Have you noticed that we have a lot of ants in NYC? If you go outside, you can find them everywhere. They build mounds in the middle of lawns. They build mounds in the cracks of sidewalks. They scale trees and plants. They climb all over trash bins and dumpsters. It is probably a good thing that there isn't a technology that can illuminate all of the ants and make them visible on a computer screen. We probably wouldn't sleep at night. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to reduce how often you see ants in your home. Here's a quick step-by-step guide.
Step 1: Prevent The Alarm
Do you know that most ants don't create nests inside your home? When you walk into a room and find hundreds, or even thousands, of ants crawling around everywhere, it is likely that they came from outside. Why did they mobilize and enter your home in such large numbers? It is likely that one ant found a food source and rallied the others to come pick that source apart. Worker ants leave a pheromone scent as they return to the nest with food. As other ants pick up the scent, they go and grab the food, leaving more pheromone as they head to the nest. The stronger the scent, the more ants get involved. Within no time, your house is filled with ants. But you can prevent this.
Clean Up — When you wash counters, wash food storage shelves, clean floors, and vacuum, you remove food debris and juices that can attract the attention of worker ants.
Manage Trash — Keep your kitchen trash in a container with a cover. Clean this receptacle routinely to remove strong smells that attract ants. Remove trash from your home routinely to prevent organic matter from rotting and generating strong smells.
Meal Time — Put dog and cat food down only during mealtimes. Their food can be a food source for ants. Be sure to clean up around your pets' food dishes as well. Ants aren't picky. They'll eat off the floor.
Step 2: Remove Attractants
Most ants are drawn to moisture and will come into your home through moisture points such as the pipes that enter your kitchen underneath your kitchen sink. You can reduce ant activity by reducing moisture. Here are a few suggestions:
Fix leaky pipes, garbage disposals, or faucets. The moisture created by a leak is more than enough to invite ants into your home and to increase ant activity.
If you have a humid attic, basement, laundry room, storage room, pantry, kitchen, or bathroom, consider installing fans or dehumidifiers to control the humidity.
Don't forget the outside of your home.
Make sure your gutters are clean and in good repair. This will reduce dampness near your home.
Rake leaves, grass clippings, and other organic debris away from your foundation walls.
Trim landscaping to get rid of unnecessary vegetation. Dense vegetation promotes moisture.
Step 3: Prevent Access
It is impossible to completely seal ants out of your home, but addressing potential pathways can deter them. We call this mitigation. Consider these tips for ant mitigation.
Seal cracks in your foundation walls.
Fill in gaps around pipes.
Seal the outside edges around exterior window and door frames.
Make sure your weathrstripping and door sweeps are working.
Repair or replace damaged screens.
Don't forget the interior of your home.
Apply a seal to cracks in your cabinets.
Apply a seal around window frames.
Seal any cracks, gaps, or holes in your pantry.
If you have a dog or cat door, make sure it has a good seal.
Step 4: Direct Control
Sometimes it is necessary to apply baits and other ant control products to eliminate colonies. This requires a proper identification of the ant species you're dealing with, an inspection of ant patterns and pressures, strategic placement of products, and effective monitoring to ensure the job is done. All of this is best done by a licensed professional.
For assistance with ant problems in New York City, reach out to Parkway Pest Services. We provide the highest level of control and professionalism. Get started by requesting a free quote.
What Is A Mature Nest?
It can take three or more years for a colony to mature. How large a colony can get will depend on the habitat surrounding the colony. If there are appropriate food sources available, a nest can grow quite large. When the ant population in a nest is reaching its max, the queen will produce reproductives to go out and start a new nest.
How Do I Identify Carpenter Ants?
There are many ways to determine whether or not the flying ants inside your home are carpenter ants.
• Carpenter ants are the largest ants you'll have in your home.
• They are black or a mixture of black and red.
• Carpenter ants have a single node between the thorax and abdomen (or waist area).
• Swarmers shed their wings after mating. For this reason, you will often find ants crawling around where swarmers are. This will help you determine whether they are ants or termites.
Should I Be Worried About Flying Ants?
If you are finding flying ants inside your home, it is likely that those ants are carpenter ants.
What Damage Do Carpenter Ants Do?
These pests are responsible for millions of dollars in property damage each year in the United States. They do not eat wood, but they chew galleries through it in order to establish their nests and build pathways to food sources. These pockets and tunnels can weaken support structures and lead to sagging, warping, and bulging.
Why Do I Have Carpenter Ants?
This species of ant is attracted to decaying wood and moisture.
If you store wood next to your home, you will invite these pests in close to your exterior walls. Make sure firewood, construction materials, and other wood products are kept at least 15 feet from your home and that they are raised off the ground.
If you store wood inside your home, carpenter ants can hitchhike into your home and take root. Be sure to store only what you will burn within 48 hours.
Carpenter ants prefer rotting wood. If you have a gutter system that is blocked or broken, it can cause water to run down the sides of your home. This will lead to rot. Carpenter ants are attracted to these conditions.
Carpenter ants need a food source. They don't eat wood, they eat food. If you have open trash cans next to your home, this can also draw carpenter ants in.
If I protect my stored foods, will carpenter ants leave me alone? When carpenter ants nest inside the walls of your home it is a good idea to make stored food hard to access by storing them in hard plastic, sealable containers. But carpenter ants don't need an interior food source to thrive inside your walls. They can feed on exterior foods as well. Plants, fruits, and vegetables near your home will give these insects what they need to survive. Carpenter ants are omnivores. That means they can survive on other insects, dead animals, vegetation, as well as sugary foods and starches.
If you're finding flying carpenter ants inside your home, it is extremely important to get a thorough inspection and immediate treatment. Left untreated, carpenter ants can do a lot of damage. Don't wait until you're finding them crawling around in your kitchen by the hundreds or your walls begin to bulge. Have those carpenter ants eradicated with Green Shield Certified Integrated Pest Management from Parkway Pest Services. We'll take care of those ants quickly and effectively with the least amount of products. Immediate help is available. Schedule service today and get rid of those flying ants.