Ants, like bees, are social insects. This means they live in large groups- or colonies. An ant colony is very loyal to one another and to their leader, the queen bee. The worker ants job is to provide food for their families within the colony. The reason they invade your home is to retrieve that food to bring back to their outdoor home. So when do they make the decision to stay? Well, whenever the food source is consistent, there is more than a few crumbs to take, or when they have found access to water nearby. Studies have shown that ants have four to five times more odor receptors than other insects, giving them a slight edge when it comes to scavenging food. When worker ants come into a home to get food morsels and realize there is a large source and a safe place to stay, the ants return back to the colony with advice to move into the area.
Ants are not as dangerous as some other pests but pose threats to your home/business and health as well. Ants will cause damage to wooden areas where they nest by creating shelter space. The damage created by ants can often be mistaken for a termite infestation. However, while termites eat wood, ants merely make galleries in wood for shelter for their colony causing deterioration. Along with this, ants also contaminate food storage. As they move in and out of the food supply source, they leave behind droppings, debris, and more- too small for the human eye to catch. Nobody wants to eat from a cereal box with that kind of surprise inside!
Not surprisingly, one of the most common infestation causals is pantries. Knowing that ants have an incredible sense of smell makes it feel a bit hopeless to keep them from getting ahold of food, but in reality, prevention is very manageable. If all containers are sealed air-tight, or even just tight enough that they can not get access, they tend to give up and look elsewhere. If you have had an ant problem before, it will also help to seal off the cupboard cracks that they entered through with caulk or scotch tape.
So how do you know if you have a real ant problem or if you just happened upon a few ‘ants on duty’? First, assess the number of ants. If there are less than 10, you are likely in the clear and can just sweep them up to let outside. On the contrary, if there is a streamline of ants marching across your floor and up into your cupboard, this probably means the colony has already moved in. Another telltale sign is that if after sealing containers and getting rid of the few ants you found, more appear in the next day or two. In this case, it is smart to observe them and see where they are headed to and from. See if you can find the source of open food, get rid of it and sweep any visible ants outside. If ants seem to be a common occurrence over a few days span, its time to call pest control. Our pest experts have worked with ant problems for years and we will help you exterminate and deter future infestations, safely and effectively.