Whether you are looking to protect your home from ants or ensure that your business remains ant-free, it is vital that you know your enemy. It isn't enough to just know the common ways that ants get into our homes. You also need to be aware of how they get in and what draws them to your foundation perimeter in the first place. Here's how it works!
Why do ants get in?
There are two common reasons that ants will invade. Most ant species will explore cracks, gaps, and holes in your outside walls to search for food sources within. Food is a very strong motivator for ants. If ants find an open trash receptacle with bags of trash inside your garage, don't be surprised when you find a line of ants going from the corner of your garage door sweep right to those trash cans. While the tiny gap at the corner of your garage door functioned as the entry point that allowed those ants to get in, sealing it isn't the answer. Those ants would have just found another way to get inside and gain access to that food source. If you want to keep ants out of your home, you need to keep things as clean as possible, store your trash in sealed receptacles, and make sure your trash is being removed on a regular basis. Maintaining proper sanitation is the foundation of a good pest control program!
Another reason ants might invade a home or another structure is to establish a nest. This is especially problematic when dealing with carpenter ants as these wood-destroying ants create galleries in wood to establish their nests. When they do this in the wood of homes and other structures, they can cause a lot of damage. But carpenter ants don't typically attack sound wood. Instead, they target soft, decaying, or water-damaged wood. If there is no exposed softwood on the outside of your home for them to target, these ants will use entry points to get inside and find what they are looking for. If you want to keep carpenter ants out of your home, you need to repair any areas of rotting wood and seal entry points in your foundation walls.
What draws ants in close?
- Most ant species are drawn to moisture. If you have an obstructed gutter system that doesn't properly channel water away from the foundation of your home, it could create the perfect conditions for ants to establish themselves near your foundation, especially carpenter ants. The more ants you have near your exterior walls, the greater the chances are of an infestation occurring. Along with addressing the conditions that promote moisture issues, trimming back tree branches and bushes can allow sunlight to dry out your perimeter and create airflow to dry the soil near your home.
- Ants feed on proteins and sweets. Which they prefer more depends on their exact species. Most ants can find a meal in the landscaping around a home or business as they feed on scale bugs, aphids, and whiteflies as well as the honeydew they produce. In fact, carpenter ants are so fond of honeydew that they will sometimes corral aphids and keep them alive to continue their honeydew productions. So reducing the insect populations around your property will work to reduce the ant populations on your property as well. These treatments are best performed by a licensed professional.
- Many ants are drawn to leaf litter, wood debris, and other organic material. It is important to keep your perimeter as clear of these materials as possible to reduce ant populations.
How do ants get in?
Ants are resourceful pests and can get in through the smallest of holes. It is nearly impossible to completely seal a structure to keep ants out, but there are some common trouble spots that you can address:
- Use a caulking gun to repair the seals around window and door frames.
- Inspect door sweeps and weather stripping around doors and fix any gaps found.
- Repair broken mortar and cracks in your foundation walls.
- Fill in gaps around pipes, wire conduit, and other utilities entering into your home.
- Repair or fill in holes created by other invading pests, especially around window and door frames.
Our residential and commercial pest control programs from Montgomery Exterminating work to address ant infestations as well as over 20 other common pest pressures. These services provide your home or business the extra protection needed to prevent ants from establishing themselves near your property and stops them from getting in through vulnerabilities in the exterior of your home that you've missed. Learn more or get started by scheduling a free, no-obligation estimate with us today!