Ants In The House: Simple Ways To Get Rid Of Them

November 12, 2019

 Ants are everywhere. There are 10,000 species of ants, and they can be found all over the world except in Antarctica.  In terms of population, there are probably hundreds of millions of them in total.

While ants are beneficial insects out in the wild, they are definitely irritating pests when inside our homes. Do you know that they are not just irritating and annoying pests? They are also capable of spreading bacteria due to the mere fact that they have crawled just about anywhere. Aside from that, ants are capable of inflicting structural damage far worse than termites could. Fortunately, not all species of ants make it indoors, and handling them can actually just take a few easy steps. So if you are done with having pests and wondering how do we get rid of ants in the house? Let us look into it in this article.

Ants Description

Ants belong to the insect order Hymenoptera, with the scientific name Formicidae. There are at least 10,000 identified species of ants, and they are found in all parts of the world, except Antarctica. Their success as a species can be attributed mostly to their social organizations; they always work as a team, with each ant knowing what its role is in the colony. Most ants are omnivores, which means they have a wide range of food sources that they can exploit.  

The usual size of adult ants ranges from .08 to 1 inch. They vary in color; they come in red, or black, and a few species are green. Some even have a metallic luster. Like most insects, ants have compound eyes made from several tiny lenses attached together. They do not have very good vision. They have two antennas attached to their heads, and they are dependent on these for detection. They use their antennae to detect vibration, air currents, and chemicals. It is also used for communicating with their fellow ants through touch. They eat anything because like humans, they are omnivores. A single ant can lift 50 times its own weight. They have two strong jaws which they use to carry food, make nests, and maneuver objects around.  

Ants are highly social insects and they live in colonies. A colony is made up of a queen, the male ants, and the worker ants.  The queen ant is the largest ant in the colony and her sole purpose in life is to lay the eggs to ensure the survival of the colony.  In the beginning, prior to setting up a nest, the queen has wings, which she would then shed after she starts a new colony. The rest of the female ants in the colony are sterile and are not capable of laying eggs.  The life of the colony ends once the queen dies, as there would be no more new ants to replace the older ants who would eventually die too. In some species, there can be more than one queen. The colony may survive for a few months if the queen dies, but the end would certainly be near.  

The male ants' sole purpose in life is to mate with the queen. They are also vital to the survival of the colony, but they do nothing else. After mating with the queen, they die soon.

The worker ants are sterile female ants. The female worker ants do plenty of tasks for the colony,  including protecting it from enemies, foraging for food, feeding the colony, keeping the nest clean, caring for the newly hatched ants, and protect the nest.  They also invade other colonies to get food and kidnap the eggs of the other ant colonies. These eggs will be kept until they hatch, and once they become adults themselves they would become slaves of the colony.

Ants As Pests

Ants become troublesome pests when they start looking for food and water inside houses and buildings, and when they build nests inside structures and in gardens.  Ants are attracted to sweets, meats, fats, and oils. Ants send out patrollers, and once that patroller finds something they can eat, it will send out pheromones as a signal to other ants that food has been spotted.  Soon after, hundreds of ants would be swarming the food they have discovered. This is how it happens whenever there are ants swarming our food.  Ants can inflict structural damage to homes and buildings more than termites could.  One specific type of ant, the carpenter ants, can bore holes in wood until it deteriorates.   They can cause health risks to people who are sensitive to ant stings.  Their bites can be very painful and irritating, and they do so even without provocation.  Ants may also spread bacteria, and can cause illnesses like cholera or diarrhea when a person ingests food that is contaminated by ants.   This is always possible because ants crawl on anything and are everywhere. They might have crawled on garbage, dirt, and even decomposing insects, they can be considered unclean and may carry germs and viruses.

Types Of Ants Commonly Found In The House

We all probably see thousands of ants crawling in our houses at some point in our lives.  But that is only seeing the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. Only a few species of ants are actual household pests.  Here are some of them:

1. Carpenter ants - Carpenter ants are about ¼  to ½ inches in length, and they are black in color.  These ants are called carpenter ants but they definitely do not fix houses.  Instead, they are capable of destroying structures by boring holes through wood.  This type of ants is the most destructive among the house ants; they have caused more structural damage than termites have.  They build their nests inside a house’s structural wood by chewing on it to dig tunnels. Termites eat the wood. Carpenter ants prefer wood that is damp and had been previously damaged by water.  Carpenter ants prefer sweet foods and drinks. They come from the outside, getting indoors to find food and water.   Once inside the house, they look for the wood they can convert into their nests.  

2. Field ants Field ants are 4 to 8 mm long and come in black, brown, or red colors.   Sometimes they can be golden yellow in color. They can sting and their stings are painful. They are usually confused with carpenter ants, but field ants are less likely to go indoors.   They build their nests in yards, wooded areas, and fields. One sign of having field ants in your yard is the presence of a mound. Field ants are usually found outdoors.

3. Crazy ants - Crazy ants act like crazy and with no direction when they are disturbed, hence the name.  Crazy ants can build their nests both indoors and outdoors. They travel long distances to look for food.   Crazy ants do not bite but are considered nuisance pests. They build their nests either on dry sites or damp sites and can be found in hollow trees, rotten wood, under stones, under logs, among the rubbish, and in debris. 

4. Fire ants - Fire ants got their name because they can inflict so much pain through their stings which could be described as fiery pain. They are dark reddish-brown in color, with 6 legs, oval-shaped bodies, with antenna attached to their heads, and are ⅛ inch to ⅜ inch in size. Their colonies can be found in places like North Carolina, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and California. They build large mound nests that look flattened and irregular in shape. The size of these nests is between 2 to 4 square feet. These nests are usually found near the foundations of structures and landscaping. They are oftentimes found outdoors, but can usually gain access inside buildings and houses through air conditioning units.

5. European fire ants -  European fire ants are about 2.2 to 2.8 mm in length and are light to dark brown in color. They are certainly among the most intrusive ants in the world.  European fire ants have multiple queens in their colony. During the warm months, they can be found in the gardens, lawns, under the rock, or wood debris. During the cold months, they find their way inside the house and into the bathroom, under the bathtub, or in the heaters. They can also inflict painful stings. 

How To Get Rid Of Ants In The House

1. Seal off cracks and openings by caulking to prevent ants from getting inside. Place your food in sealed containers so as not to attract ants. 

2. Since the only reason why ants get inside houses is to look for food, keep food out of their reach. Store them inside sealed containers. 

3. Practice good housekeeping. Clean up food residue and drink spills that are so attractive to these ants.  

4. Sprinkle diatomaceous earth around areas that ants frequent. Diatomaceous earth is made from fossilized remains of diatoms. This will dehydrate the ants and kill them. 

If all these tips still would not cut it, then call the ant control services in North Carolina, Go-Forth Pest Control.

Go-Forth Pest Control has been trusted by customers for 60 years now.  

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