Few homeowners are lucky enough to avoid having to deal with ants altogether. These tiny critters tend to find their way into just about any structure, and their presence can range from a mild nuisance to a significant problem. You've probably dealt with ants in the past, but what should you do when your solutions seem to fail consistently or provide only temporary relief?
You might be reluctant to call in a professional to deal with a "simple" problem like this, but ants aren't always easy to eliminate. After all, ants are successful enough that experts estimate their total numbers at around one million billion! If the tenacity of these pests is starting to get you down, these steps will help you decide if it's time to bring in the heavy artillery.
Step 1: Understand Your Problem
It will always pay to take a step back and examine your pest problem. Do you see ants in your home throughout the year, or is it a seasonal issue? Have you identified the source, or do they seem to show up randomly throughout your home? Can you identify the type (or types!) of ant that appears to be invading your house?
Different species of ants don't necessarily prefer the same foods, which can influence your extermination strategy. A particular bait that's effective against one species may be less useful against another. Likewise, effective bait placement varies based on the location of the source. The more you understand about your enemy, the more successful your tactics will be.
Step 2: Evaluate Your Solutions
Now that you've spent some time researching your infestation, it's time to evaluate the effectiveness of your solutions. If more ants continue to appear despite your best efforts, then you may have a colony that's already taken up residence in your home. Ants like to nest just about anywhere, so colonies can appear in your attic, basement, or even walls.
Stopping scouts and raiding parties is a task that most do-it-yourselfers can handle with over-the-counter products, but entrenched infestations are another matter. Your attempts to deal with the problem will likely fail if the infestation source is already in your home. In these cases, you might need to bring in some backup.
Step 3: Know When to Call for Help
Pest control experts will do more than just place some baited traps and call it a day. A critical part of any professional pest control effort will include a thorough inspection of your home. This inspection will help determine the infestation's source and hopefully discover if a colony has already decided to make itself at home in your house.
Once they have determined what they can about your particular problem, an expert will utilize targeted solutions to remove the ants and prevent them from returning. Although this can be costlier than tackling the issue yourself, it guarantees that you can enjoy a long-term solution to your tiny but annoying ant problem.