Have you noticed that we have a lot of ants in Tucson? When you see one crawling around on your driveway, scaling the walls of your home, or walking across your counter, it is hard to tell what kind of ant you have. The good news is that, in most cases, you don't have to know what kind of ants you're seeing. Common pest ants have common habits. Understanding these habits can help you get them out of your home and keep them out. As a leader in Tucson pest control, the team at Green Home Pest Control knows a lot about ants in our area. Join us as we look at common habits, what to expect from ant pests, how to get rid of ants, and tips to prevent reinfestation. If you want to speak with a professional about an ant control problem, remember that we're always here to help.
The Habits Of Common Ants
The insect experts on staff at Green Home Pest Control could bore you with all of the many details about the common ant species we have in Tucson. We know volumes about these insects. But you don't need all of that data for most ant problems. You just need to know a few of their basic habits.
Ant Pheromones: Ants don't talk to each other like we do. They communicate in other ways. The most effective communication is done through the use of pheromones, and one use of pheromone communication helps workers find food. If an ant worker stumbles upon a food source in your home, it will leave a pheromone trail on the way back to its nest. If the other ants smell the trail, they'll follow it, each adding to the trail as they return to the nest. As the number of ants following the trail grows, guess what happens? The scent of the trail grows! That attracts even more ants from farther away, and soon you have an alarming number of ants in your home and no clear understanding of what is going on. Keeping your home clean and protecting food sources can reduce your chances of having an army of ants invade.
Ant Trails: Have you ever watched an ant crawl up a wall? They're able to do that because they cling to the surface. While they make it look easy, and in many aspects it is, ants don't prefer to climb on vertical surfaces all day, so they aren't likely to climb your exterior wall in large numbers to go through an entry point that is several feet above the ground. What they tend to do is climb plants and trees, and go from these to exterior walls at high points, in larger numbers. For example, a tree branch that touches a first-story window can invite a large ant infestation. Trimming trees and vegetation can help to prevent this kind of entry.
Ant Foraging: Worker ants are always looking for food. It is helpful to know what kind of foods they prefer, particularly on the outside of your home. Ants are much more likely to infest your home if they have a reason to create a nest near your home. Sugar ants feed on nectar, honeydew, sweets foods in your trash, and the liquid in hummingbird feeders. Protein ants eat meats in your trash, dead insects, and sometimes live insects. You can deter these ants by addressing potential food sources and reducing the attraction they have to your property.
Ant Habitats: Most ants live in the ground and prefer soil that is easily moved, one grain at a time. One kind of ant that breaks this mold is the carpenter ant. They create galleries inside decaying wood. If you have a stump, log, wooden flower bed, wooden flower pots, wood fencing, or some other source of wood near your home, you could have trouble with these ants. Removing wood sources and applying paint to wooden structures can help with carpenter ant control in Tucson.
Do you see how learning about ants can help you get them out and keep them out? We have more ant prevention tips to share later in this article, but before we do, it is important to take a moment to consider why you'll want to take the time to do them—or why you'll want to hire a professional to apply ant pest control around your home.
An Ant Infestation Can Be More Than Just A Nuisance
When ants enter your home as a large army, that is really annoying. That is enough reason to want to keep them out. But there are actually more important reasons. If you fully understand why it is bad to have ants in your home, you'll know why it is a good idea to roll your sleeves up and do the hard work of keeping them out.
Ants can make you ill. They pick up harmful bacteria and move these organisms around.
Ants can damage your home. Carpenter ants start with rotting wood but can move to sound timbers.
Ants can cause a stink. Some ants smell bad when crushed underfoot.
Ants can cause your lights to go out. They get into power boxes, light switches, and wall outlets.
Ants can cause electronics to fail. They get into clocks, radios, computers, and more.
Do you see how ants are a bit more than a nuisance? If you have an ant problem, contact Green Home Pest Control for ant control solutions. We offer the best way to arrest ant infestations within Tucson homes. Once the ants are gone, you can take steps to prevent a reinfestation. These steps will also help you prevent an ant problem if you don't already have one.
Tips To Prevent Ant Reinfestation
Ant prevention begins on the inside of your home. You need to evaluate conditions and consider how you can remove attractants to keep ants from wanting to live with you. Once you've done that, you'll turn your attention to your exterior walls and seal all of the tiny entry points they may use to get inside your home. The last step is done outside your home. Simple alterations can make a big difference.
Step 1: Indoor Ant Prevention
Ants in Tucson climb on your counters, explore your cabinets, and inspect your shelves for food debris. They walk around your sinks and collect leftover particles, gooey condiments, and even water droplets. They crawl all over your floors and in every gap, searching for food that has fallen, or juice stains.
Clean surfaces after preparing food.
Clean dishes as you go.
Sweep and mop your floors.
Wipe down shelves.
Store pantry food in sealed containers.
Check due dates on packages and throw away past-due items.
Clean your indoor trash receptacles periodically.
Make sure no food items are in open trash containers.
Place pet food down only during meals.
Fix leaking faucets and weeping garbage disposals.
Steps like these will make your home less interesting to ants and prevent worker ants from creating pheromone trails.
Step 2: Ant Pest Proofing
Ants don't tunnel through your walls to get into your home. If carpenter ants came to mind as you read that, you should know that they don't typically do this either. Most of the time, carpenter ants enter homes through available entry points.
Inspect all exterior doors and make sure that you can't see any light leaking out at night. If you see light, that gap is large enough for an ant to slip in.
Inspect your windows for gaps around your frames, damaged screens, broken panes, and other issues. A caulking gun can help you with this job.
Inspect your foundation for cracks, gaps around pipes, or other potential entry points. Patch the cracks and fill gaps with expanding foam.
Inspect the wood of your home. If you see rot, consider replacing the wood. If you need a quick fix, expanding foam or silicone caulk will do the trick.
Patch every point you can find. Along with this, trim vegetation away from your home to increase the chances that ants will not find a way indoors.
Step 3: Outdoor Ant Prevention
Do you remember at the beginning of this article when we talked about what ants are looking for on your property? These tips will help you alter conditions and remove those attractants. Some are easy. Some are not so easy.
Use products to address lawn weeds, or hire a lawn care company.
Wash aphids off your plants and use yellow sticky traps to monitor activity.
Clean exterior trash receptacles and keep trash cans covered at all times.
Rake leaves and remove them.
Stored dead branches in a bin.
When you reduce the food around your home, ants will have less reason to live on your property. You can't get rid of all the food, but your efforts will have an impact. If more control is needed, you'll want to speak with a licensed professional ant control.
What's The Best Way To Get Ants To Go Away Forever?
Some properties have more issues with ants than others. If you need the best home pest control for ants, we recommend year-round pest control. When you have ongoing pest control service, your exterior has layers of protection to keep ants and other pests from entering. If you'd like to learn how Green Home Pest Control can help, give us a call or drop us a line. We look forward to serving you.