If you have never encountered ants in your house, office or school, count yourself among the lucky few. But if you’re like most people, you’ve fought your fair share of battles against this annoying pest – whether it’s a nest ofpavement ants in your garage or a parade ofodorous house ants marching across your kitchen counter.
Ants are the number one nuisance pest in the United States. With more than 700 species occurring in the country and more than 20 types known to infest homes and other structures, it’s not surprising that so many people report having issues with this pest.
However, there are some simple steps that homeowners can take to reduce your chances of unintentionally inviting ants into your home.
1. Know the popular hangouts
It’s probably not surprising to hear that ants most frequently infest kitchens. After all, kitchens are full of food and water, everything ants (as well as all other pests) need to survive. Bathrooms, bedrooms, living rooms, basements, inside walls, and in/around air conditioning and heating units are also known to attract ants.
2. Eliminate water sources
Reducing moisture and standing water around your home can go a long way to help prevent ants. Repair leaky pipes, and routinely check under sinks for areas of moisture. Consider using a dehumidifier in damp basements, crawl spaces or attics. Outside, ensure that downspouts and gutters are functioning properly so that water flows away from the home’s foundation.
3. Eliminate food sources
Keeping your kitchen tidy will help to discourage ants from coming indoors. Wipe down counters and sweep floors regularly to eliminate crumbs and residue from spills. Store food in sealed pest-proof containers, and keep ripe fruit in the refrigerator. Wipe down sticky jars, especially any containing honey, syrup, soda or other sweets. Finally, use a lid on trashcans and dispose of garbage regularly.
4. Don’t discount your pets
Cats, dogs and other pets can inadvertently invite ants into your home. Their food and water bowls are an attractant for pests, so be sure to keep pet bowls clean and clean up any spilled food or water promptly. Opt to store dry pet food in a sealed plastic container rather than the paper bags they often come in, which can be easily accessed by ants and other pests. Inspect dog/cat doors to ensure that pests cannot get through. Remember that ants can fit through even the tiniest openings.