What You Need To Do About The Ants In The Bay Area

carpenter ant on rocks

Everyone knows what an ant looks like because ants are everywhere. If you go outside your Bay Area home and scan the ground, it won't take you long to find ants. But, as common as ants are, many people don't know much about them, or what to do about ants when they see them. A lack of knowledge can allow ants to enter your home, create an indoor nest, and cause trouble. Let's look at some helpful facts every Bay Area resident should know about ants and ant pest control. We'll look at how to identify ants, problems they may cause in your home, how they find a way indoors, and how to keep ants out of your house. If you need help keeping ants out, or you want services for your exterior to keep ants away, connect with us. Bay Pest provides professional pest control in The Bay Area. Our year-round services effectively manage ant pressures and work to prevent indoor infestations. Indoor ant prevention begins with outdoor ant control. You can get started today.

How To Identify An Ant Infestation In Your Home

When you see ants crawling on your back deck, exterior walls, or driveway, it doesn't mean you have an infestation within your home. How can you tell if ants are getting inside? You could wait until you see ants inside, but that isn't a great way to detect an ant infestation. Ants can cause issues long before you see them. Use these tips to detect ant activity and a potential indoor nest.

  • Inspect your food cabinets and shelves at night. Some ants are nocturnal. A flashlight and a nighttime inspection can help you catch them with their little hands in your cookie jar.
  • Inspect baseboards, recesses, and holes for soil. Some ant species bring soil inside with them. They do this so they may establish a suitable environment to create an indoor nest.
  • Inspect wood for frass. Carpenter ants create frass when they excavate tunnels inside wood. Frass looks like sawdust but is a mixture of wood shavings, insect parts, and carpenter ant droppings.
  • Inspect wood for holes. Carpenter ants create holes as they damage wood. You may find general wood deterioration with tunnels visible within, or you may notice tiny holes in wood. The tiny holes are kickout holes. The ants use them to push the frass out of their tunnels, which are hidden inside the wood.

If you're seeing ants in your home, it is not a sure sign that you have an indoor nest. Ants can come into your home from an outdoor nest. Sometimes, they do this is startlingly large numbers. The number of ants is not an indication that you have an indoor nest. What you need to watch is how frequently you see ants. If you're continually seeing ants in your kitchen or pantry, it is a warning sign of an interior nest.

Is it bad to have ants in your home? Generally, it isn't a serious concern. Ants are mostly a nuisance, and their ability to annoy people is what has earned ants the number one position as the pest that licensed pest management professionals are called to treat. But there are other concerns to consider.   

All The Problems An Ant Infestation Can Cause In A House

While ants are a general nuisance, there are a few facts you should know about them. We've touched on one already. Let's begin with that.

  • Carpenter ants are destructive pests. Some species are worse than others. It is definitely bad to have black carpenter ants in your home, and critical that you learn how to identify carpenter ants. Over time, carpenter ants can do a surprising amount of damage, if not treated.
  • Many ant species are attracted to decaying organic matter. They'll get into garbage and eat things that are rotting. They'll also eat carrion. If you have a dead mouse in your yard, ants can feed on that mouse before they get into your pantry and invade your food.
  • Ants are incredibly mobile. They can quickly go from your kitchen trashcan to your cutting board, silverware drawer, dish cabinet, and food storage shelves. When they do, they accidentally spread microorganisms associated with stomach ailments. 
  • Some ants feed on the wounds of livestock, wildlife, dogs, cats, and humans. When these ants get into a home, they present a greater risk of disease transmission.
  • Some ants chew on the coating of wires and can cause your lights to go out. They also cause electrical shorts when they enter outlets or power boxes in large numbers.
  • Some ants sting. If stinging insects get into your home, they can present a general bite threat. But stinging insects can present more of a risk to individuals with an allergy, or a compromised immune system.

Most of the time, ants are not a serious threat. We don't want to paint a picture that you need to immediately take action to stop ants and protect your family. That is not the case. But it is wise to address ant problems and not let them persist. Over time, persistent ant problems can lead to general sickness and property damage.         

How And Why Ants Find Their Way Into Your Home

The most important thing you need to know about ants is why they invade your home. It isn't quite as straightforward as you might think. While an ant will enter your home through a tiny gap, gaps are rarely the catalyst for an ant infestation. The problems begin when ants find a food source or suitable habitat in your home.

Ant control for homeowners begins with sanitation. A clean home is resistant to ants because these little critters are always looking for food. They'll eat food in your trash, crumbs on your floor, remnants of pizza on a cardboard box, juice residue, grease, oil, food particles on shelves, and more. Step one is to remove general food resources like these.

Ants will eat human food in many forms. They'll invade stored foods, eat food off dirty dishes, feed on an apple core in a waste paper basket, nibble on crumbs in your couch, flock to a candy wrapper, and more. At every point, you have control.

  • You can clean dishes as you go.
  • You can check wastepaper baskets to ensure no food items are thrown in them.
  • You can clean your couch and living room chairs and establish a rule that you only eat in the kitchen or dining room.
  • You can establish rules for the disposal of candy wrappers, and stick to your guns.

It is hard work to keep a tight ship and ensure that everything stays clean. For this reason, many families turn to ant control products for a quick and easy fix. But ant control is rarely quick or easy. In fact, DIY ant control often makes ant problems worse. Really? Yes. Many ant species have multiple queens and budding can occur when ant control is misapplied. Budding is when one colony turns into two, three, or more.

Sanitation is the best way to address "why" ants get into your home. As for "how" they enter your home, you'll need to apply exclusion work and yard work to address that one. Here are some tips:

  • Use a caulking gun to create a complete seal around exterior door and window frames.
  • Use expanding foam to fill in gaps around pipes, wires, and PVC wire conduits.
  • Use a foundation repair kit to patch cracks in your foundation.
  • Repair damaged window panes.
  • Patch window and door screens.
  • Replace weatherstripping where needed.
  • Trim branches and vegetation away from your exterior to remove bridges that ants can use to enter your home.

The hard work you put into keeping ants out of your home will also help keep several other pests out. If you like having a pest-free environment in your home, a little muscle work outside can go a long way.           

The Best Way To Protect Your Home From Ants

Once you've done what you can (or before), contact Bay Pest for year-round pest control. Ongoing pest control services provide layers of protection to keep ants away and prevent ants from entering your home. We apply indoor ant repellents as needed, exterior liquid crack and crevice treatments, baits, granular treatments, and more. Each of these treatment methods provides a layer of protection. Repellents drive ants out. Liquid exterior applications make it hard for ants to enter. Baits target colonies and eliminate specific ant pests that encroach upon your exterior walls. Granular treatments reduce general pests and remove a food source for ants that prefer protein. Along with all these, you'll have routine inspections, and ant problems won't sneak up on you. That is critical protection if you're looking to prevent carpenter ant damage.

If you're in the Bay Area, contact Bay Pest today to request a service visit. We look forward to helping you find a pest control solution that works perfectly for you. Say goodbye to ant problems, and hello to a pest-free life.  

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