Ants are among the most common of household invaders, and while they might not be dangerous, they are most definitely a nuisance. Problems are especially apparent when it comes to some more destructive ant species, like carpenter ants, who can actually do damage to your property by burrowing through wood, paneling, flooring, and drywall.
Ant infestations are a year-round problem, but they are most prevalent in spring, summer, and early autumn. No matter where they live, most homeowners will encounter an ant infestation at some point in their lives. Not only is it important to know what causes these infestations, but also how to recognize them and – finally – when it’s time to call a professional.
How and Why Ant Infestations Occur
The most common culprit when it comes to ant infestations is uncovered food. This food could be in your garbage can, on your counter, or even in your refrigerator – it doesn’t matter. Ants are tenacious workers and voracious eaters, and they when they find food, they often comb the area for more.
There are two main types of infestations: indoor and outdoor. Most infestations are the latter, with the ants establishing a safe, viable nest next to a food source and creating a “worker’s trail” to bring the goodies back to the queen. Ants can build these outdoor nests in holes in the ground, cracks in concrete, or various dirt hills around the property.
Indoor infestations, while much rarer, are more challenging to identify and much more difficult to treat. In these situations, the colony establishes a nest somewhere in the home. It could be under a refrigerator, in a crawl space, or behind your framework. Either way, if you see one ant, there are likely hundreds or thousands more hiding somewhere.
Common Signs of Ant Infestation
There are several signs to look for when deciding whether or not you may have an ant infestation. The first, and most obvious, is to look for live ants. Ants don’t usually wander into a home for no reason. They’re scouting food. If you start seeing ants in your garbage can or near food sources – rotten or otherwise – you can bet, there’s more lurking nearby.
The second sign to watch for is organized ant movement or “trails” in and around your home. Ants use pheromones to create traffic lanes to food and back to the nest. If you see this type of movement anywhere on your property, it might only be a matter of time before a scout picks up on the abundance of food in your home.
Lastly, it’s crucial that you don’t ignore ant hills on your property. The presence of a hill means a thriving colony, and there are likely hundreds of scouts out looking for ways to keep the hive going. The more ant hills, and the closer to your home, the bigger the problem.
Carpenter ants are an entirely different breed of ant and a completely different breed of problem. These ants aren’t worried about establishing a nest in or near your home – your home is the nest. These ants burrow through wood and other soft materials, building tunnels and growing their colony under your very nose.
You can identify carpenter ant infestations from piles of wood shavings that begin to appear in your home and when winged ants begin making an appearance. Lastly, once the colony becomes established, you might even notice a distinct “rustling” sound behind walls or above ceilings. This indicates a severe infestation that needs to be dealt with immediately.
Treating Ant Infestations
Ants and the problems they cause are no small matter. Though there are dozens of over-the-counter products that claim to eliminate ants and ant colonies cheaply, they don’t take into account the user’s lack of expertise in identifying the source of infestations. In many cases, the ant population returns in just a few weeks.
The best solution is to put your trust in a professional exterminator. These men and women have years of experience identifying and eradicating ant colonies. After a thorough inspection of your property, they will develop a game plan to attack the nest from the inside out. These solutions are often permanent, quick, and affordable.
If you think you might have an ant infestation, don’t hesitate. Contact the professionals at PermaKill Exterminating today for a free quote.