Ant Identification & Prevention
What are ants?
People easily recognize ants because we see them so often. Every time you go into any outdoor space, especially in the spring and summer months, there is a good chance you will see ants wandering around. Ants enjoy warmer temperatures but are likely to be active year-round, especially those nesting inside temperature-controlled buildings.
Ants are social insects and work together to ensure the success of the colony. If a property offers them their basic needs, then they usually stay around until forced to leave. Ants are among the most common household invaders and are difficult, annoying, and frustrating pests to deal with.
Types of common ants living in our area of California include:
- Odorous house ants
- Argentine ants
- Pharaoh ants
- Carpenter ants
- Pavement ants
- Fire ants
Are ants dangerous?
Though ants are small in size, the problems they cause us and the structure of our homes is significant. Ants that are traveling outside and foraging for food will pick up a variety of pathogens on their legs and bodies. Once inside, these ants will contaminate food and surfaces with those pathogens.
Some ants, such as Pharaoh ants, spread serious diseases that make people very ill. They also are a problem in hospitals and nursing homes where Pharaoh ants invade IV bags and patient wounds seeking moisture. Fire ants are aggressive and attack any perceived threat in large groups. The venom fire ants inject is strong enough to trigger serious and even life-threatening allergic reactions. Carpenter ants, after moving inside, nest in structural wood and, over time, cause extensive and costly damage.
Why do I have an ant problem?
Ants have found their way onto your property because it offers them the food and moisture they seek. Gardens, compost, and open trash cans in our yards provide them with food. In our homes, ants feed on crumbs and spills they find in the kitchen, pantry, and dining areas. Leaky pipes, fixtures, clogged gutters, and poor drainage provide ants with the moisture they require.
Once on your property, ants are difficult to get rid of. Ants create pheromone trails alerting other colony members to the food and water sources they have discovered. Also, ants create many nesting sites, both inside and outside, making controlling these pests difficult.
Where will I find ants?
When you see a few ants wandering around your home, know there are many more waiting in the wings. Ant infestations occur quickly after a few of the colony’s ants let the rest of the colony know food is available, and it’s okay to move in.
An ant’s main nesting site is usually located outside in damp soil under things like mulch, fallen trees, tree stumps, landscape ties, woodpiles, or brush piles. Carpenter ants prefer to nest within pieces of water-damaged or rotted wood.
After moving inside to forage for food, if the conditions inside are favorable, an ant colony often decides to create a satellite nest to expand their colony. Inside, most species like to place their nest near damp areas near pipes located behind walls or under the floor in the kitchen, bathroom, and basement. Some species may decide to nest in electrical equipment (fire ants) or inside structural wood (carpenter ants).
How do I get rid of ants?
The smartest way to eliminate ants and other pests from your property is to partner with Smart Pest Control. We deliver pest control services in Costa Mesa that are comprehensive and detailed, ensuring we get to the root of your pest problem and completely solve it.
To learn more about how our locally owned company will protect your property from pests, reach out to Smart Pest Control today. We can work together to ensure your Costa Mesa home or business becomes and stays free of pests, we guarantee it! Call today to learn more about our ant control solutions!
How can I prevent ants in the future?
The professionals at Smart Pest Control can help you prevent problems with ants and other pests. In addition, use the following tips to help prevent future problems with ants.
- Eliminate excess moisture by keeping gutters clear, fixing leaky pipes, and making sure water is draining away from the outside of your home.
- If any wood located around your home becomes damaged by water, immediately replace it.
- Repair cracks in the foundation, spaces around windows and doors, and damage along the roofline that ants could take advantage of to move inside.
- Remove fallen trees, tree stumps, woodpiles, leaf piles, and other debris from your yard that ants could use for nesting.
- Keep floors and counters clean and free of food debris.
- Store food either in containers with airtight lids or in the refrigerator, never out in the open on counters.
- Ants live in large colonies and are always on the search for food. Take away access to food by keeping lids on trash cans, recycling bins, and compost bins. Pick up uneaten pet food, and after eating outside, clean up all leftovers.
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