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What it take to get rid of an ant infestation

There is a secret to ant control in San Diego County. Do you want to know what it is? Knowledge. That's it. You just have to know how to outsmart ants. While people often turn to ant control products, there are many ways these products fail to meet expectations. It is far better to use natural pest control to stop ants from getting inside in the first place. Join us as we look at common ants in San Diego County, how these ants behave on your property, the challenges of using over-the-counter ant pest control, and the best way to get rid of ants.   

As always, we want to quickly remind you that you don't have to read an article about ant control to get help with an ant problem. You can jump to our contact page for ant pest control in San Diego County. We'll send a licensed and experienced pest control technician right to your door. Your technician is likely to tell you many of the facts you'll get from this article. If you're here today to just learn about ant pests in our area and to get some helpful tips, read on.   

Common Types Of Ants That Plague San Diego County Homes

We have many ant pest species in our area—far too many to mention, so today we are going to focus on five that you should know by name. These ants all present problems in unique ways.

Argentine Ants: Workers in an Argentine ant colony are 1/12 to 1/9 of an inch in length and light brown to dark brown in color. Argentine ants are known for creating supercolonies in California, in fact, one colony of these ants stretches the entire coastline! You'll find these ants in vegetation tending to plant-damaging pests such as aphids, mealy worms, and scale insects like farmers tend cows. These ants have a sweet tooth for the honeydew created by these insects.     

Odorous House Ants: Worker ants in an odorous house ant colony are 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch in length and are dark brown or black. It stinks when these ants get into San Diego County homes. Literally. You'll find these ants getting into sweet food sources and sweet condiments in your trash. 

Pharaoh Ants: Worker ants in a pharaoh ant colony are around 1/16 of an inch long and are yellow or red with a dark abdomen. These ants are the smallest on our list but they have large colonies. They can enter your home in large numbers. You'll find these ants wherever there is something rotting, particularly meat. 

Carpenter Ants: Worker ants in a carpenter ant colony vary in size. They are 1/4 to 1/2 of an inch long and are entirely black or a mix of red and black. While they have "carpenter" in their name, these ants aren't going to fix things in your home. They produce sawdust when they damage your home. You'll find these ants around decaying wood and in your landscaping, feeding on honeydew or nectar.  

Fire Ants: Workers in a fire ant colony are 1/8 to 3/8 of an inch long, depending on the species. They are all red or red with a black abdomen. But you don't need a description of fire ants. These little pests sting and cause burning wounds that itch. You'll find these ants establishing mounds in sunny areas of your yard.  

These descriptions can help you identify the ant workers you find on your property or in your home, but keep in mind that you might see ant alates. These are winged reproductives. You may call them queens and kings. These winged ants (also known as flying ants) are released from an ant nest with one purpose, to create new nests. Apart from having wings, they are around twice the size of the workers. So, if you see black carpenter ants in your home, and they have wings, they could be over an inch long.

All The Problems Ants Can Cause In The House

We don't have to tell you that ants are frustrating and disturbing pests. When ants mobilize an army that enters your San Diego home, you're not going to put up with that for long. But ants aren't just frustrating. There are other problems to consider.

  • They might stink up the place. When you step on ants and crush them, they can create an odor that is unpleasant. Odorous house ants create a scent that is described as rotting coconut. Be careful as your clean up ants inside your home. They might make a stink about it. 
  • They can make you sick. In most cases, the sickness caused by ants is mild. But you should know that when someone in your home gets sick, it may not be a cold or the flu. Your sickness could be ant-related. These insects crawl around in trash bins, dirty mop pails, drains, and other dirty places and carry germs to sensitive locations within your home.
  • They can spread diseases. Some ants do more than cause stomach illness. They are known to spread diseases. Pharaoh ants are strongly linked to the spread of diseases that impact human health.    
  • They can get into outlets and power boxes. Certain ants create nests in these places and cause breakers to short. Some ants chew on wiring and are able to cause even more trouble.  
  • They may damage your home. Carpenter ants tunnel in wood. While they're not predisposed to tunnel in sound wood timbers, they can move into sound timbers from wood that has been compromised by water damage.
  • They might present a threat to you and your family. When fire ants get inside, it isn't good, particularly in homes with babies or bedridden family members.
  • Ants are frustrating to control. It isn't often considered but trying to control ants is a problem in itself. It can be exhausting, sprinkling materials around your home only to keep finding ants getting inside.

When you discover an ant infestation, is it time to contact a licensed professional for ant control solutions? Let's look at a few challenges of doing it yourself, and you decide.     

Do-It-Yourself Ant Control Is A Waste Of Time And Money

There are many products that offer ant control in your yard and house. Each of these products can let you down in unique ways.

  • Sprayed products are topical. When you spray ants, you're only addressing the symptom of your problem. You're not getting at the source. You can spray ants continually and still have an ant infestation. What's more, the products offered by many manufacturers are more harmful to you than they are to ants. Using vinegar and water to spray ants will achieve the same results without making you sick, but we don't recommend doing this because some ant colonies have multiple queens. When you eliminate ant workers, it can send a signal to the queen that there is a threat, and budding can occur. This means that one nest will turn into two or more.
  • Baits can fall short. When you lay a bait down for ants to take, you might have success. The problem isn't that baits don't work. What tends to happen is incorrect baits are used and the ants don't take the bait, which allows the ants to continue to present problems for the family. Another outcome to consider is that correct baits that are incorrectly applied can lead to bait aversion. The ants learn that the bait is dangerous and start to avoid it.
  • Repellents may only have a small impact. When you use a product to repel ants, ants can find a way around whatever you're using to repel them. As they do this, they can find their way into other places in your home that you don't want them to be.

As you can see, ant control has the potential to make your problem worse. But the most common issue we see with do-it-yourself ant control isn't that it doesn't work, but that it isn't complete. Ant products can have some success; if they didn't, who would buy them? But, when you apply ant control ineffectively, ants will keep getting in whenever conditions outside drive them in. We know of only one solution that works to get rid of ants and keep them out. Let's take a look at it.

The Best Way To Get Rid Of Ants In The House And Keep Them Out

When ants become a problem, the most effective solution is to contact HomeShield Pest Control for a pest control ant treatment. Our licensed technicians use a process of inspections, treatments, evaluations, and follow-ups to make sure no ants remain in your San Diego County home. Once the ants are gone, we can establish ongoing ant protection. Our residential service programs provide coverage for a long list of common pests in our area, and there is a good chance your ant pests are covered. We use targeted treatments to address ants in your yard, apply granular products to reduce general pest activity, and apply a liquid barrier treatment to your exterior. If all of these are not enough, we have other treatment options to address your specific pest pressures. Would you like to learn more or schedule a service visit? Connect with us today. We're here to help.

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