Ants are social insects that are related to bees and wasps. Aside from Polar Regions, ants can be found on all areas of the earth. The female ant mates with a male either during flight or while on the ground. Shortly after mating the male dies. The female digs or takes over a cavity, typically in the soil or decaying wood, and walls herself in. She uses this cavity as a place to lay eggs and shelter the newly born ants, which are larvae at this stage. The larvae eventually molt and change into pupae, before molting again and turning into an adult. These adults take the role of a worker (sterile females), female reproducers (queens), or male reproducers. The workers will wander randomly until they locate a desired resource, which is more than likely a food source. They then create a distinct trail for the colony to follow back to the food. This is why food left out will be found with many ants feeding, rather than just one or two.
Using this knowledge a home owner can follow some preventive measures to assist in ensuring the pests don’t invade their homes. This includes:
- Clean all surfaces after preparing or eating food over them. This needs to be done on a daily basis.
- Store food in sealed containers that the ants can not invade.
- Keep the sink clean at all times. This includes making sure there are no dirty dishes in it, no standing water, and especially no food in the drain.
- Seal cracks and crevices around the home. It will be more apparent where some of these hard-to-find cracks are as you see pests walking through them.
- If you find the nest outside of the home, try taking a few gallons of boiling water and pouring it on the mound.
If you have tried all of these preventive measures with no luck then call a professional to assist you in exterminating the infestation.