When you think about creepy crawly and unwelcome additions to your home this summer, ants may top that list. Ants are annoying visitors to picnics in the park and summer BBQs from Columbia to Greenville, SC. They can also cause major problems if they come inside your home.
Whether you’ve found these unwelcome visitors in your kitchen or caught a line of ants entering your basement through cracks in the foundation, these pesky insects 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’re searching for a cool, dry place to hide. When it’s dry and hot, they’re looking 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 help prevent them from entering in the first place.
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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. Even a small amount of food or water can entice them to come inside your 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 sources of water in kitchens, bathrooms, basements, and other places hiding moisture inside the home. That can include crawl spaces, leaky pipes, and even air conditioning units.
Heavy rains can also bring ants indoors, searching for safe and dry nesting areas. That includes setting up colonies inside walls and within crawl spaces. Since more than one million ants can live in just one colony, 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 entering in the first place, store all food in your kitchen and pantry inside airtight containers. Also, make sure you clean up crumbs and spills immediately. If you see a line of ants inside, wipe down the surface with vinegar or bleach. This removes the trail ants leave to guide the rest of the colony to food. And don’t leave fruit or other items out on the counter. Also, wipe up water in the sink or other areas.
In bathrooms, check pipes for leaks and clean up water in showers, sinks, and countertops. Watch for water lurking under pipes and on floors. Other common hideout areas for ants are inside walls, in basements, and 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 an enticing damp hideaway for ants.
To make it more difficult for 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 buildup by fixing leaky pipes and faucets.
To minimize enticements for ants in the home, keep kitchens and bathrooms clean and free of standing water. Store food items only in the kitchen and pantry in airtight containers. Empty trash cans often, especially in the summer. Keep pet bowls clean and wipe up any spills. Plus, check indoor plants for over-watering.
Outside, you can minimize ants in your yard and on exterior walls by replacing mulch or pine straw in your landscaping with crushed stone or rocks. Also, trim trees and shrubs away from your house where they collect moisture and provide a path for the ants. 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. Moist basements and crawl spaces are also 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.
We Can Help
In your search for ants, if you find any foundation issues, you’ll find the experts at Mount Valley Foundation Services can help. Start with a free inspection and estimate.