The level of ant control you can get inside your New Braunfels home depends on how much elbow grease you use. But it is possible to get total ant control if you put in the effort. Today, we'll dig into how ants in our region behave, the problems they cause, and how they link to ways you can prevent ant infestations with all-natural ant pest control. Stick with us to the end, and we will tell you some of the ways a certified technician works to keep ants out. If you want to see how this works firsthand, consider calling us. Gold Star Exterminators professionals have the experience and training to provide you with the highest level of service. We offer industry-leading pest control in New Braunfels. With that said, let's take a look at how ant prevention works in our area.
The Life Cycle Of Common Ants
Why is the life cycle of common ants important to understand? Because they provide valuable information for identification, prevention, and control. Here are a few things you should know.
Workers are the most plentiful ants in an ant colony. They are the ants you'll see crawling around on surfaces in large numbers. Workers collect food, so finding lots of workers in one spot is evidence that you have a food source that is attracting them.
Reproductives are produced by a nest that has developed and matured. A reproductive ant is about twice the size of a worker ant. When you see a reproductive ant crawling in your home, you may mistake it for the wrong species because of its large size. For example, carpenter ant workers are ¼ to ½ of an inch long and are sometimes red with dark abdomens. Fire ant alates can be ¼ of an inch in length and can have the same coloration, depending on the species. Do you see the potential for confusion? It is helpful to know if you have carpenter ants or fire ants in your home. They are entirely different ants that present different problems.
If a reproductive ant has wings, it is called an alate—or a swarmer. The appearance of a winged ant is evidence of a mature nest and the potential for the creation of a new nest.
Okay. Now that you know a bit about how to identify ants and what it means to find winged ants, let's turn our attention to what ants do on your property or inside your New Braunfels home.
The Many Problems Ants Can Create In Your Home
Ants are mostly a nuisance. Their ability to annoy people is why they are the number one pest problem in the United States and one that residents seek professional help to control. Perhaps you've noticed. But they are sometimes more than an annoyance. Let's take a look at a few common ant problems and why you may go searching for the best pest control company for ants in New Braunfels when these pests appear.
Crazy ants are crazy. They show up in large numbers and can make you wonder if you're in a horror movie. They can swarm and stack together, one ant on top of another, to create a scary-looking biomass. They can also clog your car, truck, and other machinery. When they enter your home, they may enter an outlet or circuit box and cause a short. They're not the only pest ants that do this. You can prevent electrical problems by going outside and inspecting your exterior. In many cases, short circuits are linked to vegetation touching the exterior of a home or exterior utilities, which allows ants to enter in large numbers through entry points high off the ground or enter directly into powerboxes. Why is vegetation necessary? Can't ants just climb exterior walls? They can. But it takes a lot of energy. Hundreds of ants won't scale your exterior to get in through a window gap or unprotected vent, where there is quick access to outlets by way of your wall voids.
Carpenter ants are homewreckers, particularly black carpenter ants. It is important to know how to identify carpenter ants so that you don't miss them as a warning sign inside your home. Keep watch for random scout ants. They are the largest ants you'll find in your home, but the winged alates are even larger. A reproductive carpenter ant is an inch long; that is hard to miss! But reproductives mate and disappear quickly. You'll need another way to detect carpenter ants. Fortunately (and unfortunately), they provide a helpful warning sign called frass. It is a material that is partially excavated wood shavings. If you see frass leaking out of a crack or gap, you know you have carpenter ants. Unfortunately, it also means you have carpenter ant damage.
Fire ants are painful pests. But they are the most common ants that sting, so getting a "fire ant bite" in your yard can alert you to a problem. If you need more help detecting these ants, look for their mounds in the sunny areas of your lawn.
Many ant species cause general stomach sickness. If you keep getting sick, you may have an ant problem. You might have success checking around your trash receptacles to track where these ants are nesting.
Five No-Nonsense Ant Prevention Tips For Around The House
Ant detection is helpful but not always essential. You'll want to properly detect and identify ants if you're using control solutions that target a particular species, but there are many ways to deter all ants that may get into your home. Here are five no-nonsense ant prevention tips that really work.
1. Keep Your Home Clean
When ants enter your home and find food debris or decaying juices, they'll lay a trail of pheromones back to their nest, and this may bring an army of ants into your home. Pheromones are how ants communicate. The stronger the scent, the more ants will enter.
- Clean counters and surfaces.
- Keep cutting boards clean.
- Sweep and vacuum.
- Deep clean around and underneath your oven and fridge periodically.
- Wipe down shelves.
A clean home is resistant to ant activity in many ways. It's hard work, but work that is well worth doing.
2. Protect Your Food
Ants can get into stored food packages or access food that is readily available in your kitchen, living room, or bedroom. Unprotected food can inspire an ant infestation or an indoor ant nest, particularly food that is past its due date. We recommend doing some or all of the following:
- Store food in sealed containers.
- Clean dirty dishes as you go.
- Only place food out for your cat or dog during a set mealtime.
- Clean your trash receptacles.
- Clean your living room furniture and consider only eating in your dining room or kitchen.
- Check your kid's rooms for food sources, such as candy bars, apple cores, and chip crumbs.
There are only a few of the many food sources ants may find in your home. Make those worker ant scouts go away empty-handed.
3. Address Plumbing Issues
Do you know that ants can collect water droplets? It is fun to watch telescopic videos of ants doing this. But it isn't so fun when they're doing it in your home.
- Repair leaking faucets in your kitchen.
- Repair leaking garbage disposal units.
- Address weeping pipes.
4. Seal Your Exterior
Ants get inside through tiny gaps and openings. When you seal these entry points, ants may stay outside where they belong.
- Properly seal around your exterior doors.
- Make sure you have no gaps around your utilities.
- Repair damaged screens.
- Seal cracks in your foundation.
- If your home has weep holes, install weep hole guards.
5. Address Food Sources And Moisture Around Your Home
Before ants get inside, they establish themselves next to your home. Food and moisture are the attractants that make them do this.
- Manage your trash to keep smells from attracting ants.
- Address aphid issues. These insect pests create honeydew, and ants love honeydew.
- Address flowering lawn weeds. Ants love nectar as much as bees and wasps do.
- Remove organic debris that attracts insects. Ants eat insects.
- Address exterior light. White light attracts insects; as we pointed out already, ants eat insects.
- Clean your gutters to reduce perimeter moisture and oversaturation.
- Trim your landscaping to keep your vegetation dry.
These all-natural ant management strategies have a big impact on ants, but as you can imagine, they take hard work. Because it is hard to do these things, many people turn to ant control products. Unfortunately, ant control products can cause ant problems to worsen. Ant control is far from simple; there is no silver bullet.
The Most Effective Ant Control Method For New Braunfels Homes
A certified pest control professional will use a methodology called Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to address ant pressures, reduce ant populations, and exclude ants from your home. IPM is the gold standard in pest control and uses smart, science-based solutions to get results with the least amount of control materials. If you live in New Braunfels, contact Gold Star Exterminators for IPM solutions that provide the best management of ant pests. Don't settle for less.