Why Are Ants Attracted to Your Home and How to Prevent Them?
Ants are tiny, but their numbers can be overwhelming and they can wreak havoc in your home. During summer, it's especially common to see them around your kitchen and pantry. David Price ACE, director of technical services and associate certified entomologist at Mosquito Joe, says “a change in weather and depletion of food sources outside” can bring ants into your home. While sugary spills and crumbs are common attractants, there are some surprising things that can also invite ants inside.
Essential Oils May Attract Ants
Essential oils like lemongrass, peppermint, clove, and cedarwood are known to repel ants by disrupting their pheromone trails. However, combining essential oils with sugar or fruity and floral scents can do the exact opposite. Price suggests avoiding sugary blends and making sure they are properly sealed. Keep in mind that essential oils may not always be the best solution to keep ants away.
Clean Pet Food and Water Bowls
Cats, dogs, and other pets can invite ants into your home, too. Jim Fredericks, chief entomologist and vice president of public affairs at National Pest Management Association, says ants are attracted to the proteins, fats, and sugars found in pet food. Leaving food out all day can easily attract ants, so it's best to feed your pet at specific times and store food in tightly sealed containers. Keeping water messes cleaned up is also important as ants are also drawn to water sources.
Check Appliances and Keep Everything Clean
Ants can easily find their way into small appliances, such as toasters and dishwashers, where food crumbs and residue may be left. It's important to keep everything clean and eliminate anything that can be seen as a food or water source. This includes checking for hidden crumbs and bits of food in obscure places.
Watch Landscaping Around Your Home
The type of greenery and flowers planted around the foundation of your home can also attract ants. Matt Freeman, branch manager and pest control expert at Clark's Termite & Pest Control, explains that roses, gardenias, and crepe myrtles are hosts to aphids, which secrete a sugary-rich substance known as ‘honeydew' that ants love to feed on. Keeping plants neat and trimmed and not overwatering them can help prevent an ant invasion.
Fix Water Leaks and Reduce Moisture
Ants need water, so it's not surprising that water leaks can invite them inside. It's important to constantly be on the lookout for new areas of moisture and repair any leaky pipes as soon as possible. Carpenter ants are especially attracted to damp wood, often the result of a water leak, so damaged areas should also be replaced soon. Consider using a dehumidifier in damp areas and ensure that downspouts and gutters are functioning properly to prevent water from flowing towards your home's foundation.
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