Ants In The House: Understanding The Risks And Health Concerns In Louisville

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There are some things in life that we need to understand. For example, we need to comprehend how to drive a car if we want the convenience of personal transportation; we need to know how to use our money if we are to purchase items. It can be frustrating when we do not understand something (e.g., how to construct furniture purchased from the local store).

It can be upsetting when you do not understand why ants are inside your house. It can also be embarrassing when ants crawl across your countertop when guests are present. You probably found this article because ants are along your baseboards, in the pet food bowl, or sink, and you are unsure how to get them to leave. If that is the case, you need ant control near you.

The first step for removing ants in your Louisville home is to secure the Louisville pest control experts at Action Pest Control. As recipients of the Angie List Super Service Award, the Crown Leadership Award, and numerous Reader's Choice awards, you can trust that we know how to remove ants from your Louisville home.

The Social Hierarchy Of Ants: How Colonies Are Structured

ants crawling on bowl

Ants are social insects, which means they like to live in groups. Each ant colony consists of sterile female ants (workers), winged males and females (alates or swarmers), reproducing males (drones), and a queen or queens. Fire ants also have soldier ants that protect the nest. 

Ant colonies begin either through swarmers or a process known as budding. Crazy ants, pavement ants, and odorous ants are the species in the Louisville area that create new colonies by dispatching winged reproducing ants. In the spring, these ants fly out of the nest and follow air currents after a heavy rain and temperature increase. Upon finding a location, male and female ants mate in the air, and the male drops to the ground and dies shortly afterward. The fertilized female lands, discards her wings, burrows into the soil, and deposits her eggs. The first batch of larvae are worker ants. When the workers hatch, the queen feeds them with her saliva until they can forage without help. The workers expand the colony by creating chambers and connecting tunnels for future eggs and offspring. Soon, males (drones) are also born to keep the queen inseminated. Then, winged reproducing males and females are born, and the process begins anew the following spring. 

Fire ants (some species), pharaoh ants, and Argentine ants create new nests through a process known as budding. Colonies that use this method have more than one queen. When the nest is disturbed, one or more fertilized queens and worker ants leave the nest to begin a new nest nearby. Since this process can occur any time of the year, ants that use this method rapidly proliferate. 

When you use Action Pest Control for ant control in Louisville, our trained technicians identify the ant species infesting your home. This knowledge is necessary because if a homeowner tries to eliminate ants that use the budding process, they could trigger the ants to create more nests in the house. Using our experience and knowledge, we create a strategic plan that removes the ants without worsening the infestation.

The Risks And Health Concerns Of Ants In The House

Ants are a nuisance; no one wants a line of ants traveling through the house. Instinctively, we do not enjoy ants living in our homes, but we may not understand why ant control is necessary. You do not want ants in your Louisville house for the following reasons:

  • Ants contaminate items
  • Ants can spread disease
  • Ants can cause painful stings
  • Ants can trigger severe allergic reactions
  • Ants can damage wood
  • Ants can cause short circuits

This list may surprise you, so we will examine each risk and explain.

Ants do not discriminate where they walk and travel over trash, fermenting foods, animal feces, and other unsanitary items. As they crawl over these tainted items, bacteria stick to their feet; later, the bacterium transfer to countertops, bath towels, clothing, and other items when they walk over them. 

Ants contaminate surfaces, but one ant species, pharaoh ants, spread disease. Pharaoh ants are 1/16-inch and have a pale, yellowish body that ends with a brownish abdomen. Although these ants are more problematic in healthcare facilities, they occasionally invade Louisville homes. Salmonellosis, staphylococcus, and clostridium are diseases pharaoh ants spread to people. 

Ants can bite, although most cannot penetrate the skin. If its mandibles are strong enough to pierce the skin, the bite feels like a pinprick but does not cause illness or swelling. However, fire ants are another matter. Fire ants are 1/8 to 3/8 inch long, have a dark, reddish-brown body, and build large two-to-four feet nests outdoors near landscaping materials, foundations, tree stumps, etc. 

Fire ants bite, but the problem comes from the venom they inject when they sting. When a fire ant nest is disturbed, soldier ants swarm the perpetrator, bite to stabilize themselves, and begin repeatedly stinging. Your body reacts to the venom with histamines which cause red, painful, itchy, and fluid-filled bumps. Due to the ability to sting rapidly and repeatedly, people with allergy sensitivities may experience significant allergic reactions. Although these ants typically build nests outside, they occasionally enter homes through HVAC systems. 

We have looked at ants that can affect health, but other ants can cause physical damage to your Louisville house. Carpenter ants are the most destructive species because they invade damp, softened wood. Unlike termites that eat wood, these 1/2 to 5/8-inch black, red, or black and red ants do not consume cellulose but bore holes in wood to create nests. The holes they drill can go deep into lumber and weaken it. Although noticeable damage may take years, an infestation can result in sagging floors, warping frames, and collapsing structures. 

Crazy ants have a 1/16 to 1/8-inch dark brown or black body with a greyish sheen. These ants are so-called because they zigzag when they walk with erratic patterns. Crazy ants build huge colonies in outdoor air conditioning units, appliances, and electronics, where they chew on the wiring. The combination of exposed wiring and the moisture the ants transport into the nest on their bodies can cause short circuits resulting in expensive repair bills.

Remove ants in your Louisville house by contacting the best pest control company for ants, Action Pest Control. We protect your health and home by ending ant infestations.

Ant Prevention Is Key: Effective Tips And Tricks

Once we remove ants from your Louisville house, you do not want to risk a future infestation. The following ant prevention tips will deter ants from entering your home in the future: 

  • Remove debris from the yard
  • Provide drainage to the lawn and gutters
  • Ensure adequate ventilation in the crawlspace and basement
  • Repair leaking fixtures
  • Prune shrubs and tree branches away from the house
  • Seal openings in the foundation and along the roof line
  • Close indoor and outdoor garbage containers
  • Vacuum the house 
  • Suction corners and cracks
  • Store food in airtight plastic containers

Before ants infest a house, they invade your yard. Although ants are necessary for the ecosystem, you can control the population on your property by limiting food, water, and shelter opportunities. Removing leaf and wood piles, junk, and heavy vegetation reduces shelter locations. Keeping the yard dry by providing drainage for ditches, low-lying areas, and gutters keeps moisture levels low and discourages ants from staying on the property. 

Protect your house against carpenter ants by ensuring airflow underneath the home and repairing leaking pipes and drains. Reducing humidity keeps support beams and other woods dry, making it difficult for carpenter ants to penetrate. 

Many ants use tree branches and shrubs to access the roof and window sills, so keeping those away from the house limits access to the structure.

Ants can squeeze through tiny cracks in the foundation, around utility boxes, and between incoming pipes and wires. Seal those areas with a silicone-based caulk. Also, seal gaps along the roofline since ants can climb vertical masonry walls using the claws on their feet. 

Ants consume protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Deter ants from staying in the house by wiping down cooking and eating surfaces after each meal and by storing food and pet food in containers. When you sweep the house, suction cracks between baseboards, walls, and flooring, and pay attention to the corners. 

When a service professional from Action Pest Control inspects your Louisville home for pest control ant treatment, we can provide additional tips based on your situation.

The Most Effective Ant Control For Louisville Homes

The professionals at Action Pest Control provide effective ant control for your home. We will inspect your Louisville home to identify the invading ant species, entry points, and attractants. Based on our investigation and using the guidance of board-certified staff entomologists, we will develop a strategic plan with written service specifications to target the offending ants to end the infestation.

Contact us today to schedule a free inspection and to learn more about our pest control options.

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