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Prevent Ants From Marching One-by-One into Homes This Summer

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

August is when many squeeze in time for last-minute summer fun - often accompanied by sweet and sticky food that is just as enjoyable for ants and other intrusive pests as it is for humans. To help prevent a post-cookout infestation, Rose Pest Solutions – the oldest pest management company in the nation - is reminding homeowners to be on the lookout for the various species of ants that dominate our region. 

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“Ants can be annoying, but they can also pose health and property risks due to their ability to destroy wood, contaminate indoor environments, and even vector some diseases like poultry tapeworm,” said Mark VanderWerp, manager of education and training for Rose Pest Solutions. “To be fair, of the more than 700 ant species in the United States only a handful of them are troublemakers - and many of the worst pests are invasive species; so, not all ants are bad.” 

Some of the most common home-invading ants include: 

  • Pavement Ants, as the name implies, often nest in the soil immediately under hard objects like driveways, patios, and rocks. They are the ones pushing up dome-shaped mounds of soil between sidewalk tiles. These ants are drawn to sweet and greasy foods – and will often invade structures to find them. 
  • Odorous House Ants get their name from the defensive odor they give off when disturbed - interestingly, this odor is chemically identical to the volatiles emitted from blue cheese. They typically nest in wall voids and crevices and prefer sweet foods. 
  • Pharaoh Ants, are tiny ants (approximately 2 millimeters long) that live in extremely large colonies and got their name because they were believed to have caused one of the Biblical plagues of Egypt. They prefer sweets, but also consume grease and even shoe polish. 
  • Carpenter Ants, typically hollow out nests in both dry and moist wood but will also nest in voids like under attic insulation. Nests can be difficult to find, and in homes often associated with roof and plumbing leaks as well as other high humidity areas. 

Despite many types and often large numbers, an ant infestation is not a guarantee so long as homeowners act when the time is right. Rose Pest Solutions recommends the following tips to homeowners: 

  • Attach rain gutters and ensure they are clean and sloped properly away from the home. Doing so prevents water from pooling on the roof and along the foundation, which attracts ants that prefer softer, water-damaged wood. 
  • Treat aphid and scale-infested ornamental and flowering plants with insecticide. Ants are highly attracted to the sticky byproduct of sap-sucking insects such as aphids, reducing the chance of an ant encounter. 
  • Secure pet and human foods – ants view food in pet dishes on the floor or carelessly stored in the pantry as a buffet. Uncovered dog and cat food should be watched and human food, such as dry sugary cereal, should be kept in a plastic container with a lid. 
  • When outdoors on a deck or patio, avoid letting sticky spills and sweet foods like melted ice cream linger. 
  • Enjoy bird feeders farther away from the house, as scattered birdseed is especially tempting to ants and other pests. 

Rose Pest Solutions also provides client services in managing and eradicating bed bugs, termites, mosquitoes, cockroaches, wildlife, stinging insects, rodents, spiders, and ants. Find your nearest Rose Pest Solutions service center here. 

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