Ants are not fatal or detrimental. However, they form an annoyance in most forms as they start to crawl in one location or appear in a group. Worse of all, they can reappear despite efforts in getting rid of ants, and some might experience stinging bites unknowingly. In this article, Rentokil shares the five reasons ants are not favoured appearing in our homes and ant prevention tips we can adopt for a pest-free home.
Ants are tiny and difficult to spot
The biggest challenge in dealing with enemies such as pests is not able to detect and spot them easily. Some pests hide underground or in burrows, while some appear only at night when we go to bed. Ants appear in daytime; however, they are perhaps too tiny and small to even notice and detect easily, thus going scot-free in elimination efforts.
Pests such as bed bugs and cockroaches with obvious infestation signs (for example shed skin and bloodstains coming from bed bugs and eggs and urine stains from cockroaches), ants exude less obvious and visible infestation signs. They can be identified with presence of visible and physical live ants crawling around in the home (especially where you may find food and water), ants’ line or pathway where they rely on to navigate around with their pheromones, and ant nest that look like soil or dusts if we did not look carefully. Hence, engaging in home checks with proper pest detection tools can help identify their presence effectively and accurately.
Professional pest control specialists are trained to locate high key areas and popular pest hide outs such as dark and quiet corners, behind appliances, within cabinets and corners of wall skirting.
They tend to return even after treatments
Most common frustration when dealing with pests is of course the investment required and damages they cause to our health, home and safety. However, pests like ants do return and occur despite efforts in eliminating them. Ineffectiveness of treatments and remedies can happen base on a few reasons, and not resolving the efficacy problem can cause long-term frustration and disruption to our home activities:
- Inadequate or inconsistent ant’s treatment carry out
- Wrong type of pest species (or ant types) identified
- Inferior or ineffective pesticides and active ingredient used
- Locations and areas to treat are identified wrongly
- Using DIY home remedies that have efficacy limitation
- Poor housekeeping and sanitation quality
- Compromised integrity of homes allowing ants entries
- Presence of water and moisture that attracts pests
Ants contaminate food and cause bites
Food contamination symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, stomach and abdominal cramps and headache are not pleasant, and in severe cases such as the Salmonella and E. coli, they can result in dehydration due to fluid loss. Hence, food contamination from bacteria transmitted from ants is one reason why we do not like the presence of ants around us.
Another reason that ants are damaging is that some species such as the fire ants’ bite. They cause painful and stinging bites where they inject a venomous chemical into us as they sting and bite that causes burning pain, swell and itch. It can cause blisters, and for some cases, may generate a reaction or allergy. It is important not to neglect pest bites and, in this case, fire ant bites because poorly medicated wounds not only may result in skin allergy and infection, but severe condition leading to anaphylaxis and death.
Easily mistaken as termites or white ants
Because of the term used to name termites as white ants, they are often mistaken for one another. No doubt that they look similar unless identified by professionals, we will recognise either species wrongly easily. For example, termites have the same size and shape of their wings with a straight body and uniformed body, however, ants have larger front wings and narrow waist with bent elbow antennae. Termites build their colony underground while ant nests are hidden well in quiet and less-visible hiding spots. They feed on different food sources where termites go for wood and cellulose material and ants have similar food preference as individuals. Read on the full article to find out the difference between termites and ants.
Damage home furniture when goes undetected
Carpenter ants are one of the ant species that destroy your furniture because of their need to tunnel their way out of the wooden furniture. They are often mistaken for ants as both have close association with wood. Termites for example feed on wood and infest wooden furniture like the Dry wood Termite, however carpenter ants feed on sweets and juices. In terms of outlook, nest type and areas they infest, both termites and carpenter ants differ. More importantly, the type of treatment carried out for both species differ. Termite treatments typically involve a more complex and intensive treatment process. They require drilling, injection, foaming and baiting and active ingredients are specific to control a termite colony. However, ants’ treatments are usually in gel and residual spray with carefully designed dilution rate of the active ingredient.
What do we do if our homes have ants’ infestation?
Suffering from ants’ invasion in a home is frustrating, especially when they plant their presence in every part of the home. These include the dining hall, living room, bathroom and kitchen. Here are some checklists if your home has ants’ problem.
