The Search for Food
•No matter what kind of ants have invaded your home, it is likely that a quest for food brought them there. Ants live in families made up of a queen (usually one, but sometimes more), some males to assist with reproduction, and multitudes of sterile females who are the workers of the colonies. It is the job of the workers to go out and find food and return it to the nest. When an ant locates a food source, she leaves a chemical trail behind as she makes her way back to the nest. This trail allows other worker ants to find the food source and help carry back the food. As long as the food source is available, the ants will continue to forage for food there. Meanwhile, the well-nourished queen continues to lay eggs and the family increases in size.
•While nearly all ants enter the home to find food, some return the food to nests outdoors, while others actually build their nests inside. These ants typically burrow into wet or decaying wood and make their colonies there. In this scenario, it is not enough to simply block access to your house as the ants are already inside. They will likely remain inside as long as there continues to be a food source. Additionally, unless you kill the queen, the ants will continue to increase in number.
Factors That Contribute to an Ant Infestation
•It does not take much to lure an ant indoors but there are a few things that seem to be especially enticing to worker ants. First and most obvious, keep food sealed and put away at all times. An open container or even crumbs on a counter serve as invitations to an ant. Next, seal any visible cracks or openings in your home. These may be found around windows and doorways, behind baseboards, and underneath light fixtures. Finally, be aware of any leaks that may cause water to saturate wood in your home. Wet and decaying wood are appealing to some ants.
Eliminating an Ant Infestation
•Ant infestations are a nuisance and are often difficult to eliminate. A combination of pest control methods may be employed for best results. If you have ants that are nesting in your home, it is important that you locate the nest and destroy it. This ensures that you kill any queens, effectively stopping future growth of the ant colony. If the ants in your home reside outdoors, ant bait should be used both inside and outside the house. Worker ants carry the bait back to the nest where it poisons the colony. It is also important to thoroughly clean the point of entry so as to remove any trace of the chemical trail left behind by worker ants.
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