Do You Suspect There Is An Ant Infestation Inside Your Katy Home?
Ants are one of the most common types of pests that homeowners have to deal with in Texas. These tiny insects are not only annoying, but they have the potential to be dangerous, exceptionally invasive, and can take over your home in a short amount of time.
At Modern Pest Control, we have been providing customized pest control in Katy for over six decades. We understand how the extreme temperatures of this area affect the native ant's habits and behaviors. Keep reading to learn what you need to do if you suspect an ant infestation inside your home.
Clear Signs Of An Ant Infestation In Your Home
There are many types of ants that can invade your Katy home. Here is a look at some of the ants that you are most likely to see and the clues that they live behind to let you know that they are around:
- Tawny Crazy Ants: This type of ant has a dark reddish-brown body and two long antennae. While these ants are on the small side at only around 1/10 of an inch in length, their six legs are much longer than what is typically seen on an ant. The tawny crazy ant gets its name from its erratic and unpredictable movements. Instead of walking in a straight line like most ants, the crazy ant makes irregular, jerky movements that don't follow a set pattern. They are social creatures. If you see one of these ants walking around your home, there is a good chance that you already have an ant infestation in your home. These ants are known for nesting inside or near electrical equipment. In addition to being a nuisance, they can damage the wiring and functionality of your devices as well as deliver painful bites.
- Carpenter Ants: Carpenter ants can come in a wide range of colors, including brown, black, red, or a combination of red and black. They are larger than many ant species, growing to be 1/2 inch or more in length. They have saw-like jaws that can easily chew through the wood. Carpenter ants will excavate wooden beams and other wooden objects to build their nest. If these destructive ants find their way into your home, they could leave behind a variety of clues, including sawdust-like material around the wooden areas around your home and small holes in wooden structures. Carpenter ants are known to have swarmers that may invade your home from June through September. These reproductive members of the colony are a sign that an infestation is growing and new nests will be appearing soon. Unlike termites, carpenter ants don't eat the wood they infest, leaving them to scavenge around your kitchen for leftovers. Thus an infestation of carpenter ants can lead to structural damage as well as food contamination.
- Fire Ants: Fire ants may not be native to the area but are commonly found throughout Texas. These aggressive ants are mainly found outdoors, but they do occasionally venture inside. Fire ants have dark brownish-red bodies and can grow to be about ⅜ of an inch long. They live in large colonies, and their ant large mounds are usually easy to spot because they span between two to four feet and are often built in open areas that get plenty of sun. While these ants may not be a nuisance inside your home, they are an aggressive species that will attack in swarms with viscious stings. If you have fire ants on your property it's a good idea to steer clear of their mounds until you are able to get help removing them.
- Rover Ants: Relatively new to Texas, rover ants range in color from black to brown or pale yellow and only grow to be around 1/16 of an inch in length. One notable feature these ants have are long hairs on their bodies. They often nest in organic debris such as mulch or leaf piles and feed on honeydew, insects, and high-protein foods. When rover ants find an attractive source of food or water in your home, they don't delay in moving inside and you may even notice a trail of ants from the nest to the food source. These ants are most active in the spring and summer and often invade properties suddenly in large numbers.
Whether you are worried about property damage, bites and stings, contamination, or the simple nuisance of being overrun by tiny insects, all of the ants commonly found in Katy, TX, have the potential to be extremely invasive. Once they deem your home a safe place to stay, it won't take long for you to have a full-blown ant infestation that can seem impossible to eliminate on your own.
Does An Ant Infestation Mean My Home Is Dirty?
Regardless of how well you maintain your home, ants will try to come into your home if they think there is a viable food and water source inside. Some of the things that may attract ants to your home include:
- Water droplets: Because they are so small, an ant doesn't need that much water. In fact, one ant can only drink about 1/5th of a drop of water in a setting. If you use your kitchen or bathroom sink, several ants could live on the few drops of water that are left behind and on the countertop.
- Other moisture: In addition to water, ants often seek moisture in poorly ventilated areas, rotten decaying materials, and around leaky pipes.
- Food crumbs: Just like ants don't need a lot of water, they also don't require a lot of food. If you accidentally drop small food crumbs on your floor or countertops, it could attract ants. To your eyes, a crumb the size of a needlepoint may seem insignificant, but to an ant, a crums that size is a large feast.
