We have a variety of ant pests in Oahu. Some ants are just a nuisance, but some damage wood, and some bite. Whatever type of ant you're dealing with on your Oahu property, there is one thing all ants have in common. They come into your yard in search of food. The key to ant prevention is to reduce food options that attract ants.
Let's Start By Dispelling A Few Misconceptions
Ants are omnivores. When they come into your yard, they can eat many things. Before we describe what ants will eat, it is important to point out what they won't eat.
- We often refer to fire ant wounds as bites, but the wounds caused by fire ants are not bites. These ants sting. This is an important distinction as some Oahu residents think fire ants eat blood. They don't. That means these ants won't come into your yard in search of a blood meal, like mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, and other blood-eating pests will.
- When carpenter ants damage the wood of your home, or some other wooden structures in your yard, you might think that these ants feed on wood. They don't. They're not really attracted to your yard because it has wood. When these ants come into your yard, they're looking for food, just like every other ant. If you provide stumps, logs, woodpiles, and other rotting wood for these ants to find harborage in, they'll take advantage of them in order to be close to food sources. But it's the food that attracts them. Carpenter ants would not live in the softest, most rotted wood in the world if there were no food sources.
What Do Ants Eat?
An ant colony will typically have a preference for sweets or meats. Sweets are any food sources that provide carbohydrates. Meats are food sources that contain protein. Let's take a look at a few examples.
- Chicken meat on a chicken bone in your trash
- A dollop of ketchup on a paper plate
- Maple syrup on an "empty" container
- Tiny morsels of spam stuck to a discarded container
- A slop of oatmeal in the bottom of a trash bag
- Any canned pet food
- Some ants will eat dry pet food
- Food you put down for pigs and other livestock
- Birdseed inside birdfeeders
- Sweet sugar water in a hummingbird feeder
Natural Food Sources
- The honeydew created by aphids, whiteflies, and scales
- Honey produced by bees
- Nectar from flowers and flowering weeds
- Living insects
- Dead insects
- Acorns and nuts
How You Can Remove The Food
- Keep your trash receptacles clean and deodorized. This reduces the smells that attract ants.
- Keep trash receptacles away from the exterior of your home.
- When you remove yard debris, such as dead branches, leaves, palm fronds, grass clippings, nuts, etc., store them well away from your exterior or remove them from your property.
- Make sure your gutter system is in good working order. A damp perimeter will invite the insects that ants eat.
- Wash aphids off your plants as soon as you detect them.
- Remove spider webs and destroy spider egg sacs.
- Replace exterior white lights with yellow lights. Insects can't detect the yellow light spectrum.
- Refrain from feeding pets outside.
- Feed livestock well away from your exterior.
Exclude Ants From Your Home
Once you've reduced attractants, it is time to consider sealing any entry points in your exterior. This will help to deter ants from getting inside.
- Use a caulking gun or expanding foam to seal any gaps, cracks, or holes. Pay close attention to water pipes, wire conduits, and other foundation penetrations.
- Replace damaged weatherstripping, door sweeps, and screens.
- Create a good seal around window and door frames.
- Make sure all vents are properly protected with screen material.
When Ant Control Products Are Needed
There are some circumstances where it is impossible to remove food that will attract ants to your property. When ants encroach, it may be necessary to apply bait to eliminate colonies, or to perform mound treatments. Ant control should be performed by a licensed professional. It is possible to make your ant problem worse. Some ant colonies have more than one queen, and budding can occur. This turns one colony into two or more. If bait is incorrectly deployed it can lead to bait aversion, which can complicate the problem.
Oahu Ant Control
If you live in Oahu or Honolulu, let the service team here at Pest Tech Hawaii address your ant control problem. We use Integrated Pest Management and industry-leading ant control products and strategies to manage ant pressures and prevent ants from presenting a threat to health and property. Speak with one of our agents today or connect with us through our contact page to request service. We're here to help you find the right solution to all your Oahu pest concerns.
I have been using Pest Tech for the unit I manage and my personal property for the last 3 years. They are always on time, makes sure to follow up before regular service, cost efficient and always friendly.