Spring is a greatly anticipated time around condominiums: landscape work is starting, outdoor clean-up from the winter is underway, and we are all happy to finally be outside. But so are some unwelcome guests. This article will help you prepare for the inevitable awakening of ants at your property.
To be clear – ants are inarguably beneficial for our environment and your property. They perform lots of environmental cleanup, they play an integral role in the food chain, and they even help you with beautifying your landscaping. Really? Yes, it’s absolutely true! For example, mound ants are beneficial to flowers. Carpenter ants will nest in decaying wood and help accelerate decomposition of dead trees and shrubs. And all ants aid in the aeration of soils. However, ants are also known to come into our homes and buildings looking for whatever they can get their greedy little jaws on.
So, what can be done? It is imperative that we keep our homes and properties as clean as possible. Next, we need to survey the exterior of our properties to find any potential entry points for ants or any exterior conditions that are supporting ant activity. This could be excess moisture in certain areas or even a buildup of organic debris.
But what if you are seeing ants inside your home, perhaps from a crack in the floor or foundation wall? Sealing gaps or cracks with products that ants will not get through is the best action. This means avoiding things like spray foam, tape or paper products. Often ants will chew through these items or even nest right in them.
Of course, pesticides can be an important part of the solution. However, it is not always as simple as spraying the area and walking away. Many sprays and insecticide dusts are misused, and the problem becomes worse. In fact, some ants, such as the Pharaoh ant, react to certain pesticides and work harder to increase their reproduction and spread their nests even further. Add the potential damage that certain pesticides can have to non-target species and it’s clear that pesticide applications must be highly selective. That is why it is important to have a professional evaluate your specific needs and create a plan.
Effective ant control programs rely on:
1) a thorough inspection and pest identification
2) creating a plan
3) performing corrective actions
To learn about ant biology and control, avoid just going to Google. Instead, investigate what the Canadian Pest Management Association or the Structural Pest Management Association of Ontario have to say. They rely on industry experts and scholarly articles to provide accurate information. Remember – a couple of ants that make it into your residence do not necessarily warrant a full-blown treatment program. Instead, a reasonable approach is needed. Evaluate if this is just a fluke. Perhaps there were some crumbs on the floor or maybe some deep cleaning is needed.
In summary, ants are an incredibly important part of our environment. We depend on the work they do to our planet. However, when ants reach a threshold that can impact the structural integrity of your property or if they are creating legitimate issues for residents, it is time to call a qualified exterminator. What should you look for in a qualified exterminator? Ensure they are completing a thorough inspection and they can correctly identify the species in question. Ask them to explain their plan of action and clearly identify what they need from you to help the situation. With the right strategy, we can have an amazing spring and summer, even with our six-legged friends around.
Founding Partner at Sentinel Pest Control Inc.