They’re expected guests at a picnic or park, but when ants creep into your home, they can become more than a nuisance. How do you know if you have an ant infestation? By the time ants have begun to infest an area, it may seem like they’re coming out of the woodwork (quite literally with carpenter ants), but there are a few key ways to identify an ant infestation and get rid of these unhelpful pests.
Signs of an Ant Infestation
Ants live in colonies that are broken up into a few different ant roles: queen, workers, scouts. In order to understand if you have an ant infestation, it helps to understand that a colony of ants has a single queen (or a few in some species), a number of scout ants, and the rest are worker ants. Scout ants search for food and bring signals and scents back to the worker ants that then join the scout ant back to the source of the food. The queen never leaves her nest, wherever that might be, but continuously produces more ants.
Using this information, you can better look for infestations. If you see a single ant, you might not have an infestation, but it could be a scout ant looking for signs of food to bring back to the colony. If you see a trail or cluster of ants, a scout ant has already sent word back to the colony that there are food sources available and that it needs backup.
If you’re seeing ants regularly in your kitchen, in your pantry, or where there might be access to wood, you might have the beginnings of an infestation. Large ants that tend to spend time near wood, also known as carpenter ants, build their nests in wood. Because of this, these ants can cause significant damage to your home if they make a nest in your walls or floor.
How to Get Rid of an Ant Infestation
Clean Up Well
Scout and worker ants live to find food, so if there’s any food left out on your kitchen countertops, in your cabinets, or on the floor, ants will find it. Try sweeping regularly, putting food away (including pet food…ants will eat anything), washing dishes, and wiping down countertops. Ants are especially attracted to sugary liquids, so make sure to clean up spills well.
Seal Trouble Spots
Because scout ants leave trails of pheromones, worker ants in mass can follow the scent to the food source. To ensure ants can’t find the source, look for trails of ants, wipe down the trail, and find out where it began in your home. Oftentimes, these trails start at door jambs where weather stripping has worn down, in seals and cracks of windows, and in foundational cracks in the home. When you find these spots, seal them to keep unwanted pests out.
Do Not Spray
While spray can be useful in certain circumstances with ants, often it makes more sense to use ant bait since spray only kills the worker ants and not the queen. Spraying ants doesn’t always get rid of the pheromone trail either, which would provide other ants access to the same path toward food.
Get Rid of Your Ant Infestation with Healthy Home Termite & Pest Control
If you recognize ants in your home. It may be time to contact the pest experts at Healthy Home Termite & Pest Control. Schedule an inspection by calling us at 770-505-9040 or schedule one online.