It is hard to get rid of ants. Why? One reason is that the earth is filled with ants. How many ants are in the world? Imagine an army of a billion ants. Then, imagine 20 million of those armies. That's what we're up against. Not only is it the sheer number of ants that makes them hard to control, but the reason why there are so many of them. Most ant colonies have several queens and many reproductives. The queens can, at any moment, decide to grab workers and create another ant nest. It is a process called budding. When budding occurs, one ant nest becomes more than one – and often several. That can make ant control a serious challenge. The reproductives in a nest have the ability to create satellite colonies. They can do this right inside the walls of your home. When they do, your ant problems are going to get worse quickly. So, what does it take to get rid of ants in your Chicago home? It takes knowledge. You need to know how ants behave and why they do things, such as budding and establishing satellite colonies. Join us today as we look at the characteristics of common ants, what ants do in your home, how to get rid of ants, and how to keep them out after they're gone. We're covering everything you need to know about ant control in Chicago. If you need service, Aerex Pest Control is here to help. Contact us for help with pest control services in Chicago. Our service technicians use the most advanced products and methods to correct ant problems.
Characteristics Of Common Ants
Ants are amazing insects. They can overcome the hardest obstacles. They do so as a team. If you hope to get rid of ants in Chicago, you need to know a bit about their behavior patterns. Let's look at characteristics of common ants that are related to ant control. We'll start by covering a few we've already mentioned.
- Ant queens produce many offspring: Some colonies can have hundreds of thousands of ant workers, and some species create supercolonies composed of many nests. For example, one supercolony of Argentine ants runs up the west coast of the United States. That's all the way from Mexico to Canada. Since there are so many ants to deal with, it is impossible to eliminate them with contact agents. Plus, you're only attacking the symptom, not the problem. Your ant problem is the nest producing those workers, and that nest stays hidden.
- Ants queens are smart: When they sense danger, they can split apart to save the colony. Budding often occurs when improper control methods are used, essentially turning a small problem into a big one.
- Ants don't always resort to budding: Sometimes they will simply move away from a threat. The whole nest can relocate. When this happens, it can lead to unwanted results. For instance, driving ants out of a nest next to your home can drive them into your wall or floor voids.
- Ant colonies have scouts: These are worker ants that leave the group and go searching for food. When they find a food source, the scout lays a trail of pheromones so that other workers can find the food. One by one, they travel to the food and add to the trail on their way back. This is why you find hundreds of ants on an apple sitting in a wastepaper basket. If food sources aren't dealt with, ants are going to keep coming inside.
- When ants find food sources in a home, it can trigger the colony to send out reproductives to create a satellite colony near the food: Once ants create a nest in your home, you have little recourse. No amount of cleaning will drive them out, and no amount of exclusion work will keep them out. You'll have to turn to an ant control solution.
- Ants work together to evaluate food sources: When bait is misapplied, the workers of a colony can start to avoid it. If you create bait-averse ants, you'll make it hard for your licensed professional to deal with your ant infestation when you eventually contact them.
- Ants work together to avoid harmful materials: Workers run into each other over and over again. During their meetings, they groom each other. If a harmful material is found, the workers respond to the threat. This is one way ants avoid treated surfaces.
Ants make DIY ant control a challenge because they work together to avoid treatments and behave in unexpected ways, leading to unwanted results. It is also possible to simply fail to control them and allow ant activity to continue. When this happens, you may not realize it at first. Let's take a look at a few things ants may continue to do right under your nose.
Ants In The Home Can Create Many Problems
It is essential to apply outdoor ant control correctly and fully eliminate ants within your home. If your efforts fall short, ants can cause trouble. What sort of things do ants do? It depends on the kind of ants you have. Here are a few common problems.
- The main issue with ants is that they are as comfortable in unsanitary environments as they are in your kitchen cabinets. When they go from garbage to stored foods or dishes, they can spread germs that cause stomach sickness.
- Some ants are dirtier than others. These ants can climb into the wounds of pets and wild animals, exposing themselves to more harmful bacteria associated with necrosis. Pharaoh ants are a good example. It is far worse to have these ants in your home.
- Ants crawl in tight spaces in large numbers, often crawling over each other in a swarm. If ants get into electronic devices, electrical current can pass through their bodies and cause a short circuit.
- Certain ants chew on electrical wires. When they get into wall voids and wall outlets, they can cause your lights to go out.
- If you have carpenter ants in your home, you have a unique issue. These ants have the nasty habit of tunneling in wood. When your ant control fails, these ants can continue to damage your property over time.
Since ants can cause these problems and they're so difficult to control, is there anything you can do about them? Yes. You have many options available to you. Let's explore some of the ways you can address ants that have gotten into your home.
The Best Way To Get Rid Of Ants In Your House
If you're going to do it yourself, we recommend using all-natural solutions. These methods are far less likely to cause ants to behave defensively. Here are a few of our best all-natural ant prevention tips. If you are consistent and thorough, you can drive ants out of your home and seal them out.
- Clean your home to remove food debris and smells that will attract ants.
- Protect food sources ants can get into, such as foods that come in cardboard or paper packaging.
- Wipe areas where you've seen ants crawling around and remove the ant pheromones that can lead more ants into your home.
- Protect your trash to keep ants out.
- Wash dishes as you go.
- Repair leaky faucets and other plumbing issues that provide water for ants to drink.
Once you've dealt with food and water in your home and ants have had time to leave, use a caulking gun to seal entry points. Get gaps around the pipes under your kitchen sink. Seal around window frames. Inspect your doors and address any entry points you see, even if they are only a sliver.
If you continue to have issues with ants, it may indicate a colony inside your home. Or you may have nests near the exterior of your home. For greater control, contact a licensed professional for an indoor ant treatment. If you're in Chicago, your Aerex Pest Control service team can help.
Naturally Effective Tips To Prevent Future Ant Problems
After you've gotten ant pest control services, you're going to want to make sure your home stays ant-free. How do you keep it that way? The same methods used indoors can also be used outside to naturally deter ants.
- Clean your exterior, removing piles of junk, wood stacks, dead branches, leaves, and other hiding places for ants.
- Protect food sources, such as exterior trash. Make sure your containers are covered, and wash them routinely to keep them from having an odor that lures ants toward your home.
- Ants eat natural food sources, such as nectar and honeydew. You can reduce nectar by removing weeds. You can reduce honeydew by checking your plants for aphids or other plant-damaging insects.
- Ants eat protein sources, such as insects. You can generally reduce insect populations by keeping exterior lights off at night.
- Use a caulking gun and some expanding foam to fill in any gaps and holes in your exterior walls or foundation.
- Clean your gutters and manage your landscape plants to reduce moisture and humidity.
When you take steps like these, you make it less likely for ants to get into your home. For more control, consider a year-round pest control service plan. An ongoing pest plan controls ants as well as the insects they might be entering your yard to eat. It also comes with routine crack and crevice treatment to keep ants out of your home. Learn more about residential and commercial pest control services in Chicago by navigating to our contact page or calling us today.