How do you deal with ants? Do you get the vacuum out and suck the ants up? Do you clean the area with soapy water when you're done? These methods work. But, if you've used them, you know that they don't provide a complete solution. Ants can keep coming in, so the next step is to get something to control the ants. That means you're off to the store to get ant control products. There are many products that can be used to address an ant infestation, and yet there are surprisingly few at the store. You may pick up some bait, spray, or sticky traps. These methods work, but if you've used them, you know they don't always provide results, and the results usually don't last. So, what does work to get rid of ants for good? Is there an effective ant control solution that works completely, or do you have to contact Tampa pest control to deal with ants? Only you can answer this question. While we certainly believe a licensed pest control service provider, like Haskell Termite & Pest Control, will provide the results you want, only you can decide if hiring a professional is the right choice for you. Join us today as we look at some of the unexpected ways ants create issues in Tampa, how ants may warrant professional ant pest control, what works to get rid of ants for good, and five simple tips to help you prevent future infestations once the ants are gone.
How To Tell If You Have An Ant Infestation
When you sit on the couch to relax with a television show after a long day and you realize your couch is covered with thousands of ants, you won't wonder if you have an ant infestation! When you continually see ants crawling lock-step along your kitchen counter, behind your faucet, you know you have an ant problem. If you find a clump of ants clinging to a wall in a mass… yup, you have an infestation. But are any of these permanent problems? If you remove the reason the ants are coming in for, they may stop doing it. For example, you might find hundreds of tiny ants on a juice spot near your front door where a bag of trash sat before it was put outside. If you clean that decaying juice spot and return the next day, you won't find any ants there. But, sometimes, an infestation isn't temporary. You may see ants appear over and over again. When this happens, you may have an indoor nest. Or you may have ant nests near your exterior walls and entry points that the ants are using to enter your home. In both cases, your ant problem won't end when you clean up a juice spot or remove a food source.
The first step in deciding what to do about ants in your home is to evaluate whether or not you have a persistent ant problem. There are a few ways to go about this. Here are our best tips.
- Inspect your home for frass. It is a material produced by carpenter ants and is made of wood shavings, insect parts, and fecal matter. You can find frass near wood sources, such as door frames, the interior of cabinets, baseboards, etc. Keep in mind that drywood termites produce frass as well. Find pictures on the internet for each so that you can differentiate between them.
- Inspect your home for dirt. Certain ant species bring soil inside. They do this to establish an indoor habitat that is similar to their outdoor habitat. If these ants have created a nest in your walls, you may find soil leaking out of gaps and cracks.
- Inspect your exterior perimeter. If you have outdoor ants that are continually getting into your home, you may find ant mounds next to your foundation. You may also find ant activity on exterior walls and structures.
A persistent ant infestation may warrant the need for professional assistance if you can't track down how ants are getting into your home or you don't know how to evaluate the ant species that has created an indoor nest so you can apply the correct products to eliminate them. You should know, before you roll your sleeves up, that ant control for homeowners is often a challenge. In many cases, it isn't that the products don't work. It is that an untrained individual doesn't know how to get rid of an ant infestation, using these products. We'll cover this in a moment. First, let's look at what ants do inside Tampa homes.
The Many Issues Ants Can Cause In Your Home
Ants are annoying pests. Their unique ability to annoy people is what makes ants the number one pest that professionals are called upon to treat. But, you may want to thank ants when they drive you crazy because there are secret ways ants can impact your life.
- Ants crawl in dirty places, like the decaying juice spot we mentioned earlier. They climb in the trash, crawl on a dirty mop, and come in contact with many dirty things that we won't mention. What is important to understand is that ants track germs into your kitchen and pantry like a dog tracks mud in on a spring day. The difference is that you can see the little mud spots left by your dog. You can't see the microorganisms left by the tiny feet of little ants crawling on your counters, cutting board, and dishes. So, when you have a sick stomach, you won't connect your ailment to those ants.
- Carpenter ants tunnel in wood. They can do this without producing any frass for you to notice. Frass is sometimes pushed out into wall voids. The worst part about carpenter ants is that they can find plentiful food sources outside and may never annoy you by getting into your kitchen or pantry foods. The worst of all carpenter ants are the black ones. Black carpenter ants are the most destructive. But many ants are black, which can make it hard to tell that you have black carpenter ants in your home. We strongly recommend learning how to identify carpenter ant species.
- Electronics can wear out. When something stops working, you may just throw it out, not realizing that some ants damage electronics when they enter them in large numbers or when they chew on wire coating.
- Some ants bite—well, technically, they sting. If you get a fire ant bite while working on your landscaping, you should do an inspection and find out if you have fire ant mounds near your home. Fire ants don't generally invade homes because they prefer hot, sunny areas found outside, but they can enter your home. If you have a baby or an elderly family member, these ants can present a serious risk.
If the ant pests you're dealing with present a risk to health or property, your infestation may warrant a pest control ant treatment performed by a licensed professional.
The Most Efficient Way To Get Rid Of An Ant Infestation
You likely know that bait is the primary weapon used to address ant infestations. Bait doesn't just target the symptom of an ant problem, it gets to the heart of the problem. Unfortunately, there are two primary shortcomings related to applying ant bait.
- Ant bait can make your problem worse. If you apply too much bait, you can cause certain ant colonies to bud and turn into multiple colonies. If you apply too little bait, you won't eliminate ants fast enough and you may create ants that are bait averse. It is critical to apply bait correctly.
- Ant bait is not a complete solution. If you get results when applying bait, ants can continue to present a problem. New colonies can move in. Your ant pest control must include inspections, exclusion work, evaluations, and monitoring.
A licensed professional uses a multi-pronged strategy and field-tested methods to control ants and ensure sustainable results. When you have a trained and experienced professional apply scientifically tested methods to address your ant problem, you won't have to wonder if ants are continuing to present a threat to your health or property.
Five Simple Tips To Prevent Future Ant Infestations
Once the ants are gone, you'll need to take some steps to maintain an ant-free home. Some steps you can do, but one is best left to the professionals.
- Manage your trash to prevent smells that attract ants to your exterior.
- Manage moisture to prevent damp habitats that many ants find inviting.
- Remove leaves, sticks, and other organic debris as soon as possible because ants are drawn to these.
- Make essential repairs to keep your home sealed, such as replacing weatherstripping, door sweeps, screens, and frames.
- Routinely apply a liquid, crack and crevice barrier around your home. A licensed professional can help you with this step. We use professional-grade products and correct amounts appropriate to the task.
Are you in Tampa? Contact Haskell Termite & Pest Control for ant control in your home and for year-round pest control that works to keep ants (and many other pests) out of your home. It pays to hire a professional because you get the results you want.
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