If ants are marching one-by-one into your home, you are not alone. More than 20 different varieties of ants are known to take refuge in homes, schools and businesses. There are more than 700 species of ants in the U.S. and about two dozen types are considered pests. They include:
- Odorous house ants, which commonly nest in basements, crawl spaces and adjacent structures. The ant gives off a pungent odor when crushed, which is the source of its name.
- The pavement ant is found on both the East and West coasts and is aptly named for its habit of nesting under pavement.
- Carpenter ants are another aggressive species of ant found across the country. These wood-destroying insects hollow out wood for nesting, causing costly property damage.
According to the National Pest Management Association, ants are the number one pest problem for which homeowners rely on professional advice and solutions. The NPMA offers the following preventative measures for keeping ants out of the home:
- Seal cracks and crevices around foundations that allow entry from the outside as well as cracks and crevices inside the home.
- Store sugar, syrup, honey and other sweets in closed containers and wipe the outside of the containers to eliminate any sticky residue.
- Dispose of trash regularly to prevent ants from becoming a problem indoors.
- Thoroughly clean up grease and spills.
- Inspect potted plants inside the home for signs of nesting and remove the plants at the first sign of an infestation.
- Rinse out empty soft-drink containers and store them away from the home.
- Reduce moisture in and around structures that may be attractive to ants by repairing leaking hose bibs and other supply lines, downspouts, drain lines and air conditioner condensate lines.