Ants in the Kitchen!!
Probably the call we get most often this time of year is for pesky ants. They come in droves, and they love our kitchens. Why? Well, we will get into that in a moment. The aggravating part of the whole situation is that the kitchen is where our family and our guests spend a tremendous amount of time, and a mass visitation by the creepy crawlies is extremely unwelcome. To understand how to prevent future problems, we need to dive into the life and history of the illustrious Argentine ant, or more commonly known as the sugar ant.
More than 100 years ago, New Orleans received shipments of coffee from…well, Argentina and other areas of South America. But coffee was not the only delivery in the shipment containers. Hiding out with the coffee beans was an invader, a silent nemesis of homeowners everywhere…the Argentine ant. Thanks to shipping, the Southeast, California, and even Hawaii have become home to this invasive variety of ant. They do get around!
At only an eighth of an inch long, these little pests aren’t big and frightful; however, a smart homeowner knows their presence is definitely causing alarm. They generally don’t travel alone and typically come in large numbers. If you’ve ever had the unfortunate experience of turning on your kitchen light in the early morning and spotting literally thousands of scampering little ants on your countertops, then you know what I’m talking about. They also aren’t picky about which guest room you want to give them, these ants like your bathroom and your office area as well. Let’s just say, you know them when you’ve got them.
Ask any pest control company or homeowner who has dealt with an infestation of Argentine or sugar ants, and you will hear the same story. These little guys are hard to get rid of, and a single colony can consist of hundreds of thousands of ants. That’s a big family.
But why do they come inside? Like most insects, sugar ants are seeking water and food and a safe place to hang out. In times of drought, they come in seeking water. In times of heavy rains, they come inside to dry out from the waterlogged soil. In the wintertime, they are seeking a warm place. In the summertime, it’s all about the food. All in all anytime is a good time for the sugar ant to make a trip to your house. Does all this sound slightly depressing? Well, don’t worry. There is hope for an ant-free home.
First of all, let’s talk about prevention. There are a number of steps you can take to reduce your chances of having an ant infestation. Check for cracks and openings around windows and doors where ants and other insects can come in. Regularly seal any problem areas. Next, be sure to keep all food products sealed up. Grandma’s open sugar container is unsealed, and while cute is not efficient at keeping ants out of the favorite treat of the sugar ant. Thus the nickname, by the way!
Be sure to keep your trash cleaned out and cleaning your trash can after taking the trash is also recommended. Just keep a simple cleaner spray bottle handy and spray and wipe the cans after each trash removal. Also, make sure to look around the kitchen and trash cans for crumbs left uncleaned. This is a big attraction to the sugar ant. If you’ve ever left a soda can sitting outside for a few hours, you will likely find ants all over and inside the container. If you have small children, you just never know where you’re going to find last week’s snack leftovers. It’s just a fact of life but we must remain vigilant to be successful.
Beyond prevention, what does one do if there is already an ant population in the home? One thing to remember is this: you can take a can of store-bought spray and kill those ants in your sight…this is referred to as the “revenge factor.”
Unfortunately, even though this might make you feel better, it is not going to solve your problem. In fact, you’re simply prolonging the solution. The issue is that you are not getting rid of the nest and the queen. And you have no idea where that might be anyway. So hours or days go by and the next round of ants make their way into your home. You are back to square one.
The better solution is to call Canton Termite and Pest Control. We have over 20 years of experience helping our customers solve ant and other pest problems. Many times, we use baits to fight the ant invasion. Baits are used to allow the scouting ants to take the bait back to the nest and to the queen. Then you can get to the source of the problem. Another common tactic we use is to create an exterior barrier that will keep any outside dwelling ants from deciding to move indoors. Our trained experts know just what to look for and where to find the common problem areas in order to solve your pest problems most efficiently.
A large ant population may take some time and patience even with a professional company, so remember to follow the instructions given by the pest professional for your specific situation. Give us a call and be one step closer to an ant-free home!
Canton Termite and Pest Control can be reached at 770-479-1598