Ant Infestations

Updated April 17, 2017

Ants are small, usually red or black insects belonging to the Formicidae family. They live in large colonies controlled by a queen. The queen stays in the nest while the other ants go out and look for food. Ants are the insects most commonly found in and around homes. Their presence has nothing to do with dirt or clutter. Even people who are impeccable about keeping their homes clean can still experience ant infestations.


One of the biggest reasons for ant infestation is inclement weather. Heavy rain or intense heat and drought cause ants to seek refuge inside. People usually cool their homes when it's hot, and heat up their homes when it's cold outside so the homes make the perfect environment for the ants. Food left out on the counters, such as fruit placed in fruit bowls, can attract ants to your home. If an ant finds food in your house, it will alert other ants in its colony and an infestation will soon develop.


The only way to effectively treat ant infestations is to locate the colony and the queen. Killing single ants is a futile and often frustrating exercise. Ant colonies are notoriously hard to locate so your best bet is to lay down bait if you're trying to get rid of the infestation yourself. Oftentimes, this doesn't kill the whole colony, but it can greatly reduce the number of ants in the home. Professional extermination is usually a better option because professionals are adept at finding colonies both inside and outside the home. They also have access to more effective chemicals.


Some ants, like carpenter ants, damage wood while they build their tunnels, which can cause serious structural damage to your home. This is especially true with large infestations. Some species of ant can inflict painful bites or stings. Such stings can be dangerous, or even fatal, for an allergic individual. Ants can also bring bacteria into your home. They crawl around outside on surfaces that are teaming with potentially dangerous bacteria. If they get into your food, you could have a serious problem.

Common Places of Infestation

Nesting places vary widely with the type of ant. White-footed house ants like to colonise in fireplaces and wall cavities while Pharaoh ants will build their nests among sheets and clothes. Some ants, like carpenter ants and Argentine ants, prefer to build nests outside where there are plenty of trees. Almost all kinds of ants will build their nests under houses if possible, especially if the weather is bad.

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About the Author

Camira Bailey has been writing for various online publications since 2006, specializing in health and animal care. She holds a Bachelor of Science in biology from UCLA and is completing her master's degree in holistic health. Bailey is also an ACE-certified advanced health and fitness specialist.