When you spot one, you know there are more. Because ants never travel alone.

Even though most ant species found in Ohio are not known for their bites or stings like the fire ants found down south, they’re still one of the more frustrating pests plaguing residents in the Buckeye State. There are dozens of species that feed on different things, they can nest in almost any nook, cranny or void in the home, and their social nature means they travel in droves.

Even though they don’t eat wood, some types of ants can cause structural damage to homes by chewing out areas to expand the size of their nests. Some live in the soil under homes and crawl in through cracks in walls or floors. Others go after sugary substances in your kitchen cabinets, and still more feast on food grease or oil residue around ovens, stovetops, and sinks.

Oh, and using a spray along your baseboards? That won’t solve the problem—ants are savvy little creatures and will simply learn to avoid those areas until the treatment has dissipated.

So how do I treat an ant infestation?

Thankfully, the vast majority of ant species found in Ohio aren’t dangerous to humans. But they can still spoil food in your pantry, run amok in your kitchen and bathroom, and cause damage behind your walls. Winged queen carpenter ants, the state’s largest ant species, can also cause quite a startle given that they measure up to three-quarters of an inch long.

Given how easy it is for ants to infest a home, how quickly they can make themselves comfortable and how difficult they can be to eliminate, professional treatment is often a homeowner’s only recourse. Thankfully, it’s proven to provide the best results as well. A-1 Able Pest Doctors offers a multi-step integrated solution that can provide residents total relief from ants and make your home inhospitable for their return.

What does treatment entail?

The key to eliminating an ant infestation begins with an inspection, because learning the species of the ants behind your walls or in your basement is crucial to rooting them out. The inspection will also identify where the ant activity is in your home, search for their nesting areas, and look for the source of the infestation—crucial to preventing them from coming back. An exterior inspection searches for the colonies in the yard where the ants may be coming from.

  • Treating the perimeter: The first step in treatment is setting a perimeter, using Termidor insecticide treatment around the foundation of the home—with an emphasis on areas where ants may be entering the structure, where their nesting areas may be found, or anywhere they’re crawling. Next, a crack and crevice treatment is applied around windows, doors, vents, and other exterior openings, including any holes drilled into the foundation or areas where any wires enter the home.
  • Tackling the ants outside: Any planting beds, trees, and garbage areas will be treated around the exterior of the home, given that cluttered areas are ideal places for ant populations to flourish. Prescription Treatment Advance Granular Ant Baits can be used in your most ant-prone areas outdoors, which can include fences, walkways, and driveways given how ants tend to march along structural lines. A liquid compound is also used on any outdoor ant mounds.
  • Closing off entry points: Inside, it’s time to treat all those nooks and crannies that are allowing ants to get into your kitchen. Crack and crevice treatment is ideal for filling the voids in walls and other places where ants tend to nest, including the attic and basement. Insecticide dust can also be blown into areas where ants are present. Eliminate them outside, and close off any access points inside—it’s a thorough treatment protocol that’s proven to work.

How else can I protect my home from ants?

Professional treatment is the most tried-and-true method of dealing with an ant infestation in the home. But there are also things residents can do either to minimize the damage, or to head off an infestation before it begins.

  • Be aware: Are you finding areas of rotten wood outside your home, such as near gutters or where rainwater pools near the house? Your antennae should go up for the presence of carpenter ants, which (hence their name) nest in rotted wood and can enlarge any space they find their way into.
  • Seal up your food: Ants are always on the march for food sources, and most species love morsels that are sweet or greasy. So, keep any loose food items in sealed containers, and use a cleaning solution to wipe up around sinks and stovetops.
  • Watch those pet dishes: Ants in Fido’s kibble? That’s often the first sign of an ant problem. Leaving pet food out all the time is in invitation to ants, so put the dishes out only during mealtime, clean them regularly, and spray a vinegar-water mixture around the areas where your pets eat.
  • Seal up those cracks: Notice any cracks in your walls, floors, or even the foundation outside? Grab that caulk gun and go to work. Sealing up potential entry points yourself could save you both time and frustration later.

Sometimes, though, there’s only so much a homeowner can do. Once ants are in the walls or have infested the basement, professional help is often your only alternative. Having your home checked regularly as part of a pest prevention program can help ensure that ants or other pests don’t become a problem. Avoiding an infestation begins with a proactive inspection and regular treatment.

To learn more about treating ants in the home, or about a general pest prevention system, call A-1 Able Pest Doctors at (800) 737-8189.