Jun 19, 2018
Source: Custom Turf
Ants are one of the most common pests homeowners in Northern Virginia face. From picnic blankets to kitchen counters, ants are seemingly everywhere.
While ants can be challenging to deal with any time of year, they are most problematic during the warm summer months. Let’s learn more about how to identify, prevent, and get rid of ants in your home.
How to Identify Ants in Your Home
There are many species of ants common in the Northern Virginia area. If you see ants inside or around your home, they’re likely one of the following types of ants:
Little Black Ants. Named for their physical characteristics, little black ants are black and small in size, about an eighth of an inch long. Little black ants follow well-defined trails between food and water sources, typically near drains and sinks.
Carpenter Ants. Carpenter ants live all throughout the United States and can be identified by their size, over half an inch in length. Carpenter ants vary in color, from black to reddish-black to dark brown. These ants tunnel through wood to build their nests, which means they can cause serious damage to your home. If you find carpenter ants in your home, call our Northern Virginia pest control team immediately.
Odorous House Ants. These ants, which get their name from the odor released when they’re crushed, are dark brown to black in color. Odorous house ants range from one-sixteenth to one-eighth of an inch long. Their nests are typically built in soil.
Read more: Know Your Pest! The Odorous House Ant
Pavement Ants. Pavement ants are often found near sidewalks, concrete, or other stones, hence their name. These ants are relatively small, about an eighth of an inch long, and are typically dark brown or black.
How do ants get indoors?
An important step in solving your ant problem is determining where they’re coming from — are the ants making their way in from outside, or are their nests built within your home? Let’s explore some of the common ways ants get in your home:
Cracks or holes in walls. There are plenty of places in your home where you might find cracks or holes in your walls — the seams between your walls and window frames or vents, gaps around plumbing and electrical lines, ceiling or floor corners, etc. Although these cracks and holes may be very small, they’re large enough for ants to create a path into your home.
Gaps in the foundation. Foundations aren’t airtight — gaps form during construction that ants can use to find a way inside your home.
Windows. While it may be tempting to open a window and let in the summer breeze, open windows, even ones with screens, provide an easy point of entry for ants. Additionally, window frames easily collect moisture which can lead to wood rot, creating an ideal home for a variety of ants.
Doors. A poorly-sealed door is one of the most common ways ants gain access to your home. The seal along the bottom of the threshold as well as around the door frame can deteriorate over time and create cracks large enough for ants to crawl through.
Ant Prevention Methods
Once you’ve identified the possible entry points ants are using to invade your home, you can take the necessary steps to prevent them from coming back. Check out the following ant prevention tips to keep ants out of your home for good:
Seal up cracks and openings. Cracks in your walls, especially near window and door frames, as well as gaps around plumbing fixtures should be sealed with caulk to prevent ants from entering your home. It’s also important to patch torn screens and replace door sweeps to keep ants out.
Keep a clean house. Ants are highly resourceful — they’ll eat just about anything, from the food we eat to grease splatters on the stovetop to other dead insects. Make sure you wipe down counters after cooking, clean any spills immediately, and vacuum and dust regularly to eliminate the food sources that attract these pests.
Properly store food. Ants use their sense of smell to seek out potential food sources. To prevent ants from finding their way to your pantry, be sure to store food in airtight containers. The same applies to pet food. Cleaning your pet’s food bowls and properly storing their food in airtight containers will help keeps the ants away, as well as other household pests like cockroaches.
Read more: Know Your Pest! Cockroaches
How to Get Rid of Ants
Even if you do everything you can to prevent ants from entering your home, there’s a chance they’ll find a way inside. Here’s how to eliminate ants in your home:
Don't kill the ants you see. This may seem counterintuitive, but it’s important to leave any ants you find alone. The ants you see are worker ants, the ones that find food and bring it back to the rest of the colony. While it may be tempting to squish or spray them, killing these ants won’t help your problem in the long run — the colony will simply continue to send out worker ants. Instead…
Set bait traps. The key to destroying an ant infestation is putting out bait. The worker ants are drawn to the bait and will carry the poison back to the rest of the nest, killing off the colony entirely.
Call our pest control professionals. Ants truly are a pest — they always seem to find their way in, even if you’ve followed every ant prevention tip. For pest control in Warrenton, contact the five-star technicians at CroppMetcalfe to clean out your infestation — just call 1-877-740-6657 or schedule an appointment online.