It’s nearly impossible to calculate how many ants are on Earth — but estimates state that the ant population is as many as 10 billion billion. Yes, you read that right: there are 10 billion billion of these creepy pests! And if you find yourself experiencing an ant infestation, it can sometimes feel like a good chunk of that population is in your home!
What causes an ant infestation? And if the ants do come marching in, what can you do about it? Let’s explore how to handle an ant problem in your home.
Types of Ant Infestations
With more than 12,000 species of ants in the world, the possibilities for infestations are truly endless. Ultimately, potential infestations can be broken down into four problematic categories:
- Standard black ants are the most common infestation, coming in search of food and multiplying rapidly to form a steady stream of workers collecting crumbs for their colony.
- Flying ants may enter your home to find a place to breed, and can be identified by the fact that they do, in fact, fly.
- Carpenter ants similar to carpenter bees are drawn to soft, moisture-damaged wood inside or outside your home, and these pests can cause significant damage to the structure of your home if left unchecked.
Are Ant Infestations Dangerous?
There are certainly worse pests out there than ants, but that doesn’t mean these little invaders are without their problems. Depending on the species and specialty of the ants infesting your home, issues can range from unpleasant bites and stings to actual damage to your physical house, electrical equipment, or the surrounding landscape.
When they stay outdoors where they belong, ants are also a valuable part of our ecosystem, as they aerate soil and redistribute nutrients to help plants take root and grow. They’re also excellent guards against even more destructive garden pests, like caterpillars or grasshoppers.
If you do have a more violent ant species living on your Kansas City property, however, be sure to contact us for safe extermination rather than attempting to deal with the nest yourself and angering them.
What Causes an Ant Infestation
All ants — no matter the species — live for two things: food and a habitat to nest in. If your home has one or both of these conveniences readily available, ants may eagerly move in at any time! To prevent an ant infestation, a few things that may attract ants to colonize your home. Avoid the following:
- Food left out (fruit on counter, crumbs in the kitchen, dirty plates or glasses left to sit, etc.)
- Grease or sticky residue on counters, stovetop, and food containers
- Dirty garbage bins
- Leaking pipes or faucets
- Decaying or water damaged wood
Keep your home free of these messes and problems that ants thrive on, and you’ll significantly decrease the odds of ants making camp in your house!
How to Prevent an Ant Infestation
To prevent ant infestations in your home, cleanliness is crucial! Clean and sanitize your household regularly, leaving no specks or crumbs for little ant scouts to find. Especially during the warmer months when ants are more active, keep all food stored in airtight containers or in the refrigerator. Clean up spills immediately, and wash dishes right away.
In addition to maintaining a tidy home, inspect the walls, windows, doorways, and floorboards for cracks and holes where ants may find a way in. Since carpenter ants are a common pest in the Kansas City area, you should also check exposed wood in and around your home regularly for moisture damage. Carpenter ants love soft, soggy wood and won’t hesitate to make themselves at home in your walls if they find it!
Signs of Ant Infestation
How can you tell if you have an ant infestation? The most obvious indication is visual. If you’re seeing live ants crawling around, and they have managed to make their way to your kitchen rather than just congregating by a doorway, they may have already laid a pheromone trail to guide more workers to a discovered food source. This pheromone trail, or “pathway,” can be identified by the exact line ants are following to and from the problem area.
If you don’t see live ants in your home but find a nest nearby, be wary of the potential for them to seek entry into your house. A nest is typically a soil or dirt pile, and may be a very small satellite campus from their actual anthill. Again, if they’re carpenter ants, watch for holes in the wall!
What to Do if You Have an Ant Infestation
If you suspect an ant infestation in your Kansas City home, your first step is to try identifying the type of ant you’re dealing with. Most likely they’re common black ants. If an infestation is in your home, be sure to call a trained professional to treat the problem.
While you may be tempted to reach for pesticides at the first sight of ants, pesticides may not be a great approach. Many of these can be dangerous to use in homes with pets or small children, not to mention a health risk to yourself. They aren’t very effective solutions either, only killing ants in the immediate area rather than eliminating the colony in its entirety. The best approach to an ant problem is to call a pro! At Advantage Pest Control, we offer a 90-day guarantee to ensure you a pest-free home for months after our initial visit. Preventative maintenance can make a big impact as well, keeping ants at bay. Don’t wait until it’s out of control. Schedule your appointment today!