Why Do I Have Ants in My Kitchen?

Why Do I Have Ants in My Kitchen?

The kitchen is one of the most common rooms in your home to have ants, closely followed by the bathroom. The most common ants found indoors are odorous house ants, also known as nuisance ants. While these ants don’t cause structural damage and aren’t considered dangerous to humans or pets, they can contaminate your food and become quite a nuisance to deal with. Carpenter ants are larger black ants that can also get into your home. These ants do cause structural damage by boring through the wood components of your house.

The ants you find in your home don’t actually live there; they build colonies outdoors and come in looking for food and water to take back. These elements are necessary for the colony to live and grow. Scout ants who find these sources leave a pheromone trail for the rest of the colony to follow which is why you will often see ants traveling in a single line. Because they can scale walls and travel between stories in your home, they can spread quickly and be extremely difficult to get rid of.

Ants are attracted by a number of things found in your home. They use crumbs, spills, loosely sealed food packages, dirty dishes, and even pet food bowls to find food. They use leaky pipes, pet water bowls, and standing water for hydration.

What can you do to keep ants from taking over your kitchen? Prevent ants by:

  1. Sweeping and mopping floors regularly.
  2. Cleaning up crumbs and spills immediately.
  3. Wiping down counters and stovetops daily.
  4. Not leaving dirty dishes out overnight.
  5. Emptying trash regularly.
  6. Using trashcans with lids.
  7. Throwing away uneaten pet food or putting it in a sealed container overnight.
  8. Storing pet food in sealed containers versus non-sealing bags.
  9. Cleaning around your pet’s food and water bowls often.
  10. Dumping and replacing pet water frequently from their bowls.
  11. Storing pantry food in sealed containers versus boxes and bags when possible (e.g. cereal, grains, sweets). This also helps prevent other common pantry pests.
  12. Getting rid of overripe food stored on counters.
  13. Repairing leaky pipes.
  14. Eliminating standing water.
  15. Repairing cracks and gaps in foundations.
  16. Not storing firewood next to your home.

Killing just the ants you find in your home won’t eliminate the entire infestation. You must eradicate them at the source – at their colonies. These ants can be difficult to eliminate because individual colonies can number in the thousands and they can be spread out all over your property. For assistance in dealing with ants or any other pests you may find in your home, contact your local pest control company for an evaluation.

 

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Where Did These Ants Come From?

Where Did These Ants Come From?

Ants are the #1 nuisance pest in America. They are one of the most challenging pests to control, along with bed bugs, because their colonies can number in the 1000s. Ants are considered commercial pests because they like to live close to people and eat the same things that we do. Ants can be seasonal pests or a year-round problem depending on the species. They will often enter our homes in the warmer months of the year in search of water and food. Most species, including fire ants and odorous house ants, will build their nests outdoors and come inside in search of food that they will collect and take back to their colonies. Other species like carpenter ants will actually make their way into your home and build their nests indoors. Ants are often found near food sources, moisture, and in hidden areas where they have protection and concealment such as wall voids, under floors, behind window frames, and under appliances. Ants in the bathroom and ants in the kitchen are the two most common scenarios when these pests make their way into your home, although they can be found in other rooms, as well.

Regardless of the species, when ants become a problem in your home it is often necessary to use a professional pest control company to help get them under control. Here are some important aspects to any successful ant control program:

1. Proper Identification

One of the most important components to any ant control program is to properly identify the species of ant you are dealing with. Different species have different behaviors, prefer different environments, and have different diets so treatment will vary greatly between them. It is important to know where to find them and how to treat them to ensure success in eliminating and controlling them.

2. Eliminate Food Sources

One of the main reasons ants come into your home is in search of food to take back to their colony. Eliminating things that attract them can help keep them from taking over your home. Clean up any food crumbs from kitchen floors and countertops and wipe them down frequently. Clean your appliances regularly. Empty your trash routinely and wipe the cans down. Clean outdoor grills and remove crumbs from tables, decks, and patios after each use. Keep foods, including pet food, in sealed containers. Place a bay leaf in canisters of dry food (such as flour) as the scent repels ants and other pantry pests. Rinse any empty containers before placing them in recycling bins. Get rid of any overripe fruit as this will attract ants, as well.

