Tips To Avoid Springtime Ants

Carpenter Ant walking on dry leaves.

The spring season is upon us, it is a time of year when everything becomes new once again and people, kids, and pets can finally get back outside and enjoy the warming weather. What is there not to love about spring? There are blooming flowers, budding trees, warm breezes, and chirping birds! But, if we are being truthful, perhaps there is one thing not to love about spring - it is also the time of year when pesky ants also become more active. In the spring ants emerge from their overwintering sites and are out and about searching for food, water, and new nesting areas. Because of this, now is the perfect time to learn a bit more about the common ants found in our area, including how to prevent them from finding their way into your home!

Three of the most common household invading ants found in our area include the carpenter ant, the pavement ant, and the odorous house ant.

  • Carpenter Ant- The carpenter ant is a large species of ant, typically they are all black in color, but some species are a combination of different colors including black and red. Adults grow to between 1/4 and 3/4 of an inch in length. These ants typically enter homes while out and about foraging for food. Once inside they may be attracted to your home’s structural wood, especially if it has been previously damaged by water; they will invade the wood, tunnel through it and create nesting galleries. Once established they will also begin to attack your home’s sound wood, causing even more structural damages.

  • Pavement Ant- The pavement ant is a small species of ant, workers grow to only about 1/4 of an inch in length. They range in color from dark brown to black and they have a distinctive pair of spines that extend from the rear of their thorax. They also have a stinger, but are not aggressive and rarely use it. Pavement ants are considered to be nuisance ants and can most often be found nesting in the cracks of pavement and cement. While out foraging for food pavement ants may travel along pipes, wires, and other utilities to get inside your home. Once inside, they may decide to stay and nest in your home’s walls, insulation, under floors, and areas that are near heat sources.

  • Odorous House Ant- The odorous house ant is typically dark brown or black in color and grows to the small size of about 1/8th of an inch in length. As their name points out the odorous house ant emits a very unpleasant odor when they are crushed; people say that the smell is similar to a rotten coconut. The odorous house ant lives in very large colonies that can be composed of hundreds of queens and thousands of workers. Using their “scent trails” they often find their way inside of homes while foraging for food where they will contaminate food, utensils, and food prep areas with the bacteria that is found on their legs and body.

To help keep any species of ant from finding their way into your home it is important to eliminate possible entry points into your home. Inspect your home’s foundation and exterior walls sealing any that are found, make sure that exterior windows and doors have weather stripping around them, place door sweeps on all doors, check that all door and window screens are completely intact, and seal spaces found around utilities entering your home. It is also a good idea to remove access to food and water sources by making sure that garbage is placed inside of containers with locking lids, pick up vegetables and fruit from garden areas that have fallen to the ground, and make sure that any dripping faucets, fixtures, and hoses are repaired. Inside make sure to regularly remove garbage from your home, sweep and mop your floors daily, and make sure that food is stored in the refrigerator or inside glass or plastic containers with tight-fitting lids.

To help aid you in protecting your home from emerging ants this spring, partner with Quik-Kill Pest Eliminators. We can provide the year-round services needed to control and prevent problems with ants and other common household pests through either of our Home Guardian SM Services in Bettendorf. To learn more about controlling ants in your service area in the spring and throughout the rest of the year, contact the ant control professionals at Quik-Kill today!

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