Wondering why you have ants in your home all of a sudden?
If you’re wondering why ants have suddenly infested your home, you’re in good company. Ants are a common pest problem for homeowners in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and throughout New Mexico. No matter how hard you try to prevent them from infesting, they always seem to find a way in. But why is that? In this article, we’ll take a look at how ants get in, what conditions make your home and property appealing to these pests, and what homeowners can do to stop the influx of ant activity.
Common house-infesting ants in New Mexico
According to the NM State University website, there are over 100 ant species in New Mexico. Thankfully for homeowners in the state, they don't all infest homes. Below is a list of the more common house-infesting ants:
Ants show up in homes because there's a way in
The majority of pest problems originate on the outside of the home so if you have ants in your home, the simplest explanation is that they found a way in. And quite honestly, that’s not hard to do when you’re less than an inch long. Any tiny crack, crevice, or opening on the exterior of the house can serve as an entry point for ants and other insects for that matter. It would be impossible to list every way ants can get inside your house but here are a few of the more common entry points:
- Seams of walls
- Foundation cracks and gaps
- Openings around windows & doors
- Space under garage doors
- Gaps where utility lines enter the structure
A good rule of thumb, any crack, gap, or opening on the exterior of your house – from the ground level to the top of the roof – should be considered a way in for opportunistic pests.
You might be carrying ants indoors too
Ants may also be introduced on potted plants, toys that have been left out in the yard, boxes from a shed or outbuilding, and other items you bring into your home.
What attracts ants in the first place
Simply put, ants are attracted to food, water, and shelter. If your property provides all three of those elements, there’s a good chance you’ll develop an ant problem at some point.
Ants are always foraging for food sources and while preferences vary by species, outdoors most ants eat live or dead insects and honeydew produced by aphids and scale insects.
When they infest homes, they may go after insects already present but also feed on a variety of household staples including foods high in sugar, meats, pet food, grease, fruits, vegetables, and grains.
Just like us, ants need water in order to survive. They are able to get water from the food they consume but they’ll also utilize the water dripping from leaking pipes and/or appliances and indoor houseplants. They may also be drawn to areas of a home that are damp or experiencing moisture issues, like bathrooms and laundry rooms.
Although most ants nest outdoors, they may take shelter in homes because they offer protection from the elements and are in close proximity to the food and water sources mentioned above.
In New Mexico, ants are particularly active during droughts
In our state, we often experience drought conditions, which affects ants as well. When water is scarce in the environment, these insects will search for new sources of water, and homes are often a prime target.
Ant prevention tips for NM property owners
To make your property less appealing to ants and to keep these pests out of your home, Greenway Pest Solutions recommends the following ant prevention tips:
- Seal any cracks and gaps around doors and windows
- Seal or caulk any potential entry point on the exterior
- Fix leaking pipes
- Repair or replace leaky appliances
- Remove water-damaged wood
- Do not overwater houseplants
- Wipe up any spills and crumbs right away
- Do not leave open containers of food or food waste around
- Wash dishes after every use and do not leave dirty dishes in the sink overnight
- Remove overgrown vegetation
- Trim back shrubs and other landscaping elements so that they do not touch the house
- Store firewood away from the house and off the ground
What to do if you see ants or other pests in or around your home
If you’ve already discovered ants in the kitchen, bathroom, or elsewhere in your home, reach out to Greenway Pest Solutions for help! Our home pest control services are the ideal solution and target ants and other pests that often infest homes in our region!