While the fictional Ant-Man is trending upward at the box office, grossing well over $100 million in ticket sales, the West’s prolonged drought and lack of moisture is forcing real life ants to aggressively seek alternate water sources other than lawns and plants. And the sources of moisture they are seeking are often found inside your home. We have discussed the effects that the drought has had on pests before on this blog, but now we want to focus on one particular pest – Argentine ants.
Prolific Pests Seeking Water and Sweets
One of the more prolific pests and noted moisture seekers California homeowners deal with, this invasive ant species establishes shallow nests (1- to 2-inch mounds) in the soil near a source of moisture, such as along sidewalks, under rocks, between plants, near water pipes, in potted plants and wall voids.
Their colonies often split in the summer in search of new nesting locations and you will notice them traveling rapidly along sidewalks, up the sides of buildings, along the branches of trees and shrubs, along baseboards and under the edges of carpets.
Argentine ant colonies can number from several hundred to several thousand and will travel en masse up to 200 feet from their nest to feed and find moisture. This is where Argentine ants become a problem for homeowners.
Argentine ants have a sweet tooth and are often found outside near insects such as aphids, which produce a honey-like secretion called honeydew. If you just had friends over for a BBQ, and soft drinks were spilled on the patio that could be a magnet for ants.
In your home, the same holds true. Anything sugary is an attractant for ants. They prefer sweets, but also can be found feeding on oil, protein foods, fat, and meat.
With their traditional moisture sources gone on the outside, Argentine ants will aggressively forage for food and come indoors seeking their bounty. In the drought-like conditions we are experiencing, they’re seeking moisture, too.
Argentine Ant Prevention
What can you do to prevent Argentine ants from gaining access to your home? Mr. Little recommends homeowners follow these tips to keep ants and other pests away:
- Make sure to repair openings in the foundation of your home with caulk or an appropriate material; do the same around door and window frames.
- Repair leaky faucets inside your home and replace broken sprinkler heads on irrigation systems; any source of moisture will draw large numbers of thirsty Argentine ants.
- Keep food in sealed plastic bags or closed containers. Pet food and foods with high doses of sugar are prime targets.
- Clean up grease and spills and thoroughly rinse your recycled cans, bottles and plastic containers. The sugar residue from a soda can is a written invitation for Argentine ants.
- Ant-proof kitchen garbage pails with sticky barriers such as petroleum jelly under the lip and place pet dishes in a moat of water.
- Keep plants, grass, and organic mulch at least a foot away from the foundation of buildings to reduce ant foraging and nesting.
Follow these tips, and you’ll cut way down on ants invading your home, or your next party!
Don’t Be Afraid to Call the Professionals
Do you have questions on Argentine ants or other pesky insects? If so, I want to hear from you. You can send me an e-mail at AskMrLittle@WesternExterminator.com. I’ll be sure to get back to you right away with an answer.
Until next time, thanks for making Western Exterminator Company “The Final Word in Pest Control®”
Have a pest free day.