It can seem mysterious when an ant infestation begins. One day, you don't have any ants crawling all over the place. The next day, you do. But those ants aren't all that mysterious. They are primarily motivated by two things. If you know what these two things are, you can prevent ant infestations in your home. Your yard, on the other hand, is a little more difficult to protect. Here are a few things every Delaware resident should know about ants.
Keeping Ants Out
The first step to ant control is building up the defenses of your home. While it is nearly impossible to seal all of the entry points ants can exploit, there are some common vulnerabilities that are easy to address.
- Inspect your doors. There is a seal around your door. It keeps the heat in and bugs out. It is called weatherstripping. If you have gaps in the weatherstripping around an exterior door, you can expect ants to take advantage of it.
- Inspect your windows. When your window is closed, you would think that you are safe from insect invasion, but this may not be the case. Gaps can form around your windows. Use a caulking gun to seal those gaps up and prevent ants from getting into your wall voids.
- Inspect the sole plate of your home. The horizontal wood members that rest on the top of your foundation wall can become compromised by water and wood-destroying insects or rodents. When this happens, ants can get in as well. Some ants, like carpenter ants, actually help to damage the sole plate and other wood that is soaked by water.
- Inspect your plumbing and utilities. When plumbing and wire conduit is installed in a home, there is a gap around them that must be sealed. If this seal breaks, even a little bit, ants can use this to get in.
Inspect vents. If you have a dryer exhaust or some other vent, ants may use those vents to get into your home. Some homeowners cover their vents with window-grade screen material. This is definitely a good idea.
- Inspect your foundation wall. Cracks can form in concrete or between bricks. Seal these cracks to keep ants out.
- Trim any bushes, shrubs, or trees that touch your walls. Ants don't generally scale the side of a home to find entry points that are higher up. They use branches as bridges.
Keeping Ants Away
Before ants get into your home, there are two things that can draw them in close to your exterior walls. Those two things are food sources and moisture. It is important to address these conditions if you want to reduce ant populations and keep your home ant-free.
- Make sure your exterior trash is kept in sealed containers and routinely clean your containers to prevent smells from drawing ants in.
- If you have pets or livestock that eat food in your yard, consider putting food down only during mealtimes.
- Many ants enjoy honeydew. If you have aphids, scale insects, or whiteflies in your landscaping, they can be a strong attractant as they all produce honeydew. Look into purchasing horticultural oils that resist these insects or invest in a residential pest control plan.
- Clean your gutters to help channel rainwater away from your foundation perimeter.
Repair leaky spigots.
- Put spacing between the plants in your vegetation to allow good airflow.
- Trim tree branches to allow the sun to dry locations that are densely shaded.
If you control food sources in your yard and reduce the moisture, you can have a big impact on ant populations and reduce the chances those ants will find a way into your home. But there isn't a whole lot you can do about ants encroaching on your property. This is where a pest control service provider can really help. Licensed and certified pest professionals use field-tested methods and trusted products to eliminate ant colonies. There's no guesswork involved—just results. If you live in our New Castle service area, reach out to Green Pest Management. Our highly-trained pest professionals are standing by to assist you with this important service.