Common Ant Problems in and around the Home

As a pest control company located in north Idaho, I obviously get a lot of ant calls every year. While most of these calls come in the spring and early summer, I also get calls throughout the rest of the year and even occasionally in the winter. The majority of these calls are to address ant problems in and around the home.

My first priority on these calls is to determine how severe of an ant problem we are dealing with. Is it just a few ants around the exterior of the home possibly looking for a place to move in, or is it a more serious problem of an ant colony already being established in the home with the possibility of it being a major infestation.

I will typically ask the customer several questions about the ant activity they are experiencing to try our best to determine how serious the problem may be. Sometimes the customer may tell me clues that can make the diagnosis fairly certain. While other times all we can do is make our best educated guess.

For instance the time of year you are seeing ants inside your home can be a very telling clue. If it’s in the spring, summer, or fall, then there is the possibility that the ants have just recently found their way inside and have not established a satellite colony in your home yet. But there is also very much the possibility that they have or are in the process of doing so.

However if you are seeing ants inside during the winter months, then we know that the ants didn’t just come in from outside, because it’s too cold outside for them to be active. Therefore in these instances we know that the ants in your home are coming from a colony that is already established within the home, and they have been there at least since the previous summer.

There are other indicators that can also tell us that the ants quite possibly have already established a colony in the home. Like sawdust falling from cracks or crevices, consistently seeing ants inside for a few days in a row, or seeing winged ants inside. Seeing these signs can tell us that the likelihood of the problem being more serious is somewhere between most likely and almost certain.

          If a homeowner is suspicious that the ants they are seeing may already be living within the home, it’s definitely a good idea to call a pest control professional to schedule a treatment. Understandably some customers would like to go to the hardware store, buy some ant spray, and try to take care of the problem themselves.

But if there is indeed an ant colony already established, the probability of the homeowner achieving success on their own with the products available to them, is low. While whatever spray or dust they buy will probably kill some worker ants, what it most likely won’t do, is get rid of the queen and colony in the wall, floor, or ceiling.

Then comes the bigger reason why attempting to cure an ant problem without the proper chemical can be counterproductive to eliminating the complete colony, even if you later decide to call a professional. When I apply an ant treatment, I need the workers to walk across my treatment where they will get it on them. Then upon returning to the colony and interacting with the queen and rest of the ants in the colony, they will unknowingly transfer the chemical to the rest of the colony thus killing them all. It’s this transfer effect of the specialized chemicals that are only available to licensed professionals that make a big difference in eliminating a colony.

If the homeowner has already killed off a bunch of the workers, it can make it more challenging for us to eliminate the problem. However we will still be successful in getting the colony, it just may take longer to achieve that success.

          If you’re not sure about how severe of a problem the ants you’re seeing may be. Feel free to give me a call and we can discuss your options.

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