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The Home Depot

Top Causes of Ant Problems

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Extermination > Top Causes of Ant Problems
Top Causes of Ant Problems

A single ant would hardly be a problem that most homeowners would lose sleep over, but because ants tend to come in hundreds or thousands rather than ones and twos, ant problems are sometimes serious business. While there are many other bugs that most of us would prefer to stay outdoors, the National Pest Management Association has labeled ants the #1 Nuisance Pest in the United States! Here are the three main causes of ant problems, and a few things you can do as a homeowner to prevent these unwanted visitors from dropping anchor in your home.

  1. 1.Your Landscaping Is Too Inviting

    Ants might occasionally enter a house on a whim, but in most instances, an ant comes indoors in hopes of satisfying one of its needs

    Like all creatures, ants have specific conditions and situations that they find particularly inviting. Moisture levels, food accessibility, and adequate shelter are each concerns for nearly all of the ants you'll find in the US. Ants might occasionally enter a house on a whim, but in most instances, an ant comes indoors in hopes of satisfying one of its needs--and your landscaping could be serving as a metaphorical Welcome Mat!


    Any variety of vegetation that is situated too close to the base of your home or one of its many ant-sized entry ways can be a significant factor in the likelihood of ant infestation. Ants use vegetation for shelter and food and because plant life holds onto moisture, these little bugs feel right at home among its leaves and branches. Any plant, grass, shrub, or even tree that is growing close enough to your home to have physical contact is, therefore, a bridge between the ant's natural habitat and yours! Trim plants away from the home and remove any that actually come into contact with the structure; this will reduce the chances of an ant (and soon enough, a few thousand of its friends) being lured into your house.

  2. 2.Your Home Smells Delicious

    If an ant--especially a hungry ant--detects a new food source, it is its job to seek it out. Unfortunately, most ant species are really good at their jobs and can detect food extremely effectively. Many foods (sugary foods in particular) will attract ants, so keeping your food in places that are difficult for ants to access is a great way to keep ants from being attracted to your home. Refrigerators with a good seal, high cabinets, and sealable plastic containers are each excellent storage spaces. It is also a good idea to remove garbage from the house frequently during the spring and summer when ants are most motivated to prowl for food.

  3. 3.Your Perimeter Has Been Compromised

    The exterior of your home is a mass of square footage, and the elements that square footage is comprised of are each designed to keep the outdoors at bay. It's difficult to keep track of every little square inch, however, and because ants are generally much smaller than a square inch, it doesn't take much of a breach to allow them access to the inside of your home.


    It is rare for any homeowner to have the time (much less the motivation) to inspect every square foot of his or her home with regularity. It is plausible, however, to give your home a single visual inspection at the end of winter to identify any possible pathways for ants and other undesirables to make their way indoors.


    Windows are certainly high on the list of places to look. Foundations, seams, and any other areas where gaps can be found are also worthy of examination. One of the nice things about ants is that when they find a place of access, they go at it vigorously, so homeowners are often able to determine how ants are gaining entry simply by noticing the ants themselves. While some uninvited guests may be very persistent, many ants are highly logical creatures; seal up their entrances and they'll move along quickly.

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