Many species of ants live in Arizona. Ants get the wonderful distinction as being one of the top nuisance. Ants can find their way into your home or building through a variety of ways including “bridging” onto the home over plants, trees, and other objects left by and against a home or building. Ants are social insects that create, build and expand their colonies. Depending on the species and the maturity, an ant colony can be anywhere from several thousand ants to millions of ants.
In Arizona, controlling ants is a constant battle because they are constantly migrating and creating new colonies. Tacit Services can help keep ants out of your home or building by inspecting and providing exclusion recommendations and through effective treatment approaches that are customized to meet your needs.
The cause of most ant infestations is simple: food. Ants often invade homes and buildings because they often provide easy and enticing sources of food. Black ants are often attracted to sweet foods and pet food, and they make their way indoors through cracks and crevices during their relentless foraging. Crazy ants, pavement ants, big-headed ants, rover ants and other common ants that we find throughout Arizona are attracted to various types of food based upon the ant species and the age of the colony whether it is a growing colony or mature colony.
The first step in any treatment plan is finding what is attracting the ants and removing the food source or stopping access to the food source. Then we inspect to find where the ants are coming from. This is often done by following the ant “trails” that they often follow. These trails will lead to the surface opening to the colony. Our customers often help us find these entrances by simply telling us where they see the most ant activity. Once we locate the colony entrances, we often use baits, non-repellents or a combination of both.
Baits use an attractant that ants think is food. Baits draw in foraging ants, which then take the bait back to the colony, where it is shared with the other ants. Baits often create more ant activity initially because the baits are attracting more ants. The bait’s active ingredient is untraceable and slow acting, giving the ants plenty of time to spread it throughout the colony – ultimately reaching the queen, which eliminates the colony.
Non-repellents: Because ants can’t detect non-repellent treatments, applying the liquid at the colony entrances means the ants will pick up the product as they go out to forage and carry it back inside the colony when they return. The non-repellent product will eventually spread through the colony, eventually reaching – and eliminating – the queen.
Homeowners usually notice more ants after bait treatments, which can be disconcerting. However, the increase in ant activity is good because it means the treatment is working. More ants are being drawn in by the baits, which then take the bait back to the colony to share with the other ants and ultimately the queen. The products are designed to ensure the ants survive long enough to transport the bait back to the colony. As the colony begins to die off, homeowners will notice a drop in ant activity, usually within 10-14 days. Depending on the species and the situation, it may take several treatments to control the colony.
One of the easiest prevention steps you can take is to keep your food sealed in airtight containers and clean up crumbs, spilled pet food or any other food sources that might attract ants. You can also try to seal up cracks and crevices around your home. However, you should be aware that since ants are so common and are such prolific colonizers it is normal to have ants reestablish themselves around a home or building.
Ants are small, industrious, and relentless, and if they want to find a way into your home, they likely will.
Keep landscaping trimmed: Keep trees trimmed and make sure they do not overhang the roofline. Also keep all bushes and vegetation trimmed at least 6 inches away from the home.
Seal cracks and crevices: Make sure weather stripping on doors and windows is not worn or missing. Seal other openings into the home using caulking.
Screen vents: Install fine-mesh screening across attic vents or baffling or vents that lead to other areas of the home.