As temperatures rise, so does the ant pressure around your home. In California, there are about 270 ant species, but fewer than a dozen would be considered a pest to humans.
Argentine ants remain the most widely encountered ant species in California. This species, with its large colony size (one can contain several hundred thousand members), multiple nesting sites, and aggressive foraging behavior, can be a real headache. Odorous house, pavement, pharaoh, and rover ants are also common nuisances.
Ants usually nest in soil, and nesting sites vary with species, but they are often found next to homes, along sidewalks, or near food sources such as trees or plants that harbor honeydew-producing insects. They will construct nests under boards, stones, tree stumps, or plants, and sometimes under buildings or other protected places.
With ant foraging activity on the rise this spring, it is important for you to deny them easy access to your home. Ants can gain entrance through cracks and crevices in the foundation, via openings around door or window frames, under doors, or through missing or damaged ventilation screens.
What attracts ants to your home?
What attracts ants to your home, when they perfectly look content outside crawling along sidewalks or across your patio? What drives them are access to food and refuge from extreme weather conditions such as drought, hot temperatures, or flooding.
Food preferences vary among ant species, but can include fruits, seeds, nuts, fatty substances, dead or live insects, dead animals, and sweets. This makes kitchens, pantries, cabinets, and indoor and outdoor dining areas attractive to ants.
Not only are ants attracted to the crumbs and spills, but they’re also drawn to the moisture that sinks, leaky faucets, and even improperly caulked shower and bath enclosures can provide.
The primary ant that nests indoors in California is the pharaoh ant. In temperate climates, this species nests in warm, moist locations such as inside wall voids, under flooring, or near hot water pipes or heating systems, but it’s also found nesting outdoors in warmer parts of California.
Ant prevention tips
The most effective way to prevent ants from blazing a trail into your family’s living space is to always practice proper sanitation. Wipe down countertops and sweep floors to remove crumbs and residue from spills, and take out the garbage regularly. Clean any sticky, sweet residue that may collect in garbage or recycling containers from soda and juice bottles or other food packaging. Ants, especially Argentine ants, love sweets.
- Seal cracks and crevices around the home using a silicone-based caulk.
- Replace weatherstripping and repair loose mortar around basement foundation and windows.
- Ensure that downspouts and gutters are functioning properly so that water flows away from the home’s foundation.
- Recalibrate sprinklers to make sure that you don’t overwater your yard and allow ant-attracting moisture to collect.
- Keep trees and shrubbery trimmed away from the home.
- Store food in sealed containers and keep ripe fruit in the refrigerator.
- Routinely check under sinks for areas of moisture and repair any leaky pipes.
- Keep pet bowls clean and wipe up any spilled food or water around them promptly.
- Store dry pet food in a sealed plastic container, rather than in the paper packaging in which it often comes.
If you’re experiencing a problem with ants in your home and need some backup, call or text (800) WE-NEED-YOU (936-3339) or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next time, the pest management professionals at Clark Pest Control thank you for helping to keep unwanted pests out of your home and yard.