3. Eliminate Moisture

Ants need moisture to survive. Eliminating or reducing the moisture in your home can help prevent ants from coming inside. Repair any leaks around pipes and in your roof. Check gutters to make sure they are not clogged and ensure downspouts are directing rainwater away from foundations. Consider installing gutter guards to help prevent clogs. Thoroughly clean bathrooms with disinfectant cleaners and make sure shampoo, conditioner, and soap bottles are closed tightly and don’t have any leaks.

4. Eliminate Points of Entry

In order to get into your home, ants have to have a way inside. It is important to identify where they are gaining entry into your home to successfully control and eliminate them. Carefully inspect the exterior of your home and seal any holes, gaps, and cracks especially around areas where pipes and wires enter your home. Trim back shrubs and tree branches so they are not touching the sides or roof of your home. Keep mulch and timber at least 2 feet from your foundation. Move debris such as firewood, rock piles, boards, etc away from your home. Remove any tree stumps, fallen tree branches and logs from your yard. Repair any holes in window and door screens and replace weatherstripping.

As always, if you suspect you have an ant problem, contact a professional ant control company who can help you properly identify the species of ant you have and set you up with a thorough and comprehensive treatment and control plan.

 

6 Things You Should Know About Ants in the Kitchen

6 Things You Should Know About Ants in the Kitchen

Ants are the most commonly reported pest in the country. While ants can be found just about anywhere in your home, the kitchen and bathroom are the most common rooms they are spotted in. Tiny black ants, also known as “nuisance ants,” or “odorous house ants,” invade your kitchen in search of food and water. While these nuisance pests are quite common, you may not know much about them. Here are 6 things you should know about these ants in your kitchen.

1. They Don’t Cause Damage

Ants don’t typically live indoors but instead establish colonies around your property. They will then make their way indoors in search of food and water. While odorous house ants can be quite a nuisance when they invade your kitchen, they don’t pose any significant risk to humans or their homes. These ants will feed on food and drink, especially sugary, sweet items and are attracted to crumbs and spills usually found in your kitchen. They don’t, however, bore through wood or cause structural damage to your home.

2. You Can Usually Follow The Source

Ants in the kitchen are usually coming from somewhere and traveling to somewhere. If you follow their trail in both directions you can usually identify the food source that is attracting them. Cleaning up the spill or eliminating the food source will typically eliminate the ant problem. Ants can squeeze through openings the size of a pinhole, however, so while sealing up any entry points you find is a good idea, don’t be surprised if they make their way in again in the future.

3. Ants Are Seasonal

Like most pests, ants are seasonal and incidences typically ebb and flow. Ants most commonly spike in the spring and summer when the weather warms up. This increase in temperature also increases their activity, driving them indoors in droves. They are also much more common following unseasonably warm winters. This is also swarming ant season which also increases their activity.

4. Ants Can Communicate

Ants are very social and have developed communication methods between each other. Ants can communicate through touch and through shared food. This communication helps them to avoid repellent remedies. Repellents like chalk that are placed in a line are often avoided by ants who just go around them. Spraying them with repellents will kill a few on contact but will typically just repel the rest, causing them to scatter but not die. A professional can treat ants with non-repellent products that they will take back to their colonies and disseminate among the entire population.

5. Identification Is Key

Different species of ants are attracted to different things and are treated in different ways. Proper identification is key to complete elimination. If you have an ant problem, try not to kill them all yourself because then your pest control company cannot identify them accurately. Best practice is to either leave them alone or try to collect samples by using tape to pick up a few and placing them in a Ziploc bag.

6. Ants Can Be Difficult To Control

Ant control is difficult as they can get into your home through the tiniest of openings. Most ants are just a nuisance and can be gotten rid of by sealing your food and keeping spills and crumbs cleaned up. This does not, however, get rid of the colonies lurking outside your home waiting to get back in in search of food. If you suspect you have an ant problem or are having difficulty getting rid of an existing ant problem, contact a professional pest control company who can help properly identify the species of ant and provide the appropriate ant control techniques.

 

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Season Changing Pests

Season Changing Pests

Autumn is right around the corner and it brings with it cooler weather, Halloween, football, and a plethora of new pests. As the weather gets colder, pests will seek shelter, food, and warmth in our homes. Different seasons bring different pests and this time of year is no exception. Here are 7 of the most common fall pests and ways to prevent them from invading your home.

