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Ants in Your Home: Prevent an Ant Invasion

Think you might be invaded by an ant army? You're not alone. Fire ants, pavement ants or sugar ants, and carpenter ants are the most common ant species in Kentucky. Find out what attracts ants, eliminate their favorite food sources, identify an ant infestation, find out what repels ants, and learn good practice for pest control, no matter the type of ant, to prevent them from coming inside and walking all over your kitchen counters or finding entry points.

To fully get rid of some ant infestations, consult a pest professional to discuss treatment and prevention options.

Myths and Facts about Ants

Myth: Army Ants Live in the United States

    Army ant Eciton burchellii are common in tropical areas in South America and Central America, crawling along a forest floor and foraging for food. You're probably not going to find them around your home.

    An army ant colony creates temporary nests during a stationary phase while the queen develops. Then they are on the move, their nomadic phase, constantly looking for food and driving away or destroying anything that gets in their way.

Fact: Ants can Live Inside your Walls

    Disgusting, but true. Ants can live for as long as a decade in a newly built home or business before someone sees them. Ants don't need sunlight to live. They just need food and water, and inside the walls of your Kentucky home is the perfect place for it.

    Modern residential construction makes your home an easy and attractive target for carpenter ants or sugar ants (also called pavement ants). Sugar-containing glues and protein-based glues are used in the erection of walls and other residential and commercial construction. Ants feast on these food sources until they can no longer support the colony.

    Water isn't a problem, either. Even a tiny water droplet from a sweaty or leaky drain can hydrate a minuscule ant for a long time. When it gets hot outside and cool inside, the water pipes "sweat" and collect condensation that can hydrate even a large colony for years.

Myth: Ants Are Dead during the Winter

    Totally false. Some types of ants change their body fluid chemistry into a kind of natural antifreeze. Especially if you've had an ant problem in the past, you can bet they are still lurking around your Kentucky home, just moving more slowly due to the cold, and staying out of sight.

    During cold conditions, the queen ants will lay eggs that won't hatch until spring. During extremely lean years, she lays eggs that won't hatch for a year or more, which is one of the reasons for the ant's biological success worldwide.

Fact: Ant Colonies can have More than One Queen

    Depending on the species, some ant colonies can have as many as 100 queens, all laying eggs and prodding the workers to find food for them continuously.

    If even one of these queens survives, the entire colony could start all over again. A queen can control which types of ants are born, such as worker ants, prospective queen ants, guardian ants, etc.

    Most ant colonies, however, only have one queen, including pavement ants and carpenter ants. However, the various types of fire ants that live in Kentucky can have hundreds of queens. Each queen can live to be several years old and produce hundreds of thousands of eggs in her lifetime.

Eliminate Ant Food Sources and Seal Entry Points

Seal Your Food

  • Place all your food in airtight containers, especially sugar, peanut butter, salts and fats, and other smelly foods
  • Put all your pet food in airtight containers and don't leave pet food lying out, even during the day
  • Clean the dishes from the sink and never leave any food lying around
  • Carpenter ants do not eat wood but do chew away the wood inside the walls. Trim trees so that limbs are at least five feet from your home. Trim bushes or shrubs so that they are at least 1 foot from the siding of your home.

Seal Your Home

This is a tricky suggestion to make because ants can burrow under the surface of your home and find entry points in cracks in your foundation. Consult a professional contractor if you suspect the foundation of your Lexington home or business has cracks. Crack in your foundation could allow other pests to enter, such as rodents.

Use silicone caulking to seal the following locations of your Lexington home:

  • Cracks near sill plates
  • Cracks and crevices around the door and window frames
  • Weep holes in the windows and the bottoms of walls and the drain gaps in siding.
  • Gaps around gas, electric, water, and other piping.

Remedies to Help Control Ants

Each of the following solutions could be harmful if not used properly. Be certain to keep these things in locations where children or pets cannot access them. Dust or air-lifted residue could be spread through air ducts and vents and cause harm to pets or children.

Keep in mind that none of these will completely eliminate ants, but only treat the ants you can see. It will do very little, or even nothing for the ants hidden in the ground or walls. Consult a pest Professional for additional treatment options.

  • Boric acid. This chemical is not harmful to adults but deadly to most insects
  • Diatomaceous earth. A light dusting is all that is needed to keep ants at bay
  • Lemon juice. Some sources indicate that this can keep them off your counters and out of your kitchen.
  • Ant Bait. This is the most effective type of deterrent against a colony. If a single queen survives, the colony will return. Ants carry the bait back to the colony and feed it to each other, newly-hatched ant nymphs, and the queens. The queens are always heavily protected, so over-the-counter baits don't always work.

Pest Control Professionals

Your best bet for long-term success against ants is to call Fox Pest Control. Our products are proven to work against even the largest ant colonies, and our Pest Professionals work hard to restore your peace of mind.

The best solutions are long-term, and only a pest control company like Fox Pest Control has the right tools for the job. We work hard to get the job done right. Pests ... its' what we do.

Posted on December 2, 2019.

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