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It can feel overwhelming when ants keep getting in over and over again. If you're wondering how to get rid of an ant infestation, there are a few suggestions we would make. First, you need to figure out what ants are causing trouble in your home. If they are a species that creates an indoor nest, it is essential to know this. Once you evaluate the ants you see, you need to consider the problems they cause. Some of the ways ants cause problems can provide insight into what you can do about controlling them. Then you can roll your sleeves up and perform some general ant pest control that works for all ants that get into Tucson homes. Join us today as we look at common Tucson ants, problems related to keeping ants out, and six tips for indoor and outdoor ant control. If you would prefer to have a licensed pest professional perform an inspection and select baits, granular products, mound treatments, traps, and other control methods, reach out to us. Conquistador Pest & Termite provides industry-leading pest control in Tucson. We can help you find an effective ant control solution. 

Life Cycle And Diets Of Common Ants

little ant on a leaf

It is helpful to know a little about the ants you're dealing with around your Tucson home, particularly as they relate to keeping ants out. We going to quickly run down through a few important facts that will steer you in the right direction. Let's start with the lifecycle of ants.

  • Ants that create indoor ant nests often bring soil in with them. If you detect soil leaking out of a gap or crack in a wall or out of a baseboard, you've likely found an indoor nest.
  • Many ants create mounds. You can inspect the exterior of your home and look for ant mounds to see where ant activity is the highest. If you also see an entry point in the area, you can bet those ants are entering your home at that point. 
  • Most of the ants in a colony are workers. You can figure out a lot about an ant by examining the workers. Some species have major and minor workers so you'll see two sizes. Some ants are polymorphic and will have a range of sizes. Some ants have one node between the thorax and abdomen. Some have two. Along with these identifying traits, you may also consider the color. While most ants are dark brown or black, some stand out due to their unique coloration.

When you see ants in your home, it is helpful to understand why they came in. Outdoor ants that do not create indoor nests come in for food. If you remove a food source and clean the area of ant pheromones, the ants will stop coming in. What do ants eat?

  • Ants will get into your pantry and eat any food source. Some are attracted to foods with carbohydrates. Others are attracted to protein sources.
  • Ants will eat a rotting apple core in a wastepaper bin. They don't have the same standards you do.
  • Ants can find many food sources in your trash, including decomposing meats, condiments, and produce.
  • Ants will eat pet food.
  • Ants will get into bird feeders and eat seeds or drink the sweet liquid in a hummingbird feeder.
  • Outside your home, ants are often attracted to the nectar in flowering plants, plant sap, and honeydew created by aphids. Good plant health is a deterrent for ants.

Do your best to clean up food debris and juice spills. Protect food that sits on the counter. Manage your trash to prevent odors. Put pet food down only during meals. These are your primary methods for making ants leave your home. 

All The Problems Ants Can Cause In The House

In most cases, ants are just annoying. But there are many ways ants can cause surprising problems. If you understand how ants behave, you will have some insight into how to deter them. Let's quickly look at a few key factors to consider.

  • Some ants that create indoor nests create a material called frass. It is a mixture of insect parts, droppings, and wood shavings. The primary group of ants that do this are carpenter ants. The worst of all carpenter ants is the species known as the black carpenter ant. It is not good to have black carpenter ants in your home because they don't just tunnel in rotting wood; they can damage sound timbers as well. Frass and wood damage may alert you to an indoor nest.
  • Some ants get into electrical outlets and powerboxes. If your lights go out, one of two things has occurred. You have an indoor nest, or you have an access point. An indoor nest will create the level of ant activity needed to cause a short. An access route, such as a branch touching your exterior wall, will allow large numbers of outdoor ants to enter your home at once. Although ant workers can scale your exterior, it is hard work. You won't have thousands of ants getting into your home by scaling your walls. So, a power outage is good evidence of an access route you should address.
  • Some ants spread harmful bacteria. They get into trash cans, mop buckets, drains, and other dirty places. You'll find these ants in these places. Deep cleaning will not only deter these ants but will also help to reduce the risk of stomach illness.
  • Some ants swarm. Ants can swarm in the air or on the ground. The ants that swarm in the air are female and male reproductives. Their job is to create new nests. Watch for these flying ants to detect a current and mature nest in or on your property. The ants that swarm on the ground are workers. When they swarm, they may gather into a biomass, which is basically a clump of ants all stacked on top of each other. A biomass is hard to miss. The good news is that outdoor ants typically create these formations. If you clean up the food source that brought them in, they may all go away.

Now you have the foundation needed to evaluate your ant problem and some tips to help you with ant management. Let's shift gears and get fully into ant control mode.   

Six Easy Yet Effective Ant Prevention Tips For Around The House

The secret to effective ant prevention is addressing food, moisture, habitats, and entry points. We've touched on some of these.

  1. Yard Work. There are many ways yard work will deter ant activity. Removing organic debris, cutting grass, trimming landscaping, and doing other yard work activities reduces moisture that ants drink, reduces pests ants eat, and removes ant habitats.
  2. Reduce Exterior Light. Ants eat insects, both alive and dead. Light attracts insects. When you install motion-sensitive fixtures or replace white light with yellow light, you reduce insect populations around your home.
  3. Manage Trash. Ants can smell decaying organic matter. Have you ever noticed that you can't leave something gross on the ground for long? Ants will come from quite a distance to gather decaying organic material. Keep your receptacles as clean as possible. And make sure not to overfill your receptacles, so that the cover is not propped open.
  4. Weed Control. Long before ants explore your exterior, they find tiny plants in your lawn to feed on. One by one, these plants bring them closer to your home. Eventually, they find their way to your landscaping and exterior walls. You can deter this progression by removing weeds. Learn about pre-emergents, post-emergents, and tips for maintaining healthy and weed-resistant turfgrass. 
  5. Seal Openings. Ants enter your home through gaps and cracks. Even carpenter ants, which have the ability to tunnel through wood, will generally enter through openings that exist already. Your tools for sealing openings are expanding foam, silicon caulk, and mortar.
  6. Home repairs. Many home maintenance jobs will help prevent ant infestations in your home. Keep in mind that weather-proofing and pest-proofing are synonymous.     

There are more tips we could give, but these provide the groundwork needed to evaluate ant problems and keep them out of your home naturally. In most cases, no more control is needed.

The Most Effective Way To Get Rid Of Ants

If the ant pressures in your yard are higher than normal, or you don't have the time or energy to stay on top of all-natural ant prevention, remember that the service team at Conquistador Pest & Termite can help. We provide year-round pest control service plans that manage ants and several other common Tucson pests. We select appropriate products and apply them according to strict protocols so that you, your kids, and your pets can go outside with confidence. We use industry-leading, environmentally friendly products and methods to get the best results with the least amount of materials. It is easy to get started. Jump to our contact page and connect with us. We look forward to helping you find the perfect solution for your pest control needs.   

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