ants amongst bread crumbs

Ants: the most notorious repeat offenders

Ants! It is estimated that there are a million of them for each human in the world. This is why at times it might seem like a million of them pop up in your home. But why? Well, you must be a welcoming host. Can we come over for dinner? In all seriousness, ants are more than a nuisance, they can spread dangerous pathogens such as E. coli and Salmonella.

DIY control methods are an option, but if you’re not sure which ant species you are dealing with and don’t end up eradicating the entire colony, you’ll end up with ants returning time and again.

ants crawl across a spoon of sugar

Are you having problems with ants in your home or business? Contact us today!

Why do ants keep coming back?

Ant colonies are made up of thousands of members. The queen functions to establish new colonies and lay eggs. In many species in the west, there are multiple queens and multiple colonies. The queen relies on her worker ants to find food for all of the members. These worker ants will start to explore the area in search of food. Once they find food, they’ll leave a pheromone trail to notify the rest of the colony. The rest of the ants will follow this chemical trail to the food, gather it, and then bring it back to the nest.

And just like that, you’ll have what seems like millions of ants marching through your home.

ants crawl across a counter with bread crumbs on it

Types of ants

The key to preventing ants from returning is knowing what type of ants you’re dealing with and understanding their habits. Certain types of ants may require specific pest removal techniques. However, all ants are social so you typically won’t see just one. The most common ants found in homes are carpenter ants, odorous house ants, and pavement ants.

  • Carpenter ants vary in size and color but are usually larger than other types of ants. They can cause structural damage, and even though they do not feed on wood, they will excavate wood to create space for their nests and to create trails to food sources. Carpenter ants will forage outside of the structure and will find avenues to nesting sites within structures such as under insulation, in voids, in crawl spaces, or in attics.
carpenter ant on a wood plank
  • Odorous house ants get their name from the strong, rotten, coconut-like smell they give off when crushed. They can grow up to ⅛-inch large and have black or brown bodies. Odorous house ants have colonies with many queens and many homes, making this type of ant difficult to control. They do not cause structural damage, but they do invade homes in large numbers and are commonly found in bathrooms, kitchens, cupboards, and any place where crumbs are found.
  • Pavement ants nest underground under rocks and pavement. Unlike odorous house ants, they only have a single queen. These ants will forage into structures for food sources, feeding on almost anything, including insects, seeds, honeydew, honey, bread, nuts, and cheese. But, they show a preference for meats and greases. Although typically they are not aggressive, workers can bite and sting.
pavement ants in the crack of a sidewalk

The four don’ts of ant control

Ant control can be a never-ending job if you don’t solicit the help of a professional pest control company. Ants can reproduce quickly, and if you don’t get them under control at the first sign of them, you could end up with an infestation in no time. Following our four ant control don’ts will help you eradicate an ant nest sooner.

  1. Don’t ignore. 
  2. Don’t squash.
  3. Don’t spray. 
  4. Don’t DIY.

Squashing ants and spraying ant repellent won’t really help you. When ants die, they release pheromones that warn the other ants of danger. These ants will then relay the information to the rest of the colony and the whole colony will relocate. Even though spraying ant repellent does threaten the colony, it can also cause “budding” to occur in several different species of ants. When the colony feels threatened, a queen and part of the colony move to a new location and create another colony – leaving you with a new ant colony in another part of your house.

black ants crawl across sand

The four dos when you find ants in your home 

Finding ants in your home is cause for concern, but don’t stress. Follow our ant dos and with a little help from a Western Exterminator specialist, your ant problem will be under control in no time.

  1. Schedule an inspection.
  2. Make note of the areas where you are seeing them.
  3. Remove any potential food and water sources.
  4. Clean and sanitize any areas with which the ants came in contact.

Knowing where the ants are coming from will help your pest control specialist find the ant nest. Once you determine the location, check the area for any food or water sources that could be attracting the ants. Then, clean and sanitize any places across which you think the ants may have traveled. We recommend giving the whole area a good wipe down as this will help to eliminate any scent trails the ants have left behind.

We’ll control the ants for you

If ants are repeat offenders in your home, it’s likely the colony hasn’t been eliminated. Western Exterminator specialists are very knowledgeable on all ant species and know which control methods work best for each type. Your Western Exterminator pest specialist will create a unique treatment plan for your property, offering the best course of action. If you’re noticing signs of ants in your home, contact us today.

Emily Nicholson

Emily Nicholson is a Digital Marketing Coordinator for Rentokil North America. She currently lives in Pittsburgh with her husband and two dogs. She loves being outside - mountains or beach - and enjoys working out, walking her pups, and relaxing with her husband, friends, and family.

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