There is no doubt that ants can be a serious nuisance. But they can be a source of contamination and illness as well. They get into your trash as readily as they get into your food cupboards. Some ants feed on the open wounds of pets, livestock, and wildlife. This makes them an even greater health risk. Fire ants are a double threat. They can spread harmful bacteria like other ants do, but they also sting. The venom from a fire ant sting can be a serious threat to those who are allergic, and stings present a unique threat to babies in carriers and others who can't get away. Then, of course, there is the not-so-lovable carpenter ant that creates tunnels in wood. Over time, the damage from carpenter ants can weaken the support beams of a structure, causing widespread issues. If you're thinking, "Um. No thank you." We're with you. Here is a practical guide to help you keep ants out of your home.
Seal Entry Points
Ants get into your home because they can. But there are steps you can take to keep them out. Some are obvious. Others are not so obvious.
Ants can be kept out by:
- Replace any damaged weatherstripping around exterior doors. If you're not aware, that is the rubber seal that keeps the cool air in, and the ants out.
- Replace damaged door sweeps on exterior doors.
- Replace or fix damaged screens, especially on ground floor windows and sliding glass doors.
- Repair cracks in your foundation walls.
- Fill in gaps around plumbing and PVC pipes used for containing wires. Objects that pass through your foundation walls are called foundation penetrations. All of these should be sealed.
- Use a caulking gun to make sure window and door frames are sealed all the way around the outside of the frames.
- Replace wood that has been damaged by wood-destroying pests or use a caulking gun to temporarily fill these holes in.
Ants tend to go where the food is. One of the big reasons ants come into a home in large numbers is that a scout ant finds a food source. It might be some food in a pet dish. It might be an apple core left by a child behind a couch. It might be cracker crumbs underneath the cushions of a couch. We could give you hundreds of examples of food sources that attract and mobilize ants. But you get the idea. Cleaning your home is one of the best things you can do to keep ants from choosing to live inside your home. It will also reduce the risk of having a large number of ants appear out of nowhere. Ants are tiny. You're not likely to seal your exterior enough to keep them out entirely. This is a good secondary step to reduce infestations.
Many ants are drawn to moisture. When they get into your home, they're drawn to moisture points. These points are where our pest professionals look first. If you have leaky faucets, weeping pipes, or other moisture issues, you should get them addressed as soon as possible if you want to keep ants out.
High moisture around the exterior of your home can lead to wood rot. This attracts carpenter ants. Keeping your gutters clean and in good repair is one of the best things you can do for the health of your home because it reduces dampness near your exterior.
When You Need Some Help
If you seal your exterior and reduce food sources and moisture, you can keep ants out of your home. But sometimes, ants don't take no for an answer. For elimination and complete exclusion, ant control products need to be deployed. These products should be selected and administered by a professional for the best results. It is easy to throw good money after bad trying to stop ants. If you live in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, reach out to All-Safe Pest & Termite. Our licensed and experienced pest professionals know what is required to get control of ants. We're here to help.