While ants can be found throughout the year, they tend to invade homes during spring and fall on their quest to fill their bellies. Spring ant invasions happen as ants wake up from a long winter hibernation in search of food. Fall ant invasions happen as ants go in search of food to fill them up before they go into their winter hibernation. While ants can be beneficial in aerating your soil and composting dead vegetation, they can become quite a nuisance when they get into your home.
Spring also marks the beginning of swarming season for ants and termites. Both of these pests leave their nests in the spring to reproduce and establish new colonies. Flying ants are often mistaken for termite swarms and vice versa. There are several distinguishing features between the two: ants have bent antennae, unequal wing lengths, and thin abdomen while termites have straight antennae, equal wing lengths and straight abdomen.
It can be difficult to figure out exactly where ants are coming in from which makes them difficult to control and eliminate. Here are some steps to prevent ants from invading your home this spring.
The first step in preventing and eliminating ants is to determine which type of ant you are dealing with. Odorous house ants, also known as sugar ants, are little black ants that are about 1/8″ in length. They give off a distinctive smell when they are crushed. Pavement ants are brown to black in color, about 1/10″ in length, and set up their colonies near driveways and patios. Carpenter ants are reddish black in color, about 5/8″ in length, and are known for eating and destroying wood structures.
Eliminate Food Sources
Ants typically come into your home in search of food. Eliminating sources of food for them can help prevent them from coming into your house in the first place. Keep your food, including pet food, sealed in airtight containers. Keep your countertops clean and floors swept or vacuumed. Take the trash out regularly and keep trashcans tightly sealed. Rinse cans, bottles, and jugs before throwing them away.
Seal Entry Points
Getting rid of the ways ants use to get into your home is another step to keeping them out. Perform a thorough inspection of both the interior and exterior of your home to identify potential areas where ants (and other pests) can get in. Apply weatherstripping to doors and in gaps around windows. Caulk around pipes and faucets. Seal control joints in driveways and patios. Seal gaps and cracks around foundations, as well.
Make sure gutters are kept clear of debris and clogs. Keep grass mowed and yards cleared. Make sure logs and branches are cut back so they are not touching your house. Store firewood a safe distance away from the house and elevate it off the ground.
If you already have an issue with ants, there are some methods you can try to control them at home. The best case scenario is to find the colony and treat it directly. If you can’t, bait stations can be used in your home. Ants will pick up the bait from the stations or direct application and bring it back to their colony, killing all of the ants including the queen. If these methods don’t work or you have a significant ant problem, contact a professional pest control company who can help identify exactly which type of ant you are dealing with and provide you with an expert ant control and elimination program.