If you own a home, then you need ant control, especially in our local area. As the weather warms up, and we move through spring into summer, pests awaken and forage for food. Ants are probably one of the virulent types of pests that we have to deal with in the warmer season. They are not just an unsightly nuisance in our homes; they can also pose health risks. Some ant species can contaminate food, spread diseases, and inflict painful bites. Dealing with ants using store-bought products can be difficult, as these intelligent insects can multiply quickly. They can create many nests in close proximity to one another. So when you think you have just gotten rid of one, you probably missed the other nests that are near.
Their presence in our homes should be taken seriously, as proper ant control measures can protect our families and ensure a healthy environment. Furthermore, as you will see, some species of ants can destroy your property.
Identifying Different Types of Ants Before Implementing any Ant Control Program
No matter what type of ants you have, in order to control ants, you need to be able to identify the common species of ants that could invade your home. South Carolina has the perfect environment that is conducive to the survival of many ant species. Of course, you as a homeowner can also play a role in attracting these pests. Let’s look at the common species of ants you could find in our local area.
This species of ant is a major problem in our area. Fire ants are aggressive, reddish-brown ants known for their painful stings. The sting is painful and can be life-threatening should you have an allergic reaction to them. They build large mound-like nests in open spaces, and their colonies can number in the thousands. If you have young children who like to play in the yard or even pets, controlling fire ants is crucial for maintaining a safe and comfortable outdoor space.
Odorous House Ants
Perhaps one of the greatest nuisances in the scout are odorous house ants. These are small ants with a penchant for sweet substances. What is fascinating about these types of ants is their unusual behavior. They lay intricate, invisible pheromone trails to guide their fellow ants to food sources. This remarkable method of communication makes it easy for them to infest kitchens in search of sugary treats. They are also known for moving their nests every few months and especially in response to rain. Another unique behavior of these ants is that their colonies often have multiple nests and multiple reproducing queens.
Once inside, they can swiftly establish colonies in hard-to-reach spaces, making it challenging to eradicate them using do-it-yourself (DIY) products. Their sheer numbers, coupled with their ability to adapt and survive, often renders these DIY solutions ineffective. Odorous house ants can create new colonies when threatened, which makes removing them from your home more challenging.
Like any ant control measure, you can be proactive by ensuring you take precautions in your home. These simple precautions are detailed below and can be employed immediately to reduce the risk of any ant infestation in and around the home.
Proper food storage
One of the most effective ways to prevent ant infestations is to store food properly. Most homeowners do not take this seriously and suffer the consequences of ant infestations. Seal food containers, clean up spills and crumbs, and avoid leaving open food out for extended periods. By cutting off their food sources, you'll make your home less attractive to ants. This is a very simple measure that could save you a lot of potential problems.
Eliminate water sources
We all need water to survive and Ants are no different. If you do not want them in your home, then begin eliminating sources of moisture around your home which will help deter them. Fix leaks, ensure proper drainage, and remove standing water in your crawl space to make your property less hospitable for ants. If you give them what they need to survive, they will thrive in your home.
Seal entry points
This is another simple measure to employ but often one that is forgotten about. Ants can get into the tiniest of spaces. Therefore, you should inspect your home for cracks in your structure, gaps, and other entry points that ants can use to access your living space. Seal them with caulk or other appropriate materials to keep ants out.
Natural Ant Control Methods
There are some natural methods you can use to repel ants. However, if you have a bad infestation, these methods are questionable at best. Nevertheless, we have detailed a few of these natural methods of ant control below.
Vinegar Repels Ants
Vinegar is a natural and effective ant deterrent. Mix equal parts water and white vinegar in a spray bottle and use it to clean surfaces where ants are seen. The strong smell disrupts their scent trails, discouraging ants from returning.
Diatomaceous earth helps to control ants
Diatomaceous earth is a natural, non-toxic powder made from crushed fossils. When ants come into contact with the powder, it damages their exoskeleton, eventually causing dehydration and death. Sprinkle diatomaceous earth along ant trails and around entry points to deter ants from entering your home. The downside of using this, is the mess it can make around your home.
This is a natural ant control solution worth considering. Mix a small amount of boric acid with sugar and water to create a bait for ants. Place the bait near ant trails, and the ants will carry it back to their colony, eventually killing off the entire population. However, there is an important caveat you should understand. While boric acid is often recommended as a potential solution for ant control, it may not effectively manage an infestation, and here’s why.
Firstly, the success of boric acid depends on ants consuming it and bringing it back to their nest, and this is not as easy as you would think. Ants are intelligent and they will sometimes avoid or ignore the bait. This will not result in the control or eradication of any infestation.
Secondly, incorrect concentrations of boric acid can either be too weak to affect the ants or too strong, killing them instantly and preventing them from sharing it with the colony. Additionally, if boric acid is not used in a targeted manner or combined with the right bait, ants might simply bypass the treatment.
Boric acid may not work on all ant species, so professional help or alternative strategies may be necessary for complete pest control.
Professional Ant Control
More often than not, you will not be able to control an infestation using your DIY methods. It's time to call a professional who knows about ant behavior and can recognize the appropriate species and techniques for managing them. Professionals have the tools and expertise to handle large infestations and ensure that the problem is fully resolved.
Ant control is essential for maintaining a healthy and safe environment in our homes. By identifying different ant species, taking preventative measures, and employing natural or professional ant control methods, you can effectively eliminate and prevent ant infestations. Don't underestimate the importance of ant control; stay vigilant and take action to keep your home ant-free.