People tend to think that ant infestations only hit dirty properties, but the truth about pests is hardly so black and white. While insects are attracted to grimey, cluttered areas for the food waste and shelter they provide, the truth is that pests will look for ways inside of literally any structure. Learning how ant colonies form, and what you should do about them, will help you avoid nasty pest populations in your Houston area home.
Common House Ants To Spot
Some of the most common invasive pests in the world are ants, and there are as many different species as there are ways for them to get onto properties. Ants typically start outdoors, forming their tunnels or mounds in loose soil in your yard. As they grow, though, ant populations look for new and abundant food sources to support their ever-expanding numbers. Most ants won’t do anything more than contaminate food sources and gross you out, but some can pose far greater health and property risks. That’s why it’s important to spot ants before they grow out of control. Here are some of the most common in the area:
- Sugar ants: This category might as well include a wide variety of common invasive ant species because many of them are attracted to sugary aromas from fruit or leftover food traces. Most are tiny and black.
- Carpenter ants: These look a lot like other ants but they behave more like termites. Carpenter ants bore into household woods to make their tunnels, meaning they pose structural risks, too.
- Fire ants: These are some of the most aggressive and harmful ants around thanks to their rear stingers that administer burning venom. It’s not typically lethal, though some people have bad reactions to the stinger compound and no one finds a fire ant sting pleasant.
What Attracts Them & How They Get In
The reason ant identification is so necessary is that all kinds of ants, from harmless nuisance varieties to more dangerous ones, are often attracted to a property for the same reasons. You don’t want to find out too late that the ants you thought were sugar ants are actually carpenter ants that have been chewing through your walls. Even carpenter ants are attracted by the food, water, and shelter that our homes provide. Unlike termites, carpenter ants don’t eat the wood that they bore into, meaning they can be found crawling all over stored foods and the areas where we prepare our meals. While many ants are outdoor pests, they are driven inside in far greater numbers as the weather outside cools and becomes less inhabitable. They seek shelter inside our warm structures, capable of not only surviving the winter but thriving. Once ants move indoors, other pests that hunt them, like spiders, follow them inside. This is why it’s important to routinely take steps to lower your risk of infestation and to act quickly to address existing ant problems in your business or home.
Ant Prevention For Your House
Knowing what attracts ants won’t help much if you don’t translate that knowledge into action. Here are some ways that every homeowner can reduce their risk of invasion by ants and other pests:
- Food storage: The less accessible food sources are to ants, the less they can thrive on your property. Keep food stored in secure areas and non-flimsy containers, and deep clean regularly. Don’t forget about pet food, too.
- Trash storage: Ants and other pests can find all the food they need in the garbage can, thanks to the food waste we throw away every day. Make sure your bins are securely lidded both inside and outdoors.
- Crack sealing: Ants can fit where larger pests cannot, so you need to frequently check for and repair any holes or cracks in your exterior that ants can use to gain entry.
Professional Solutions Can Help
While every property owner should do their best to address the factors that attract pests, even structures that are less attractive than others can still wind up with ant populations, especially if weather factors or predators drive them inside for safety. That’s why the most effective course of action is to ask professionals for help. At TNT Home & Commercial Services, we can provide you with more tips for how you can keep pests out and reduce the factors that attract them. We can get started on an inspection of your home right away, walking you through these steps and making sure that a trained set of eyes has searched high and low for pest populations or problem areas where an infestation could start. From there, we target prevention and elimination methods for your property and budget, ensuring that infestations never take hold and cause larger issues.
To get started on proper home pest control, contact us today.