Although the majority of pests thrive in the summer, you shouldn’t count on them not “bugging” you during the winter. Southern California’s moderate temperatures keep pests active all year-round, but if it does get too cold for them – the first place they will look for refuge is inside your home.
One of the biggest pests is the ant. Ants may be beneficial to your garden by feeding on fleas, termites and other pests, but their need to stay warm may drive them inside. Use the following tips to ensure your house remains ant-free during the winter.
Because most ants live outdoors, focus efforts on keeping ants from entering buildings. Combine several methods such as caulking entryways, cleaning up food sources, and baiting when necessary. Avoid using pyrethroids, especially on hard surfaces such as driveways or sidewalks or around the foundation of buildings. These products pollute waterways.
Make your house less attractive to ants.
• Caulk cracks and crevices that provide entry into the house.
• Store food attractive to ants in closed containers.
• Clean up grease and spills.
• Ant-proof kitchen garbage pails with sticky barriers such as petroleum jelly under the lip and place pet dishes in a moat of water.
• Remove or manage sweet food sources next to your house such as aphid-infested bushes and ripened fruit on trees.
• Keep plants, grass, and organic mulch at least a foot away from the foundation of buildings to reduce ant foraging and nesting.
When ants invade your house:
• Sponge up invading ants with soapy water as soon as they enter.
• Plug up ant entryways with caulk.
• Take infested potted plants outdoors and submerge pots in a solution of insecticidal soap and water.
• Rely on outdoor baits to control the ant colony.
If you hire a pest control company, ask them to use baits and spot treatments rather than perimeter treatments or monthly sprays.
How baits work:
Pesticide baits work by attracting worker ants who then take the product back to the nest where the entire colony, including queens, can be killed. The pesticide must be slow acting so workers won’t be killed before they get back to the nest.
How to use baits:
Place baits near ant trails and nest openings. Prepackaged or refillable bait stations or stakes are the safest and easiest to use. Replace baits when empty and reposition them, or try a different bait product if ants don’t appear to be taking it. It can take 5 to 10 days to see fewer ants.
Ants are resilient. If you still find an infestation in your home, contact a pest control professional who can help you achieve desired results.
Information provided by Bell Termite