We have a surprising number of ant species in our Tucson service area. While they share many similarities, each can be quite different. If you're having trouble with a particular ant species, you're going to need to properly identify it and target the colony that is creating the ants. But, if your goal is to deter ants, reduce ant populations, and bring your ant problems below your threshold of comfort, then there are many ways to accomplish this without the need for ant control products. Here are some general tips that can make your property less conducive to ant activity and ant population growth.
How Moisture Attracts Ants
It is amazing how moisture issues can lead to ant issues.
- Ants collect droplets of moisture to drink and share with their colony.
- Moisture leads to rotting wood, which is attractive to carpenter ants.
- Too much moisture in your landscaping can inspire mold and fungus to take root. Some ants eat mold and fungus, others eat insects that feed on mold and fungus.
- Moisture directly attracts insects and invertebrates, which most ant species will eat, both alive and dead.
- Excessive moisture can cause poor plant health and draw aphids to your vegetation. This creates a different kind of problem. Ants eat the sweet honeydew produced by aphids and other plant-damaging insects.
At the core of all these issues is moisture. Therefore, one of the most effective ways to repel and reduce ants and other insects is to get control of moisture.
It is impossible to keep the perimeter of your home dry as a bone, nor would you want to. When it's raining outside, it is going to be wet outside. But, when it is sunny and damp, this is when problems start.
- Make sure your gutter system doesn't have any clogs or breaks. If your gutter system isn't doing its job, rainwater collected by your roof can run right down into the soil next to your home. This creates oversaturation. If you're noticing puddles near your foundation walls, this is a sign of oversaturation.
- Give your plants only the water they need. You should not have damp plants all day. The water should dry up on your plants and in the topsoil.
- Water your plants in the morning. This prevents moisture from sitting on your plants and in the topsoil overnight.
- Reduce unnecessary plants from your landscaping, such as weeds and grass. Dense vegetation promotes moisture problems.
- Keep your lawn trimmed.
How Food Attracts Ants
We've touched on this. When insects are drawn to moisture near your home, ants will be drawn to feed on those insects. But there are many other conditions that can attract insects, and there are many other food sources that ants eat besides insects.
Conditions That Attract Insects
- Exterior white lights. If you have white exterior lighting, consider replacing white bulbs with bulbs that cast yellow light. Yellow is less attractive to insects.
- Rotting plant matter. If you have plants in your landscaping that are decaying, these can be a beacon for insects.
- Garbage. Many insects are drawn to decaying meats and sweets in your trash. Some ant species are also attracted to these strong-smelling food sources as well.
- Leaves. If you have leaf litter or leaf piles, these create a habitat underneath that is ideal for many insects.
Food Sources That Attract Ants
- Honeydew. It bears mentioning again. This is a delectable food source for many ant species. Address aphids and the issues that attract aphids to keep this food source to a minimum.
- Human food. Anything sweet, such as a piece of candy, a juice cup, cracker crumbs, bread, and other human foods can lure ants to your home if you eat outside on your deck or have cookouts. Keep things cleaned up to avoid ant problems.
- Carrion. If an animal, such as a mouse or rat, dies on your property, this is sure to attract certain ant species. Take steps to address mouse and rat activity, and consider installing fencing to keep animals from going under your deck, porch, patio or exterior stairs.
How It All Works Together
When you control moisture and food sources, you'll reduce ant activity. If you also take the time to seal potential entry points in your exterior, you may rarely have any issues with ants inside your Tucson home. This might be all the ant control you need. If you're not able to address the conditions that attract ants, or you have an ant problem that just won't go away, we can help you figure out what's going on. Reach out to Pest Friends for expert assistance with ants and other common Tucson pests. We provide industry-leading pest control in the Tucson area. We can help.