Usually, ants stay where they're supposed to. You'll see them crawling around on the side of the walkway as you enter your house. You'll see them building ant hills in your yard. You may see a few here and there in the garage. The world is filled with ants. In fact, according to Pulitzer prize-winning novel The Ants, there are about 10,000,000,000,000,000,000 ants alive on the earth at any given moment. So, it isn't surprising that we see them a lot! But we don't typically see them inside our homes unless there is a weakness in the exterior of our home that they can use to get inside. Let's take a look at some of the weaknesses ants will exploit.
As a home ages, it can be damaged by wind, contraction and expansion, water and moisture, and other factors. These damages can create several entry points for ants to utilize. If you have chipped mortar or a crack in your foundation and a crack that provides an entry point for ants, you can expect to see ants inside your home and kitchen. The foundation wall is a popular location for ants to explore, especially pavement ants, as it is typically in direct contact with the moist soil and most ants are drawn to moisture and humid locations.
One of the worst enemies of your home is rainwater. If it isn't channeled away from your foundation, it can cause serious issues over time. One of the biggest issues caused by rainwater is wood rot. If you have a spot on your home that is rotting, insects will damage it and make holes in the soft, decaying wood to gain entry into your home. Those holes can be used by ants of all species in order to gain access to your home but will be particularly interesting to carpenter ants, a species of wood-destroying ants that will be more than happy to chew at those holes and make them bigger in order to establish their nests inside. When this happens, those carpenter ants will also create tunnels inside the wood of your home that will provide other ants pathways to many locations inside your home, including your kitchen area. This could lead to ants coming out from under the crack in a water faucet, out of the chipped portion of grout on your countertops, or other areas they did not have access to before. If you notice this happening, you should know that carpenter ants or some other wood-destroying insect were probably involved as nuisance ants like pavement ants won't damage your home or chew through wood.
Another common vulnerability ants will take advantage of is our windows and doors. They'll squeeze in through the tiny gaps that form in window and door frames, crawl past broken window panes, and slip through holes in window and door screens. If you have sliding glass doors, these home-invading ants can locate and exploit damaged bristles in weather stripping or exploit a gap at the bottom corner of the door where it slides closed. If you have a door between your garage or porch and your home that does not have a door sweep installed, ants will crawl right under it and gain access to the interior of your home.
When ants find their way into a home, it isn't just because there are openings to exploit. There is usually another reason that they were drawn to the foundation of the home. Here are a few factors that may make your home seem more appealing to invading ants:
- Ants are drawn to plants. Ants feed on aphids, scale insects, and the honeydew they produce, all of which can be found around plants. Therefore, if you have lots of vegetation around your home, you are likely to have ants.
- Ants are drawn to damp soil. If you have a leaky spigot, obstructed gutter system, densely shaded area, or other conditions that are creating moisture near your home, they should be addressed to avoid attracting ants to your home.
- Ants are drawn to dirty trash cans. Most of us know that it is important to keep our trash inside sealed receptacles, but routinely cleaning receptacles is often a chore that is left by the wayside. It is important to understand that the smell of the residues on your uncleaned trash receptacles will lure ants and other pests to your property.
- Ants are drawn to cool areas around your home. These insects will crawl around under your deck, in crawl spaces, in your landscaping, under your stairs, and in other shaded areas your home provides, bringing them closer to your home.
The best way to keep ants out of a home is to invest in ongoing perimeter treatments from a licensed pest control professional. The holes ants use to get into our homes can be tiny and hard for an untrained individual to detect. Professional inspections performed by highly-trained technicians can help locate these entry points while the routine application of EPA-approved pest products stops them from using those entry points! These treatments also help keep a whole other host of pests out of your home such as spiders, millipedes, centipedes, and more!
At American Pest Solutions, we offer our Pest Guard Home Protection Plan to bolster the defenses of the customers we service and ensure long-lasting protection with the treatments we provide. Learn more about it by going here!