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When it comes to invasive pests, few are as big a nuisance to the school environment than ants. Many schools, whether private or public, have several educators, students and faculty members passing through the halls every day, bringing food items and leaving behind trash that acts as a beacon for any ants in the area to claim.
In this guide, we’ll take a look at why school grounds are often a hot spot for ant activity, what you can do to limit ant infestations throughout your school, and how American Pest can help.
The school environment is where students spend the most time during adolescence.
This means students and teachers will treat their space as a home, food and all. Many schools have a teacher and (or) student lounge area or room, even allowing or providing students with refrigerator use in some cases – which makes ants inevitable 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 school is a difficult task as students and teachers often bring food and drinks into their classrooms. 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. When those food or drink items get spilled or left out, ants are sure to follow.
Making matters worse, many schools can host a community of hundreds of students, meaning that doors are always being left open for after-hours events and more - providing constant opportunities for ants to follow you inside. This problem is compounded for older-style historic school buildings 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 the school.
Educators 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 school 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 teacher or faculty member, it pays to know the best strategies for preventing pests from getting inside, which include:
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 faculty, staff, and students that will be using the classrooms, and other facilities around the school on the proper methods for preventing ants.
Share some of the following strategies with your staff to assist in mitigating risks for ant infestations:
Tips for Maintenance and Groundskeepers
Tips for Faculty Members
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 schools 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 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 school protected.