How To Identify And Get Rid Of An Ant Infestation In Your Elk Grove Home

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When you walk into your kitchen and see ants crawling all over your trash can or counters, you don't have to wonder if you have an ant infestation. But some ant problems aren't this obvious. It is important to diagnose an ant control problem as some ants are worse than others. In this article, we'll provide a complete guide to detecting ants, evaluating ant problems, getting rid of ants, and keeping them out of your home permanently. We'll offer up some smart, DIY ant prevention tips you can use and also share some of the methods professionals use to get effective control of ants. Of course, you can always get ant pest control near you by contacting Bell Pest Control for service in Elk Grove. Our service technicians use several control products and methods to target ant colonies and stop ants at the source. When you need professional pest control in Elk Grove, we're the company to call on. Connect with us by phone, text, or via our contact page for fast and professional assistance.

Signs Of An Ant Infestation

ants on fruit

Ants in Elk Grove are tiny pests, but they're not hard to see when they enter a home in large numbers. Those tiny specks scrambling around on the floor, counter, or other surface will catch your attention at some point—but there are ways they can hide from view. They may also appear in a way that won't trouble you enough to take action. Let's consider each of these.

Hidden Ants:

When ants invade your home, they may hide in your walls and come out only at night to feed on food sources in your kitchen or pantry. If they are active during the day, they can still hide from your attention if they've made a nest in a pantry wall. The only warning sign you may get is one you may not even realize is related to ants. These tiny insects can cause electrical problems. If the lights go off in your kitchen, you may have an ant infestation. The secret to detecting ants is rolling up your sleeves and searching for ant activity. 

  • Use a flashlight to look under appliances. 

  • Check cracks and crevices. 

  • Look for dirt leaking out of cracks. 

  • Check around objects that sit on the floor in your pantry.

  • Check in the cabinet underneath your kitchen sink. 

When you find ants, follow their trails. Those ants may lead you back to the entry point they used to invade your home. If they do, you can seal the gap or hole, suck the ants up with a vacuum, and clean surfaces with soapy water to address the problem.

Scout Ants:

Before ants invade your home, you may see one ant every once in a while. That one ant isn't a danger on its own, but, if you don't stop it, you could have trouble. The reason one scout ant can cause trouble is that it will lay down an invisible scent trail if it finds food as it heads back to the nest. The other worker ants can follow this trail to the food and do the same. As the scent of the trail grows, so will the number of ants following the trail into your home. Within a short time, one scout ant can turn into a mob of ants. If this occurs more than once, the ants may create an indoor nest, depending on the species. One helpful tip about scout ants is to take time and consider what ant species you're seeing. If you have carpenter ants in your house, it is likely that you have an indoor nest because they create galleries and nest inside wood. What does a carpenter ant look like?

  • Carpenter ants are larger than all other ant pests. Workers are between ¼ and ½ of an inch long.

  • Winged carpenter ants are roughly twice the size of the workers and can be ? to over 1 inch long.

  • Carpenter ants are entirely black or reddish brown with a dark abdomen.

  • In a carpenter ant colony, there are major and minor workers. If you see more than one ant, consider whether or not there is a size difference.

It is a good idea to keep ants out of your home. The way to do this is by applying ant control in your yard and pest-proofing your home. Before we continue on to ant control and prevention, let's quickly look at the health risks.

The Health Risks Of An Ant Infestation

It is critical to detect ants in your home. While they are mostly nuisance pests, there are hazards. Obviously, carpenter ants can damage your property, and it is important to catch them and stop them early. But all ants have the ability to make you sick if they crawl in unsanitary areas and then crawl on your cutting board, dishes, or other items that should remain clean. They can also spread germs when they get into stored foods.

Some ant species are drawn to decaying organic matter and the scent of a juice spill or food splatters will bring them into your home. Once inside, they present a low-level, but continual, health risk. The germs they spread can cause stomach ailments. 

It is important to keep in mind that ants groom themselves and they can invade food or climb on surfaces without leaving illness-causing bacteria. You're not going to immediately get sick from ants crawling around inside your home. But the risk is always there. You can reduce the risk by keeping your home clean and by managing trash.

The Best Way To Get Rid Of An Ant Infestation

We described earlier what you can do to stop ants. The secret is to track the ant trails, seal the entry points, suck up the ants, dispose of the bag outside, and wash surfaces with soapy water. We will share details about each of these in the next section and offer some tips that will also reduce the chances of future infestation. Before we do, let's look at the best way to deal with ants in your home.

All-natural ant control works most of the time, but an indoor nest, conducive indoor conditions, or high exterior ant pressures can complicate things. For this reason, residents turn to ant control products such as sticky traps, ant baits, and topical control materials. Unfortunately, DIY ant control is frustrating because ant control isn't simple. You have to know which bait ants will take. You need to know how to apply a multi-pronged strategy to get complete control. You need to apply materials in a way that won't harm you, your kids, or your pets. You need to avoid home remedies that fail for lack of science, such as spraying vinegar and water on ants. Can you eliminate ants on contact with vinegar and water? Yes. But applying it to a surface will do nothing. They'll go around it or climb over the surface once it dries. So, what is the best way? Hire a trained and experienced pest management professional. A service technician will do some or all of the following:

  • Inspect your home and catalog ant routes, entry points, and conducive conditions.
  • Identify the ant species and select baits and other products that work on your specific ants.
  • Apply several products according to field-tested strategies.
  • Monitor ant activity after treatment and perform inspections to make sure no ants remain.
  • Apply pest-proofing in key areas to create physical barriers that will deter ants.
  • Apply proper materials around your exterior to add a layer of protection that will keep ants and other pests out.
  • Apply spot treatments to reduce the number of insects around your home, which are a food source for certain ants.

Once the ants are gone, it is time to think about how you can prevent future ant infestations. We have a few suggestions that will help you manage ants with all-natural methods.

Tips To Prevent Ants From Returning

All-natural ant control begins on the inside of your home. So, we're going to start there and work our way out, step by step. These tips require no specialized knowledge of pest control but you may need some general handyman skills.

  • Keep your home as clean as possible to remove food options for ants.

  • Repair leaking faucets to remove water sources.

  • Store pantry foods in sealed plastic containers.

  • Suck ants up with a vacuum and dispose of the bag outside.

  • Keep trash in a covered receptacle and wash the receptacle periodically.

  • Seal gaps around pipes that come into your kitchen.

  • Use a caulking gun to seal around window and door frames.

  • Make sure all exterior doors have complete seals.

  • Repair or replace window and door screens.

  • Reduce insect populations near your home by replacing white lights with yellow lights.

  • Reduce insect populations near your home by cleaning gutters and trimming vegetation in your landscaping.

  • Get trash to the curb weekly and use soapy water to keep your receptacles free of strong odors.

  • Address aphids quickly to prevent them from leaving honeydew, which is a food source few ant species can resist.

  • Address flowering weed problems to reduce sources of nectar.

  • Rake leaves and remove dead branches near your foundation.

If you are diligent, you can get control of ants, reduce ant activity, and seal ants out of your home. For more control, keep Bell Pest Control in mind. We offer effective ant control in Elk Grove as a part of our residential pest control service plans. Connect with us today to get started with your pest control plan.

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