Ant Infestations and Your Home: Termites, Other Ants, and What You Need To Know

Ant Infestations and Your Home: Termites, Other Ants, and What You Need To Know

Does your home have an ant infestation? Before you buy baits or try the DIY remedies you’ve read about online, take a look at what homeowners need to know about these pests and the best ways to eliminate an infestation.

Are Ants and Termites the Same Pest?

Identification is the first step to a successful extermination. If you don’t know which pest is in your home, you can’t effectively eliminate it. Different species of pests respond in different ways to baits, sprays, dusts, and other pest control materials. So you need to understand whether your home has a termite infestation or the problem is another type of intruder.

Even though some homeowners think of termites and other household ants as the same, these pests have different behaviors and may not cause the same type of damage. Termites are one of the most notorious wood-destroying pests. According to information from North Carolina State, Americans spend a collective two billion dollars annually to control and prevent termite infestations. These pests live in colonies that could contain 200,000 to 2,000,000 workers. 

Without proper control, termites can cause serious structural damage in a home. Along with destroying wood, these pests also feed on paper, cardboard, carpet, and some types of paneling. They may also tunnel through foam board and plastic. 

While household ants may look like mini termites to the pest control novice, most of these pests aren’t wood eaters. Larger carpenter ants tunnel through wood but don’t feed on the substance in the same way as termites. Smaller household ants may live inside of walls or cabinets but also won’t feed on the natural material. Instead, these ants are primarily a nuisance. 

Are All Household Ants Species the Same?

The National Pest Management Association’s (NPMA) notes that there are more than 700 ant species in America. Top home invaders include the Argentine ant, crazy ants, odorous house ants, and pavement ants. Each species may have somewhat different behaviors, habitats, and feeding preferences. 

Do Baits Work Best for an Ant Infestation?

Ant baits are inexpensive and easy to use. They are also widely available in many types of retail stores and online. But this doesn’t mean that baits are best at eradicating a pest problem. 

Baits contain an attractant that draws ants to the insecticide inside. The ants take the bait back to the nest and, provided the control method works, eradicate the entire colony. This method isn’t an instant fix. If the ants die before they can bring the bait back to the nest, the rest of the colony will survive. This makes it challenging for the homeowner to always use baits effectively.

Some baits won’t attract the species of ant in the house. If the ants prefer another type of food source (such as a sweet source instead of a protein), they won’t take the bait. Likewise, if the colony’s dietary needs change, they may ignore the bait. 

What Can You Do Instead of Using Baits?

Again, the first step is to identify the invader. If you’re not sure whether you have a wood-destroying pest in your home, odorous ants, or another species, contact a pest control professional. They will inspect your home, find the nests, and identify the pest. 

After the professional identifies the ants and finds the source, they can start treating your home. Some infestations will respond to baits, while others may require a different approach. The pest control contractor may need to treat indoor and outdoor sources to fully exterminate the ants. This could take days or weeks to have an effect, depending on the extent of the problem and size of the colony or colonies. Repeat or routine services can help to prevent a re-infestation and keep ants out of your house.

Do you need help controlling ants in your home? Contact Early Termite & Pest Services for more information. 

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