If you’ve ever come home to find a line of black ants snaking across your kitchen you’ll be well aware of the horror and disgust that these tiny insects can generate.
And if you haven’t yet had the dubious “honor” of a visit from the ants – don’t get complacent. Because the invasive Argentine ants are becoming a plague in the Bay Area and your turn might come very soon.
What are we up against?
As their name suggests Argentine ants originate in South America but over the past hundred or so years they have invaded the USA by stowing away with cargo on boats and trains.
They are a very aggressive species and because they lack natural enemies to keep them under control they have rapidly pushed out native species of ants.
Another factor in their favor is that they have multiple queens so they can rapidly split their colony in order to take advantage of new opportunities.
Why do ants invade our houses?
It’s often thought that ant infestations are down to lack of cleanliness but that’s a bit of a myth.
It’s true that ants are always on the look out for food and water and they will be attracted to uncleared food remains and uncovered pet food. So it is a good idea to clean up after meals and make sure all food remains are disposed of in suitable garbage cans (that will help with other pests like rats and cockroaches too).
But if you’ve experienced an ant infestation you will be glad to know that a study by Stanford University in 2001 proved that the biggest factor affecting home invasions isn’t cleanliness – it is the weather.
“Our study shows that Argentine ant behavior is clearly tied to the weather,” says Deborah M. Gordon, associate professor of biological sciences and lead author of the study. “Ants are most likely to enter homes in cold, wet conditions, typically in the winter in Northern California,” and “there is a smaller peak in the level of infestation that occurs during hot, dry conditions – typically in August and September.” She adds, “ants probably invade kitchens and dining rooms to escape searing heat or excessive dampness”
What can you do to get rid of ants?
The Stanford study recommendations are:
“Try plugging up holes in walls where ants might enter or using Windex to wipe up ant trails once they arrive,” she suggests. “I also recommend building moats around pet food. If you put your cat bowl on a plate with soapy water, the ants won’t be able to get across.”
That’s pretty good advice for just about any pest control problem – block or restrict access and remove all sources of food and water.
But what can you do if you’ve tried everything you know and the ants keep on coming?
That’s the time to contact a trained exterminator with experience with dealing with ants. Call PestResponders for a quick and professional local ant control service.