Why Ants Invade Bay Area Homes & How To Keep Them Out

Ant on a white paper

It is more than a little bit disturbing when hundreds of ants decide to invade your Bay Area home. When you open the door to your pantry and see them all over your food packages, it can be a horror. When you see them walking lock-step along a baseboard in your kitchen, or crawling around en masse on your counters, it can make your heart sink. When you sit on your couch, not realizing that it is entirely covered in ants—well now—we don't have to tell you how that can make you feel. But how on earth do all of those ants get inside? And why do ants invade your Bay Area home in the first place? Don't they have enough food and water outside? Today, we're going to get to the bottom of this mystery. Here's what you need to know.

Why Bay Area Ants Get Inside

We have several ant species that get into our Bay Area homes. While there are some key differences between them, all of them will get into your home for the same reason. Whether you have Argentine ants, odorous house ants, bicolored carpenter ants, acrobat ants, thief ants, pavement ants, little black ants, big black carpenter ants, or some other kind of ant, they're all going to get into your home simply because they can't tell the difference between a man-made structure and a tree… or a rock. Ants climb around in wooded areas and explore underneath rocks. When they chance upon your home, they don't realize it is different. They get underneath your siding like they would the bark of a tree. They climb in the cracks of your foundation like they would the gaps between stones or the crack in a boulder. They're just doing what is natural for them.

How Ant Infestations Start

When a worker ant searches for food and water, it can travel quite a distance from its nest. It can explore the mulch in your landscaping, scale a weed near your home, find a gap around a pipe in your foundation wall, walk along the pipe, come out in your kitchen, and locate a food source inside your home. It doesn't know inside from outside. When it finds a food source inside, it does the same thing it would outside. The worker ant will take a little food and return to its nest. Along the way, it will excrete a chemical trail. When other workers smell this trail, they follow it. One by one, each of these workers add to the trail. As the scent of the trail grows stronger, more ants are attracted. This is why you find hundreds, or even thousands, of ants on a rotting apple your child left behind the sofa. Mystery solved.

How To Use This Knowledge Against Those Ants

Before ants decide to establish a nest inside your home, they will send workers to explore the interior of your home. You can resist this exploration by doing the following:

  • Reduce moisture around your Bay Area home. Moisture issues can create conditions near your home that are attractive to ants of all species. We recommend cleaning gutters, fixing plumbing issues, and maintaining dry and open landscaping.
  • Reduce organic debris. Leaves, grass clippings, sticks, pieces of wood, acorns, and other organic matter should be raked or blown away from your exterior. These are food sources for some ants and they create a habitat for all ants.
  • Move objects away from your exterior. Ants hide in the damp, dark spaces under objects.
  • Keep your exterior trash receptacles as clean as possible. This removes the scent of rotting organic matter, which is a strong attractant for some ant species.
  • Move bird feeders away from your exterior. Ants eat seeds that fall to the ground. Some don't even wait for them to fall; they climb up and find a way to access the seeds at their source.
  • Seal all gaps, cracks, and holes in your exterior. Pay close attention to foundation penetrations, doors, windows, vents, and weep holes.
  • Keep the interior of your home as clean as possible.
  • Store your pantry foods in sealed containers.
  • Reduce moisture and humidity inside your home.

The Best Protection For Bay Area Ants

When you invest in year-round pest control for your Bay Area home, you get routine treatments that directly work to reduce ant activity by eliminating ants. These treatments also work to address food sources that ants eat, such as insects and honeydew produced by plant-damaging insects. If you'd like to learn more or to schedule service for your Bay Area home, reach out to us. 

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