Ants are opportunistic insects and can build a colony almost anywhere on the planet. Sadly, our houses are not an exception. Ants have proven to be a nuisance to many home owners since they can establish nests both indoors and outdoors. They seem to appear out of nowhere all at once. Ants are attracted to sweet things. Because of this, our kitchens are most vulnerable to an ant infestation. They also attracted to the spills and crumbs that we leave around the house.
How do I find out where ants are coming from? There is a two-step process to doing this: identify where they are coming from, or their point of origin. This will help you tackle the problem at the source. Next, you can now find a permanent solution by trapping them, sealing off their access, destroying their nests or shelters, among other solutions.
This article will help you understand how ants find their way into the house. This is a crucial step in preventing or stopping an ant infestation.
Identify the Entry Point
1. Cracks and Seams in the Walls
Most houses are not entirely sealed. Most homes usually have openings that allow air exchange between the house and outside. These openings are often found on seams of windows, doors, and walls. These openings are large enough to create pathways for ants into and out of your house. You should start by looking for seams where the wall transitions to a ceiling, floor or corner. You should also check for openings created in the wall for the vents, window, electric lines, plumbing pipes, or any other outlet. Large enough cracks also provide paths for ants to find a way into your home.
Windows are an essential part of the house. Windows let in fresh air and sunlight. However, they also let in many insects, including ants, into your home. Ants may get in through an open window, or through the gaps found on the window frame. These are easy openings for ants to get through. In addition, wooden frames collect moisture and if the frame is wooden, it can rot. This may provide a good environment for several species of ants to establish a colony.
We use doors to enter the house. Similarly, ants use the door as the best way of gaining access to your house. It is especially easy for them to get into your home if your doors are poorly sealed. It is, therefore, important to check if your door has seals at the bottom, the sides and on top. Since doors are frequently used, the seals should be checked regularly to see if the seals are worn out. The frequent usage of doors may also result in the development of cracks which may be used by ants as a passageway into the house.
4. Gaps in the Foundation
Most homes are built on a strong foundation that is able to withstand harsh conditions. They are, however, not always airtight since some gaps form during construction. These gaps are large enough to allow ants to access your home. Ants are especially a huge problem for houses built on a wooden foundation. The warmth and accumulation of moisture provides ideal conditions for ants to build a nest.
5. Beneath the Floor
Ants are known to invade almost any part of the house. Because of their small size, ants could be moving around the house beneath the floors. Ants are known to establish travel routes beneath tile and hardwood flooring and underneath carpets. This may make finding the entry point of ants into a room difficult. In addition, the ants may be using your subflooring to get around the house. This is because most subflooring is made up of pieces of plywood sandwiched against each other. The gaps between the plywood provides enough space for the small ant species to move around.
6. Utility Lines
There are a lot of openings in your house created for the purpose of letting in water, telephone, cable, electricity and natural gas lines. If your home is infested with ants, there is a big chance that the ants are using these openings to get into your house. It is, therefore, important to check the entry points of these utility lines from time to time for any ant activity.
7. A Nest in the House
If you have an ant infestation in your house, chances are that there is a nest in your home. The ants you are seeing may have been born in your house. If your wall has a huge enough opening or if there is rotting wood somewhere in your house, some ant species may use this space to build a nest.
8. House Plants
Sometimes, the ants may be brought into the house unintentionally. One of the most common ways of unintentionally causing an ant invasion in your house is by moving plants from outside into the house. One of the plants may be a host to a colony of ants and may be the source of the invasion. Other ways that large groups of ants can be brought into the house include being brought in on used furniture, storage tubs, pipes, hoses, among other appliances.
Find the Scent Trail
Ants have a scent trail that they use to find their way to a food source. This trail, however, is invisible to humans, making it challenging to be found unless you are present when the ants are following the trail. You can identify the scent trail by watching the ants travel along a specific path. Ants do this and will very rarely deviate from their specific paths, unless when searching for new food sources. By following this trail, you will be able to identify both their food source and where they are coming from.
More often than not, you will find the trail leading into the kitchen. Not only is the kitchen packed with food, it also has a sink that acts as a source of water. The kitchen has what the ants need to survive. Another place where the scent trail is likely to lead is into the bathroom. Bathrooms are almost always damp, thus making them a very likely target of an ant infestation. They often build nests under sinks or behind bathroom tiles. It is therefore important to occasionally inspect the toilets and sinks for any leaks.
Solve the Problem
1. Remove Moisture
Apart from having a sweet tooth, ants are also attracted to areas that have water or moisture. Ants therefore, may be attracted to your house due to clogged drains, dripping faucets or leaky pipes. By fixing these, you will have eliminated one of the major things that attracts ants to your home. It also helps to reduce the humidity levels in your house by using fans or a dehumidifier. This will dry any potential habitats for the ants.
2. Trap the Ants
There are several baits available in the market that can be used to get rid of an ant infestation in your house. You could use liquid ant baits. The liquid bait is a sweet-tasting liquid that is infused with borax, a substance which is poisonous to ants. To achieve the best results, the bait is set in places where you have seen ant activity. The ants will naturally be attracted to the sweet-tasting liquid that will eventually kill them. You could also try using a sticky cardboard surface to trap the ants. This trap contains no insecticides. You could place the sticky trap on a commonly used path to trap them.
3. Tidy Up
Cleaning up immediately after making a mess is a simple but effective way of getting rid of an ant invasion. Ensure that you clean the floor, the countertops, and any other surface by removing any food debris that may attract the ants. You should also keep the trash cans and pet bowls clean of any food particles. You should clean with soapy water to get rid of any scent.
4. Get rid of their Shelters
Another effective way of solving an ant infestation problem in your home is by getting rid of potential areas where ants can find shelter. Ants are versatile insects and can establish colonies anywhere depending on their species. When inspecting for their shelters, you should focus especially under debris on the yard, in logs of firewood, in utility and electrical boxes, beneath the siding on your house, in heaps of dirt in the yard, among other places. You should eliminate these potential shelters or ensure that they are a good distance from your house. This will prevent the ants from finding their way into your house.
5. Seal the Openings
Sealing the cracks and openings that may allow ants into your home is an effective way of getting rid of an ant infestation in your home. This could be done using a silicone-based caulk. The places to concentrate on to prevent further invasions include vents, around utility line openings, baseboards, windows, etc.
6. Limit their Access to Sweet Staples
You could control an ant invasion by limiting the access to what they seek. You could do this by ensuring all the sweet staples such as sugar, honey, and syrup are stored in tightly shut containers. The containers should also be wiped down to get rid of any sticky residue. You should also get rid of any over ripe fruits in the house as they will attract ants.
Although ants have many entry points that they can use to invade your house, it is possible to completely remove them from your home. Finding out where they are coming from is the first step in achieving this. Hopefully, this article will help you take this first step in getting rid of ants from your home.