Common Signs Of An Ant Infestation
An infestation of any kind of pest is a frustrating and worrying discovery. One common pest found in the UK are ants, and if you believe you may have an infestation of ants you’re not alone. In this article we will discuss what the common signs of ants are, and how to act should you discover an infestation.
What Do Ant Nests Look Like?
Seeing signs of an ants nest is one of the most obvious indications that you potentially have an infestation. There are typically three different types of ants, ones that nest in soil, some that nest in wood, and others that will nest anywhere that provides them with the best natural conditions.
If you have a nest outdoors, common signs are mounds of dirt which are created by the ant excavating.
Should you have a nest indoors visible signs could be seeing flakes of wood on the floor or physically seeing dead ants. This could well be a sign they have made a home inside your property.
Other Things To Look Out For
Tampering with food
Ants look for food sources they can infest with ease. Food that is left out in kitchens, utility rooms, and pantries including bowls of fruit, biscuits, and sweets is heaven sent to them. This also includes leftover food on plates that have not made it to the dishwasher. Don’t be surprised to find dead and living ants in food, on plates, and in your food storage areas. Dead and alive.
Are your surfaces greasy?
Surfaces in the areas where food is stored, prepared, cleaned, and cooked will attract ants if they are greasy and have particles of food on them. Crumbs from a biscuit, a slice of cake, and the grease residue from the base of a pan or bowl will attract ants. Again, you are likely to see ants on crockery and cutlery, even inside the door of your dishwasher, not just in the food you are preparing and eating.
Do you keep containers for recycling inside?
If you do not wash out bottles, tins, and packets, the sticky, sweet, and savoury residues will attract ants. They are especially drawn to sugary residues. If a surface combines grease and stickiness, you will find ants stuck on it in various stages of decay.
Do you have any leaking pipes or dripping taps in your bathroom, cloakroom, and kitchen/utility room?
Ants, especially pharaoh ants need water to survive. A few drips from a leaking tap could be all that is needed to provide their water intake to survive and thrive. You are likely to see ants around these areas.
Do you have rotting wood close by in your garden?
A rotten tree filled with moisture, a pile of logs you have placed close by to encourage wildlife can also attract ants and if they are not too far from your home, they can swiftly migrate indoors to build their nests. It is not unusual to see ants living within the cracks of your patio and in your flower beds and around your entrance doors.
If you compost food waste, then the containers you use for composting within your home and in your garden are likely to attract ants. You may well see ants within these containers.
Can Ants Cause Damage To Your Property?
You may be surprised to hear that the answer to this is yes. Beyond the fact that you will have to get rid of any food that ants have infested, including pet food, they can cause damage to your property, including:
- Widening cracks in walls and other structural foundations
- Rendering carpets and rugs unusable because the infestation in these items was so severe that they had to be removed.
- Cables of appliances and electric wiring can be damaged which also carries a fire hazard.
The damage ants cause to your property depends on the species of ant identified by your pest controller. The Black Ant for example builds nests within the foundations of your home which can lead to damage. Ants love moist dark spaces to create their nests in peace which means that by the time an infestation has been identified, the nest is well established and the damage underway.
Why You Should Act Fast
It is not wise to leave any ant infestation unchecked and it is important as outlined previously that the species of ant is identified without delay so that correct treatment to eradicate the infestation can begin immediately.
Ants are not unlike many other types of insects in that they can trigger allergies, especially for people with asthma or other respiratory illnesses. Some species of ants can bite – people and pets if targeted.
That is not all. Ants also can harbour and transfer pathogenic or toxigenic microorganisms. They act as vectors of disease which means that they can contaminate food and water and the contact surfaces of areas in which food is prepared and stored. This can result in food-borne illnesses.
As well as transporting the bacteria already inside your home, ants can bring with them several food-borne diseases which include clostridium, salmonella, strep, E. coli, and various fungi.
Given that ants can not only cause damage within your home and that they can also cause allergic reactions and spread diseases, but it also makes sense to seek professional help. An experienced technician will identify the species of ant, locate their nests and their trails before recommending a treatment programme that will eradicate them. Don’t ignore them or let the problem escalate before seeking professional help.