pet bowls, food scraps in an open trash can, and unrinsed containers in a recycling bin.
Along with maintaining a cleaning schedule, be sure to clean up all food spills on counters, floors, and kitchen pantry shelves as soon as you see them. Other ways to eliminate potential food sources and prevent ants include:
- Avoid leaving food out and uncovered.
- Place open dry food items, such as cereal, chips, and sugar, in secure containers to make them inaccessible.
- Take your trash and recycling out regularly.
Along with food, ants will need access to water. Cracked or broken pipes under the sink, roof leaks, and potted plants can provide them with what they need, as can condensation in a poorly ventilated bathroom. Leaky hoses and areas of standing water outdoors can attracts ants inside.
To eliminate sources of standing water:
- Fix cracked or leaky pipes right away.
- Avoid overwatering houseplants.
- Turn on the bathroom exhaust fan — or open a window if the weather permits — during and after showers to prevent condensation buildup.
Foliage and Flowers
Some houseplants emit sweet aromas that you may find pleasing. Those same scents can also attract the attention of ants, which might mistake the smell for food.
Potting soil can also draw an ant’s interest. For one thing, it offers a source of moisture, which ants forage for constantly. It may also contain debris from other pests, such as aphids, which can provide food. Although ants generally don’t consume houseplants, they can still harm an indoor garden.
While some houseplants might attract ants, others can keep them away. Many herbs, including thyme, basil, and rosemary, are effective deterrents. If you prefer flowers, tansies and lavender may help too. Again, be sure to avoid overwatering indoor plants to prevent standing water.
Ant Infestation FAQ
Do you suspect — or know — you have an ant problem? Here are a few frequently asked questions that may provide some help.
Are Ants Dangerous?
Ants pose a few potential dangers to you and your family. For one thing, all species are capable of biting perceived threats. While bites from most species aren’t typically dangerous — although they can be painful — to most people, they can cause allergic reactions in some individuals. Some species of ants, notably fire ants, can also sting. Their stingers deliver venom into the skin that can cause discomfort or trigger allergic reactions.
Another potential danger of ants is food contamination. Ants walk through all kinds of bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens, which they can transfer to food, as well as surfaces like countertops, cutting boards, and plates.
How Do I Find the Source of Ants?
To find the source of an ant infestation, look for the ant line. Ants leave an invisible scent trail that shows members of their colony where to find food or water. If you see an unbroken line of ants, you should be able to follow it to both the food source and where the pests are coming into your home.
What Kind of Ants Do I Have?
Phoenix is home to numerous ant species, some of the most common being fire ants, carpenter ants, crazy ants, and odorous ants. Fire ants, which have reddish-brown bodies, are one of the easiest to identify. Others may not be as simple. To determine the type of ants invading your home, use an online guide or call a professional pest control specialist.
How Do I Get Rid of Ants?
Ant sprays, ant bait, and traps are popular at-home solutions to get rid of ants in your house. But you’ll want to pay attention to labels and exercise caution using these products if you have pets or young children. Some homeowners prefer more natural solutions, which include diatomaceous earth, neem oil, black peppercorns, boric acid, and borax. Other ways to deter ants and eliminate ant infestations include:
- Thoroughly cleaning the house
- Eliminating potential food and water sources
- Sealing entry points
Call the Professionals
The best — and safest — way to eliminate an ant infestation and prevent it from coming back is to call pest control experts like Budget Brothers. Pest control professionals can quickly identify the ant species invading your home, determine where they’re coming from, and implement the most effective elimination solutions. They can also provide you with tips and tricks for keeping ants out and dealing with dead insects.
Budget Brothers: Eliminating Ant Problems
You don’t have to manage an ant infestation alone. Budget Brothers is here to help you identify where your pests are coming from and get rid of them for good. Give us a call to schedule your ant removal service today.