Ant FAQsAnt Pest Control NJ

These tiny insects are one of the most common you’ll find in New Jersey and Pennsylvania and people are always asking us questions about them. Here are our answers. Just note that although there are many DIY products that you can buy in stores and online, nothing guarantees your satisfaction like professional ant control.

Do you have ants in your home? Or maybe you're just interested in preventing your next infestation before it starts. Either way, our library of ant FAQs is here to shed some light on the subject.

If you ever need expert ant control services, give us a call. Our experienced technicians are ready to help you.

Ant FAQ Shortcuts

What type of ant do I have?

Several different species of ants are commonly found throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Even though most of the ant species are considered nuisance ants, some species can actually cause structural damage to your home. 

If you can correctly identify what type of ant is invading your home, you’ll be able to better understand the treatment options for that species.

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Do I have flying ants or termites in my home?

Both termites and flying ants live in large colonies, so as spring approaches, they both send out “swarms” of winged reproductive males and females to fly and build new colonies. However, sometimes their “swarms” end up inside your home. 

There are four key differences in the appearances of flying ants and termites:

  1. Flying Ants have elbowed antennae. Termites, however, have straight antennae.
  2. Flying ants have two sets of wings, with one set larger than the other. Termites also have two sets of wings but of equal length.
  3. Termites have a tubular, thick waist. Flying ants have more of a pinched waist.
  4. Termites lose their wings readily, shedding them onto the ground, whereas the wings of ants typically remain attached to the insect’s body.

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I can't get rid of ants! The reasons DIY ant solutions can fail

Are you sick and tired of trying everything to get rid of those stubborn ants that are invading your home? What exactly are you doing wrong that you can’t seem to get rid of them? There are actually several reasons why your DIY ant remedies may be failing. Do the ants in your home seem to be avoiding the bait you put down? If so, it may be because you’re using the wrong bait.

There are many different types of ants and each type prefers a specific diet. Once you identify what kind of ant you have in your home, you should be able to correctly determine what bait will work correctly. If you are using the wrong bait for the wrong ant, it will cause your DIY efforts to be unsuccessful.

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DIY ant removal best practices: tips for successful ant elimination

Nobody wants unwanted visitors, especially when those “visitors” are ants crawling along your countertops while you have guests over for dinner. With the internet busting at its seams with tactics and tricks for anything and everything, what does it take to make DIY ant remedies work? Bait placement is critical when trying to remove ants from a dwelling. Where you place the bait can determine if it will be a success or not. Just like spraying repellents, 

ants gathered in new jersey home kitchen before DIY ant control attempts

bait placement along ant trails (that include lines and edges) would be the first place to start. Follow the edges along the baseboards and place your bait in a corner along that baseboard. You may also find ants crawling along the edges of your backsplash, if this is the case, place bait near those edges. If you already know the ant trail, start there. For instance, if you know you’re seeing ants in your kitchen near your dishwasher, start by spraying along the baseboards leading to that location. If there are any cracks or crevices, be sure to include those because they might be entry points for the ants.

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How to get rid of ants: ant repellent vs. ant bait

The definition of repellent is as follows: “a substance that deters insects or other pests from approaching or settling.” solitary ant in pennsylvania living room after application of ant baitsBasically, an ant repellent does as its title implies: it repels ants. This means creating a barrier that the ants no longer want to cross and instead search for somewhere else to go. Some repellents can work, however, in the end, you’ll just be redirecting the ants, and they may find another entryway into your home. Repellents don’t kill the colony, and if that’s what you want to do, then you may want to use bait instead.

If you’re looking to deplete the entire ant colony, you may want to use a baiting solution. The bait will attract the ants and they will ingest it to bring it back to the colony, where the rest of the ants will also eat the bait and eventually die off.

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What exactly is an ant spray?

Just as it sounds, an "ant spray" is a liquid substance that's sprayed in an area to eliminate or repel ants. Ant sprays come in different types, from store-bought insecticides to homemade all-natural sprays. Homemade ant repellents and sprays can be effective if used in the correct dosage and the right locations. Without proper usage, you are unlikely to control any ants in your home.

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How can I get rid of flying ants?

