During the spring and summer months, ants are a frustration throughout our Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois service areas. They show up at outdoor cookouts and get into food before it's ready to be put on the grill or they climb on food after it has been put on a plate. They crawl around in exterior trash areas, they explore the floor of the garage, and they establish themselves along walkways. Most of the time, they're just an irritation. But some ants can spread harmful bacteria to your foods and cause stomach illness. And if carpenter ants are the ants you're having trouble with, they could do damage to the structure of your home. That is why it is important to take steps to reduce ants in your yard. Here is our Midwestern Homeowner's Guide to keeping ants off your lawn.
Step 1: Reduce Moisture
Many species of ant will come into your yard and into your landscaping because they are drawn to moist areas. When you reduce moisture, you actually make your landscaping less inviting to ants. You might be wondering, "Don't my plants need moisture?" Yes, they do. But there is a way to give your plants the moisture they need without leaving your topsoil oversaturated and inviting to pests.
- Spacing plants out allows the wind to move between your plants and dry your topsoil quickly after watering. This might be laborsome, but it is well worth the effort if you don't want ants and other pests in your home.
- If you have areas that stay damp because of excessive shade, try trimming some tree branches to let the sunlight dry things out.
- If you have a sprinkler, consider putting it on a timer.
- Check to make sure your gutters are not clogged. A clogged gutter can lead to serious oversaturation of your foundation perimeter.
- Trim your grass and remove unwanted vegetation. Excess vegetation and tall grass trap moisture and create an inviting environment for ants.
- If there are any areas around your home where puddles form after it rains, address the conditions that are allowing this to happen.
Step 2: Reduce harborage
Many ants come in close to homes because there is organic debris. Leaves, twigs, wood, and other natural items provide protection from the drying effects of the sun and trap moisture near the ground. Objects stored in your yard can do this as well. So it is important to:
- Rake leaves away from your home and remove them from your property if possible.
- Pick up any sticks that are in your yard.
- Store stacks of wood, construction materials, and other objects away from your home. Elevate them if possible. This will get them off the ground and prevent dampness underneath.
Step 3: Reduce Food Options
There are a wide variety of foods that ants will eat. What an ant will eat is dependant on the species of ant. Here are some food sources you have some control over.
- Make sure your exterior trash receptacles are periodically washed and make sure your trash is sealed within, not piling up over.
- Invest in residential pest control to reduce insects around your home. Ants eat aphids, scales, and other insects. Some ants feed on the honeydew produced by these insects. When you control plant-damaging pests, you also get some control for ants, especially carpenter ants, which have been observed "corralling" aphids like cattle for the purpose of getting their honeydew.
Step 4: Baits
For the greatest control of ants, pest control products are required. We recommend using baits. But keep in mind that it can be difficult to apply baits in a way that is effective. You may waste a lot of money buying bait traps only to continue to have frustrating ant problems. If you're trying to get control of a carpenter ant infestation, this could lead to continued damage to your property. If you want to get those ants the first time, take action and call Action. Our licensed and experienced pest professionals know how to properly identify ant pests, select appropriate baits, apply them successfully, and monitor to make sure your ant problem has been resolved.
For more information about ants or to schedule a free, no-obligation pest control inspection, reach out to us. We're here to help.
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