Since ants have colonized pretty much every landmass that Earth has, the chances of you never having seen an ant in your lifetime are slim to none. Most people can recognize an ant when they see it as they are one of the most easily identifiable bugs. In fact, there are approximately 10 quadrillion individual ants alive on Earth at any given time!
In case you need to identify an ant, this is what they look like:
Ants have six legs and four body segments – their head, thorax, nodes, and abdomen. Sometimes, wasps will develop camouflage to look like ants, but one of the easiest ways to identify an ant is by looking at the nodes that connect the abdomen to the thorax. Wasps don’t have these nodes, and only ants do! Some queen ants have wings, but general worker ants do not. Their head has two elbow-jointed feelers (antennae) that ants use to smell and communicate with other ants. They also have two jaws to carry food and construct nests as well as bite when they feel threatened.
Signs of an Ant Infestation
Once you have an ant infestation, you’ll definitely know it! Here are common signs of an ant infestation in your home:
1. Large Numbers of Ants
Seeing one or two common black or brown ants around your home doesn’t have to be a cause for concern, but seeing lots of ants does! A few ants here and there may just be unwilling hitchhikers who ended up in your home, but if you are seeing ants in large numbers, the chances you have an infestation are high. Ants send out “scouts” to find food for the colony, and if you’re seeing ant scouts in your home searching for their next meal, chances are the colony isn’t too far behind.
- Ant Nests Outside Your Home
Ant nests can be hard to see, because they usually just look like a small pile of dirt. Ants don’t make colonies inside of your home (unless they’re living inside of your walls), but if you find ant nests in your front or back yard, you may have an ant problem! Traveling from your yard to inside of your home for food is no problem at all for an ant. If you see small hills of dirt on your property, it may be time to find a pest control solution.
- Sounds In Your Walls
Some ants will be so bold to live inside of your walls in order to find food and shelter easily. If you begin to see ants inside of your home, put your ear up to your walls and listen for a shuffling noise! A warning: if you determine these ants are carpenter ants, you need to call a pest control expert ASAP, as these wood eating insects can ruin home structures.
How to Get Rid of an Ant Infestation
Remove Food Sources
Ants are attracted inside of homes by food. Put away and seal up opened packages of food. One of the main attractions for many pests, ants included, is pet food. If you’re finding lots of ants surrounding your pet’s food bowls, only put the food in at meal times and train your pet to eat as soon as they are served. Then, clean up after meal time is over. You can also deter ants from getting into food bowls by spraying one part vinegar to three parts water around the food bowl. (This is safe for your pet!)
Remove Water Sources
Ants also are attracted to homes in search of water. This includes leaky plumbing, wet sinks, and small spills. Before you go to bed each evening, wipe down any wet surfaces and plug drains. Remove any water that is out, like a drinking glass or pet water bowl.
Clean Your Home
Even though your home may seem clean to you, ants can thrive on small crumbs that hide in your carpet or on your floor. Clean up spills immediately and starve the colony out. The less food the ants have, the more likely it is that you can get them to leave.
Spray, Bait, and Trap
You can purchase bait and traps at many home improvement stores or even online, but calling a licensed professional can help you rid your home of ants faster and safer. Whatever way you decide to go about killing the colony, use care and do your research to ensure you are choosing a safe method for your family.
A Home Warranty Can Help Get Rid of an Ant Infestation
Depending on your home warranty plan, you can get an ant infestation eradicated for the cost of a service call fee. If you have pest control as a part of your warranty, and you have an ant infestation, give Landmark a call and schedule a pest control expert to come out and spray your property. This will generally only cost about $60-$100, which is the price of a service call fee. Pest control can cost upwards of $300 for a one time spray. That is some great cost savings!
For more information about home warranties and pest control, compare our plans at www.landmarkhw.com/home-warranty-plans, or learn about other pests and how you can get rid of infestations here.