Controlling the flying ant population at your home can be challenging to do on your own. Once a swarm begins, flying ants will emerge in as many as hundreds of thousands. 

flying ant in Pennsylvania attic

Fortunately, this typically only lasts for a few hours to a few days and then ceases. The goal of flying ants is to use their wings to leave the colony and reproduce. Swarming does not happen frequently, so pest control companies will focus on preventative rather than reactive services. You can vacuum up flying ants and dispose of them as they are visible.

Flying ants are likely to enter your home through cracks and crevices around your home including open windows and around your basement. Your best defense against any type of ant is to seal up these areas and keep your kitchen counter and floors free of crumbs. Without an entry point or a food source, ants will find your home less appealing.

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Why do ants attack my home?

Of all the ants that are native to our area, only carpenter ants and acrobat ants can cause structural damage to your home. Of the two, carpenter ants are more serious than acrobat ants because they will destroy sound wood in addition to wood that has been weakened by moisture damage. Acrobat ants tend to cause less damage and are usually associated with areas of the structure where moisture is a problem.

 "Ants will invade homes sometimes for reasons that we can’t explain,” said Dr. Richard Cooper, staff entomologist at Cooper Pest Solutions. “The reasons ants are coming in to begin with is that they are either looking to build a nest in a wall or they are scouting for food resources, or both.”

According to Cooper, “Ants are going to survey their entire environment and if the home is within their surveying territory, then it gets included in the areas that they are scouting for food resources. If they don’t find food resources, they may occasionally re-scout those areas periodically. However, if they do find food resources, then that may result in chronic or persistent activity.”

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Why am I seeing ants in my home when there's snow on the ground?

During the colder months, ants remain largely dormant. However, if there's an active colony in your home, they're not exposed to the cold and they do not go dormant. They can also remain active outdoors after temperatures become warm if, for example, their colony is located near a heat source, such as a heating duct in the wall.

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Can house ants harm me?

It's not common, but the worst way that ants in PA and NJ can harm humans is by spreading disease. Ants are constantly moving back and forth, indoors and back out, picking up germs along the way. This means that bacteria living on the ground or in your pipes can surface and spread if ants cross your food.

Sugar ants are the most likely to cause infection because of their specific attraction to sugary and greasy foods such as cookies and chips. Pharaoh ants, another type of sugar ant, are known to be carriers of Staphylococcus, a bacterial infection that humans can contract. There is also a chance that you can contract salmonella from eating food that ants have come in contact with. The best way to avoid these situations is to engage in proactive ant prevention measures and ant control services.

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Are carpenter ants dangerous?

Carpenter ants have large jaws that are strong enough to bite through wood, so, needless to say, they are capable of biting into your skin as well.

Carpenter Ant damage in eastern PA home

However, they are not looking to bite humans or animals unless they feel threatened. The initial bite can be rather painful and is followed by localized irritation similar to a bee sting. Even though they hurt, carpenter ants rarely bite, and the bites are essentially harmless, as carpenter ants don’t spread disease. Carpenter ants can cause damage to wood structures (usually wood that has been moistened and is damp or weakened by decay). Since they tend to keep coming back year after year, they can also be difficult to control on your own.

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Why do I have ants in my kitchen?

Your kitchen is probably the most likely place to find ants because it offers all the resources they need. Inevitably, small crumbs after snacks and meals get dropped, and even if you use extreme care in keeping your kitchen floor clean, ants are also attracted to other food sources that you may not realize.

Pet food bowls are a perfect way for small ants and other pests to thrive in your kitchen. Throw away uneaten pet food or lift it away from the floor into a sealed container at the end of each day to avoid this scenario. Ants and other pests can easily find pet food in poorly sealed containers such as the large paper bags that they come in. Frequently dumping water from their bowl can deter ants even further. Be sure to also clean the area around the bowls since dogs and cats aren’t always the tidiest when it comes to eating and drinking, and they create crumbs and water droplets that attract ants.

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Where do ants come from?

Ants may come from a colony located inside your home, but most come from outside. Ants can get inside in a variety of ways:

  • Tiny tears in window screening,
  • Cracks in the foundation of your home,
  • Gaps around windows and doors are some of the most common access points for ants.
  • Hitching a ride within potted plants or hanging baskets from garden centers.

Ants can be found in any part of your home, not just the kitchen and bathroom. The main reason why they are congregating in these spaces, in particular, is because of easily accessible water and food sources. Even the cleanest of homes can suffer from ant infestations if food isn’t stored properly, entry points aren’t repaired or sealed, and weak wood or damp insulation exists.

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