How is it that, one day, you are going along with your life, completely ant-free, but then, seemingly out of nowhere, there are lines of ants going across your kitchen floor, a mass of ants on your cat's food dish, and ants all over your back porch? Where did they all come from? How did they get in? It can seem mysterious when ants start getting into your home. But these creatures aren't really all that mysterious once you understand a couple of things about them.
Ants, like most other creatures, are motivated by two things that they need to survive: food and moisture. If you know this, then you have a fairly good chance at keeping ants out of your Florida home. Keeping ants out of your yard, on the other hand, is a little more involved. Here are some things every Florida homeowner should know about ants.
How To Keep Ants Out Of Your Home
Perhaps the most important step you can take to keep ants out is to seal up the outside of your home. While it may be impossible to find and fill in every tiny hole that ants might use as entry points, there are some places that are easy to address.
- Keep all vegetation (bushes, trees, shrubs) trimmed back away from your foundation walls. Ants and other pests use these as bridges to reach your foundation or outer walls.
- Inspect your foundation for gaps and cracks that may have formed in concrete or between bricks. Seal these areas using a sealant such as high quality caulking.
- Make sure your dryer vents and other vents are covered with window-grade screening.
- Inspect where plumbing and utilities go through your walls. When these are installed, there is a gap around them that must be sealed. Sometimes this seal will be compromised and small insects can crawl through into wall voids.
- Inspect door weatherstripping. These seals are put in place to keep heat in, in winter, or cool air in, in summer. Sometimes these seals develop gaps and ants can walk right through into your home.
- Inspect the seals around windows. If these have broken down over them, there may be gaps where insects can get in. Even if your windows are closed, ants can crawl through and get into your wall voids.
- Look closely at the sole plate of your home. This can become compromised if water leaks in and wood-destroying insects or rodents chew away at the moistened wood. When holes are chewed by these pests, ants have a convenient way to get in as well. (And in the case of carpenter ants, they will come in and continue to create damage as they tunnel through the wood of your home.)
How To Keep Ants Away From Your Home
To keep ants from coming in close to your exterior walls, it is important to control the two things they need, food and water. If you can keep these things to a minimum, the chances of ants getting in goes down.
- Keep your trash stored in containers that have a tight seal so ants and other pests cannot find a food source. Clean these containers regularly to eliminate sources of food that may have spilled inside them.
- If you feed your animals outside, do not leave their food bowls down between feeding times.
- If you have aphids, scale insects, or whiteflies in your landscaping, they can attract ants, since ants enjoy honeydew and these all produce honeydew. Consider purchasing horticultural oils that resist these insects or invest in a residential pest control plan.
- Make sure all your gutters are clear and working properly to keep your perimeter dry.
- If you have leaky spigots or hoses, replace or repair them to keep things dry.
- pace out ornamental plants in your landscaping to allow airflow between plants so the soil can dry out after it rains or you water your plants.
- Keep trees and bushes trimmed to minimize heavily shaded areas.
If you remove food sources and keep moisture to a minimum in your yard, you will reduce the number of ants hanging around, and have less of a chance of having an ant invasion in your home, however, it is impossible to completely control ants with DIY methods. For more thorough pest control, a licensed and certified pest control provider is needed. If you enlist the help of Keller's Pest Control to control ants and other home-invading pests, you will no longer have to wonder, "How are all these ants getting into my home?" Because they won't be.
Reach out to Keller's today and make your home ant-free.