How To Prevent Ant Infestations In Houston
Several ants

How To Prevent Ant Infestations In Houston

Houston, TX is the perfect mix of city energy and coastal serenity. Living by Galveston Bay provides us with ample humidity all year long. The tropical influence of the bay makes our climate attractive from all angles, and it draws all kinds of visitors. This includes pests, of course. Local pest populations are fond of Houston life, and where better to settle down than inside of your Houston home or business?

Obviously, no property owner wants to share their space with pests. Ants, specifically, love it here in Houston, and that exposes your Houston property to the dangers of ant infestation. These pesky intruders pose a year-round threat to Houston homes and businesses, and the best way to protect yourself is to address your ant control and prevention needs properly.

The Types Of Ants That Invade Houston Homes

The first step to understanding Houston ant prevention is being able to recognize local area species. The United States is home to 700 different types of ant species. Our area is home to all kinds of ant species here in Houston, TX. Some of the most prevalent include carpenter ants, fire ants, odorous house ants, rover ants, and tawny crazy ants.

Here are some basic ways to help you differentiate between these species:

Carpenter Ants

  • These are the largest ants you’ll find in your home. 

  • These ants weaken the structural integrity of your property by excavating damaged wood and nesting in gallery tunnels. 

  • They do not sting, but they may bite if prompted.

  • These ants love moist, decayed wood, but they are also known to infest sound wood as well. 

  • They create parent colonies outside of the home with populations of over 15,000 workers. 

  • One carpenter ant can travel up to 300 feet from the nest, spreading the population and leading to a larger infestation.

  • They’re black, or a mixture of red and black, and they have long, thin antenna coming out of their abdomen. 

  • You will often find wood shavings left behind or see swarmer ants flying around looking for good nesting areas. 

Fire Ants

  • Fire ants do bite when disturbed, leaving a large welt and potentially causing serious allergic reactions.

  • These aggressive ants only sting when disturbed and can cause an adverse reaction to your skin.

  • They release a venom that causes a burning sensation, as evident in their name. 

  • They like to nest in open sunny areas in irrigated soil, and they usually nest around yards, gardens, parks, and roads. 

  • These ants nest in large mounds where they house their colonies and build large tunneling systems underground

  • Their nests usually appear as sandy mounds in the earth that are almost a foot tall.

Odorous House Ants

  • They emit a putrid odor to indicate to the other members of their colony that they’ve found a food source.

  • They do not sting or bite, but they smell like rotten coconuts when they are crushed. 

  • Their nests are often found outside in the soil, under rocks, or other objects.

  • They can grow their colonies to as large as 100,000 workers and multiple queens. 

  • When food becomes scarce in the colony, they seek alternate food sources inside of your home.

Rover Ants

  • These ants are very small in size and have large eyes compared to the size of their heads.

  • They are pale yellow to blackish-brown in color and very fast in nature.

  • They are not aggressive in nature, but they invade properties in large numbers.

  • They are attracted to moisture and build their colonies around rot or fungal decay.

  • They’re most active during the spring and summer seasons and can become a real nuisance.

  • They can travel far distances and invade properties quickly and in large numbers.

Tawny Crazy Ants

  • Also known as Raspberry crazy ants, they are one of the smaller ant species in Texas.

  • They measure about 1/10 of an inch in length and are a reddish-brown color.

  • They are distinguished by their movements, as they travel in a zig-zag pattern rather than a straight line. 

  • They get their name from the way they run around erratically, confused by disruption.

  • They often show up on properties in large numbers and become a real nuisance for landowners.

  • They cannot sting, but they can bite when they’re prompted.

  • They often nest near electrical equipment and damage the wiring.

  • They can compromise televisions, DVD players, light fixtures, and other electronic devices. 

While there are many different kinds of ants in Houston, there are some things that remain true regardless of the species. Ant populations, in general, can quickly grow out of control and become a real problem for property owners. The truth is, no matter what type of ant you’re dealing with, it’s upsetting to discover an infestation in your own home or business.

Not only are ants irksome to see around your space, but there are many potential problems that can result from an ant infestation. Some ants do bite and inject their venom into your body. This can lead to inflamed skin, cramps, headaches, and other adverse health effects that should be tended to by a medical professional.

One of the main threats of an ant infestation is large-scale contamination. Ants travel around in unsanitary areas like garbage and decaying matter, spreading germs and diseases around the home. They often get into food sources, and when they do, they spread all kinds of germs that contaminate food and vulnerable areas. This leaves you and your loved ones vulnerable to diseases like E.coli, salmonellosis, shigella, and other bacterial infections.

Something else to think about is the fact that ants can seriously threaten the construction of your property. They infest building materials like wood and foam insulation, and they can chew on electrical cables. Some species, like carpenter ants, are more known for the property damage they can cause. However, no matter the species and no matter the specific consequences, it’s good for all property owners to beware of the dangers involved with ant activity and the resulting infestation. If you’re wondering how ants managed to gain entry into your Houston home in the first place, read on.

