If tiny yellow, yellowish-brown or bronze-colored ants suddenly appear in your kitchen, take steps to eliminate the problem now. The tiny ants invading your kitchen are called thief ants. The pests love to invade and consume foods made with grease, even food items hidden or sealed away in plastic packaging. The only way to get rid of your ant problem is to secure your home and eradicate the pests' nesting sites. Here's what you should know about thief ants and tips to get rid of them.
What Are Thief Ants and What Do They Eat?
Thief ants, also called grease ants, are some of the smallest insects in the world. The ants usually live outdoors in rotting wood, sidewalks and soil but can travel inside buildings if they smell cooking grease or foods that contain oil, grease and fat. Once they enter your home, grease ants construct nesting sites or colonies inside the walls, floorboards or similar hiding places you can't access or see easily.
Thief ants will steal from other ants around your home, including species much larger than themselves. The grease ants build small colonies near other species so that they can enter and take valuable resources, such as eggs and larvae, back to their queens and young.
It's a good idea that you locate the nesting sites of thief ants outside the home to help eliminate them inside the home.
How Do You Find the Ants' Nesting Sites and Destroy Them?
Before you attempt to find the nesting sites or colonies of thief ants, be sure to wear protective gloves, footwear, clothing, and a nasal mask. Although thief ants possess fragile stingers and mandibles that may not have the ability to bite you, fire ants and a number of other insect species can inflict painful stings. Your protective gear helps eliminate problems before they arise. In addition, the protective gear will keep you safe during the pest control steps you'll use later.
Now, use a long broom handle or stick to check around your home for thief ants. Check beneath old, rotting logs, fallen tree limbs and other decaying items that contain wood. Grease ants use these places to protect their eggs and larvae, which typically appear clear or translucent in color. Mark the locations that contain ants, eggs and larvae with white flags or brightly-colored sticks to help you find them later.
Examine the cracks between your sidewalk, driveway and other pavement for grease ants and mark these areas as well. Also, look for small piles of raised soil on your property, which may indicate the entrances to underground ant colonies. Don't cover up the entrances, or you risk scaring the ants further into the ground.
Sprinkle small amounts of boric acid between the cracks of your marked pavement. Be sure to sweep or brush the poison completely inside the cracks with a broom to avoid contaminating the rest of your property. Boric acid is a very potent pest control treatment that may harm other life if swallowed, ingested or inhaled. The powder will stick to the legs and feelers of the ants as they travel through it. Eventually, the other ants in the colonies will ingest the powder and die.
When placing boric acid in the other areas you marked, mix the powder with small amounts of grease to attract the ants. As the ants feed their queen and larvae, they may die from the boric acid's poison as well. It may take several days before the boric acid eliminates the ants. During this time, check each location for signs of life. Once the ants die in the decaying wood and logs, remove the items immediately from your property to avoid attracting new ants.
Check the siding, windows and doors of your home for unsealed crevices, cracks or damaged wood. In some cases, you may even see small trails of grease ants as they migrate from their outdoor nesting sites to the indoor sites in your house and near your kitchen. If you have it on hand, spray the ant trails with ant and bug spray to deter other ants from entering the house. Allow the areas to dry, then use clear household sealant to block off the openings. Replace any damaged wood immediately to prevent future issues with the ants.
If you don't see any changes in your ant problem after a week or so, contact an exterminator for help. You can find a pest control company if you go to this web-site. You may have other, hidden ant colonies on your property you can't find without professional help.