- Garbage cans: Ants like all types of food, even food that humans find inedible. If you have a garbage can inside your home, it may attract ants. The longer garbage stays in your home, the more likely ants will be to pick up on the scent and start seeking the food inside. To avoid this, keep both indoor and outdoor trash cans covered with tight-fitting lids and empty them often.
- Remnants of fruit juice and other spills: Most juices, sodas, and other sweet beverages are loaded with sugar. And many ants are extremely attracted to any type of sweet. If you spill a few drops of the sugary liquid, it could attract ants. Even if you wipe up the spill, there may still be sugary remnants left behind on your countertops. If the countertops feel sticky, ants will come to check them out, and once they are inside they are unlikely to move out on their own.
- Pet food: It's not just sweet substances that are attractive to ants, these pests also seek out meat and vegetables which are the primary ingredients in pet food. If you leave your pet's food and water dishes out all day and all night, they will become an all-you-can-eat buffet for the ants in your home.
When an ant finds a food or water source inside your home, it will release pheromones to alert the other ants in its colony. Usually, the ants will follow the pheromone trail in a single file line until they reach their destination.
While ants will come into your home if they sense food, having an ant infestation does not necessarily mean that your home is dirty. If you live in a multifamily dwelling, like an apartment, you could have an ant problem because ants have migrated from your neighbor's home. Also, ants like moist and dark areas. If you have a water leak, it could draw ants to your home as well. Regardless of why they are there, it's important to find a way to get ants out of your home before an infestation has a chance to grow.
Are House Ants Typically Dangerous?
Some of the ants in this area can bite, which can cause minor pain and itching in most people. Fire ants are not considered to be dangerous. However, they have a stinger they can use to inject venom into your skin. Most of the time, a fire ant's sting will cause mild skin irritation that usually goes away on its own in a few minutes or hours. But some people are allergic to a fire ant's venom, and being stung by one could cause severe allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis. Even for those who are not allergic to these ants' stings, being stung repeatedly from a swarm of ants can lead to more serious reactions.
In addition to causing you pain, ants can also contaminate your food. They spend most of their day scouring through garbage cans and other unsanitary areas. This allows them to pick up a wide range of bacteria and viruses. If they walk around on your food or food preparation surfaces, they can pass these harmful bacteria to you and your family. Some of the illnesses that people can catch from an ant infestation include:
- E. coli infection
- Staph infection
- Clostridium difficile
Some of these illnesses can become life-threatening if not treated promptly. If you see ants in your home, it is important that you disinfect all of your food preparation surfaces as well.
Carpenter ants are also commonly found in this area. While they are not known to spread bacteria, they can damage the wooden structures in your home. They will hollow out wooden beams and other wooden objects to build their nests. Once their nest is matured, the wooden beams in your home could have sustained enough damage to affect the structural integrity of your home.
The Key To Total Ant Control For Your Home
The best way to achieve total ant control is to prevent the ants from coming into your home in the first place. Some of the things that you can do to keep these pesky insects out of your home include:
- Keep a tight lid on your trash cans. Make sure that there is a lid on all of your outdoor trash cans. It is also a good idea to keep the outdoor trash cans as far away from your home as possible. You should also empty your indoor trash cans often.
- Keep your floors and countertops clean. Even the smallest food crumb can attract ants. After you prepare and eat your meals, you should sweep the floors and wipe down all of the countertops to ensure that there are no food particles left behind.
- Keep all food in an airtight container. Make sure that all of your dry food is in a plastic, glass, or metal container with a sealable lid. Chips, bread, cereal, and other food packages are not made to seal up after they have been opened and may have small openings that ants will use to get inside. Also, remember to put your pet's food in a sealable container.
- Seal up any cracks and gaps around your home. Ants are extremely small. Some species are able to fit into spaces that are barely visible. Inspect the spaces around your doors, windows, vents, and exterior cables to ensure that there are no possible entry points around those areas. If you do see any openings, use caulk or another durable material to fill in the gaps and ensure weatherstripping and door sweeps are in good repair.
If you see a trail of ants inside your home, remove the trail and clean the surface immediately. Ants will leave a pheromone on the surface that they walk on to let other ants know where to go. By cleaning the surface, you will remove the pheromones and hopefully prevent any more ants from coming into your home.
If you struggle with ants in your Katy home, give us a call today. The sooner you call, the easier it will be to get rid of the ants in your home. At Modern Pest Control, we have decades of experience dealing with various types of ants in this area. We know how to detect, find, and eliminate ants from your home for good. Call us today to schedule a thorough inspection of your home.