Of the many creeping and crawling things that enter the home, ants might not be the most intimidating; however, a large indoor ant population can be an extraordinary nuisance due to their numbers and, in some instances, their ability to deliver painful bites. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to eliminate ants if you have them and prevent their presence if you don't.
1.Imported Fire Ants
...there are steps you can take to eliminate ants if you have them and prevent their presence if you don't...
Some ants are less appealing than others, and red and black imported fire ants are some of the least desirable. Found throughout the south as well as in California and Texas, the US Department of Agriculture notes that these South American natives exhibit a "ferocious sting and aggressive behavior" and also pose threats to some agricultural products. While these ants may decide to come indoors, they typically prefer to live outside in underground colonies. Imported fire ants build mounds that can mar landscaping; and if you accidentally step on a small one and don't notice immediately, look out!
2.Odorous House Ants
These little black ants can be found all over the country, and unlike fire ants they seem to be very comfortable hanging out indoors. They are attracted to moisture and sugary foods, so one of the most effective ways of getting these guys to move on to greener pastures is to clean up spills quickly, keep food in sealed plastic containers or in the refrigerator, and makes sure that leaks and areas where moisture collects are eliminated.
Though there are definitely very effective chemical treatments for use on these ants, many homeowners may shy away from using such products indoors. This is one of the reasons why prevention is key. In addition to the actions mentioned above, it is also important to keep outdoor vegetation from coming into contact with the structure of the home and to fill in gaps around windows and other potential points of entry.
These larger, wood-tunneling ants can actually cause property damage in severe situations! Carpenter ants prefer to inhabit moist, decaying wood, so piles of firewood and lumber that are left outdoors should be kept away from the structure of your home. Additionally, these ants will not stay in any area where a constant water source is not present. Good gutter and downspout systems that divert moisture away from your home, good drainage, and the elimination of any sources of standing water are each integral in keeping carpenter ants away from your property.
4.Hiring an Exterminator
Unless an ant problem gets pretty severe, homeowners are often reluctant to spend the money on hiring an exterminator. However, if ants are not the only unwanted guest in your home and you were planning on contacting a professional pest control service, anyway, it doesn't hurt to eliminate two pests with one visit. Pest control companies typically know how to deal with all pests common to the area, but because the treatment used on one pest may differ from that used on another, make sure to let them know that you want to get rid of ants in addition to any other pest before the contractor arrives!
Some pest control services will even offer non-toxic treatments for pests and other insects. If you are concerned about the use of chemical treatments in or around your home, make sure to ask the companies you contact about any alternative treatment methods they might offer.