While ants do more for the environment and their ecosystems than humans often give them credit for, they still shouldn’t be welcomed into your home. As the weather starts to heat up during the Spring and Summer months, you’ll often see a big uptick in ant activity in and around your home. In this article, we’ll be breaking down what attracts ants to your home, and how you can get rid of ants in your home!
What Attracts Ants?
Ants are very simple creatures and ants are attracted to food and water sources for the colony. So, chances are, if you’ve noticed ants in your home, the ants are attracted to an easy food or water source inside your home.
It can be something as small as a small spill of juice, sugar for your coffee, or leftover dinner, that will attract ants inside of your home. Although ants seem to be attracted more to sugary foods, they are scavengers and will be attracted to pretty much any food that they can bring back to their colony.
Ants are persistent creatures that, much like us, require regular nourishment for survival. They are known for their impressive foraging abilities, often traveling considerable distances in search of food. If your home provides an easy, accessible source of food, ants are bound to take notice, which can lead to an infestation. So, what food sources attract ants into your home? Let’s explore.
Sugary Substances: One of the key food sources that lure ants into homes is anything with a high sugar content. This could be remnants of your spilled soda, fruit peels, candy, jam, or even honey. Ants have a particular fondness for sweet substances due to the high energy content of sugar.
Proteins and Fats: While sugar is a major attraction, ants are also drawn to protein and fat sources. Foods such as meat, cheese, and pet food can entice ants into your home. Some species of ants have a preference for protein-rich food over sugar, especially during their breeding season when protein is in high demand.
Carbohydrates/Starches: Ants, like many other creatures, need carbohydrates for energy. Starchy foods like bread, rice, and potatoes left uncovered can be a banquet for ants.
Ants need water for survival, and this can sometimes draw them inside, especially in hot or dry conditions. They are attracted to moisture and will gravitate towards leaky pipes, pet water dishes, or even condensation on your window. If there is easy access to water for ants, this is a huge benefit to the colony and generally will mean that ants will set up their colony near or inside of your home to access the water.
Along with this, ants leave a pheromone trail leading from the colony to the food or water source which other worker ants use to aid in transporting the food from your home back to their colony or telling the colony about the water source. This is why you’ll often see ants walking in a single file line, they’re following the pheromone trail left by the ants who found the food source.
Your Plants or Garden:
While we usually associate ant infestations with food sources inside our homes, outdoor factors like bushes, plants, and flowers can also play a significant role in attracting ants.
Nectar Sources: Many flowering plants produce nectar, a sweet substance that ants love. If you have flowering plants near your home, ants might be attracted to your property. Once there, they can easily find their way inside your house.
Aphids and Other Insects: Some plants attract insects like aphids, scales, and whiteflies, which produce a sweet substance known as honeydew when they feed on plant sap. Ants love honeydew and will even protect these insects from predators to maintain this food source. An abundance of these insects in your garden can indirectly attract ants to your home.
Shelter: Bushes, plants, and dense foliage can provide ants with shelter and potential nesting sites. Some ants build their colonies in rotting wood, making woodpiles or decaying trees prime real estate.
Seeds and Fruits: Certain ant species are attracted to seeds and fruits. If these fall off plants and accumulate near your house, they can attract ants.
To prevent your greenery from luring ants into your home, consider the following tips:
- Garden Maintenance: Regularly trim bushes, trees, and other vegetation so they do not touch your home and provide a bridge for ants to cross.
- Control Aphids: If you notice aphids or other honeydew-producing insects on your plants, consider natural or chemical treatments to control these pests and remove the ants’ food source.
- Clean Up Fallen Fruits and Seeds: Regularly clean up fallen fruits, seeds, and plant debris from your garden.
- Consider Ant-Resistant Plants: Some plants naturally repel ants. Including these in your garden can help keep the ants at bay. Examples include mint, lavender, and marigold.
Remember, your outdoor environment can significantly impact your likelihood of experiencing an ant infestation. Careful selection and maintenance of your plants, bushes, and flowers can play a crucial role in keeping your home ant-free.
So, if you see only one or two ants, you need to act quickly because that could mean there is a whole colony on its way inside your home! Take a look at some of our ant removal guides!
Final Thoughts On What Attracts Ants Into Your Home
Although ants are among the most common household pests, especially when the weather gets warm, it doesn’t reduce how annoying they can be to homeowners.
To recap what we talked about, generally, ants are attracted to food sources, water sources, as well as your garden or plants that are too close to your home.
When ants have found a source of food, water, or shelter, then they’ll decide to set up their entire colony nearby, which unfortunately is often your home. But by following some of the tips above, you can help reduce the things in your home that are attracting ants, and make your home less desirable for an ant colony.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this guide on what attracts ants, and it was helpful in keeping your home ant free!