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Pest Directory

How ants feed and how to prevent them

Ants are one of the most common pests found in homes across America. And if you've ever been on an outdoor picnic, you know they often begin their quest for food with the crumbs left on your plate. Let that be the first clue to understanding what attracts ants into your home, and how to prevent them.

One reason ants are so prevalent across the world is their omnivorous diet. Ants can make a meal out of almost anything, with food preferences as diverse as the types of ant species; some prefer other insects and dead animals, while others feast on vegetables, fruits, oils, seeds and sugar. But the species typically referred to as pests have a strong preference for sugar water. So it stands to reason that anything sweet and moist left on your kitchen counter will likely attract these tiny, yet powerful insects.

The "pest" classification is generally used to describe the following types: pavement ant, sugar ant, Pharaoh ant, carpenter ant, yellow crazy ant, Argentine ant, odorous house ant, red imported fire ant and the European fire ant. But there are many more sub-species that fall within these categories.

So what to do if a colony of these ants attacks your home? First, look around for obvious food sources. As mentioned above, keep food out of reach, meaning tightly sealed and packed away. Wipe up spills and crumbs promptly and look for food particles - especially near sugar bags and bowls - inside cabinets.

Next, look for standing water. Ant species that feed on vegetation and fungi need only water to complete their meals. So eliminating these moisture areas can deter veggie-loving ants from setting up shop near your home's entry points.

Seeking professional help to rid your home of ants

But what if you've eliminated these hazards and still have ants? It may be time to call in expert help. The professionals at Terminix have a long-standing reputation for wiping out stubborn pests, such as ants. Pest control specialists will generally use a baiting treatment system to wipe out local colonies of ants either inside or outside of your home. These baits can contain either a liquid or powder substance that is poisonous to the ants.

After these baits are set near the colony nest, worker ants foraging for food will stumble upon the baits and, mistaking the poisonous substance for food, carry it back to the nest and infect other members of the colony. The infection kills the colony over time, wiping out the main source of a home's ant problem.

Types of ants

Want to learn more about the types of ants that are typically found in your region of the country? Get started with the list below:

  • Acrobat Ant
  • Allegheny Mound Ant
  • Argentine Ant
  • Big-headed Ant
  • Carpenter Ant
  • Citronella Ant
  • Crazy Ant
  • Field Ant
  • Fire Ant
  • Ghost Ant
  • Harvester Ant
  • Little Black Ant
  • Moisture Ant
  • Odorous House Ant
  • Pavement Ant
  • Pharaoh Ant
  • Texas Leaf Cutter Ant
  • Thief Ant
  • Velvety Tree Ant
  • White-footed Ant

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