If you think you’ve been noticing a lot more ants in your home this summer, you are not alone. Anyone who has made a trip to the hardware store to find acres of empty shelves of ant killer can attest that it seems to be more of a problem than usual. It is estimated that there are more than one billion million ants on the planet, which is more than all other living species combined. They are extremely strong and work together as a colony, which is why when you see one you can pretty much be positive there are a lot more nearby.
It’s simply hard to fathom the number of ants there are on earth, and Calgary itself has more than 100 different species. People tend to start noticing ants in their home along baseboards, at the edges of carpets, in the corners of kitchens, and along the edges of cupboards. It’s disconcerting, to say the least, when your home seems to be overtaken by hungry little beasts, as you can only imagine what damage they might be doing out of sight.
Why are there more ants coming into homes than usual?
CTV News in Lethbridge reported recently that pest control specialists are noting a marked increase in business. Ants thrive in hot conditions, and they are coming inside in search of water. There just hasn’t been enough moisture to feed the insect population outside that is needed. When you see them inside, you may notice them being particularly interested in your kitchen sink’s drain and your pet’s dishes.
Ants are extremely industrious at finding ways to get what they need, and will squeeze in through tiny cracks in the foundation, spaces underneath the flooring, through windows, underneath doors, and pretty much anywhere there is an opportunity. Gaps near outlets, pipes, and cable lines are also common entrance points.
If you start seeing ants in your home, the first thing to do is figure out what is attracting them in the first place. Ants are attracted to sugary drinks and foods, oils and greasy smears, any kind of crumb, and, of course, water. Colonies are incredibly smart. They send out scouts to search for food, and once they’ve found it they return to the nest, leaving behind a scent trail the others can follow.
- Keep sugary foods in containers with snap-on lids or screw tops
- Wash kitchen countertops often with soap
- Sweep up and vacuum regularly, being extra diligent around pet food dishes
- Clean and rinse containers well before placing them in the recycling
- Place composters well away from the house
- Take the garbage out often
- Seal up all cracks and crevices up thoroughly
What to do about an ant infestation
Ant bait traps are a great way to bring down the ant infestation population in your home. They work by luring ants inside with sugary foods or something else attractive, but there is poison mixed in as well. The ant will make its way back to its nest with the food, and begin feeding the other ants. Bait traps can work well enough to kill an entire colony. Place the traps along baseboards, in corners, wherever you spot ants.
Another safe way to rid yourself of ants is the tried-and-true method of mixing Borax with icing sugar. It essentially works the exact same way as bait traps, by enticing the creatures to eat something fatal to them, which they then take back to share with their colony.
Diatomaceous earth is also chemical-free, and is available at most home and hardware stores.
If things don’t seem to be improving, a chemical spray can be effective. Try spraying at entry points and along trails to cut off the ants’ supply to your food and water. Read the directions carefully before using, and be extremely cautious when using sprays around pets and children.
Encourage your outside ants to move away from your home by frequently soaking their nests with your garden hose. You can also pour boiling water on nests for another effective outdoor treatment.
When to call in an expert
If you have tried everything and ants are still showing up everywhere, it’s time to call in an ant infestation expert. They will be able to help locate the nest (if there is one), determine the type of ant infestation (carpenter ants can cause real damage), and safely treat the entire house.
Ant infestations and your home insurance
When it comes to ant infestations, it’s more than likely one of those situations where you will have to weigh the out-of-pocket cost of the treatment and repairs against the amount of your deductible plus potentially higher home insurance premiums. Most clients prefer to “save” making a home insurance claim for when repairs or replacement costs are extremely onerous.
Something like a mouse infestation can be far more damaging to a home, and often requires large sections of walls and floors to be removed and major construction and renovation work to take place. Filing an insurance claim may be needed to ensure the funds are available to carry out the repairs thoroughly and properly.
An insurance claim for an infestation of any kind will likely be honoured, unless the insurance company can prove an act of negligence, such as knowing about the infestation for some time and failing to take care of it.
Ask Lane’s all your home insurance questions
Lane’s Insurance is a leading Alberta insurance broker that is always looking out for the best interests of our clients. In addition to home insurance, we offer a complete range of policies and coverage options for individuals and businesses throughout Alberta.