Ant infestations are the worst. Unfortunately, here in the Pacific Northwest they’re a regular part of life. In addition to being gross and inconvenient, they can be hard to truly get rid of.
At EcoCare Pest Solutions, we have tons of experience purging Ants from Portland homes once and for all. In this month’s post, we’ll go over…
- Why Ant infestations develop
- Home hotspots for Ant infestations
- How to get rid of Ant infestations
Why do Ant infestations develop?
Depending on the type of Ant that has taken up residence in your home, your infestation could be caused by a variety of factors. For most households though, the cause comes down to 1 of 2 factors (or in many cases both):
- Food source: Ants are always looking for food. Once they find a supply, they won’t leave until the supply is gone. Pet food, sugary food, and rogue crumbs are common targets for Ants.
- Ant nest: Once an Ant nest has been established, your home will be a target until it’s eliminated. Ants love wet and rotting wood, so if your home has recently experienced water damage or is currently experiencing a leak, it’s particularly vulnerable.
Where are common hotspots for Ant infestations?
Did you know that the Ants you see are only 1-5% of the Ant population in your home?
While Ants can be found anywhere in the home, there are a couple places that are particularly vulnerable. These include:
- Kitchens: Given an Ant’s drive for food, it should be no surprise that kitchens are the largest hotspot for Ant infestations in the home. This is especially true if food is left out, dishes pile up, or food is not well stored.
- Bathrooms: Bathrooms are a hotspot of Ant behavior. Leaked water and moisture build up from showers providing an ideal home for Ants.
- Walls and insulation: Ants (particularly Carpenter Ants) are quite commonly found inside walls and insulation. This can be particularly damaging since they may not make themselves immediately visible.
- Rotted window frames: A particularly common way for Ants to get into your home, Ants often congregate around rotted windows. This provides both a place for nests to develop and a way for them to access the home in the first place.
5 Simple ways to stop Ant infestations
Keep danger areas clean
Given that most Ant infestations start with a food source and develop unchecked from there, the simplest way to stop Ants is to prevent the infestation from developing in the first place.
Ant colonies work by having “scout Ants” head out in search of food. Once they find sustenance, more Ants will follow to bring back food to the colony.
We recommend making sure all of the hotspots listed above are cleaned. Some other cleaning and storage tips to prevent Ant infestations include:
- Cleaning up grease spills as soon as they happen
- Thoroughly rinsing soda and juice containers before recycling
- Not leaving any food in open air storage containers like bowls
- Making sure any sugary foods are stored in tight containers and the containers are wiped clean after use
- Be careful with pet food — bowls should be cleaned regularly and food should not be left out for long periods of time. Make sure to store in something other than an open bag, too!
- Cleaning water build up in sinks or next to pipes immediately
- Cleaning and scrubbing bathroom thoroughly
- Making sure shampoo and soap containers in showers and bathtubs are sealed
- Make sure any water or food spills in your bedroom are cleaned promptly. This is a particular issue in children’s bedrooms.
Find potential entry points and seal
Locating and sealing entry points will help stop the flow of Ants into your home. While it may seem like an impossible task given how small Ants are, the spots you should try to find are actually quite easy to locate and will go a long way. These spots include:
- Torn window or door screens
- Large openings under doors
- Rotted windows
- Cracks in your foundation
By sealing up these areas, you will help stop the flow of Ants and prevent a worsening of any infestation. Even if you don’t notice any Ants right now, looking and attempting to discover any entry points now may stop an infestation from developing.
Remove rotted wood
Ants love rotting wood. While even Carpenter Ants can make their way through solid, dry wood, they prefer and will tunnel through wet or water damaged wood.
If there are any areas that’ve been water damaged in your home, remove and repair the area immediately with new material. Even if it’s dry now, the wood has still been weakened if it’s suffered water damage, giving Ants an excellent opportunity to tunnel into your home and build a nest. This is particularly important in your bathroom, where water damage is common underneath flooring and behind cabinets and showers.
Eliminate Ant trails
It’s what every homeowner fears — getting home from a long day at work to see a trail of Ants in the kitchen. When you see this, act fast! Wipe up all of the Ants and dispose of them.
Clean the trail with a mixture of 1 parts vinegar to 3 parts water. This will stop the flow of Ants into your home from wherever they are traveling from, likely the outdoors. Unfortunately, while this will be an effective way of disorienting new Ants from getting to the nest, the Ants already in your home will not be leaving without further action.
Eliminate Ant nests
Eliminating an Ant colony nest is crucial to solving an Ant infestation. Any other solution will not truly rid your home of Ants. Unfortunately, in order to exterminate a nest you need to find it and come up with a safe way to destroy them.
While at times they can be easy to find, Ant nests are often found deep in walls, under floors, or even outside the home. This detective work often requires tasks that can be damaging to your home’s structure if not completed correctly.
And even if you do find the nest, making sure you destroy it with the proper extermination technique is extremely important. Sprays can be ineffective if not used correctly and bait solutions will not truly destroy the nest.