Ants can feel like mysterious pests. But they are only mysterious if you don't know much about how they behave. If you're looking to win the battle against these tiny insects, you need to arm yourself with knowledge. Here is your ultimate guide to ant pest control in Charlotte. We'll look at how ant colonies develop and what ants do when they get into your home. Once you understand how ants behave, we'll share our best ant prevention tips and tell you what works to get complete control of them on your property and inside your home. Ant prevention and control make so much more sense when you understand your adversaries.
If you currently have a disconcerting ant problem and need ant removal in Charlotte, contact us for immediate assistance. Your Go-Forth Pest Control team has experience with the ants you're dealing with, and we use industry-leading control solutions to stop them in their tracks.
The Life Cycle Of Ants: How Ant Colonies Develop
The ants that come into your yard are driven by one powerful factor – available food resources. Food attracts ants. Food causes ants to create nests on your property and provides what they need to grow their numbers. Ants enter your home looking for food, and when they find it, they enlist an army to come gather it piece by piece. Depending on the ant species, food in your home can prompt an indoor infestation. If you could remove the food ants eat, what would happen? They wouldn't enter your yard, encroach upon your exterior, or create nests in or around your home. But you can't get rid of all the food ants eat. So, how does this knowledge help? What you may not realize is that the goal is not to stop them.
Do you know that ants provide benefits? They aerate the soil as they dig tunnels. They help to control certain other pests on your property. They help with pollination, and their droppings act as fertilizer. You definitely want to have ants in your yard and landscaping. The problem isn't that you have ants; it is that you have too many of them. When you reduce food sources, you slow the encroachment, stunt population growth, and reduce the risk of unwanted entry into your home.
Keeping food in mind, how does the process work? How do ant colonies actually develop? Let's start with the queen.
Queen: In the heart of every ant colony is the queen. She creates offspring in response to available food resources. A yard or home with plentiful food options will have more trouble with ants because food puts gasoline on the fire. Some colonies have many queens. Colonies with multiple queens are even more frustrating to deal with because they grow quickly. But also because they are prone to budding. What is budding? It is a process by which one colony splits into several. Essentially, the queens go separate ways. There are many reasons why this might occur. One common reason is misapplied pest control.
Reproductives: These ants assist the queen(s). They do many of the same things queens do. When a colony of ants finds food, reproductives may help to create a satellite colony. It is a new nest but has different properties. The most important fact to understand about satellite nests is that they are created without the need for winged ants. Therefore, these nests can form right under your nose with no warning.
Winged Reproductives: When an ant nest matures, it will produce reproductives with wings. These ants gather together into an aerial swarm, mate with each other, and create new nests. Since they swarm, these ants may alert you to an ant problem. But, what commonly happens is one little winged ant is seen, and a property owner pays no attention to it. If you see one winged ant, you should know there are likely many others, and it is quite possible that you have new queens forming nests nearby. While not all nests are viable, the ones that survive the process will start to present trouble for you as populations grow.
Workers: By far, the most plentiful ants in a colony are the worker ants. These ants have many roles. Arguably, the most important role related to ant pest control is how ant workers find food, recruit other workers, and bring food home to their nests. Scout workers leave the group and go long distances to find food. When food is found, the scout worker lays down a scented trail of pheromones. The other ants find this trail and follow it, adding to the trail as they return to the nest. This is why it can seem like a mob of ants suddenly appears in your home. What do ants eat? They gather bread crumbs, food debris on the floor, leftover food on dishes, decaying food in your trash, and more. A clean home with minimal food options is resistant to ant infestations.
Now that you know a bit about nest development, how colonies spread, and why ants enter your home en masse, let's turn our attention to what they do in your home. It is essential to consider the risks as you develop a plan to stop ants.
Assessing The Risks: The Problems Created By Ant Infestations
There are several types of ants. Some are worse than others. Most are a problem simply because they are an incredible nuisance. Others cause extra trouble. A few of the most common ant pests in North Carolina are acrobat ants, pavement ants, little black ants, odorous house ants, and carpenter ants. Here are some of the things they do in your home.
- They pick up harmful germs when they crawl in trash receptacles and spread them to surfaces and stored foods.
- Certain ants smell like rotting coconut when you crush them underfoot, making them more annoying.
- Carpenter ants tunnel in decaying wood and can go from water-damaged wood to sound timbers inside a man-made structure.
As you work to control ants, keep in mind that sanitation is helpful for preventing ant problems. The bad smell produced by odorous house ants can help you track these ants down and determine that they are the ant species causing trouble, and carpenter ant damage (or the appearance of frass) are ways to specifically detect this kind of ant. Detection is an important step in combating ant problems. Let's turn our attention to ant prevention as a whole.
Ant Prevention Mistakes To Avoid: Common Pitfalls And Solutions
Long before you have to contact a professional for ant pest control services near you, there are ways to prevent ant problems. There are mistakes to avoid and steps you can take on your own without any need for specialized ant control knowledge. Consider the following:
- Detection: Don't miss the early warning signs of ants. Look for ant mounds near your exterior. If you have ant mounds next to your home, it is likely those ants are finding a way indoors. Look for ants crawling on your exterior foundation in a line. This is evidence that they've found food indoors. Look for frass or damage to the wood of your home to zero in on carpenter ants.
- Sanitation: Don't lure ants to your home by falling short on maintenance. Remove junk, keep trash in covered containers, clean your containers, and properly store recycling, pizza boxes, and other items that can attract ants. Indoors, clean surfaces, shelves, and floors.
- Protect Food: Don't lay out the red carpet for ants looking for food. Always keep leftovers covered. Put pet food down during meals. Clean dishes as you go. Store certain pantry foods in sealed containers.
- Seal Entry Points: Don't leave an opening for ants looking for a way inside. Use a caulking gun to fill in holes, gaps, and voids. Replace weatherstripping and door sweeps. Fix damaged screens. Everything you do to remove entry points will help to deter ants.
- Trim Vegetation: Don't build a bridge for ants. Ants use plants and tree branches to quickly get to higher entry points in large numbers. Keep landscaping trimmed away from exterior walls to prevent ants from using it as a gateway into your home.
- Address moisture: Don't let your home become an oasis for ants. Water is a building block of life. One of the best ways to deter pests, in general, is to clean and repair gutters and minimize sources of excess moisture.
If you are diligent, you can keep ants out of your home with these all-natural methods. When more control is needed and pest control products are a requirement, contact a licensed pest management professional to get the results you want.
Ant Control Done Right: Call The Experts For Complete Ant Control
Ant control is complicated, and there are many ways things can go south quickly. Whether you need ant pest control services to address ant nests or you want to prevent ants from entering your home, it pays to get professional care. A pest management professional has the training and experience required to evaluate your ant problem, identify the ants, and use trusted products and methods to arrest all indoor activity. When it comes to keeping ants out, there is no easier way than getting year-round pest control service for your exterior and yard. Pest control reduces an important food source for ants: bugs. Plus, routine treatments keep ants and other pests from entering your home. Want to learn more or get started with pest control service for your Charlotte home? Contact Go-Forth Pest Control today for assistance. Connect with us today.