Everyone finds ants in their home at one time or another. Here are a few reasons they could be getting into your home and how to prevent it.
Cracks & Seams in Walls
Most homes aren’t hermetically sealed, meaning there is some air exchange between the inside of the house and the outside. This air exchange usually takes place along the seams of walls and windows as well as doors and vents. These gaps are large enough for ants to find a path into your home. Look for these seams where a wall transitions to a floor, ceiling or corner. Also check areas where holes have been created in a wall for a win
dow, outlet, plumbing pipe, electric line or vent.
Actual cracks can also invite ants inside your home. Some building materials – plaster and other older building material, for example – can develop structural splits that create a highway for these insects.
Though most home foundations are strong, they are not always airtight because of gaps created during construction. It’s these gaps that provide ants just enough space to enter a home.
Foundations that aren’t solid concrete blocks can also lead to spaces that persistent ants can penetrate as they search for food, warmth and moisture.
Inside the Floor
Sure, we all know that ants crawl on our floors searching for crumbs and other tasty treats. What may not be so obvious is that ants can travel inside your floor, too. They may have established routes underneath carpets, tile and hardwood flooring. Finding their entry point into a room can be especially difficult if they are coming under the surface of a floor covering.
At the same time, your subflooring may also be used by ants as they move through the house. Subflooring is usually made up of sandwiched pieces of plywood, and that creates plenty of space for a tiny ant to investigate.
While we appreciate the windows in our house for letting in sunlight and fresh air, they may also be giving ants access to your home. Open windows and screens with holes are easy for ants to move through.
Beyond the window itself, the window frame may have gaps between it and the rest of the wall that permit entry for ants.
Window frames can also collect moisture and the wood can rot, meaning these areas can provide a home for several species of ants.
Just like you do, some ants will find the best way to enter a home is through the doorway. Doors that seal poorly are ideal for ants to gain access. Check the seal along the bottom of the threshold, but also check for quality seals on the sides and the top of the door, too. A door sweep may also help deter any invaders.
Another thing to consider is any door that is used infrequently. Since these doors see little activity, seals may deteriorate or cracks may develop unnoticed. These lapses can allow easy access for ants and other insects.
With all the electricity, telephone, cable, water and natural gas lines, there are a lot of little holes in your house. Check where your utility lines enter your home for ant activity.
Gaps where these lines connect to your home can be used by any small pest to get inside. Aside from pest issues, these spaces can let air into the home, which can be a strain on your heating and cooling budget.
Toys and House Plants
Ants may be brought into a house by mistake, too. For example, a hollow toy left in the yard over the summer can become host to an ant colony and then carried inside. Plants that are moved inside for the winter may also be the source of an ant invasion.
Large groups of ants can also be brought inside on a variety of other articles, including used furniture or appliances, storage tubs, hoses, pipes and even groceries.