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As the Weather Warms, Ants Venture Indoors Seeking Food
With more than 700 species in the United States, it's not surprising that ants are a very common home-invader. As many homeowners will attest, ants often move indoors in warmer weather in search of food. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) warns homeowners to take proactive steps to eliminate ants at first appearance to reduce the likelihood of a major infestation later.
One of the most destructive species is the carpenter ant, which tunnels through wood to build its nest. The insects, which are found nationwide, enter buildings through small cracks and holes, and tunnel through decaying wood before attacking undamaged wood. As such, a carpenter ant infestation can cause severe property damage.
Fire ants are a species found in the Southern U.S., usually in landscaped areas, garages and near structural foundations. When their mound-like nests are disturbed, fire ants attack with a painful sting that can be especially dangerous to individuals who experience an allergic reaction.
The most common home invading species include odorous and non-odorous house ants and pavement ants. These ants will eat almost anything, including fruit, meats and cheese and can contaminate food sources that they infest.
"Most people don't realize that ant infestations can pose serious risks," says Jim Fredericks, technical services director for NPMA. "From costly property damage to food contamination, ants jeopardize a person's health and safety. Homeowners must pay close attention to signs of a potential infestation and take action if ants are found."
NPMA recommends that homeowners follow these tips to avoid ant infestations:
- Eliminate sources of moisture or standing water near a home.
- Keep food in sealed containers and dispose of garbage regularly.
- Keep pet food and water dishes clean and remove any spilled food.
- Keep tree branches cut back from the house.
- Seal cracks and holes around a home.
- Do not store firewood and building materials next to your home.