What To Do If You See Ants Around Your DC Kitchen


an ant on wooden table in washington dc kitchen

In our DC service area, ants are a year-round problem. Though ants outside our homes will begin to go into hiding when temperatures drop, they can still be active inside. This is especially true if they find a warm place and food to fill their bellies. When you see ants in your kitchen, it is important that you address them appropriately. If you don't, you could find yourself dealing with them reappearing over and over again all winter long, and longer.

The knee-jerk reaction for dealing with ants is to vacuum them up and clean the locations where those ants were found. This is actually not the best way to go. Why? Because ants leave invisible trails, trails you can use to track where they are coming from.

If you're not already aware, ants leave a scent behind as they are returning from a food source. This scent alerts other workers to where the food can be found. As new ants get some food and return to the nest, more of this pheromone scent is laid down. Before long, hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of ants will create a superhighway to the food. This superhighway can show where those ants are coming into your kitchen. This is important to know because they might not be coming in from the outside. They could be inside your walls. By tracking them, you might be able to locate an interior nest.

When you clean that pheromone scent, you get rid of the superhighway and stop the activity in your kitchen, but you've done nothing to address your infestation. Those ants could be in your walls, waiting to come out and drive you crazy again. They could also spread harmful bacteria from your trash to your stored foods, dishes, and food prep surfaces.

Another reason to refrain from cleaning up that pheromone is so that it can be used to bait those ants and eliminate the colony. Knowing the route ants are taking makes baiting them a lot easier. And bait is the best way to deal with a pest problem that is hidden in your walls or in the ground outside. But bait should be applied by a pest control professional. There are many species of ant in the DC area. If you use the wrong bait, you'll have no effect on the colony. A professional will be able to properly identify your ant pests and apply the appropriate bait solution.

Once your ant infestation has been addressed and the colony has been eliminated, it is okay to clean those pheromones. In fact, it is important that you do. The last thing you want is to attract another colony.

Worst Case Scenario

We have many ant species in our service area. Some are nothing more than a nuisance. Others can spread illness and make us sick. But there is one ant that stands above the rest. It is the carpenter ant. If this is the ant you have inside your home, there are a few things you should know.

  • Carpenter ants make their home inside wood. If you have these in your house, it is likely that they are living inside the wood of your home.
  • Carpenter ants create galleries in wood. Over time, this damage can cause timbers to weaken and structural warping to occur.
  • Carpenter ants cost U.S. property owners hundreds of millions in property damage annually.

Another ant worth highlighting is the odorous house ant. These ants can enter a home in large numbers. This can be distressing because odorous house ants can leave a rotten coconut odor when threatened or squished. They also have a risk of budding. Budding is a process by which a colony splits into more than one colony. If the ants in your home are coming from a colony that has more than one queen, you stand the risk of having your ant problem double, triple, or worse. This can happen when the queen of a colony senses a threat. This can occur in many ways.

If you're seeing ants in your DC kitchen, let the ant control experts at American Pest assist you. Our pest management professionals are educated in the identification and control of ants and other household pests. We'll help you figure out what ants you're dealing with and offer a solution that will get your kitchen back to being ant-free. Give us a call to set up an appointment to talk with a professional about all of our residential pest control solutions.


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