- Do not attempt to remove the ant’s colony in your home such as spraying directly at ants as some species react differently to sprays (for example the Pharaoh Ants)
- Some ants bite like the fire ants, and provoking the aggressive ant species may put yourself in health danger and risks of ant bites
- Take a photo of the places with ants’ presence for documentation and sharing with a pest control
- Engage a professional pest control provider to flush out the ant’s population while maintaining a programme to protect the home further
- Maintain a clean environment and eliminating food sources (and moisture) for ants that promote habourage
- Clear clutters and junks in the kitchen, storeroom and balcony to avoid chances of ants to hide and breed
- Constantly check for specific key risk areas where ants will lurk and hide in order to take proactive action against ants’ elimination
- Ants are tiny creatures and enter homes easily, seal off any possible holes, gaps, openings and crevices resulting from environment, home condition, degeneration and usage level.
- Remember not to neglect outdoor pest control as pests are cross infestation and there are outdoor driven pests such as fire ants and termites
- Learn to identify signs of ants such as ant nests, physical ants crawling around and bites to take proactive steps in pest management
- Ensure you engage credible pest control companies with safe and effective treatment to avoid falling into a pest re-infestation problem.
What do we need to know about ant control?
We should engage ants’ control as ongoing protection
Ants occur due to food and water presence. This results from poor housekeeping, inadequate sanitation and property integrity gaps. Hence, pest prevention for ants should be engaged on a consistent and regular and ensure no lapses in between. This means engaging a pest control company to treat your home and protect against ant’s infestation on a long-term basis. Typically, ants’ treatments are conducted on a monthly basis for a residential home. However, if there is a heavy infestation, a more intensive service is required.
Natural remedies to rid ants are usually ineffective
There are many natural and DIY pest eradication methods shared around. However, how effective are they in getting rid of pests? Some of the natural ways to get rid of ants include using spices, vinegar, essential oils, cucumber peels and some believe drawing lines of barrier with chalk can prevent ants. All of these remedies aim to deter and repel pests such as ants, as they rely on pheromones or chemical signals to find their way around for food and direction. However, masking with smell may work to some extent, particularly if the environment has serious odor. It does not eliminate the root source of the problem by removing its breeding sites or controlling the population.
Proper housekeeping is necessary to integrate treatments
Pest control does not work effectively if you rely only on pest control services to keep infestation under control. This is because infestation occurs due to poor housekeeping where abundance of food supplies is available for ants. They feed on a wide range of food including sweets, sugar, protein, crumbs, and fats or grease. Water is also their basic survival means, which is available in homes easily. Hence, it is important to upkeep the home cleanliness to synergise the treatments effectively. This means, sweeping up all food crumbs, wiping off moisture and drink spills, removing grease and oil and closing all entries for ants. You may use kitchen organisers and work on interior designs to promote better pest management in the kitchen. Read here to find out the 10 useful kitchen organising tips to prevent pest from invading.
Ants’ treatment includes baiting, gel and spray
There is a systematic way in carrying out pest control solution for a home. Firstly, the pest control specialist will arrange a site survey of your home (or treated premise). They determine pest infestation level, type of ant species, area to treat and risk factors to consider. Secondly, you will be required to prepare your home before a treatment is carried out. Removing clutters, shifting some items and furniture or ease of treatment and covering sensitive surfaces for safety a. Thirdly, ants’ treatment involves residual spray or misting, applying gel and insect monitoring units for adequate control. Fourthly, inspection and monitoring are necessary to ensure control is in place. This helps reduce the presence of spikes or sudden infestation recurrence. Above all, credible pest control companies also value add by recommending useful pest prevention tips and proofing remedies to enhance control quality.
Useful information and articles on ants’ treatment
- How do we find ants in our homes?
- Find out the four quick tips on how to get rid of ants in the house
- Why should we be wary and concerned over fire ants?
- Does using cucumber peel effective to rid ants?
- Ways on how remedy for ants at home are ineffective
- How do we manage ants’ problem in the home?
- What are the four ant species you need to know?
- Seven essential facts we must know about ants
- Learn the difference between flying termites and ants