Waterloo Pest Control: What Attracts Carpenter Ants to Your Basement?

Seeing a couple of ants in your kitchen can be frustrating, but if it appears as if these ants are searching for food, you probably don’t have too much to worry about. If they don’t find what they’re looking for, they’ll likely go away. It is a good idea to think about what is attracting ants to your home to avoid having to call out the professionals for carpenter ant control in Waterloo if the entire colony decides to make your home theirs. Here’s what to know about carpenter ants.

3 Reasons Carpenter Ants Like Your Basement

Pests, such as ants, roaches or mice, are basically looking for three different things in a home. It’s really what we all need to survive, water, shelter and food. By reducing access to these three things, you reduce the number of pests who want to move into your basement, attic and home.

  • Water/Moisture

Every living creature needs water to live. Pests use the smallest amount of water, so even tiny leaks can draw insects into your home. Check under sinks and around any water fixtures to make sure your pipes aren’t leaking at all. Fix any problems right away. Standing water can also be a draw to ants and mosquitos. After a rain, make sure to watch for places where water isn’t draining well to find solutions.

  • Shelter

Ants and other pests need shelter from predators. They look for places to nest. Because these insects are so tiny, they can enter through small cracks and holes in the walls and floors. Keep doors and windows sealed well. Check your weather stripping for loose places where insects could sneak through. Seal up any cracks in the foundation of your home.

  • Food

Ants are attracted to food smells. They can sniff out the smallest tidbits of food, like sugar or grease. The colony sends scouts out to look for food. When the scouts find a source of food, they leave a trail back to the colony to trace it back. Keeping your kitchen (and other rooms) clean and tidy prevent ants and other pests from moving in. Pests also like pet food. If you’re finding traces of ants, you may need to pick up the pet bowls every night. Wipe counters after every meal. Don’t leave food in the trash can. Seal up all containers of food in your pantry.

Do You Have Carpenter Ants or Termites?

Ants and termites are often confused with each other. Both cause a good amount of damage to homes each year. Carpenter ants gnaw on wood to create shelters. Termites actually digest the wood. Carpenter ants prefer damp or moist wood. You may find carpenter ants near bathrooms or in basements. They also gravitate toward damaged windows. Termites prefer dry wood, like in your attic or near firewood.

Treating carpenter ants is different than treating termites, so it’s important to correctly identify the pest. Carpenter ants build very neat tunnels that have a smooth appearance. Termites build tunnels that look rough and ragged.

How to Keep Ants Out of Your Home

If you see a few ants scouting around, wet a sponge and wipe the ants away. Use a mild bleach solution to clean up any trail the ants have left behind. If there is a trail of ants, try to follow the trail back to where the ants have come in. Clean up ants in your home and use the bleach solution to wash away their scent.

Contact a professional exterminator to check for damage and to make sure the ants don’t come back. Contact Truly Nolen in Waterloo to schedule an inspection for pest control services to get rid of  carpenter ants in your home.