Everything Bay Area Homeowners Need To Know About Ants

ants on the kitchen floor

The world is filled with ants. It is a bit disturbing to think about, but you know we're right. All you have to do is go outside and sit on your front steps for a few minutes to see one. The good news is that ants are mostly beneficial insects. They help aerate the soil, which makes your lawn look lush and green. If ants would just stay in your lawn, you wouldn't need to know anything about them. They'd just do what they're supposed to, and life would be great. Unfortunately, ants don't stay outside where they belong. They get into your home and cause trouble. Today, we're going to tell you about three common ant pests in the Bay Area. We'll tell you how to identify them, what issues they present, and why they get into your home. Best of all, we'll tell you how to get rid of ants and keep them out permanently. It takes some muscle and determination, but you can do it. If you'd rather have a service technician use industry-leading ant and pest control to keep ants out of your home and avoid the hassles of dealing with them yourself, remember that your Bay Pest service team is always happy to help. We provide state-of-the-art pest control in the Bay Area, and we get results. With that said, let's take a look at common ants in our region of the country.

What Ants Are Active Around The Bay Area?

ants in a line on the tile floor

There are many ant species in the Bay Area, and several can become pests if not kept in check. But there are three that rise to the top in our area as being particularly troublesome. Two are a pain because they are an incredible nuisance. One is a pain because it is more than a nuisance. Let's start with that one.

  • The Carpenter Ant: When you have carpenter ants on your property, you may not notice them at all. These ants can survive quite nicely on exterior food sources. They may never get into your kitchen or pantry. You're really only likely to see a random scout ant every once in a while rather than a large number of worker ants. The reason you only see the scouts is that carpenter ants are mostly nocturnal. They are outside, feeding on exterior food sources at night. Since you're not out there at night, you're not going to see them. But, even if you were out there, you may not see them anyway. Some species are entirely black. What you will see is that one black ant crawling around in your home. It may even do this during the day as the interior of your home is much dimmer than the sunny outdoors. When you see a carpenter ant, take notice because it is not good to have them in your home. Carpenter ants tunnel in wood. So, in some ways, it would be nice if they were more annoying and easier to spot early in an infestation. You can distinguish carpenter ants by their large size. Workers range from ¼ to ⅝ of an inch long and can be black, red, or a combination of black and red.
  • The Argentine Ant: These ants are annoying because of their numbers. Argentine ants create super colonies. In fact, there is one super colony that runs along the entire California coastline. That is a big colony. Have you looked at the California coastline recently? It's long. So, it isn't great to have these ants on your property or in your home. Argentine ants are 1/16 to ¼ of an inch long, dark brown to black, and have 12-segmented antennae.
  • The Odorous House Ant: These ants are annoying because they create a foul smell when crushed. Some Bay Area residents describe the smell as similar to rotten coconut. You're really going to notice these pests. They're not going to hide in the shadows like carpenter ants. They're going to make you want to get rid of them with extreme measures. Odorous house ants are 1/16 to ⅛ of an inch long and brown or black with antennae that look like handlebars on an old bike.      

When you find any of these ant pests in your home, contact Bay Pest for a control solution. If you don't have an indoor infestation yet, take time to apply outdoor ant control methods to prevent an ant infestation. We recommend trash management, raking leaves, addressing aphid issues, and applying pest-proofing.

Why Ants Are A Hazardous Nuisance In The Bay Area

Why is it so important to get professional home pest control in the Bay Area for ants when they get inside your home? Aren't there ant prevention tips that work to drive ants out of your home? Yes. You can use natural methods to encourage ants to leave your home. But the threat these ant present may warrant professional control.

As we pointed out above, carpenter ants tunnel in wood. They have a preference for decaying wood or water-damaged wood. If you have water damage and you're seeing these ants, it warrants professional ant control in the Bay Area. When left untreated, these ants can do a lot of damage over time. They grow their colonies, produce swarmers, create new nests, grow more colonies, and continue to grow their numbers. The worst part is they do all of this right under your nose. A professional will track these ants, use targeted methods to eliminate the colonies, and make sure no ants remain in your home.

Along with presenting a risk to property, ants can present a health hazard as they pick up germs in unsanitary places and spread them around indoor environments. They can contaminate your food, dishes, counters, and more. When they do, you won't know it. The germs they spread are microscopic. So, when you see ants crawling around, keep in mind the potential for disease transmission.

How Ants Get Into Bay Area Homes

If you don't have ants in your home, it is essential to understand how they get into your home in the first place. Ant problems don't happen overnight. They happen over time.

  • Ants enter your home as they search for food sources. They eat insects that creep on the ground and sweet food sources from flowers.
  • Ants make colonies in your lawn and continue to move toward your home as they look for food sources in your landscaping, such as insects, seeds that fall from bird feeders, honeydew produced by aphids, etc.
  • When ants make colonies in your landscaping and begin to apply pressure to your exterior, they may enter your home through tiny cracks and holes in your foundation or around doors and windows. They scale your walls to find higher entry points or use plants and tree branches that touch your exterior to access high entry points in large numbers.
  • Ants send scouts into your home to find food sources. When food is found, the ant returns to the nest and leaves an invisible trail of pheromones in its wake. The other ants follow the trail, and within a short time, they can fill your home with a swarm.
  • Ants may decide to create an indoor nest, depending on the species. When this occurs, they'll start to appear more frequently.

At every point, you can apply pest control methods to deter these tiny insects from encroaching upon your home and invading your space, or you can contact a service professional to do this for you. Let's take a look at why professional ant control for homeowners is the best way to deal with ants.

The Best Way To Handle Ongoing Ant Activity In Your Bay Area Home

There are many reasons to get a service technician to deal with ants around your home. Some are obvious. But some may surprise you. Ant control isn't nearly as straightforward as you might think.

There are many factors to consider:

  • The most obvious reason to call a professional is to avoid the hassle. Life has enough hassles. It is nice to just let someone else deal with your ant problems.
  • A professional will use appropriate products to address ants. DIY ant control is known to cause illness when misapplied.
  • A professional gets results. One of the worst outcomes of DIY ant control is still having an ant problem and not realizing it. The last thing you need is ants continuing to impact your health and damage your property after you worked so hard to get rid of them.
  • DIY ant control can make ant problems worse. Some colonies have multiple queens, and budding can occur when control products are misapplied. One colony can turn into several. That is definitely not what you want.
  • DIY ant control can make ants harder to control and increase the cost when you finally contact a professional. Why? It is because ants can become averse to bait when the bait isn't applied correctly.

Are you in the Bay Area? For ant control near you, contact Bay Pest for effective, industry-leading ant control solutions. Our service technicians have the training and experience to get you the results you want. You won't have to wonder if those ants are gone. Connect with us today to get advice, schedule a service visit or to learn more about our residential and commercial pest control services in the Bay Area. We look forward to serving you.

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