“How do I get rid of ants?” is one of the most commonly asked questions that we are approached with. Since ants all look somewhat similar, you might think they can all be controlled by using similar methods. However, better control results are more likely if the ants are accurately identified before starting treatment. Control tactics often vary depending on the ant species, due to differences in habitat references, feeding and reproductive behaviors.
In addition to correctly identifying the ant species, it is also important to be educated on ant biology. Ants are social insects, and within each colony, different ants have different jobs. For example, queen ants are responsible for egg-laying, while worker ants tend to younger nest members, construct nests and forage for food. The workers that forage for food, also known as foragers, find and bring back enough food to feed the entire colony. It is the foragers that we most often see when there is an infestation which represent less than 10% of the colony.
When it comes to controlling ants, a Technician will employ a combination of tools from their integrated pest management “toolbox.” One common home ant control tool is chemical control, and as such, there are a variety of chemical control options available. Chemical control options include a variety of liquid pesticide formulations and active ingredient classes. Liquid pesticide applications are directed at nests, areas with ant activity, or perimeter applications to keep ants from entering a structure. Another chemical control option is ant bait, which will eliminate a colony after foraging ants feed on it, and carry it back to the nest to feed it to the rest of the colony.
Ants prefer to make trails along structural elements, such as wires and pipes, and frequently use them to enter and travel within a structure to their destination, so entry points should also be identified and sealed in these locations.
On the inside of your home or business good sanitation practices should be incorporated into the integrated pest management strategy. Good sanitation will reduce food and harborage areas for ants, making that area unattractive to them. Our top sanitation tips are:
- Eliminate cracks and crevices wherever possible, especially in kitchens and where food is prepared.
- Attractive food items such as sugary foods and pet food should be stored in closed containers.
- Empty soft drink containers should be rinsed out and removed from your home or office
- Any grease or spillage should be cleaned up.
- Garbage should be removed from buildings daily and liners need to be changed
For more home ant control tips or advice on how to rid your home of other pests please call Ehrlich at (877) 650-6544 or contact us online.
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