For many homeowners, it’s common to see swarms of small black ants in the summer months. They can be a real pest in any home, but particularly your kitchen. Just over a millimeter in length, little black ants are often lured into your kitchen by the abundance of food, especially any spilled or seeping liquids.
How to Identify Little Black Ants
When little black ants have infested your home, odds are you won’t be able to actually see their colony. If you follow the trail of worker ants, you may be able to get an idea of where they are entering. These ants often build colonies in your home’s woodwork or in concrete cracks.
How do you know you’re dealing with this species and not another type of ant? Look for the following signs:
- Size: A worker ant measures just 1.5mm in length and queens are significantly larger – up to 4mm.
- Color: Contrary to their name, these ants come in a range of colors – dark brown to jet black.
- Antennae: If you look closely, these ants have 12-segment antennae with a three-part club on top.
- Body: Like the antennae, the ant’s body is also segmented in two parts. As well, the species have no spines and a partially rounded thorax. A stinger is one common physical characteristic, although it has little to no effect.
- Location: Although you’ll find little black ants throughout the US, they’re more common on the East Coast, in Southern California and the San Francisco Bay area. Here, they tend to congregate in urban and industrial areas, nesting in soil, rotting wood, under rocks or logs or in masonry.
- Season: Has the weather warmed up? Little black ants have the greatest presence in spring and summer – specifically, June through August. You’ll typically see swarms along trails and on sidewalks, as they’re foraging for food.
Why Little Black Ants are in Your Home
By design, your home might look like the perfect spot: Woodwork and masonry or soil and yard debris all seem like good nesting locations. Yet, it’s only when they enter your home and refuse to leave do they turn into a problem. Generally, poorly stored food is the source.
However, an open garbage pail or dessert left on the counter isn’t solely the reason. Ant odor receptors are actually four to five times stronger than those of other insects. As such, even the smallest trace of food – crumbs, a drop of juice or even fruit peels – seems pungent and gets detected.
Certain types of foods, especially when they’re left out, attract little black ants:
- Corn meal
- Greasy, oily or fatty foods
- Honeydew melon
- Sweet and sticky plant secretions
- All types of sweets
- Other insects, especially cotton fleahoppers
Along with food, little black ants seek out a water source and your kitchen or bathroom sink looks perfect. When you’ve got an infestation, it’s fairly common to see these ants congregating around a drain, near a dishwasher or any place water doesn’t fully drain.
With these factors considered, an infestation typically looks like a combination of the following:
- Ants are always in the house, often in multiple locations.
- You spot them crawling along the bathroom or kitchen floor.
- You find them in your cabinets and around your sinks.
- You see them entering and leaving from cracks and gaps, both on the outside and inside.
How to Get Rid of Little Black Ants
While little black ants do have a stinger, they are not harmful to humans. Nevertheless, there are several methods to get rid of this nuisance in your home. You can either bait the ants or use a chemical spray, but keep in mind that chemical sprays can be harmful to your family. Oftentimes, these methods can prove ineffective at getting rid of the ant colony for good.
At this point, it’s time to get the professionals involved, both for extermination and prevention tactics. After Eliminate ‘Em’s team assesses your home for all signs of little black ants and their nests, they may assist with repairing your property to guard against future infestations:
- Sealing cracks and gaps in the exterior walls and foundation.
- Getting rid of rotting wood, rocks, firewood and other debris piles on your property.
- Helping lay down mulch near the foundation.
- Examining where your sprinklers spray to ensure it’s not right on the foundation.
- Trimming tree and shrub branches.
- Recommending plants that don’t attract aphids and similar insects.
Not only will the expert technicians at Eliminate ‘Em rid your home of little black ants, we’ll also seal cracks and voids in your home, so that these pests can’t come back.
Does your property have a full-blown ant infestation?
For extermination and control, give Eliminate ‘Em a call today to schedule your appointment.