Both new and established residents of the Los Angeles area share in the overwhelming frustration of combating ants in and around their home. These various species appear to be out in full force this season, from the tiny, near impossible to control Pharaoh Ant to the painful multiple stings of the Imported Red Fire Ant or its close cousins. There are eight dominant species of ants living within California’s borders, and much like Governor Schwarzenegger their motto appears to often be, “I’ll be back!” To gain a firm foothold in ridding these insects from you home this year, it may require more than just a few squirts from an insecticide canister. Recent heavy rain and flooding has forced these species to seek a safe haven and rest assured that these insects will not depart your home without putting up a proper fight.
Jon Weisman, a sports blogger for the LA Times, recently shared, “No matter how rough things might get this year for the Dodgers, no matter how many disappointing twists and turns there might be this season, expected or unexpected, I don’t think I’ll be as unhappy as I was today when, after battling ants at the kitchen sink, on the kitchen counter, near the kitchen table, near the doors to the yard, in the kids’ bathroom and in the guest bathroom for every free minute I had, I sat down exhausted on the living room couch, a place of sanctuary, and found, on either side of me, more ants. Bring on Spring Training. I’m ready.”
So how do you combat the intrusive nature of this species and rid them from your home? The most prevalant method would be to prevent their entry as thoroughly as possible and to eliminate their food and water supply. If you spot a long line of ants marching across your kitchen counter, instead of launching an all out frontal assualt, your time would be better served doing a little reconnasiance beforehand. Follow the trail back as far as possible and you will normally discover that their entryway is a small crack or crevice within a wall not much larger than a pinhole. If that wall leads to another interior room, further inspection is necessary to determine the actual source. Continue to track the ant colony as far back as possible before disturbing the insects, and once their source is determined a strategy can be formed. Apply sealant to any of possible entryways throughout the home and this will slow the problem for a period of time, but more often than not a new route will be discovered and the insects will return. If you reside within an apartment building or the ant trail disapears inbetween two walls this can become a duanting task, and a professional better equipped for this mission may be the easiest solution. There are, however, several types of bait traps and pesticides that function fairly well in this type of situation that may warrant consideration. The ultimate goal is to not only poison the ant, but to allow the insect enough time to carry the toxin back to the colony and eventually pass it on to the queen and other inhabitants. Read instructions for the various pesticides carefully and contact a pest control expert if any questions arise.