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When you think about creepy crawly and unwelcome additions to your Charlotte, NC, home this summer, ants may top that list. An annoying visitor to picnics in the park and summer BBQs from Columbia to Greenville, SC, ants can also cause major problems if they come inside your home. Whether you’ve found these unwelcome visitors in your kitchen or pantry or caught a line of ants entering your basement through cracks in the foundation or walls, these pesky insects just don’t quit when it comes to finding new ways to get inside.
Ants enter homes looking for food, water, and shelter. When it’s raining outside, they are searching for a cool, dry place to hide, and when it’s dry, for a source of fresh water. Even when kitchens and bathrooms are spic and span, ants still seem to find our homes inviting. Here’s where to look for these invasive insects inside the home and how to prevent them from entering in the first place.
What You Need to Know About Ants
Did you know that there are more than 700 different kinds of ants living in the United States? Only about 25 of those species are commonly found indoors, attracted to food, water, and safe living spaces. Ants live almost everywhere in the world except Antarctica. Even a small amount of food or water can entice them to come inside a home looking for more.
Where Can You Find Ants?
Ants are more active in warmer temperatures, which is why you may see more of them both inside and outside your home during the summer months. In cities like Columbia and Greenville, warm weather throughout the year can extend this activity into the fall and winter months. When it’s dry outside, ants come indoors looking for new water sources that can be found in kitchens, bathrooms, basements, or other places hiding dampness inside the home – from crawl spaces to leaky pipes and air conditioning units.
Heavy rains can also bring ants indoors, as they search for safe and dry nesting areas – including inside walls and within crawl spaces. More than one million ants can live in just one colony, so it’s best to prevent them from choosing your home for their next move before it happens! According to a survey from the National Pest Management Association, once ants enter a home, they are most commonly found in kitchens and bathrooms.
To prevent ants, store all food in kitchens and pantries inside airtight containers and clean up crumbs and spills immediately. If you see a line of ants inside the home, wipe down the surface with vinegar or bleach. Don’t leave fruit or other items out on the counter, and wipe up water in the sink or other areas. In bathrooms, check pipes for leaks and clean up standing water in showers and lurking under pipes and on floors. Other common hideout areas for ants are inside walls and in basements, air conditioning and heating units.
How Ants Come Inside and How You Can Keep Them Out
How do ants get inside the home in the first place? They can enter homes through cracks in the walls and in between windows and doors. Cracks in a home’s foundation are a common entry point for these pesky critters. Homes with window air conditioning units also provide a welcome entryway and enticing damp hideaway for ants. Moist basements and crawl spaces are welcoming environments for all types of pests, including ants. That’s why properly insulating and sealing your crawl space can help reduce ants throughout the home. For help with these projects, start with a free inspection and estimate from the experts at Mount Valley Foundation Services.
To prevent ants from coming inside, start with finding and sealing cracks and holes in exterior walls and around windows and doors. Next, caulk around air conditioning and heating units to close entryways. Finally, prevent moisture build-up by fixing leaky pipes and faucets. To minimize enticements for ants in the home, keep kitchens and bathrooms clean and free of standing water and store food items only in the kitchen and pantry in air-tight containers. Empty trash cans often, especially in the summer and check indoor plants for over watering.
Outside, you can minimize ants in your yard and on exterior walls and living spaces by replacing mulch or pine straw in your landscaping with crushed stone or rocks. When preparing for winter, stack firewood more than 20 feet away from the home’s exterior walls because the stacks will attract pests. Fix cracks in pavement and the home’s foundation to close off possible entryways inside the home to ants.
As you’re protecting your home from ants, don’t forget that they do play an important role in our ecosystem. While homeowners don’t want pesky ants inside, they can help remove waste outside. As long as you practice these important tips to prevent ants from entering your home you should enjoy a pest-free home this summer!