Human beings have a complex relationship with ants. On the one hand, we can really benefit from their existence. Ants kill pests like fleas and bed bugs and, when they live in a garden, they’ll till and aerate soil, redistributing nutrients. On the other hand, though, anyone who’s had ants in their home knows that a minor infestation can quickly turn into a gig-ANT-ic nuisance.

Whether they’re disrupting your picnic or mingling on your kitchen counters, ants can certainly be annoying. However, certain types of ants can cause structural damage to homes and gardens. That’s why it’s important to be able to distinguish between the different ant species when you’re dealing with an infestation.

Below we’ll discuss three categories of ants and the best methods for dealing with these pests.

Mound-Building Ants

Commonly found outdoors, these strong-willed insects excavate soil to build mounds in lawns, mulched ground, sidewalks, and home foundations. Though ants do benefit gardens, as described above, ant mounds can kill the grass that surrounds them.

Mound-building ants are harmless towards people, but they do feast off our scraps, food spills, and moisture that leaks from pipes, outdoor sinks, and the like. And since their survival is often reliant on messy humans, they will sometimes come inside searching for food and water.

The best way to deal with these ants entering your home is to remove debris from your yard. Mound-building ants can use any wood, rocks, stones, or mulch piles that are close to your home’s foundation to build a new colony. It’s also good practice to caulk or seal off any cracks or crevices where ants could enter your walls.

Nuisance Ants

These nuisances can be found indoors or outdoors, and they come in all sizes and colors. They include odorous house ants, pharaoh ants, and pavement ants, and are most recognized as the ants that walk an “invisible line” towards a food or water source. What’s actually happening though, is that when one ant from the colony finds food or water, it lays down a chemical trail for the other ants to follow

These ants can build colonies either outdoors – but close to the home – or hidden indoors. Unlike mound-building ants, nuisance ants can actually infest and contaminate your food, so keeping them away from your kitchen and dining areas is a necessity.

In order to do that, it’s imperative that your home is clean. Remove any food spills and store all food in sealed containers. You should also rinse out all food containers before recycling them or throwing them away, and make sure that pet food is sealed up as well. In order to keep nuisance ants away from your home, follow the tips mentioned above in the mound-building ants section.

Carpenter Ants

Don’t be fooled by the name. These ants won’t help you build anything – they’re intent on destroying your wood. Unlike termites, carpenter ants don’t eat wood, but they do nest and tunnel inside rotting wood, which can lead to further decay. Nests are commonly found in firewood piles, sheds, decks, and even walls and attics. Basically, anywhere that water-damaged wood exists, carpenter ants can thrive. Do keep in mind that not all water damage is obvious. Water damage and rot within structural wood can lead to an infestation too.

Carpenter ants feast on other insects, so they won’t enter your home in search of food, but they do like to nest around sinks, showers, and leaky pipes. They can also get inside of your home via trees and power lines that touch your house.

The easiest way to prevent carpenter ants from entering your home is to make sure that limbs and shrubs don’t touch your house and to remove dead or decaying stumps in your yard. Stumps make the perfect homes for new colonies. If these ants are already in your home, you’ll want to repair leaks and moist walls before it’s too late.

Pest Control Experts

The best approach to an ant infestation is to monitor for ants year-round. The pest control experts at Ehrlich Pest Control, formerly Connor’s utilize natural ant control since we prefer options that are both environmentally friendly and effective. We know how to kill ants and prevent them from returning through our proven approach to ant control.

The Perfect Summer ANT-agonist in Virginia

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