How Ants Find Their Way Into Our Jacksonville Homes And How To Keep Them Out

Ants don't decide one day that it would be fun to live in your home. They don't stand in your yard, look up at your big house and think, "I bet there is food in there." So, why do ants get into your home? More importantly, how do you keep ants out of your Jacksonville home? Join us today as we crack the code to ant pest control. We'll show you how ants behave, problems they cause, and then dig right into how you can naturally deter ants from getting into your Jacksonville home. If you need immediate assistance with an ant problem, you don't have to wait to contact us. You can jump to our contact page or give us a call at any time. Lindsey Pest Services provides industry-leading ant control and general pest control in Jacksonville. We can help you find an effective ant control solution. With that said, let's look at common ant pests in Jacksonville and ant prevention tips to keep them out. 

The Life Cycle Of Common Ants

Life for an ant begins with an egg. These eggs are in the heart of the ant colony and are tended by the queen. Larvae emerge from the eggs, develop into pupae, and eventually develop into adult ants. The transition from pupae to adult leads to an ant becoming a worker or an alate. All workers are female. Alates (which just means winged insect) are male or female. When it comes to keeping ants out of your home, you need to know a bit about each. We will cover this in a moment. First, let's talk about what kind of problems ants bring into your house because it will provide some groundwork for understanding how to keep ants out.

Ant Infestations Can Cause Many Problems In The House

You know that ants in Jacksonville are annoying. You also know that ants are as comfortable in your trash bin as they are on your cutting board. We don't have to tell you that ants have the potential to make you sick. But you may not have connected the dots between how ants behave and why they get into your home. Let's look at the behaviors that create issues. Then, in the next section, we'll bring everything together and discuss how to keep ants out.

  • Ants that are a particular health threat, like the pharaoh ant, are attracted to anything that is rotting or decaying. Problems start when these ants discover something stinky in your home. Keep in mind that ants can sense faint smells before they become, "I need to get that out of here," smells. 
  • Ants that present a stinging hazard, namely fire ants, are drawn to sources of protein. As you consider protecting yourself from their annoying stings, keep their food preferences in mind.
  • Ants that make a stink inside your home, namely odorous house ants, are common ant pests that eat sweet things. They eat the foods you eat that are high in sugar content. They'll also eat honeydew and nectar.
  • Ants that get into your electrical outlets, automobile engines, and lawn equipment, must be targeted and controlled in many cases, but some Jacksonville residents manage these pests by sealing entry points and trimming tree branches away from their exterior walls.
  • Ants that create galleries in wood are called carpenter ants. These ants are drawn to rotting wood and moisture issues. If left untreated, carpenter ants can do considerable damage, over time.

Those are the basic ant pests you can expect to deal with in and around your Jacksonville home. Now it is time to connect the dots. Let's dig right in and discuss how you can use your new-found knowledge of ant behavior and food preferences to keep them out of your home. 

How And Why Ants Find Their Way Into Our Homes

Ants begin by finding a reason to be in your yard. As they enter, they're looking for food, water, and a suitable environment to establish a nest. If ants find flowering weeds in your lawn, they are going to love your yard. Ant control in your yard begins with addressing lawn weeds. But, as you can probably imagine, the nectar of flowers isn't the only food source that will make ants want to explore your yard. They eat insects, bugs, tree sap, plant sap, pet waste, and more. If you have lots of trees and vegetation, ants will come into your yard even if you don't have any weeds. Your goal is to reduce the food sources you are able to reduce. Doing so will reduce ant populations (and insect and bug populations) and stunt the growth of ant colonies.

When tiny ants enter your yard, they don't know you have landscaping next to your home, but they soon will. Ant workers forage a distance from their nests. The next zone to consider is your perimeter and landscaping. While it is impossible to get rid of all the ants in your landscaping (nor would you want to), there are many ways to reduce ant activity. When you reduce the number of ants, you reduce indoor ant problems. Since ants eat honeydew, you should address aphids, whiteflies, and scale insects quickly. These vegetation pests create honeydew for ants to feed on. As you consider how to deal with aphids, take note that the reason these insects are attracted to your landscaping is the same reason many other pests are drawn to it. Unhealthy plants attract pest problems, and one way plants become unhealthy is that they stay damp. Cleaning your gutters, fixing gutter breaks, trimming landscape vegetation, removing weeds, blowing leaves out, and getting rid of unnecessary plants, work together to maintain dry vegetation and healthy plant life.

Ants don't just hang out in your landscaping. Another zone to consider is the location where trash receptacles are kept. Some ants are drawn to these. Trash management is critical for pest management. Make sure to get your receptacles to the curb weekly. Trash that sits for a week will make your receptacles smell bad to you, but will be attractive to certain ants. We recommend cleaning your receptacles routinely, using scented bags to trap the scent of decaying organic matter, and getting a trash lid pest control guard.

Many ants are drawn to damp wood and wood piles in general. If you have scrap wood, campfire wood, construction materials, or some other wood source, you can expect to find ants. Move wood sources away from your exterior walls. They create a food-rich environment for ants. Now that we've broached the topic of wood being an attractant for ants, let's consider a few ways it can allow ants into your home, particularly carpenter ants.

  • Ants are drawn to rotting wood. Replace rotting wood if you can. If you're not able to do this, consider using expanding foam to fill in rotted wood holes and fill gaps between rotted wood timbers.
  • Unpainted wood is exposed to the elements and can deteriorate over time and become more attractive to ants. Keep wood painted to maintain health.
  • Your back deck can attract ants, particularly carpenter ants. Weather damage over time will make your deck more interesting to these ants. If you don't have a painted deck, make sure to continue to weather-protect the wood.

When ants explore your exterior, they get in through tiny cracks and gaps. It is essential to check exterior doors for gaps and to replace weatherstripping and door sweeps to seal them properly. Inspect your windows and make sure your screens are in good working condition. Most of all, check around your utilities. There are often gaps around pipes and wire conduits.

Sometime, ants will crawl up your exterior walls to get to higher entry points, but this is not how large numbers of ants will access your home. It isn't easy to climb your walls. Ants typically use tree branches, bushes, and other vegetation to get to entry points higher on your home so they can enter your home in large numbers. Trim these away from your exterior and use a caulking gun to seal around windows.

We're almost done. The last step in ant prevention is to keep your home clean and protect your food. If a worker ant gets inside and finds a food source, it will lay down a trail as it goes back outside. As more workers come in and get the food, the scent of the trail will grow stronger and in no time you'll have a house full of ants.   

The Trick To Total Ant Control For Jacksonville Homes

It is work thinking about ants all the time. For this reason, many residents turn to ant control products. Unfortunately, these products don't provide ant control solutions much of the time. There are many ways they can fall short or make ant problems worse. If you want the easy life, in regards to pest control, reach out to Lindsey Pest Services for residential pest control in Jacksonville. We provide layers of protection around your home to reduce the number of ants and to keep ants out. While we're at it, we keep a long list of other common pests out—some of which are much more harmful than ants! Connect with us today for service.