What are ants?
Ants are social creatures and regular invaders of our homes and businesses. Ants live outside but often find their way into our structures to forage for food, and some decide to stay and build a satellite nest to help expand their colony. Ants, while tiny, travel and work together in large groups, making them difficult to prevent, and once they invade your home or yard are difficult to eliminate.
In New Jersey, you are likely to run into the following ants on your property:
- Argentine ants are a shiny dark brown or black color. When crushed, they produce an unpleasant musty odor. These ants are known for living in huge colonies and traveling together in wide trails as they forage for food.
- Carpenter ants are black, brown, or reddish colored ants. These ants are one of the largest household invading ants.
- Little black ants swarm homes and yards in large numbers during the summer months, searching for food.
- Pavement ants are brown or black and nest around pavement or cement.
Are ants dangerous?
You can classify different any ant species as either nuisance or dangerous ants.
Nuisance ants, such as little black ants, pavement ants, and Argentine ants, are unwanted on our properties but don’t cause significant harm to people or structures. Problems they do cause include spreading bacteria over the surfaces in your house and contaminating food sources as they travel around.
Dangerous ants are those species that cause harm to people (biting, stinging, spreading diseases) or to structures. The carpenter ant is an example of an ant that causes structural damage. Carpenter ants that have moved into our homes to nest do so inside structural wood. Over time, their presence leads to structural damage that is costly to repair.
Why do I have an ant problem?
Ants are inside your home because they have discovered tiny openings in its exterior and have moved inside while searching for food or shelter. Common entry points include cracks in the foundation, spaces around utilities, gaps around windows, and spaces under doors.
Before ants find a way into your home, they first have to be in your yard, either nesting or foraging for food. Things that attract ants to our yards include the following:
- Open trash cans and recycling bins
- Gardens and compost
- Brush piles, fallen trees, tree stumps
- Areas of standing water
- Outdoor eating areas
- Pet food
Where will I find ants?
Ants prefer to nest in different areas depending on their species and environmental conditions. Some ants prefer to nest primarily outside, while other ants have discovered the benefits of setting up indoor satellite nests to expand their colony near food in an area that protects them from the outdoor elements.
Argentine ants nest in similar spots as the other species of ants in our area such as along sidewalks and building foundations, under logs or landscaping ties, or underneath wood or rock piles. Argentine ants nesting inside buildings typically choose spaces behind walls, large appliances, or under floors to build a nest.
Carpenter ants create their main nest outside inside things like decaying tree roots, tree stumps, fallen trees, logs, or wooden construction debris. Moisture and food often attract these ants indoors, where they will create a satellite nest. Inside our structures, they nest in structural wood found near water pipes, around doors and windows, below the ceilings, and behind tubs or sinks.
Little black ants are common in wooded areas and our yards. The soil found under rocks, logs, landscaping ties, or lumber piles are common outdoor nesting sites. Inside, they create nests behind wall voids, masonry walls, and behind door or window trim.
Pavement ants often nest outdoors very near homes and other structures. They create nesting sites in the soil around the cracks in sidewalks, driveways, foundations, and rock walls. Indoor nesting sites are usually behind walls, inside insulation, under floors, or in masonry walls.
How do I get rid of ants?
Ants are relentless invaders of our indoor and outdoor spaces. The best way to protect your yard and home from these small insects is to partner with a professional. At Alliance Pest Services, we understand that fast action and effective solutions are essential when dealing with ants. We know there is no one-size-fits-all solution to pest problems, and we want to work with you to find the perfect solution for your home.
We focus on developing new pest control and prevention programs, and our primary goal is to provide our customers with industry-leading pest control services. If you live in Monmouth County, NJ, and would like to learn more about maintaining a property that is free of pesky and dangerous ants, give us a call today!
How can I prevent ants in the future?
- Seal spaces in your foundation, around windows and doors, and along the roofline.
- Create a stone barrier between any mulch or soil and your foundation.
- Remove things like logs, fallen trees, tree stumps, construction debris, and other areas of clutter from your yard that ants could use as a nesting site.
- Make sure gutters are clear and working to direct rainwater away from your home’s perimeter.
- Repair leaky pipes and use dehumidifiers to reduce excess moisture in your home.
- Keep lids on trash cans and recycling bins.
- Keep grill areas and outdoor eating areas free of food debris.
- Regularly vacuum floors, not forgetting the spaces under and behind large appliances to remove crumbs.
- Make sure to store food in the fridge or airtight containers, not out in the open.
- Wash dirty dishes regularly.