Types of Ants
For the most part, ants make their way into a house in search of food. You don’t want any type of ant to invade your home, but it is important to know some of the different types of ant to get an understanding of what you’re dealing with.
- Carpenter ants: Up to 1/2″ long and black in color, carpenter ants usually enter homes in search of protein. These ants eat through wood to find nesting areas, leaving behind small piles of wood shavings referred to as frass.
- Common pavement ants: These ants are typically around 1/10″ long and range from black to brown in color. Pavement ants establish colonies near driveways and patios, sending scouts into the house to search for food. It is important to note that common pavement ants may sting or bite if they are disturbed.
- Moisture ants: Generally an indication of excessive water, moisture ants are especially common in bathrooms and underneath sinks. They are difficult to remove if the moisture level of the area they have infested remains unchecked.
- Sugar ants: One of the most common ant types, sugar ants are often referred to as odorous house ants. Sugar ants are about an 1/8″ in size, are attracted to nearly all food sources, and are heavily active in the spring.
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Types of Treatments
There are multiple ways to treat an ant infestation, with the method that works best for you depending on the amount of ants and the area they inhabit. Common treatments include:
- General pest treatment: This is typically a type of chemical that is sprayed around the foundation of the home, doorways, and anywhere else ants might enter. The spray kills any other insects as well as ants.
- Monthly treatments: Depending on the severity of your ant problem, you might need more than one treatment. This can include any type of single treatment or combination of treatments, performed on a monthly basis.
- Mound control/dust and drill: Often used in combination with other treatment methods, mound control is one of the most effective methods of dealing with fire ants. An exterminator drills into the ant mound and pours in a chemical powder, killing the colony and its queen.
- Poisoned bait: An interior control tactic, poisoned bait is placed in the areas of your house ants use to enter and exit. They take the bait back to their colony, killing the carriers and any other ants they come in contact with.
How Much Does it Cost to Hire an Ant Exterminator?
The cost to hire an ant exterminator depends on your specific location, the type of ants, and the severity of the infestation. The following is a general pricing guide to provide an idea of what you can expect to pay when hiring an ant exterminator:
- A one-time visit from an exterminator with a 30-day guarantee has an average cost between $150 and $300.
- A one-time visit for carpenter ants is usually more expensive, due to the difficulty of eliminating them, with costs averaging between $250 and $500.
- If a company requires you to sign an annual contract for multiple treatments, you receive an initial treatment as well as monthly or quarterly follow-ups for an average cost between $300 and $600 per year.
Most people don’t really think about how to prevent or stop a pest problem until they’re already dealing with a pest problem. But there are some great ways to keep your home and property free of ants or prevent them from returning.
Always be sure to keep your food in sealed containers to keep any ants from getting inside. Keep counters and floors clean, making sure to properly dispose of crumbs and foodstuffs. And if you do find ants in your home, make sure you don’t just start killing each one you see. Try to find a trail and figure out where they’re coming from. That way, you can establish their point of entry and destroy any interior ants, as well as colonies or mounds of ants you find on your property.
DIY Ant Extermination
It is common for homeowners to choose the DIY route rather than hire someone to exterminate the ants for them. Unless you are dealing with carpenter ants or fire ants, this is definitely something that can be done. There are multiple sprays and powders available for purchase that help eradicate ant problems. People also sprinkle cayenne pepper, cinnamon, and diatomaceous earth around cracks and the edges of rooms to keep ants away or clean with vinegar.
But remember, DIY methods are almost never as effective as a professional exterminator. Commercial-grade products lack the strength of industrial products, and you don’t necessarily have the knowledge of a professional.