How Houston Homeowners Can Keep Winter Ants Out
Ant crawling on stone.

How Houston Homeowners Can Keep Winter Ants Out

While ants are generally considered a spring and summer problem in Houston yards, the mild winters of Texas allow ants to stay active year-round, especially if they find their way into your home.

Once they’ve gotten inside, the various ants that call Texas home can cause a number of problems, ranging from painful bites to food contamination and even property damage (in the event of a carpenter ant infestation). 

Why Winter Could Mean Ant Problems

Ants are a year-round concern for Houston residents, so as a homeowner, you can never be too careful. And while summer in Houston provides the perfect conditions for ants to thrive, winter brings its own unique challenges, especially during the holiday season.

Any number of factors can attract ants and push them inside: leftover food from family gatherings, discarded candy wrappers from stockings, and piles of trash left out after Christmas morning can all attract ants. And once they’ve come in, it can be a real challenge to get them out.

Like any pest, ants are in constant search of food, water, and shelter, resources that are in abundant supply in most Houston homes year-round but even more so around the holidays as friends and family come to visit.

Common Ants Found In Houston

Before you can take meaningful action to protect your Houston home from ants, first, you need to know exactly what you’re up against. 

Here are some of the most common ants found around Houston that might try to get into your home this winter:

  • Rover Ants: Rover ants are a small species of black ants characterized by their tiny size and erratic, quick movements from which their names are derived. These ants are often found nesting in soil and leaf litter and are known for their preference for sweets, which often leads them indoors in search of the types of sugar-rich foods most people are fond of.
  • Tawny Crazy Ants: Tawny crazy ants are small, reddish-brown ants with slender, segmented bodies. Like rover ants, their name is derived from their behavior and movement patterns, though they are distinguished by their erratic and unpredictable movements. They are a particularly disruptive species known to shake up local ecosystems when they infest. 
  • Fire Ants: Fire ants are red-colored ants named both for their physical appearance and for the burning sensation of their stings. While they are most often seen colonizing Houston lawns, the colder winter weather can push them indoors and lead them to colonize within homes. They are characterized by their extremely aggressive behavior, which naturally leads them into conflict with humans when they share the same confined spaces.
  • Carpenter Ants: Perhaps the most notorious of all ant species, carpenter ants are large black ants with large heads and distinctive mandibles. While they do not eat wood products the same way termites do, they are comparatively destructive in the damage they can leave behind through their tunneling. While they are most often seen in spring, they can stay active year-round if they weather the winter within the walls of your home.

Now that you know what to look for, let’s take a deep dive into the steps you can take to make sure these ants never make headway into your home this winter. 

Winter Ant Prevention

If you want to keep your Houston home ant-free this winter, here are some effective tips you can use to mitigate your risk:

  • Dispose of trash after holiday gatherings as soon as possible. Store outdoor trash in sealed plastic garbage containers with tight-fitting or locking lids, off the ground if possible.

  • If you like to keep warm by the fireplace, make sure your firewood is stored at least ten feet away from your home’s exterior.

  • Keep leaf and compost piles well away from the home.

  • Trim trees, bushes, and other landscaping so that they do not come into contact with your home’s exterior.

  • Keep your kitchen and dining room clear of crumbs and leftover food items, and clean up spills immediately.

  • Store food items in sealed containers and refrigerate or freeze whenever possible. This keeps ants out and prevents food smells from attracting them in the first place.

  • Keep pet food in sealed containers stored above ground level. If visitors bring their pets, make sure they follow this rule as well.

  • Fix moisture problems such as leaky faucets or clogged drains.

  • Inspect your home thoroughly for holes or gaps in walls and siding that could become entry points for ants, especially around external pipes and wiring.

  • Vacuum floors and sanitize tables and countertops regularly. 

  • Install dehumidifiers in your basement to prevent moisture buildup.

  • Inspect wooden walls, floors, and foundations around your home for signs of water damage and call a professional immediately if damaged wood is found. These areas could indicate a carpenter ant infestation or an area where they could strike once spring arrives.

As always, the best long-term solution against ants is a comprehensive pest treatment program from a qualified pest control provider.

In business since 1952, Modern Pest Control has a team of certified pest control professionals who keep Houston homes and properties safe from ants and other pest invaders. We have the tools and experience to handle ants any time of year, and we can handle infestations of any size.

If ants have become unwanted holiday guests this year, don’t wait, contact us today for a consultation. Find out how our proven 5-step professional ant control process from Modern can keep your family protected against ants.

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