When Ants Come Marching Indoors, Take Action

Saturday, August 27, 2011

By NPMA Staff

In their natural habitats, ants do not typically bother people. But when ants infest homes they can quickly become a nuisance, and more importantly, pose serious risks to residents' health and property. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) reminds homeowners to take proactive steps to eliminate ants at their first appearance to reduce the potential development of a major infestation. 

"Ants pose various risks to a family's health and home, depending on the species of ant infesting the property," says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. "The most common health issue associated with ant infestations is food contamination by odorous and non-odorous ants and pavement ants. Carpenter ants, on the other hand, can cause severe property damage as they tunnel through wood to build nests. And fire ants, found in the Southern U.S., attack with a painful sting when their nests are disturbed."

Ants are social insects that live in large colonies, so what may seem like a small infestation can quickly become a major pest problem for homeowners. One of the first steps to take to eliminate an ant infestation is to identify the species, but with more than 700 species in the United States, this can be a challenge for someone without proper training. Working with a pest professional to help identify and treat an ant problem is an important step to minimizing the health and property risks associated with these pests.  

NPMA offers these tips to prevent ant infestations:

  • Eliminate sources of moisture or standing water near a home.
  • Keep food in sealed containers.
  • Dispose of garbage regularly.
  • Keep pet food and water dishes clean and remove any spilled food.
  • Seal cracks and holes around a home.