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Understanding Ant Behaviour: Insights for Effective Extermination

Ants build a house with ladder

Ants cause millions of dollars of damage every year across Canada. Invasive ant species have become particularly problematic, especially in British Columbia. It has become increasingly difficult to control their spread, leading to more bites and bigger headaches when it comes to pest control. 

Fortunately, there are several approaches to addressing an ant infestation. One is trying to understand ant behaviour.

If you identify why they might infiltrate your home, then you can put measures in place to dissuade them. Keep reading to learn more about ant behaviour and associated pest control methods.  

Ant Basics 

Ants are insects that are very closely related to bees and wasps. There are an estimated 22,000 species that exist on almost every landmass on Earth.

Like all living things, ants need food and water to live. They can subsist on condensation and tiny scraps of food. Storing food in air-tight containers and addressing leaks or exposed pet water bowls in your home will give ants less reason to venture inside.

Ant Social Hierarchy

Ants live in colonies that can reach several million members. Ant behaviour involves a complex eusocial structure, where there is a division of labour into reproductive and nonreproductive groups and cooperative care of offspring. 

Ant colonies are made up of queens, workers, and males. Queen ants are females that lay all the eggs for the colony. 

Workers are also females but do not reproduce. The female worker is responsible for building the nest, gathering food, and caring for young ants.  

Males are the only winged ants. Their sole responsibility of males is to mate with the queen. Shortly after this, they die. 

Finding ant nests can be an important part of eradicating a colony. This can be a challenge, though, since queens can live deep in the ground or high up in trees. And some species, like carpenter ants, will have a main outdoor colony with satellite colonies inside buildings. 

Limiting access to your home can go a long way toward keeping colonies from spreading indoors. Seal up cracks and crevices, especially those in door or window jams or near the foundation. 

Ant Communication

Ants also have an intricate system of communication. Most species use chemical scents called pheromones. 

For instance, worker ants travel away from the nest, leaving a trail of pheromones to help them find their way home and for other ants to navigate to the food source. The more ants that travel the path, the stronger the scent becomes. 

You can use various materials to disrupt ant trails into your home. For instance, diatomaceous earth, which is silica dust from fossilized microscopic organisms, as well as some essential oils, can disrupt paths of travel. Creating a barrier around your home could be enough to divert ants elsewhere. 

Learn More About Ant Behaviour and Pest Control Treatment

Now that you understand ant behaviour, you can have a better idea of how to eliminate infestations and keep them from coming back. A professional pest control service can further advise you on the best solutions for your unique issue. 

The Bugman Pest Control serves Kelowna, Vernon, Lake Country, Penticton, Summerland, and the surrounding areas throughout Okanagan. Our experts can help you formulate a plan to eradicate ants or other pests. Reach out to us today for a free quote. 


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