Ant Control in the House – How to Treat for Ants

While they may not appear challenging to treat at first, establishing ant control in your house can be tougher than it seems.

Step 1 is to identify the proper ant species that you are dealing with.  Once you know what pest species you are dealing with you can make a selection of liquid products or bait materials to try.

Types of Ants in Philadelphia

  • Pavement Ant
  • Odorous House Ant
  • Pharaoh Ants
  • Carpenter Ants

Pavement Ant

There are many species of ants that are native to the Philadelphia area.  Most common is the pavement ant, this is the species that makes the little dirt piles next to the sidewalks.  These ants live in the soil and invade homes in search of food sources.

Odorous House Ant

Odorous House Ants are another species of ant that has colonized our area over the past 10 years.  Odorous house ants will feed on carbohydrates, fats, and proteins at different times of the year in accordance with the needs of the colony.  Odorous house ants can develop into “Super Colonies” that have multiple nests surrounding the home.  These ants can invade any room in the house since they can be located anywhere outside the home.  Due to the large colony size, Odorous House Ants can also invade any room in the house.  Using liquid pesticides against these insects is not usually effective since Odorous House ants can detect some pesticides in their environment and learn to avoid the area.  This can cause the colony to split up and now you have 2 or more nests instead of just one.  Odorous House Ants are also particular in their food selection, so using baits to control these ants is possible if the bait you choose has what the colony needs at that time.  If not, the ants will avoid the bait or the bait placement.

Pharaoh Ant

Pharaoh Ants are also a real problem in our area.  Unlike Pavement ants and Odorous House ants, Pharaoh ants live in voids such as the walls of your home.  We have found colonies living in filing cabinets in homes and businesses.  Liquid pesticides are not recommended for Pharaoh Ants because when the colony is exposed to a liquid pesticide, the reproductive ants in the colony split up into multiple nests, a process called “budding” to ensure the survival of the colony.  Baits can be effective on Pharaoh Ants but they are very particular about what they can eat based on the needs of the colony.

Carpenter Ant

Carpenter Ants are another ant species that are native to the Philadelphia area.  These ants can live in trees, tree stumps, firewood piles on the outside and inside homes as well.  Carpenter ants are large black ants with big heads and big jaws.  They use the big jaws to tear out rotten wood from a wooden member and they use the wood member to house their colonies.  This can happen to wood both on the inside of the home and on the outside of the home as well.  Carpenter ants are usually active at night so if you are looking for a carpenter ant infestation it is best done at night with a flashlight when looking outdoors.

There are many other species of ants that are native to this area and have their own particular needs and habits.

How to Treat For Ants

Once you know what pest species you are dealing with you can make a selection of liquid products or bait materials to try. There is a wide range of options including anything from liquid treatments to stationary bait stations.

Liquid Treatments

Use all liquid and bait material pesticides in accordance with the pesticide label.  Do not mix the liquid sprays with more pesticides than the label allows.  Be very careful when applying liquid pesticides since pesticides are toxic and can contaminate areas where children play or food is served. Liquid pesticides can also stain floors and furnishings if not applied properly.

Stationary Bait Treatments

Baits are a hit-and-miss proposition with ants unless you identify the insect and its habits.  One ant bait does not kill all species of ants.  Use according to label directions. These simple creatures seem like they should be easy to treat for a DIY treatment.  What we know is that their habits and needs are very different and “a simple one size fits all treatment” does not work effectively.

Once again, please use any do-it-yourself products according to the label only.  Misuse of pesticides can create more of a danger to you and your family members than the ants themselves.

Local Ant Control Experts

Pest Control Technicians are your local “ant experts.”  With over 45 years of experience, PCT is your choice for effective and safe ant control.  We identify the pest, figure out how to best treat the target ant species, and then adapt that knowledge to treat the pest problem in your home safely and effectively.  Call us now for a consultation and quote before you make the trip to the hardware store for DIY products that may or may not solve your pest problems.


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