As soon as spring arrives and starts to awaken flowers and plants there is another creature that starts to awaken and that’s the ant! Slowly but surely ants start to emerge and then by the summer they can be found in their thousands. This is as nature intended but if they start to appear in your home, invade your conservatory and end up in your food cupboards, it’s time to take action!
Ants provide real nuisance value during the summer months and, because you don’t know where they might have been, if they get into your food cupboards then you may have to throw away a lot of your food. Ants could potentially carry bacteria into your food cupboards and contaminate your food products so an ant infestation could prove to be a costly affair.
The most common ant you are likely to see is the Black Ant. They are attracted by sweet foods and once they get into your home and find what they’re looking for, they will leave a pheromone trail so that others can follow.
Other types of ants that you might come across include Pharaoh’s Ants. These are smaller than black ants and are a yellowish-brown colour. Pharaoh’s Ants love to feed on rotting food so this species is more likely to carry harmful germs.
Ghost Ants are similar to Pharaoh’s Ants in appearance but they tend to go for sweet and greasy foods.
Ant Infestation Problems
So, if you have an ant infestation problem what can you do about it?
Well, prevention is better than cure as the old saying goes. Ants are looking for food, especially sweet food so start by taking these preventative measures:
- • Keep food covered
- • Clean up food and liquid spillages and maintain a good standard of hygiene
- • Keep food in airtight containers if possible
- • If you have a pet don’t leave their food and drink bowls on the floor once your pet has used them.
- • Get rid of any food debris that might be under your kitchen appliances/cupboards
- • Seal up cracks and crevices in doors and window frames to stop them from entering
- • Make sure that any compost heaps in the garden are well covered
- • Make sure that your rubbish bins are tightly sealed.
What attracts ants?
Ants are attracted to food in general, and water, but most of all they cannot resist the lure of sugar. So that lemonade the children split and left to dry in the kitchen is exactly the sort of welcome ants are looking for…
It’s not only kitchens that become an unintended home for ants though, they can also find their way into all other parts of the house as they hunt for food by squeezing through the tiniest spaces.
And once they are in, ants are notoriously hard to get rid of as they leave a scent trail to encourage other ants to follow.
How to prevent ants from getting into the house
As with all household pests, good hygiene is the best starting point to deter unwanted visitors. Be scrupulous when dealing with food waste, keeping crumbs off the floor and wiping up spillages while also maintaining a clean kitchen area.
Part of the trick is keeping pests out in the first place by sealing any nooks and crannies that ants and other pests can squeeze through. Check doors are not cracked, windows are sealed properly and any broken brickwork or woodwork is fixed.
Are ants a health hazard?
Ants are not a health hazard in themselves, but they can cause health concerns if they have access to – and crawl over – a food supply due the risk of contamination. The ants that make their way into your house could have been anywhere and walked over anything, they could then transfer potentially harmful bacteria onto your food.
With this in mind an ant invasion needs to be dealt with as soon as possible.
How to get rid of ants
Killing ants one by one is unlikely to solve the problem as more ants will continue to follow the trail. The area affected and their route into the house will need to be cleaned thoroughly to remove the trail. If you can, locate the nest and clean back to that point.
If the problem persists there are a variety of ant powders, sprays, and bait stations available on the market. With anything chemical remember that you don’t want to cause any harm to wildlife or your plants so be careful to read the instructions well before using it in the garden.
The main goal is to get to the nest and the queen which can be notoriously difficult to find. If you can get the ants to carry back the poison to the nest then you stand a good chance of getting rid of the problem.
Many ant infestations are reoccurring and come back to plague you every year. With large or multiple ant infestations that just won’t go away, we would advise to bring in professional help to assist you in dealing with the problem.
At Pest busters, we have helped numerous households deal with their ant problems. We have tried and tested methods that will help control your ant infestation and we can provide you with plenty of advice on how to avoid infestations in the future. If you need any help then please do not hesitate to contact us.