Would you like to get rid of ants and not have them come back—ever? The secret lies in understanding why ants want to get into your home in the first place. Today, we will share some facts about ants that will help you drive them out and keep them out. These tips allow you to deal with ant problems without using a typical pest control ant treatment. But, when a treatment is needed, it pays to contact a professional.
If you're in The Woodlands, reach out to your All-Safe Pest & Termite specialists. We provide ant control in The Woodlands and ongoing pest control services that can keep ants out of your home permanently. Feel free to contact us for service options and pricing. We're here to help.
Ant Behavior: Social Hierarchy And Communication
Do you know why you can suddenly see a thousand ants in your home? It has to do with the one ant you see every once in a while. Ants don't usually decide to invade a house in groups until they know there's a food source.
An infestation often starts with a scout ant. This worker ant leaves the group and searches far and wide for new food options. It is the lone ant you see wandering around in your home. When that lone ant finds food, it returns to the other worker ants. On its way back, it lays down an invisible scented trail. One by one, the workers follow it and collect the food bit by bit. If you see hundreds of ants one day, you may not see a single ant the next, even if you don't do anything. The reason is that they all return to the nest.
Why do worker ants return to the nest? People often think it's the queen who controls her subjects, but this is not the case. Each worker has behavior patterns and physiological controls. Behavior patterns like grooming allow ants to work together to survive in different environments. Physiological controls are restrictions placed on the ants by their biology. For example, worker ants don't eat the food they collect. They have to bring it back and give the food to the larvae. The larvae eat it and produce a nutrient the workers can drink. The combination of these two forms of control brings the worker ants back to the nest.
When ants keep finding food in your house, certain species will decide to create an indoor nest. What do ants eat? They'll eat nectar, plant sap, honeydew, insects, and other natural food sources outside your home. In your home, they'll eat food debris, fruit, food powers, honey, pet food, leftovers on your plates, and more. As workers find food, the reproductive ants may decide to check out the environment. These ants can make satellite nests. A satellite nest sustains itself and shares its resources with the primary nest. Over time, it can grow and become a primary nest with the same features as the nest that spawned the ants.
These facts can help you stop ant problems before they begin. We'll connect the dots in a moment. First, let's look at what ants do inside your home and how they can impact your health. Understanding the health hazards can not only protect you and your family but also help you with ant prevention.
The Dangers of Ants: Understanding the Risks of Infestations
When ants get into your home to search for food, they aren't as picky as you. They don't mind eating something that is decaying. In fact, they are more likely to find rotting food because it has a stronger scent. When ants climb into trash bins or find rotting food and juices elsewhere, they can pick up germs. These organisms are so small that you can't see them with the naked eye. If an ant crawls into a food package or across your counters or cutting board, they can deposit the germs.
Some ants are worse than others. They can get into exceptionally unsanitary places, such as your bathroom. They may also climb on the wounds of dogs, cats, or other animals to find a meal. We're sorry. While it's a bit gross to envision, it's critical you understand how ants can pick up and spread disease-causing organisms.
Along with spreading microorganisms, one common ant species in our area can directly impact your health. They're called fire ants. While most fire ant stings are just an annoying burning sensation, it is possible to have a dangerous allergic reaction. An allergy to stinging insects can develop later in life, so keep this in mind. You may be at risk even if you've never had trouble with fire ant stings in the past. These ants are meat eaters and are particularly attracted to oily and greasy foods.
Professional Ant Control: Eliminate The Infestation
When ants start to take over, the best solution is colony elimination. We recommend professional assistance because a pro knows how to get rid of ants permanently. A common result of DIY ant control is that ants are never fully controlled. Some common consequences of DIY attempts include the following:
- Contact agents eliminate workers on contact but do nothing to control the colony that sent them.
- Ants sometimes don't take over-the-counter baits because they don't like them.
- Treated surfaces have little impact because the ants will avoid them.
- Ant control products cause budding to occur, and one colony can turn into several.
- Routes are not blocked, so ants continue to get inside.
When you contact a professional, like your All-Safe Pest & Termite team, you get results because we use several methods and products for comprehensive control. Here are a few examples:
- We identify the ant and select baits and other products based on their efficacy.
- We track the routes ants are taking and make sure they find the bait.
- We place baits in appropriate areas where they will not accidentally become inert.
- When control materials are needed, we use products the ants can't detect, so they cannot avoid the treated spaces.
- We seal entry points so ants don't continue to enter your home.
- If you get our 'Safe Select Pest Control' for your home, you'll get ongoing pest management around your exterior, which controls the insects ants eat and includes a treatment barrier around your house.
When you want ants gone for good, it pays to go with a trusted pest control service provider like All-Safe Pest & Termite. If you're in The Woodlands, call, text, or email us to learn about our services or to schedule a service visit.
Prevention Is Key: Tips To Prevent Ants From Coming Back
Once we deal with your ant infestation, do you have to go with ongoing pest control? No. You have options. While the service we provide is affordable and effective, there are ways you can keep ants from coming back after professional ant removal services. The methods you'll use connect to the facts we shared earlier. This section is where we connect the dots.
Step One: Don't let that lone scout ant find its way into your home. Seal up gaps, cracks, and holes. The tools you'll need are weatherstripping, sweeps, caulk, a caulking gun, and expanding foam.
Step Two: Keep your home as clean as possible so scout ants can't find food sources. Vacuum floors, clean up spills, and wipe down shelves.
Step Three: Protect the food in your home. While ants love decaying food, they're more than happy to eat fresh food. You can keep it out of their reach by using sealed containers.
Step Four: If you've had ants come into your home, wash surfaces to remove the invisible scented trails. While you're at it, consider washing out your kitchen trash bin thoroughly.
Step Five: Since some ants eat meats, grease, and oils, make sure to deep clean the sides of your oven and gaps where food and juices can run down.
Step Six: Since ants eat nectar, plant sap, and honeydew, deal with weeds and unwanted vegetation around your landscaping and lawn, and keep your plants dry and healthy to deter aphids.
Step Seven: Wash your exterior trash receptacles and use scented bags for your garbage. The more you work to mask the scent of decaying food, the less trouble you'll have with ants.
Step Eight: Some ants will eat pet food, so refrain from feeding pets outdoors and consider establishing a mealtime for indoor feeding.
Step Nine: Since ants eat insects, you can deter them by reducing insects. Rake leaves and remove them. Clean your gutter system. Keep lights off at night.
These tips are not comprehensive, but they're a good starting point for ant control. When you keep things clean, protect food sources, and block the routes ants use to enter your home, you can prevent ant problems. If you want help, remember that we're here for you. Contact All-Safe Pest & Termite for pest control in The Woodlands. Our highly trained team looks forward to assisting you.