A hot summer is causing pests to seek shelter indoors, but Southern California residents are less than thrilled when they find ants in their homes.
A local pest control expert told the Southwest Riverside News Network that during different times of the year, ants usually seek several things when they invade homes. In the summer, ants often head indoors in search of water or carbohydrates. The unusually hot and dry conditions that have lingered across the nation this summer have resulted in many homeowners finding water-seeking ants in areas water is frequently used, such as bathrooms, kitchens and pools. In the winter, the insects are on the hunt for protein sources.
There are various types of ants causing insect control issues for residents across the region.
The invasive Argentine ant has no natural predators, so it can be difficult to eliminate entire colonies. These pests also are able to cohabitate with other ant colonies, rather than competing with them. Carpenter ants use many methods to get into homes, and can get in along pipes, utility lines and tree branches, in addition to crawling in through open doors or cracks. Pharaoh ants can travel long distances for food, meaning homeowners may find ants in their home from a colony far away.
Fire ants have also been found in California in recent years. These insects are more aggressive than other species of ants, and are known to sting both humans and animals. Keeping fire ants out of the home and nowhere near a homeowner's property will prevent a large group of the pests from attacking if they are unexpectedly disturbed.
There are some steps homeowners can take to prevent these infestations. Making sure cracks, holes and crevices are closed is an important measure in keeping homes free from ants. Storing food in tightly sealed containers will help to prevent ants from entering for sustenance. If a few ants are spotted inside, homeowners should wash down the surfaces they crawled across. This will eliminate the pheromone trail that other ants may follow to get inside the home and find food.
However, sometimes it is impossible to prevent an ant infestation. In these circumstances, an exterminator should be contacted to handle the problem. A pest control professional can advise the best form of treatment for a severe ant problem in a home.