After days of rain and slushy snow, the sun is finally coming out in the Treasure Valley. That means more walks, hikes, park dates and outdoor activities. However, we aren’t the only ones who are enjoying this weather. Ants love when moisture is followed by lots of sunshine. It’s no surprise then, that we are beginning to see an uptick in ant activity in homes around the valley.

Are you ready for ants?

 How To Prepare Your Home:

  • Ants love to frequent kitchens, so making sure that counters are kept clean and floors are swept daily is a great way to keep these little pests away.
  • Keep your trash cans clean as to not provide a food source for ants. 
  • Moisture is another attractant when it comes to ants. Having a water source around your home, or a leaking pipe under your sink, could attract these pests. Periodically check to ensure that you have no leaks or moisture problems in your house to avoid infestations.
  • If you have pets, be sure to keep their bowls clean and all food and water wiped away immediately after spilling. 
  • Make sure that all cracks and crevices are sealed up so that ants can’t get in your home in the first place. Excluding pests in ways such as replacing weather stripping will help to keep unwelcome guests from finding their way into your living space. 
  • Wood piles, mulch and pine straw are perfect environments for ants to flourish. Consider using other materials, such as rock in your flower beds, and keep wood piles away from the structure of your home. 
  • Similar to other organic materials such as mulch and woodpiles, bushes and shrubs can attract ants as well. Keeping your plants trimmed back will help considerably in keep pests away from your home. 

In many cases, these tactics alone will not completely get rid of an ant issue if it has become an infestation. Though the above suggestions will certainly help to keep ants from entering your home, what happens if you already have an existing ant problem?

If you are already dealing with an ant problem, the first thing you should do is clean the area the ants are frequenting with a household cleaning product or soap and water. Ants are incredibly complex and sophisticated pests when it comes to the way they interact with their colonies. Many ants leave a trail of pheromones as they travel, which helps other ants follow their scents to food sources. By washing down the areas in your home that have ants, you are essentially erasing away those trails, which can often keep other ants away. 

Many DIY remedies also exist such as coffee grounds, essential oils, cayenne pepper, and lemon juice. While these remedies can sometimes work, their effectiveness could depend on how bad the problem is or which treatment is applied. For some people, a few ants here and there is not a problem, but for many, it can be more worrisome, and even be a sign that a much bigger population of ants exists in your walls. It’s also important to understand that if the ants are not controlled properly, you could simply be driving them around to other areas in your home. While you may see a decrease in ant activity in the treated area of your home, the colony may not be eliminated which leaves your home vulnerable in the future. Depending on the species of ant, they can also spread out and form more colonies. Keep in mind that ants procreate quickly, so these colonies can grow at rapid rates.

If you are having a perpetual ant problem, it may be time to call in the professionals. Pest professionals can help you find the source of the problem and also provide the proper treatment specific to the ant species invading your home

Though ants are not typically a dangerous pest, some can bite, sting and even cause structural damage to your home (carpenter ants). They are also a nuisance and can spread bacteria in areas where food is prepared. Controlling an ant problem is important and should be done quickly before the problem gets worse. This is a process that takes patience and knowledge as ants are notorious for being one of the hardest pests to control. Don’t get fooled into thinking that one treatment is all your home needs. More often than not, a home with ants needs follow up treatments to fully control the problem.

If you’re having issues with ants, don’t hesitate to call a pest control specialist. Ants may look small, but they can become a big problem if not properly treated.

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