In the Houston area, we have several ant species that can get into our homes. While there are some important differences in how each species is controlled, there are some tips that can help with almost all ants that get into Houston homes. We'll be focusing on these today.
Fewer Ants, Fewer Invasions
Everything you do to control ants outside, around your house, will impact how many ants get into your house. Ants are attracted to many things but the two things they're most attracted to are moisture and food.
How to reduce moisture:
We can get a lot of rain in Houston. This may make you think that your yard and foundation perimeter well be moist no matter what you do, but this is not the case. You can reduce moisture by reducing the oversaturation of topsoil.
- Make sure your gutters are clear of obstructions. When rainwater is unable to flow through your gutter system and away from your home, it can cause oversaturation near your foundation walls. This can lead to higher moisture and more ants near your home.
- Trim tree branches. Dense tree canopy can cause areas of dampness near your home and this will make it harder for the sun to dry the topsoil. This will attract ants.
- Rake leaves up. When leaves are allowed to lay on the ground, they trap moisture underneath and increase ant populations.
- Put space between plants in your landscaping. Rain isn't the only way your foundation perimeter can become damp or oversaturated. When you water your plants, it can increase dampness. Putting space between your plant can allow the wind to dry the topsoil after watering. This will reduce ants.
How to reduce food sources:
Ants don't always eat what we eat. While some ant species will make a meal out of fruits and berries, they'll also eat nectar from flowers and honeydew left by aphids. While some ants will chew on a hamburger or some other source of protein we might eat, they're more inclined to eat other insects. It is important to keep in mind that ants don't just eat what we eat and they don't just feed on the food we throw away. But trash is certainly a good place to start when trying to eliminate ant food sources.
- Keep your trash in sealed containers and routinely wash your containers to avoid attracting ants.
- If you feed pets or livestock outside, make sure to only put food down during mealtimes.
- If you have a hummingbird feeder, place it on a tree away from your home. Ants love the sugary liquid in those feeders.
- If you have bird feeders, ants will gather the seeds from the ground. Keep bird feeders away from your exterior walls.
Batten Down the Hatches
Once you've done what you can to keep your perimeter ant populations to a minimum, it is time to turn your attention to sealing your exterior walls and foundation. A caulking gun and spray foam can help with this.
- Seal gaps around pipes.
- Seal entry points around door and window frames.
- Fill in holes created by wood-damaging pests.
- Fix gaps in the weatherstripping around doors.
- Use tape or some other product to seal around air conditioning units.
- Fix damaged screens or have the screens replaced.
- Patch cracks in foundation walls.
- Fix chipped or damaged mortar.
The First and Last Solution for Ant Control
If you reduce ants and seal your exterior walls, you can reduce or eliminate ant infestations, but sometimes ants find a way no matter what you do. For the best control, it is often necessary for pest control products to be applied. This should be done by a licensed professional. A pest control professional uses least-toxic products that are EPA approved and applies these products in a controlled and limited way. A licensed pest control provider will also use bait products that are appropriate for the ant species being targeted. Together, these work to reduce and eliminate ants around your home. This ant control process can have an impact on any home no matter how much has been done to reduce ants and seal exterior walls.
If you'd like to know how the experts here at Modern Pest Control manage ant populations and ant threats, reach out to us. We're happy to answer your questions and guide you in this important pest control service.