Contact Us About Pest Control
Fill out the form and receive feedback in less than 5 minutes.
For immediate service please call 855-220-7105.
When it comes to invasive pests, fewer are as big a nuisance to higher education facilities than ants. Many colleges and universities see thousands of students,
educators, and other faculty members passing through campus every day, bringing with them food items and leaving behind trash that acts as a beacon for any ants in the area to come claim for their own.
In this guide, we’ll take a look at why colleges and universities are often a hot spot for ant activity, what you can do to limit ant infestations throughout your campus, and how American Pest can help.
Student housing offers a home away from home for students. This means students living there will treat their living space like a home, food and all. Many dormitories have no rules against food or drinks indoors, even allowing or providing students with a refrigerator to use - which makes ants an inevitability when they fail to store their food items properly or clean up crumbs and spilled drinks.
Of course, completely preventing students from bringing food into dorms is a difficult task. Even for dormitories that have rules against bringing in outside food or drinks, there is often very little that administrators can do to stop students from doing so. With the ease of simply slipping food and drinks into a backpack or purse and walking through the door, students could be tracking in ants right under the nose of the staff. And when those food or drink items get spilled or left out, ants are sure to follow.
Making matters worse, many dormitories can host a community of hundreds of students, meaning that doors are always being left open - providing constant opportunities for ants to follow residents inside. This problem is compounded for older-style historic dormitories that are difficult to renovate or that have had improper maintenance, as wear on the building itself often leaves plenty of gaps for ant invaders to squeeze through.
Once one ant finds a food source, it will leave a pheromone trail that the other colony members will follow; before long, a few pieces of discarded food can quickly spiral into a massive surge of hungry ants. Some of those ants may go on to form other colonies nearby, inevitably causing a huge infestation in and around campus facilities.
Colleges and universities across the Virginia, Maryland, and Washington D.C. area typically see activity from one of three ant species, with each bringing its own unique problems:
If you’ve seen ants around your campus but are unsure which species you’re dealing with, don’t hesitate to contact a specialist to help identify the problem and help you find a solution.
The first step toward preventing any pest infestation is always to create physical barriers to entry, and ants are no exception. Whether you’re a professor, resident assistant, or dorm maintenance faculty member, it pays to know the best strategies for preventing pests from getting inside, which include:
Keeping doors and windows closed at all times when not in use
Applying caulk to any cracks or holes in the walls or floors, especially those close to ground-level
Place sticky traps by doors and other suspected entry points to catch ants as they attempt to enter the building
There are a variety of DIY solutions out there, however, cheaper alternatives won't solve the problem and can sometimes make it more difficult for pest professionals to stop the problem at its source. Keep in mind that these tips are not a guaranteed measure to stop an ant infestation and are in many ways a temporary fix. Always follow up with a service technician following any DIY ant elimination efforts in order to eliminate the problem.
A big part of successful ant prevention entails educating and encouraging the students and faculty that will be using the classrooms, dormitories, and other facilities around the campus on the proper methods preventing ants.
Ants are always on the hunt for food, especially sweets or proteins, so discourage students and faculty members from bringing food items into classrooms or other buildings outside of dining halls or other designated eating areas.
If students are carrying food items for later, it should be stored in tightly-sealed containers and never left out.
Enforce rules against littering both as a pest deterrent and a green initiative.
Share some of the following strategies with your staff to assist in mitigating risks for ant infestations:
Tips for Maintenance and Groundskeepers
Tips for Residential Assistants and other staff
Clean tables and countertops regularly with sanitizing wipes to eliminate any pheromone trails left behind
After using facility kitchens or break rooms make sure to thoroughly clean the sink to leave no leftover food or standing water
Inspect the lecture halls, after each session, for food or drink items that have been left behind
Unfortunately, even the best preventive efforts can only do so much to stop ants from invading. Luckily, you don’t have to do it alone.
American Pest has been protecting colleges and universities across Maryland, Virginia, and Washington D.C. from ants and other pests for almost a century. With our experienced technicians and access to the latest pest elimination technology at our disposal, we can solve any pest problem you may be facing.
If you’re an administrator or other higher education professional that wants to create an ant-free learning environment for students, contact American Pest today to find out how regular treatments can keep your campus protected.