Ants are social insects, which live together in distinct colonies. Within each colony are different types of individuals, each with a specific function. All ant colonies contain one or more reproductives, most notably the queen, whose primary purpose is to lay eggs. The eggs hatch into white, grub like larvae, which later develop into pupae. Colonies also contain adult worker ants that feed and care for the queens and developing brood. It is these workers that you see foraging for food and water, often-great distances from the colony.
Certain times of the year, mature ant colonies produce large numbers of winged individuals known as swarmers. These winged ants emerge from the nest to mate and establish new colonies. When a swarm of ants emerge inside a home, it’s an indication that a nest is present within the structure. Fortunately, the success rate for swarmers establishing new colonies inside buildings is extremely low. Nonetheless, hundreds of winged ants emerging inside a home can be very disturbing and often mistaken for termites.
Ants build their nests in many different locations both inside and outside of buildings. Most ant species prefer to nest outdoors in soil or wood, entering homes in search of food and water. Outdoors nesting ants are especially likely to invade buildings when weather conditions are very wet or dry. Other types of ants establish nests within structures, using hollow spaces behind walls, cracks beneath floors, and structural wood as typical nesting sites. Control of indoor nesting ants requires a somewhat different approach than for ants nesting outdoors, because the nests are usually hidden and inaccessible.
Tips For Ant Control
1. Correct moisture problems (or poor moisture conditions) such as leaky roofs and blocked gutters.
2. Correct poorly vented attics or crawl spaces.
3. Store garbage cans in dry places (not under kitchen sinks). Empty garbage often and keep the area clean.
4. Trim tree limbs so they don’t touch or hang over you house.
5. Consider replacing or restoring rotted or water damaged wood.
6. Inspect possible entry points, such as windows, and doorframes and pipes for small openings and caulk them.
7. Examine firewood and remove infested logs. Use your firewood quickly once your bring them inside.
8. Remove dead trees and stumps and repair-damaged trees.
9. Inspect plants for ants before bringing them indoors. Remove plants that attract ants.