RODENTS

Rodents
Rats, mice, and squirrels are among the most common rodents seen in the fall. They need food and warmth to survive the cold winter months. Rats are known to carry disease and can cause potential health problems for you and your family. They also get into food storage and chew through wooden supports. They build their nests in your insulation and can cause fires by chewing through electrical wires. They can fit into small gaps and holes to get into your home and bring fleas, mites, ticks, and lice with them.
Rodents can be prevented by:

  • Storing food in airtight containers.
  • Sealing cracks around your foundation.
  • Keeping your kitchen clean.
  • Decluttering your garage and attic.
  • Using plastic storage containers instead of cardboard.

COCKROACHES

Cockroaches
Cockroaches are the most common fall pest. Cockroaches can be dangerous to your health as they are known to carry 33 different types of bacteria and can cause asthma in children. They are large, fast, and extremely resilient. They like to hide near pipes and drains and are commonly seen in kitchens and bathrooms.
Cockroaches can be prevented by:

  • Keeping kitchens and bathrooms sanitized.
  • Vacuuming frequently.
  • Ensuring cracks around your home are sealed.
  • Storing food in airtight containers.
  • Eliminating sources of standing water.

FLEAS

Fleas
Fleas come into your home on both pets and rodents. While they don’t transmit serious diseases to humans, their bites can be painful and irritating. Fleas can spread throughout your home quickly and can be extremely difficult to get rid of.
Fleas can be prevented by:

  • Keeping grass mowed and shrubs trimmed.
  • Not leaving pet food out overnight.
  • Sealing openings to crawlspaces, garages, sheds, and decks.
  • Using preventative products on your pets.
  • Vacuuming often.
  • Washing pet bedding often.

ANTS

Ants
There are several species of ants that are common in the fall. Ants can move into the walls of your home or underneath your foundations and cause significant damage to your home. Carpenter ants can chew through the wood of your home and compromise its structure. Odorous house ants can get into and contaminate your food.
Ants can be prevented by:

  • Sealing cracks around your foundation.
  • Storing food in airtight containers.
  • Sweeping your floors often.
  • Eliminating sources of standing water.
  • Keeping tree branches and plants cut back from your home.
  • Not storing firewood near the home or indoors overnight.

STINK BUGS

Stink Bugs
Stink bugs actively seek shelter indoors from the cooler weather of fall. Stink bugs don’t transmit diseases, nor do they bite or sting. They can, however, cause damage to clothing, furniture and other fabrics with their droppings. They emit a strong odor when they are frightened, disturbed, or squashed as a defense mechanism against predators.
Stink bugs can be prevented by:

  • Checking your belongings before bringing them inside the home.
  • Making sure screens on doors and windows are in good repair or, if not, that they are replaced.

SPIDERS

Spiders
There is a significant increase in the number and variety of spiders that appear in the fall. Fall is mating season for most spiders so they are actively seeking mates before winter sets in. The most common spiders seen in the fall are house spiders, which are responsible for the cobwebs you often see in your home, wolf spiders, and hobo spiders.
Spiders can be prevented by:

  • Sealing cracks and crevices around your home.
  • Turning porch lights off at night to decrease the number of bugs around your home for spiders to eat.
  • Dusting regularly.
  • Removing cobwebs as soon as you find them.

BED BUGS

Bed Bugs
Travel in the fall increases with a large number of sporting events, family gatherings, and students heading back to school and college. Bed bugs ride on clothing, suitcases, and even school bags. While they don’t spread disease, they do leave behind itchy red welts. Bed bugs are extremely difficult to control and eliminate.
Bed bugs can be prevented by:

  • Inspecting hotel rooms and dorms before unpacking.
  • Keeping personal belongings off the floor in public places.
  • Checking suitcases before bringing them back into your home.

Ants Are Back!

AntAnts have been making their presence known in homes as of late.  Ants are one of the most common pests that homeowner’s and pest professionals find in and around homes.  Common ant species are fire ants, carpenter ants, Argentine ants, acrobat ants, and odorous house ants.

Ants have a wide range of habits.  Some ants build mounds in the ground, others are found in homes near cracks and crevices, on counters, in kitchen sinks, pantries, and even bathrooms.  Knowing the different species of ants and their habits and preferences is key in controlling an ant problem.

Most ants are simply a nuisance pest.  They cause little damage but will invade and ruin food and some ants bite.  Generally speaking, there are no diseases associated with ants.

A licensed pest professional can identify the type of ant that you are experiencing and develop a customized plan to get rid of ants.  With this process, you are using the least amount of chemical possible (if any) while also coming up with a plan that will deter ants from returning.  If you are one of the many homeowner’s experiencing ants right now, call Northwest Exterminating at 888.466.7849 or visit www.callnorthwest.com

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