It’s ant season, and soon they’ll be flying! Here we explore how ants enter our homes and how we can keep them out.
First, we’ll answer the big question, “How did they get in?!”
Cracks & Seams
Most homes aren’t tightly sealed, which means there is an exchange between air inside and outside the home. The seams of walls, windows, doors and vents are where this exchange usually takes place, and it’s through the gaps in these seams that ants scurry through to your home.
Inspect the parts of your home where walls meet the floor and ceilings meet corners, where holes have been made to feed through electrical wiring and plumbing, and where plaster and other building materials have split. These tiny every-day issues in our homes are written invitations to ants to come and explore our properties.
Gaps in the foundations of your home could be creating another highway for the tiny critters. Don’t worry, gaps in foundations don’t necessarily indicate structural weakness, or any structural issues for that matter, but foundations that aren’t formed by solid concrete blocks can lead to spaces penetrable by ants on the hunt for food, warmth and moisture.
Inside The Floor
No, that’s not a typo. These tiny pests could very well have found routes inside your floor, beneath carpets, tiles and hardwood flooring. Unfortunately, this particular route of entry (like the opportunity presented by a foundation gap) could be especially difficult to identify.
Unfortunately, not all windows are created equal, and sometimes weak or aged seals leave your home open to an ant invasion. Upon fitting, gaps may have been left between the frame and the wall, which act as open doors (if you’ll excuse the pun) to these tiny but annoying pests.
Due to the issues previously outlined, window frames can collect moisture and create wood rot, providing the perfect home for multiple ant species.
As humans, we might assume that doors are a phenomenon available only to us, but the pesky things use them too. As with windows, not all doors are the same, so even if you’ve recently updated yours with the latest in composite door features, you could still be allowing these rascals to run amok in your home.
Seals along the threshold, sides and top of the door could be allowing these pests through, and doors without a brush sweep could be leaving the home open to intrusion.
When you think about it, our homes are full of holes. Gas lines, water pipes, telephone wires and all other cabling and utilities entering our home from the outside, give ample opportunity to invading ants. (Sealing up these holes will also help to make your home more efficient. That’s a double whammy. Pest-free and lower heating bills! Thank us later)
You Invited Them In!
Sometimes, we’re guilty of the smallest, inconsequential acts that can lead to a sizeable infestation of ants. Pet’s and children’s toys left in the Garden can quickly become home to colonies of ants, that when brought into the home can create a sizeable problem.
Plants brought inside or moved from conservatories and Garden rooms into the main living quarters, could also hide similar surprises. Also watch out for moving hose pipes, storage boxes, appliances, and especially bringing second-hand furniture into the home, as these things could also create a very anty infestation across the property.
Now we’ll tackle “How Do I Stay Ant-Free?”
Seal & Protect
There are huge numbers of silicone-based products on the market that allow you to seal-up the cracks and gaps in and around your home. These cracks are glowing neon signs for ants, so look around windows, vents and utility lines, for possible ways of entry.
Once these areas are sealed, you might wish to shop around to find the most fitting DIY ant spray to use around the sealed spaces. Make sure to read the canister of your chosen DIY treatment carefully, as some may be harmful to small children and pets.
No, you don’t have to become Kim or Aggie to ant-proof your home. Ensure counter-tops are clear of sitting food, crumbs and spilt liquids, and ensure your pet’s food bowls are tidied away after use. Should your pooch be allowed to dine whenever they please, place their bowl into a larger pan (or similar container) filled with a shallow pool of soapy water, and say goodbye to your dog-food-munching ants.
Cleaning kitchen appliances and cabinets is another effective method of staying pest-free. Clean under sinks, ovens, fridges, microwaves, dishwashers and even smaller appliances like toasters, as spaces like these are playgrounds for ants.
Hoovering regularly and taking out the rubbish at the end of each day will also help to keep your home ant-free.
You Can’t Drink Here!
Ever wondered what that line of ants are on the hunt for? More so than food, ants are thirsty creatures and visit our homes in search of a refreshing slurp or two. Fixing any leaking pipes, clogged drains and dripping taps is a great way to ensure you’re not inadvertently luring the critters into your home.
Should you already have an ant problem, work to lower the humidity in your home by adding a dehumidifier and fans, to dry up the wood your uninvited guests are likely infesting. If the problem seems sizeable, get in contact with us.
Should you have found an active entrance area for ants around your home, but don’t have the means to adequately seal it, an insect trap might be a useful tool. Easy to use and a sure-fire way to lower ant numbers, the base of the traps are sticky and trap the insects who walk onto them in their tracks. If they can’t scurry out of the sticky trap, they’re not scurrying into your abode!
You Can’t Stay Here!
Another effective tip for keeping ants out of the home is to eliminate areas outside of the property where they can move or shelter.
For example, remove moss and other mulch growing against your home, and pull plants away from the walls of your property. Paving stones and other decorative features should also be positioned back, as all the aforementioned things are highways and nest-hiders for ants and put the tranquillity of your home at risk.