I keep my house clean, so why am I still finding ants?

It may feel as though ants, no matter what you seem to do, will never leave your house. There are several reasons why ants continue to find their way inside your home. Doing dishes every day and keeping food properly sealed may not be enough to keep ants at bay, because even a single crumb is enough to motivate ants. When one ant comes inside searching for food, it leaves a scent trail using pheromones for other ants to follow. Once another ant comes along the trail, they, too, add their own pheromones to keep the trail active. To inhibit ants from following scent trails, make sure to keep your countertops and floors clean.

Some ants, such as acrobat ants (Crematogaster ashmeadi) (Figure 1), prefer nesting in damp or rotting wood, which may be around windows and drain spouts, though they are rare indoors. Other ant species, such as Florida carpenter ants (Camponotus floridanus), nest in between wall space. In these cases it does not matter how clean your house is. You would need to have your walls inspected for nests and remove decaying wood if infestations persist.

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Figure 1. Adult workers and brood acrobat ants, Crematogaster ashmeadi, in their nest. Photograph by James Castner, University of Florida.

In addition to food and habitat, ants need water to survive, so worker ants will travel great distances in search of water to carry back to the nest. A leaky faucet or dripping pipes are perfect sources of water, so make sure to be on the lookout for these problem areas.

To prevent ants from getting into your home, seal cracks by caulking. You can also use chemical controls as deterrents, which are available in the form of baits. These baits can be found in liquid or granular form. Baits can be taken back to the ant nest and spread poison around, and they can even kill off ant queens.

To learn more about pest ants and control, click here.

This guest post authored by Shari Linn.