What Attracts Ants to Your Home?

What are ants attracted to? Why are they in my house? Such questions are actually common for a lot of people. These insects have been thriving on our planet and slowly learned how to survive in our spaces.

Since we share the environment with them, we need to understand what causes them to visit the house. There are some main things that attract ants you should know more about.

Stuff That Ants Will Definitely Look For

Unfortunately, there are a lot of ways for ants to get into your house, but it won’t happen without a reason. They go on a long journey to look for food or a new place to start a colony, and it might be your place.

Something to Feed On

Primarily, what draws ants into a house is hunger or a general provision search. Do ants like sugar? Yes, they most definitely do. This is the main source they get their energy from, so they would gladly like to take any sweet leftovers you might have on your counter.

Any cookies, bread crumbs, dried cups with tea will attract them to inspect what else you could possibly give out for their colony. They can leave a trail of pheromones for other workers, so that next time they could come looking in a great amount.

It is hard to feed a big colony, as it can reach tens of thousands of mouths, so ants are going on their journeys in big numbers.

An ant carries an apple slice

A regular ant can carry the weight 5,000 more than its own body, so when they come in a chain, you can be sure there won’t be anything left of your stash.

Be sure to check your pet’s bowl because ants are also fond of any proteins, including eggs, dry animal food, and meat. They feed on it to grow and raise the pupae; they can also bring it to the colony to store for worse times.

Sometimes ants stock a lot of provisions for winter; it is common in places with cold climates, so they can survive long periods without going out of the anthill.

What About Humidity?

What are ants attracted to besides food? Warm little spaces with humidity. It is a great place to raise their eggs, and only multiple the colony. They can live under the floor or near your bathroom or closet with a washing machine.

Ants are small and easily afraid of big predators, of course, they go on such adventures in big chains not without reason, because that way some of them are focused on hunting, and others protect the line, but you can be sure that these little insects would like to avoid any encounters with humans.

They usually pick quiet places, where there is no danger for them and their mates.

Does water attract ants? Yes, in fact, it does. During dry seasons, when there is drought, and it is hard to find any good water sources, workers will go looking for places where there is available water, and it can end up being a place near your kitchen sink or even bathroom.

They like to stay in humid places, where it is easy to hide and find water, it might be hard to inspect for people, but if you properly take care of your house, there won’t be an ant infestation.

Diverse Plant Life

cargo traffic at ants work path

There are also some plants that attract ants, mostly they pay attention to their strong smell and small flowers. Among such are spurge, penstemon, and peonies.

Since most of them blossom in spring or summer, ants are most likely to visit your house only then because of such plants. You will probably find them in the buds or running around on the ground or leaves. You can leave the flowers outside to avoid bringing ants into the building.

How Do Ants Get Into Your Home?

Ants are really small, so there are a lot of ways for them to invade your house. Mostly, they enter the building through small cracks in the floor or walls.

They can squeeze through anywhere and then go on their exploration, so it is important to check your apartment for old openings. You can put glue or filling foam into the cracks: that way ants won’t be able to get through them.

Sometimes, there can be flaws in the foundation, so ants will crawl through it under the floor, and that is dangerous. They might decide to start a colony there, and if that happens, you will have to go through more problems of getting ants out.

During summer, we are used to leaving the doors and windows open, and that’s when they can also get into the house. They can accidentally enter the apartment, so you should not worry and just carefully let them outside.

They will go around the window sills or can come through the garden door. Ants are very curious, but if they sense danger, they won’t go far in. Make sure to always dust your place and wipe the floors, so you won’t miss any little insects that might’ve got into your house.

ants carry maple fruit

In some cases, ants can be carried inside on clothes and shoes. Be sure to always check your coats and boots, especially sleeves and back. It would be helpful to shake them off before entering your house, so you can avoid dealing with ants after.

They can fall on you from trees and leaves, but don’t be afraid: it can surely be quite a surprise, but they are not that scary at all.

What Can I Do to Avoid Them?

First of all, you need to clear all of the spaces from foods attracting ants. Use plastic containers and food wrapping so that the smell of it doesn’t spread around the house. Make sure to always clean your counters from little crumbs and don’t leave any leftovers in the open.

Your sweets should be kept in a dry place, better somewhere high. Don’t let your dishes stay in the sink for too long because ants will surely go scurrying around to find more. Clean your pet’s bowl regularly, it will prevent any insects from inspecting the apartment.

If such a problem occurred, and you’d found some ants running around your place, you should get some vinegar or bleach and thoroughly wash the trails they use to get into the building.

Ants leave strong pheromones to let others know where they can find food or water, so by wiping out those marks with strong chemicals, workers will get lost and won’t enter your house.

Unfortunately, if ants have created a colony in your house, it is better to immediately call your local pest control because only professionals can locate the source of the anthill – the queen.

This problem can be dealt with only by removing her from the house, so the ant colony will go follow it out of your place.

FAQ

team of ants

Does salt attract ants?

Usually, ants avoid any type of close contact with salt, and it is actually a good prevention method for them. Although, in some cases, when the insects are deficient in salt, they can go look for it.

Do ants like honey?

What attracts ants inside the house is sugar, and because honey is full of it, those little creatures definitely favor such a treat.

Do ants like peanut butter?

Peanut butter is a great source of both protein and sugar, so ants will gladly eat it.

Does killing ants attract more?

Yes, because when worker ants die, they produce an alarm pheromone that encourages others to go help them.

Does mulch attract ants?

Mulch can be an attraction for carpenter ants that prefer to feed on anything of the wooden kind. This species of ants is especially dangerous to have in the house.

Does vinegar attract ants?

No, vinegar is, on the contrary, one of the most helpful things that will help to keep ants out of your house.

Does coffee attract ants?

Ants are not attracted to coffee but rather to your coffee machine because it is a cozy big place to settle in.

Does milk attract ants?

Milk doesn’t draw ants in, perhaps if you add sugar to it.

Watch Your Little Friends

What attracts ants and what to do with them: now you can be sure that you know everything to prevent them from getting into your house. Don’t worry if you encounter any in your building, because there are a lot of ways to safely help them out. Just be sure to take all of the proper measures.

What prevention methods from ants do you know? Have you ever dealt with this kind of problem? Please, share your opinion in the comments below.

Also read:

References

  • Effects of Peppermint Oil and Vinegar on killing and preventing the Red Imported Fire Ant, Solenopsis invicta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in households(Platform & workflow by OJS/PKP)
    https://journals.tdl.org/instars/index.php/instars/article/view/269
  • Food preference and foraging activity of ants: Recommendations for field applications of low-toxicity baits(University of Wisconsin Libraries)
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4206238/#:~:text=Food%20preference%20trials%20indicated%20that,25%25%20sugar%20water%20and%20honey.
  • The response of ants to climate change(Catherine L Parr, University of Liverpool; Tom Rhys Bishop, Cardiff University)
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/359161927_The_response_of_ants_to_climate_change

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Nicholas Martin

Nicholas Martin

I am Nicholas Martin, and I am an entomologist. I combine the insect survey work with the consultation for private pest control agencies. My narrow specializations are both urban pests and agricultural pests. I studied their control over the previous 25 years. More about Nick

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