How Ant Infestations Start In Chicago Homes

There are a few reasons why ants get into Chicago homes. While all ants get inside simply because they can, it is important to understand the factors that increase your chances of a troublesome ant infestation. Here's what you should know about Chicago ants.

ants eating crackers

How Ants Behave

Chicago ants don't come into your yard and immediately get into your home. They will establish a nest near your home first. When they do this, their workers can accidentally enter your home as they search for food. When a worker finds a food source, it will return to the nest and let the other ants know about the food it found. It does this by laying down a chemical trail of pheromones. One by one, the ants of the colony follow the trail to the food. Most of the time, this is why you find hundreds (or thousands) of ants in your home. Most ant species won't establish an interior nest, but the ant species that do create interior nests can start to be a serious problem. You're likely to know if you have a nest in your home as you'll have ants frequently appearing in large numbers. Carpenter ants are an exception. These ants are nocturnal and sometimes get into homes only for harborage, never feeding on food sources inside. You might have to look for the appearance of frass to detect these ants. 

More Ants, More Troubles

If you have lots of ants around your home, you'll have a greater chance of ant troubles inside your home. Ants come near your home for a few reasons. Let's break them down.


What we eat is not necessarily what ants eat. It is important to know what food sources attract ants to your yard.

  • Do you remove your trash weekly? We hope you do. The scent of a dirty trash receptacle can be a strong attractant for some ants. If your receptacles have a smell, disinfect them to remove the odors.

  • Do you have bird feeders? If you do, those feeders could be dropping seeds on the ground. These can be a tasty treat for some ant species. If you have hummingbird feeders, these can lure ants to climb up your exterior wall to get to the sweet liquid in your feeders. We recommend putting bird feeders at least 20 feet from your home.

  • Do you put recyclable items in your garage? The scent of recyclables can attract ants. Many ant species are drawn to decaying organic matter because it has a strong scent.

  • Do you like to have cookouts? An ant will go to town on a hotdog, hamburger, or the condiments you put on those items. Make sure you clean up after you have a cookout and dispose of the items in the trash.

  • Do you have trouble with aphids? The honeydew created by aphids is a sought-after food source for many ants. It is important to address aphid issues as quickly as possible. 


Water is a building block of life. Many ant species are drawn to water sources and damp habitats. Carpenter ants are particularly drawn to moist conditions because dampness promotes wood rot, and these ants chew tunnels in decaying wood to create their nests. Hopefully, they don't choose your Chicago property as their home. Here are a few ways you can have moisture problems that attract ants.

  • Clogged or broken gutters can lead to a damp perimeter because water can spill over or spill out.

  • Dense landscaping can trap moisture. Keep your landscaping trimmed, remove weeds, and create a space between your plants to allow the air to flow freely and dry your topsoil.

  • Water your plants in the morning and only give your plants what they need. Overwatering can make your plants unhealthy, which attracts aphids, and also provides a damp habitat for ants. 


Ants want to be where they can thrive. Some ants can live out in the middle of your yard in the open sun. Some prefer to live under rock pathways, driveways, concrete slabs, and other structures made of hard materials. And, of course, carpenter ants prefer to live inside wood. Here are a few ways you can make your yard less habitable for ants.

  • Rake or blow leaves away from your exterior and out from underneath the structures on your property.

  • Remove lawn clutter, especially objects that sit on the ground near your home.

  • Seal gaps and cracks in your exterior to make it harder for ants to get inside and establish nests in the voids of your walls, floors, and ceilings.

Ant Control In Chicago

If you've had enough of ants, reach out to Aerex Pest Control. We can put in place a pest control plan to keep ants from entering your Chicago home. We use industry-leading strategies and products to provide a barrier of protection to keep ants out all year long. You don't have to live with ants. Get relief from your ant troubles; connect with us today and schedule a pest control visit for your Chicago home.