Some years, we hardly get a winter here in Virginia. We might only get snow accumulation for a few days here and there, and that's it. This is because ground temperatures change much slower than air temperatures. When it gets cold enough for rain to turn to snow, the ground is often still warm enough to melt that snow and turn it to water. Have you noticed this? Well, you can bet that ants notice it. Most ants live in the ground. Those warm ground temperatures can help them to be a problem, even in the dead of winter.
How does this work? It has to do with hibernation or, more accurately, a lack of hibernation. Ants don't hibernate. While they can grow dormant when it gets cold enough, they don't become dormant according to a fixed biological clock. That means they can become active again as soon as it warms up. If we have a warm day in the middle of January, you can get an ant infestation. That is why it is important to take steps to prevent ants year round.
When the temperatures warm up in the spring, ants get busy. Really busy. This is an important time of year for ant control.
- Inspect your gutters, downspouts, and splash guards and make sure they're in good working condition. Dampness is attractive to many ants, especially carpenter ants.
- Inspect your exterior walls and seal any gaps, cracks or holes you find. A caulking gun is a great tool for this. Be sure to closely examine doors and windows for even the smallest of entry points.
- Make sure your spring cleaning includes removal of weeds and vegetation near your foundation walls. Ants feed on insects that draw the sap out of plants.
This is the season when ants are most active. Throughout the year, use these strategies to reduce ants in your yard.
- Make sure your exterior trash is in sealed receptacles and clean your receptacles routinely to remove the aroma that can attract ants.
- Clean up after you're done grilling. Ants like those tasty BBQ meats as much as you do.
- Keep gardens, fruit trees, and other plants that produce food away from your foundation walls.
When the leaves fall in Virginia, they can sometimes keep falling all the way into winter. But, since it starts in fall, that will be our focus for this fall tip.
- Leaf litter creates an environment where ants can find food sources. It can give cover for ants to come up to the surface without being exposed to the cold. And it can promote dampness, which is ideal for ants. There are many reasons to remove leaves from your property as often as you're able to.
Cold weather keeps us inside more. It's often too chilly during the winter to be doing ant prevention around your home. So our winter tips are things you can do inside. When you see hundreds of ants in a common area of your home, like your kitchen or living room, it is because those ants found a food source. Use these tips to hide the food.
- Put dishes in a sink of soapy water, rather than sitting next to the sink with a buffet of foods for ants to enjoy.
- Consider putting your stored foods in sealed plastic containers, especially foods that come in paper or cardboard packages.
- Check the due dates on your pantry items and throw the old foods out. Some ants are highly attracted to rotting food.
- Vacuum routinely and keep food swept up from hard floor surfaces.
- Put pet food down only during mealtimes
Along with these general ant prevention tips, it is a good idea to have a residential pest control service for your Virginia home. Routine treatments give your foundation perimeter the extra protection it needs to stop ants before they get in. It also gives you extra support in trouble spots, such as eliminating plant-damaging insects that provide a food source for ants and damage the plants in your landscaping. On top of this, year-round pest service can give you protection from ticks, mosquitoes, termites, rodents, cockroaches, and other extremely dangerous pests as it protects you from ant threats.
If you have any questions or you'd like to begin service, get started with a free, no-obligation, in-home estimate. RichPro Pest Management is an industry-leading residential and commercial pest control provider for the Greater Richmond area. We'll help you find the right service plan for your specific needs and budget.