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What It Takes To Get Rid Of An Ant Infestation In Your San Mateo Home

There is a trick to diagnosing ant problems and finding an ant control solution that will work. You need to understand the ants on your property and some of the secret ways you may detect them before, and after, you've implemented a control strategy. Our goal today is to equip you with some basic knowledge that will help you with general pest ant management and control. We'll look at how to detect ants and ant problems, examine a few helpful ant prevention tips, and share our secret for ant pest control in San Mateo. If you've had trouble dealing with ants, you'll find some helpful insights here. If you want to speak to a professional about your ant problem, we can help with that too. Contact us by phone or the form on our contact page for assistance. Our service professionals are familiar with the common ant pests in our area and will help you find answers. 

How To Tell If Your Home Has An Ant Infestation

Tracking ant activity and locating nesting sites form the bedrock of effective ant control. You'll have more success getting rid of ants if you know where they live and what routes they're using. Here are some warning signs to look for around and inside your San Mateo home.

  • Ants. The best way to tell that you have ants in your home is to actually see ants, but a large number of ants invading your home does not necessarily mean you have an indoor nest. One worker can recruit and army to grab a food source. Once the food is gone, the ants may retreat to a nest outside. Frequent indoor sightings are evidence of an indoor nest, particularly if you take steps to keep your home clean and protect food sources. If you inspect your home for ant activity, be sure to do a nighttime inspection along with daytime inspections. Some ants are nocturnal.  
  • Dirt. Certain ants bring dirt indoors. They do this to create a habitat that is suitable for nest creation. If you see dirt coming out of a baseboard or door frame, there is likely a nest inside the void.
  • Frass. Carpenter ants create this material, which is a mixture of droppings, insect parts, and shavings of wood. You'll find frass leaking out of gaps, cracks, baseboards, and door frames.
  • Kickout holes. Carpenter ants create tiny holes the size of a pencil tip. These holes are used to push frass out of their tunnels. You may find kickout holes on wood surfaces above frass.
  • Damage. Carpenter ants damage wood and you may see holes created by these ants. Examine the holes with a flashlight to see if there are stacked tunnels inside. If so, you have a carpenter ant problem.

Many of the warning signs provided by ants are obvious if you know where to look for them and how to interpret the evidence you find. Some warning signs are not so obvious.   

The Many Problems Ants Can Create In Your Home

Ants are often nuisance pests. They can enter homes in large numbers and cause a disturbance. You won't wonder if you have an ant problem when ants do what they normally do. But sometimes, ants cause problems that you may not realize are related to ants. These problems can provide evidence of an infestation.

  • The lights go out. Certain ant pests get into wall voids, outlets, powerboxes, and electronic devices. In these places, they chew on the coating that protects wires and can cause a short. Their bodies are also able to act as a conductor and they can short out electronics. 
  • Your car or lawn mower doesn't start. Certain ant pests get into automobile engines and clog things up. They also chew on the wires in automobiles.  
  • You don't feel so good. Ants pick up germs and spread them as they explore. An ant is as comfortable in your trash as it is in a box of cereal. If you have stomach illness routinely, you may have an ant infestation.
  • You hear clicking in your walls. Carpenter ants create smooth tunnels inside wood. When their tunnels are invaded by another ant species or some other predators, the workers can go crazy. As they run up and down in their tunnels, you may hear their tiny feet clicking as they grip the surface of the wood.
  • Wood sounds hollow when you tap it. A sound structural timber shouldn't sound hollow. If you tap wood and hear a hollow sound, you have a wood-damaging pest in your home. If it is an ant pest, you have carpenter ants. 
  • You find wings. A mature nest produces winged ants. These winged ants mate quickly and shed their wings during the mating process. Finding lots of tiny wings in your home is a sign that you have an indoor nest.
  • You see a winged ant. One winged ant in your home is not necessarily a warning sign of an indoor nest. It is possible that the little guy got into your home at night because it was attracted to a light source. Or it could have gotten in through a gap during the day while looking for a suitable nesting sight. If it got inside, it may simply die off.

There are many subtle ways ants cause problems in San Mateo homes. Keep watch for these problems and properly diagnose them. This will help you zero in on an ant infestation before and after applying ant pest control

Factors That Attract Ants Into Your Home

Now that we've discussed how to find ant problems and how to detect ants, let's look at attractants that can lead to an ant infestation. Addressing these factors can help you prevent an ant problem or avoid future ant problems after you've gotten control of an ant infestation.

  • Poor sanitation often attracts ants. Ants can smell decaying organic matter from a distance and come to investigate. When you keep things clean, you deter ants. 
  • Ants get into trash to find food. Cover your trash to prevent ants from getting inside. Some trash can lids don't create a seal that is complete enough to keep ants out. Consider getting scented trash bags to mask the smell that attracts ants to your trash, or bag organic materials before putting them in the trash.
  • Ants eat insects. They'll get under leaf litter and explore wood piles to find insects. Yard work is a helpful deterrent. You may also consider replacing white exterior lights with yellow lights to remove an attractant that lures insects into your yard.
  • Ants eat the honeydew produced by aphids. Carpenter ants are particularly fond of honeydew, and it is bad to have black carpenter ants in your home, so dealing with aphids is critical. Do your best to maintain healthy plants, install sticky traps, and wash aphids off your plants when you detect them.
  • Ants eat nectar. Lawn weed control is helpful for preventing ant problems. Ants don't know that your home exists. They don't know that you have landscaping with insects to eat or trash with organic material to eat. The first food source they detect is likely to be nectar in flowering weeds on the edge of your lawn.
  • Ants need liquid. When clogged gutters lead to oversaturated ground and oversaturated ground leads to puddles, the puddles lead to ant problems. Clean your gutters and make sure they're doing their job. Also consider other liquid sources, such as the sweet sugar water in a hummingbird feeder or a soda bottle left out on your back deck.

When you address food and water resources, you deter ant activity and reduce your chances of having ants invade your home. You can apply these steps at any time. You can also apply these ideas to control food and water inside your home. If ants invade your home and can't find a suitable environment, you'll have fewer problems. 

The Best Way To Get Rid Of An Ant Infestation In Your Home

When ants invade, you can drive them out with food and moisture control. But ant infestations are sometimes alarming. You may find them all over the walls or clumped in a biomass that looks like something out of a horror movie. When they appear like this, you'll want to get rid of them fast. You'll also want to get rid of carpenter ants fast. While most people know how to identify carpenter ants, it is often hard to tell if there is an indoor nest. It is best to have a licensed service professional take a look and tell you for sure.

If you live in San Mateo, contact Pacific Pest Management for an ant treatment or ongoing pest control that provides protection from ant pests. We apply granular applications in your yard to reduce insect activity, spot-treat your landscaping with baits and traps, apply a liquid application on your exterior to keep ants out, and treat indoor spaces if needed. All of these services provide you with layers of protection for ants and other common San Mateo pests. Connect with us today to request service.

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