Ants are small, reddish-brown or dark, pests that can invade your Salt Lake City home. They come in to find food. Once they do, they lay a scent trail to the nest and other ants follow it into your house. Once ants appear, they are very hard to get rid of. Ants do not specifically spread any diseases but they can get into food and foul it.
There are around 160 species of ants in Utah. The five most common ants that cause problems in homes are:
- Pavement ants (Formicidae, Tetramorium immigrans) are dark brown and 1/10th to 1/12th inches in length. They usually nest along the concrete, such as porches, sidewalks, and curbs, but can occur in soil anywhere. They like sweet or greasy foods and can invade your house in large numbers.
- Harvester ants (Pogonomyrmex spp.) are red to brown to black. These ants are relatively large, 1/5th to 1/2th inch long, and clear an area around their nest up to 12 feet in diameter. They eat seeds and insects. They can inflict a painful sting if annoyed. While they do not usually enter homes, they can ruin a landscape or playground.
- Carpenter ants (Camponotus spp.) are black or black with a reddish-brown body. The size of worker carpenter ants varies, but all of them remove wood to create tunnels and galleries. They become pests when they damage the wood in your house, and they can cause extensive damage. Carpenter ants have a primary nest outside and may establish a satellite nest in a house. They like insects, meat, and sweets such as honey, jelly, and the honeydew excreted by aphids. Carpenter ants can bite.
- Field ants (Formica spp.) are reddish or reddish and black and vary in size. Although they eat a variety of foods, they prefer sweets and are mostly pests in the spring or when they swarm. They often protect aphids or scales that secrete a sweet substance called honeydew. They will leave if the insects they are protecting are eliminated.
- Odorous house ants (Tapinoma sessile) are about 1/8th of an inch long and are brown or black. They get their name because they emit a bad odor when disturbed or smashed. Odorous house ants can nest in wall voids and under carpets, usually near pipes or hot water heaters. Indoors, they look for sweets, cooked vegetables, fruit, and pastries.
How Ants Get In
Since ants are small, they can enter your home through tiny cracks in your foundation or outside walls. They can also enter under doors if the door sweep isn’t tight and free of holes. Loose window screens, or ones with holes in them, can also admit ants. Some ant nests enter the home in potted plants, so check for ants before bringing your plants in for the winter.
The best way to prevent ant problems is to prevent their entry in the first place.
- Replace worn door sweeps.
- Repair or replace window screens with holes or ones that do not fit tightly in the window.
- Seal all cracks and crevasses in the foundation and outside walls.
- Seal around pipes, electrical wires, and cables coming into the home.
Why Ants Come In
Ants come into your house for food. The best way to get them to leave is to eliminate their food source.
- Promptly wipe up spills.
- Wash the surface that the ants are on to eliminate their scent trails.
- Put food in ant-proof plastic or metal storage containers.
- Do not leave dishes in the sink overnight.
- Place trash in a container with a tight lid.
- Place compost in a container with a tight lid.
- Do regular deep cleans under appliances, in cupboards, and in the back of rooms or closets.
Get Professional Help
Getting rid of ants once they come in is hard. Because carpenter ants chew through your wood, they have to be professionally eliminated. The other ant species will stay as long as they can. Let a professional get rid of your ants for you. At Pest Pro Pest Control, we are here to help. Call us to schedule your home inspection. We will come out and thoroughly inspect your home, inside and out. During the inspection, we will share with you things you can do to prevent future problems. We then treat the house inside and out. Once we eliminate the ants in your home, we can come out every 60 or 90 days and retreat the exterior to keep ants out. We will treat the inside if needed. Call Pest Pro Pest Control at (801) 889-2016 today to get rid of your ants.