How Ants Get Into Houston Homes

The moisture-rich conditions of Galveston Bay make the Houston area particularly susceptible to ant infestation. As these pests hang around our properties, they seek sources of food, water, and shelter. That exposes our homes to household ant infestation. There are a variety of ant entry methods to consider around your home. These tiny intruders can be very sneaky about squeezing their way into your home and spreading their populations.

Here are some of the most common entry points that ants use to access our properties:

  • Cracks in walls and floors

  • Doors and door sweeps

  • Foundation gaps and baseboards

  • Open crevices in the roof

  • Through crawlspaces

  • Unsealed exterior holes

  • Utility and plumbing lines

  • Windows and window frames            

  • Wood stacked around the perimeter

Now that we have an idea of how ants get into our homes, it’s vital to go over what it is that brings them inside, to begin with. There are so many different ant attractants around our homes that many of us aren’t even aware of.

What Attracts Ants To Houston Homes?

If you want to stay on top of your ant control efforts, you must acknowledge the various ant attractants around your home. They’re mainly looking for shelter, somewhere to nest and breed, and enough food to feed their large colonies. Areas with these attractants are more susceptible to ant activity.

Considering the fact that ants are after a source of food and water, it makes sense why the following conditions are conducive to a household ant infestation:

  • Damp towels or rugs that sit around without being washed and dried

  • Dirty dishes left in the sink for too long

  • Exposed garbage leaving access to food scraps

  • Food that’s been left out or easy access to food sources

  • Sources of standing water in and around the property

  • Spills, messes, sugary residue, and crumbs

  • Water leaks or any moisture issues

If you think you may have an ant problem around your house, the best thing you can do is secure professional pest control services. Of course, there are certain things you can do around the house to reduce your exposure to ant activity, and therefore minimize your chances of experiencing an infestation. Being proactive in your prevention efforts is always a good way to protect yourself from an ant infestation preemptively.

Ant Prevention Tips For Houston Homeowners

The best way to avoid an ant infestation is to start taking the proper preventative measures around your property. Getting ahead of the problem can be beneficial in reducing, if not preventing, large-scale infestation. The faster you’re able to address any issues, the better protection you can secure.

Here are some ant prevention tips for all Houston homeowners to keep in mind:

  • Address any leaky spigots or hoses to reduce excess moisture.

  • Clean up spills and crumbs and keep food in tightly sealed containers.

  • Don’t leave pet food out and store it in sealed plastic bins.

  • Eliminate access points by sealing all cracks and crevices around the outside of the home.

  • Eliminate any standing water and any sources of excess moisture.

  • Eliminate exposed attractants (sugar, grease, spills, etc.).

  • Inspect your gutters to make sure rainwater isn’t soaking your outside walls and perimeter soil. 

  • Keep all surfaces clean (sweep floors, wipe up spills, etc.).

  • Keep branches, trees, and bushes well-trimmed and directed away from the house.

  • Keep leaves raked away from your foundation walls. 

  • Maintain a high level of cleanliness and practice proper sanitation.

  • Maintain functional downspouts and gutters to keep water flowing away from the foundation 

  • Make sure your mulch is less than three inches deep.

  • Refrain from stacking wood near your home. 

  • Repair leaky pipes, faulty faucets, and malfunctioning drains

  • Scrub around ant entrances to eliminate their pheromone trail.

  • Seal off all cracks, crevices, and potential entry points with caulk.

  • Take out garbage regularly and keep it in a trashcan outside with a lid.

  • Use a dehumidifier in moisture-rich areas of the house like basements, crawlspaces, and attics.

  • Use ant baits in areas where ants are active or conducive to activity.

  • Use weather stripping or mortar around the foundation. 

  • Wipe down counters, sticky jars, or sugary residue that will attract ants.

These preventative efforts can certainly help you control ant populations around your Houston home. But the truth is, sometimes ants manage to get inside anyway and expose you to infestation. That’s why it’s a good idea to be able to detect signs of ant infestation, so you’re able to identify any problems in their earliest stages.

If you’re wondering where to look for signs of ant activity, keep in mind that ants like damp areas that are soft and spongey. Say the flooring has moisture damage from a plumbing problem. That would be a good place to check for ants. Check any areas with water damage, including attics, bathrooms, exterior walls, etc.

Observing the movements and patterns of the ants is another good way to get an idea of where they’re coming from. Check for ants around open doors and windows, small cracks and holes in the inner house walls, window frames, and other hidden places that are easy for tiny little pests, like ants, to access.

If you think there may be an ant problem in your Houston home, the most effective way to tackle the issue is to reach out to your local pest professionals. That’s the only guaranteed way to detect, exterminate, and prevent ant infestation on a year-round basis.

Here at Modern Pest Control, we offer the best in residential ant control services. We have been servicing the residents of Houston and the surrounding areas since 1952, and we guarantee the ultimate protection when it comes to ant infestation. Our team of licensed pest control technicians uses the most advanced methods to resolve your ant problems, no matter how big or small. We work hard to bring you the most efficient and effective ant solutions in the area, so get in touch with us today to request your free inspection. We’re eager to help.

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