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Ants can seem like mysterious pests. But, they're really not all that mysterious. They get into Dallas homes because they can. What is somewhat mysterious is figuring out what is actually happening when you see hundreds of ants in one place. Dallas residents often think they have an interior nest when they actually don't. We're going to take a few minutes to discuss why ants appear indoors in large numbers, and what you can do to keep them out.

Attractants

Indoor ant problems usually begin outside. When ants come into your yard, they're not going to immediately start getting into your home. While some ants can forage quite a distance from their nests, they're going to look for easy food sources before they start exploring gaps in the structures on your property. What is likely to happen is exterior attractants will inspire ants to establish a nest close to the exterior walls of your home. When they do, they're more likely to come in. You can keep them out by removing the attractants that increase ant activity and inspire nest creation. Here are a few examples:

  • Dirty trash receptacles and access to garbage.

  • Leaf litter, branch piles, rotting wood, grass clippings and other organic debris.

  • Honeydew left on plants by aphids and other plant-damaging pests.

  • Damp habitats caused by an obstructed gutter system or break in downspouts and splash blocks.

  • Damp habitats caused by weeds, grass and unwanted vegetation in landscaping.

  • Damp habitats caused by overgrown shrubs, bushes and plants.

  • Hummingbird feeders filled with sugar water.

  • Food, soda cans, drink cups and other items left out after backyard cookouts. 

Entry Point

Ants can be extremely small. Some ant workers are only 1/32 of an inch. It is impossible to seal your exterior enough to keep all the ants out but it is well worth the effort to try. Studies have shown that sealing obvious entry points helps to significantly deter interior ant problems when combined with removing exterior attractants. Here are a few ways ants might easily access your Dallas home.

  • Gaps under exterior doors due to missing or damaged doors sweeps.

  • Gaps in weatherstripping.

  • Wood holes created by wood-damaging pests.

  • Cracks in your foundation walls or gaps between your sole plates and your foundation.

  • Damaged mortar around bricks.

  • Damage window and door screens.

  • Gaps around water mains, wires, and other foundation penetrations.

Food

Ants don't know that you have food in your home until a worker ant stumbles upon it. If a single worker ant gets into your home and finds food, it can ring the dinner bell for the thousands of ants in its colony. One worker will lay down a pheromone scent as it returns to the nest. Each ant that follows the scent and gathers the food resource will do the same. Within a short period, a large number of ants can amass around the food source. There are primarily two ways to prevent ants from finding food in your home: Routine cleaning and food management.

Routine Cleaning

  • Make sure your trash receptacles are as clean as possible.

  • Routinely remove trash so that nothing begins to decay and attract ants.

  • Clean up spills immediately.

  • Wash food off dishes as you dirty them.

  • Refrain from laying filled garbage bags on the floor.

  • Clean food debris off shelves and out from underneath your toaster.

  • Clean in, under, and behind your couches and other living room furniture.

Food Management 

  • Store food in sealed containers, including pet food.

  • Never leave food out on the counter uncovered.

  • Put pet food down only during meals.

  • Do routine inspections of your home and look for fruit and other food items left in trash bins. If you have kids, their rooms are a good place to check first.

  • Consider making a rule that no one eats food anywhere but the dining room and kitchen.

Moisture

Ants are drawn to moisture. If you have moisture issues around or inside your Dallas home, some ant species will take notice and create an indoor nest. Here are a few ways you can remove this attractant.

  • Address any leaks. Droplets of water left in a sink, tub, or shower stall will be plenty of water for ants.

  • Use your bathroom fan when taking a shower or bath.

  • Address areas of your home that stay humid. Installing a dehumidifier can have a big impact on ant activity.

How Residential Pest Control Fits Into The Picture

When you invest in a pest control plan for your home, you get routine pest inspections, targeted ant treatments as needed, general pest maintenance, and barrier treatments. All of these work to stop ants from getting inside. If you live in Dallas, let the team here at All-Safe Pest & Termite help you find the right plan for your home. You don't have to live with ants. Get relief today. 

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