If you’ve ever had the frustrating experience of ants invading your home, you know how important it is to get rid of them quickly and permanently. No one wants those little critters crawling all over their kitchen countertops or pantry. But how can you eliminate ants from your house once and for all? Read on to find out.
What Are the Most Common Types of Ants in Pennsylvania?
Ants come in different shapes, sizes, and behaviors. Understanding the specific type of ants invading your home can help you to develop a more targeted approach in eliminating them. Below are the most common ant species in Pennsylvania.
In Lancaster and York, the most common type of ant is the odorous house ant. These ants get their name from the coconut smell they omit when crushed. Because these tiny ants measure only 1/16 to 1/8 inch long, local residents refer to them as “small ants.” Since they are often found near juice or sugary crumbs inside the home, they are also known as sugar ants.
Odorous house ants, particularly flying ants, are usually very difficult for the average homeowner to get rid of. The reason for this is an instinct called “fracturing” – or “budding,” as ant control companies call it. When a certain number of ants do not return to the colony due to over-the-counter sprays, the colony will panic and split. This means double the trouble! New customers who call Dominion Pest Control often describe this situation, saying “The more we spray, the worse they get!”
Unlike many other pest control companies, Dominion uses highly effective strategies that kill entire ant colonies of ants – no matter the species.
Download our Odorous House Ants Treatment Prep Sheet.
Another common type of ant in Pennsylvania is the carpenter ant. Carpenter ants are true to their name: They actually bore the wood in your home or business. A piece of moist excavated wood and a pile of sawdust is a telltale sign of these pests. If left unchecked, these ants will do almost as much damage as termites.
Because of their appearance, carpenter ants are also referred to as “big black ants.” Measuring between 3/8 and 1/2 inch long, they have segmented bodies and prominent mandibles. These insects thrive on water and usually set up shop near leaking air conditioners, bird bath, and other water sources. Learn more about carpenter ants.
Pavement ants are another species commonly found in Pennsylvania. These pests can be seen pushing up dirt in the yard and the sides of driveway. You may also see them crawling on the kitchen counter.
Ranging from 1/16 of an inch to 1/8 of an inch long, pavement ants appear wrinkled and are brown to dark brown.
By identifying the type of ant you’re dealing with, you can tailor your ant control efforts accordingly.
Flying Ants vs. Termites
Before you act, it’s also good to know what insect you’re dealing with. Flying ants, or winged ants, as they’re often called, include all the types above. When in flight, they’re often hard to distinguish – so it’s best to take a close look when they’re resting.
While both insects have four wings, the wings of termites are equal in length and twice as long as their bodies. They also have straight antenna and a straight body. Flying ants, on the other hand, have noticeably larger wings in the front and bent antennas. Because of their thin abdomens, they also appear distinctly segmented.
How Can I Get Rid of Ants Quickly?
Once you know the type of ants in your house, it’s time to develop a targeted plan to eliminate them.
Store bought baits are a common DIY method for killing ants. It is important to keep in mind that the treatment method depends on the ant species. For example, odorous house ants are attracted to sweet baits while carpenter ants are drawn to protein-based baits.
If your ant problem is confined to a small area, you can spot-treat it with an insecticide. Liquid insecticides or granules can help you to get rid of ants in specific locations, but for larger scale infestations, you may need a lawn insect killer that contains bifenthrin. Be sure to mow the grass before applying insecticides outdoors; doing so reduces the real estate on which these pests can reside.
When using any type of insecticide, it’s imperative to read the product label carefully to ensure proper handling and application techniques. You should also wear protective gear and thoroughly clean up any residual material.
Remember that while DIY methods may help you to get rid of ants quickly, they don’t eliminate them permanently. Our pest control experts know exactly what type of insecticide to apply and where to apply it. Learn more about the Dangers of Self Treating for Pests.
How Can I Prevent Ants from Returning to My House?
Getting rid of ants is important, but preventing them from returning should be the ultimate goal. To keep these pesky critters at bay, here are a few basic preventive measures you can take:
Keep things clean by regularly wiping down surfaces, sweeping up crumbs, and storing food in airtight containers. Ants are attracted to even the tiniest food traces, so a clean environment is a deterrent. Don’t let unwashed dishes with food debris pile up in your sink—that’s an inviting banquet for any ants that may enter via gaps around your pipes and plumbing. Immediately clear away any leftover food scraps and seal them in closed trash bags and lidded containers for disposal. Take extra special care to police the area around your trash bins for signs of invading ants.
Once ants are detected, conduct a thorough inspection of your home. Secure potential entryways by sealing cracks or gaps in windows, doors, and foundation walls.
Consider applying ant deterrents like diatomaceous earth, mint leaves, vinegar/water spray, or lemon juice near access points to discourage ants from entering your home.
By paying attention to the causes of ant infestation and following these preventative measures, you can maintain an ant-free environment in your house.
How Can I Get Rid of Ants in the House Naturally?
If you prefer to take a more natural approach to ant control, there are several remedies you can try. One popular method is using a 50/50 mixture of vinegar and water. Spray this solution near ant trails, entry points, and areas where ants frequent. The strong smell of vinegar disrupts their scent trails and deters them from returning.
Another natural option is using cinnamon. Sprinkle cinnamon powder along ant trails or near entry points to create a barrier that ants dislike crossing.
Additionally, essential oils such as peppermint, citrus, or tea tree oil can be effective in repelling ants. Dilute a few drops of the oil in water and spray it around problem areas.
Remember to reapply these remedies regularly for optimal effectiveness.
While DIY natural ant treatments can be helpful, it’s important to note that they may not provide immediate or long-lasting results. At Dominion Pest Control, we use professional grade Nature-Cide All Purpose Concentrate to get rid of ants in your house quickly and permanently. This commercial blend kills not only ants, but also bed bugs, cockroaches, fleas, mosquitoes, ticks, and other insects on contact. This powerful solution is formulated with clove oil, cottonseed oil, and other natural ingredients – so you won’t have to worry about health risks to your family or pets.
When Should I Consider Hiring an Ant Control Service?
If you’ve tried various strategies without success, if your infestation is widespread or persistent, or if you’re dealing with certain ant species like carpenter ants that can cause structural damage, consider hiring a professional ant control service like Dominion. We have the knowledge, experience, and specialized tools to safely and effectively eliminate ants and other pests from your home.
Our professional exterminators will conduct a thorough inspection to identify the extent of the infestation, locate ant nests, and determine the best course of action. We employ targeted treatments specific to the ant species infesting your home. This often includes treating our customers’ yards so their ant problems are eliminated from the source. Additionally, we offer long-term and preventative solutions to ensure that the ants won’t return.
Remember, every ant infestation is unique, and the severity and circumstances may vary. In the end, the goal is to get rid of ants in your house quickly and permanently. Good luck, and here’s to an ant-free household!