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A Guide to Getting Rid of Ants from Your Home or Business
No matter how hard you try, you can’t get away from ants.
Ants are everywhere. There very mode of existing is predicated on vast numbers — they’re close relatives to bees and wasps, live in colonies that can consist of millions, and couldn’t survive for a second without their faithful compatriots and beloved queen.
Typically, ants and their colonies tend to build their nests outside, whether it’s in the ground, under rocks, in trees, or even inside a single acorn. However, given the right time of year, weather, food, and circumstances, they can come to set up camp in a typical places like your kitchen or office.
Despite there being so many of them, ants should not be in your home or business. It’s not good for you or them, and if the above sounds familiar, you want to take quick and effective action before the cousins and the whole family moves in.
When lumped together, all the ants in the world add up to a grand total of around 10 quadrillion — compared to a measly 7.6 billion of us humans. Granted, we do win on weight — 332 billion kilograms in comparison to their 40 billion kg. But as we’ll see, ants don’t just beat us in quantity, but also in many other areas such as social order and survival. This makes them not only ubiquitous, but incredibly formidable and unwelcome guests.
Before ants take your job and identity as well as your home or business, let’s find out more about why ants infiltrate our buildings, the threats ants pose, and, crucially, how to get rid of ants for good.
Why Ants Invade Your Home or Business
There’s a few telltale signs you have an ant problem. The first is the most obvious — noticing a lot of them in places they shouldn’t be. The next is ant pathways leading up to your home or premises. The third is ant nests in and around your buildings — holes in walls and other quiet, dark nooks are a particular favourite.
The places ants typically like best, though, are kitchens and areas where food is prepared. Despite not having teeth, they have the biggest collective sweet tooth ever. As sugary foods have the highest amount of energy to weight ratio, ants risk their lives using their built-in radar to find sweets like brown sugar and fruit juice, proteins such as meat and milk, and carbs like crackers and pasta. Due to its high fructose content, they’re also known to be fond of human sperm.
As they need water to survive, bathrooms and other sources of standing or dripping water or places with excess moisture are another of their favourites. Ants are also cold-blooded creatures that rely on the environment to regulate their body temperature, and so even if they don’t contain food or water, they will gravitate toward closed, interior spaces that can help keep them warm and safe.
The Different Types of Ant
There are more than 10,000 species of ants in the world, each with their own unique capabilities and life cycles. For instance, some queen ants can live for as long as 30 years, and fire ant queens can lay more than 1,000 eggs a day for seven years.
But in the UK, you don’t have to worry about the painful sting of subtropical fire ants. There are just five common types of ant that you need to be aware of. These are the Pharaoh ant, garden ant, Roger’s ant, ghost ant, and pavement ant.
Pharaoh ants are the most prolific and common, building their nests almost exclusively indoors and feasting on high protein foods such as meat, fat, and dead insects. Garden ants are found in gardens, patios, and paving stones, and have a sweet tooth but are also partial to proteins such as meat and pet food.
Roger’s ant are reddish-brown insects that like damp areas such as drains and cracked bathroom tiles. Ghost ants are translucent and are fans of sweet and greasy foods. And pavement ants are the ones we’re all familiar with, seen most in the spring and summer months and eating any and everything they can find.
How Ants Spread
Due to their various needs, ants in you home or business can be either a year round or a seasonal problem. It all starts when the ants find their way into your building through cracks or the tiniest of openings in landscaping, exterior walls, conservatories, or storage rooms. From then on they leave an invisible trial of pheromones for their colony — which may contain hundreds of thousands of others — to follow.
And follow they will. As they contain many of their favourite foods, water, are often a steady temperature, and are free from predators, homes and business premises can be like heaven for ants. But whereas they may be heaven for them, an infiltration of ants can make them hell for you.
Despite not carrying diseases, ants do spread bacteria and can cause many other hazardous situations. The most dangerous and costly of which is damage to structures that can often be irreparable, along with damage to electric wires and appliances that can often result in blackouts.
And if they don’t devastate your walls and pantry, they will do a number on your bank balance. With the complex hierarchical social structure of ants that helps make them the most prolific creatures in the world, people can spend huge sums of money trying to control and eradicate an infestation, only to have it keep coming back and even getting stronger.
Getting Rid of Ants, For Good
Along with bed bugs, ants are one of the most difficult home and business intruders to control. The incessant reproductive cycle of the queen along with the pheromone trails means they spread rapidly and bounce back just as fast.
You can try homemade DIY methods to eradicate ants from your home or business. But due to the reasons above and the fact there are many different species of ants, each with their own specific biology and characteristics, your chances of success are low — no matter how much time and money you invest.
If you want to get rid of ants from your home and business, it’s considered best practice to get an expert in to do the job. An expert in pest management will inspect the problem and, based on their years of experience and with the help of professional treatment methods, will take the best course of action to get rid of the infestation — first time round, and for good.