Summer is just around the corner, the temperature outside is rising, and before we know it we’ll be in the dog days of summer. Unfortunately, dogs aren’t the only ones who enjoy the sultry summer days. Ants in particular thrive during this time of year, so it’s important to take the proper precautions to prevent them from invading your home. Most of the ants commonly found in Oklahoma are just considered a nuisance, like pavement ants, harvester ants, big-headed ants, and formica ants. However, we also get odorous ants, carpenter ants, and fire ants here as well. Odorous house ants are known to contaminate food sources, carpenter ants can cause property damage as they tunnel through wood, and then there is the most harmful of all, fire ants, who attack with a painful sting that can cause allergic reactions in some people.

Follow this list of preventative tips that we’ve gathered for you here, and avoid the ant days of summer.

Inside The House

Clean Up – The ever vigilant ant is especially good at locating food left out in the open and finding even the smallest crumbs, grains of sugar, or tiny grease smears. To keep the ants away, get rid of this easy food source by doing a thorough cleaning. Keep the floors of your home clean by sweeping, mopping, and vacuuming them regularly. Using a good cleaning solution, wipe down all of your countertops, making sure to clean up under anything that’s sitting on them, and immediately clean up spills. Wipe out the insides of your cabinets to eliminate any hidden food crumbs that might be lingering in there. Most importantly, do the dishes! Don’t leave anything dirty in the sink or on the countertops.

Contain Food and Trash – If your food is easily accessible to ants, it’s like a welcoming mat for them to enter your home. All human food and pet food should be stored in sealed containers. Even keeping fruits and vegetables out on your counter can attract ants, so put them up in hanging baskets or, better yet, inside your refrigerator or freezer. Trash cans and recycling bins are commonly overlooked when trying to prevent ants. Waste baskets and bins need tight fitting lids or should at least be stored inside cabinets if possible. Also, be sure to rinse out any items before putting them into recycling bins.

Outside the House

Inspect Your Home’s Exterior – Get out there and walk around the perimeter of your home looking for any areas where insects are likely to be. Check for gaps in bricks, cracks in the foundation, openings in the seal around doors and windows, or holes in window screens. Ants will continuously seek out and find new entry points, so we suggest that you inspect the outside of your house a few times per year. Once you’ve located any spots that ants could potentially use as a way into your home, go about sealing them up. We suggest a silicone caulking to seal most of the smaller cracks and crevices and a foam sealant to fill up the larger openings and holes. Make sure any previous pest-proofing has remained intact.

Make a Perimeter Around Home – Plants, trees and shrubs that are near your home and come into contact with it can form a sort of bridge for ants to cross and gain easy access. Bushes, shrubs and trees should be pruned back to maintain a 12 to 18 inch plant-free zone around your house. Make sure any firewood stacked up outside is not up against the house and don’t allow grass, leaves, mulch, or any other clutter to build up against your home’s foundation.

Schedule a Professional Inspection

It is much easier to prevent an ant infestation than it is to battle a full-blown invasion. If you’ve taken all of these precautions and still find yourself with an ant invasion in your home this summer, then contact the ant experts at Arrow Exterminators to schedule a free inspection.