Are you seeing thousands of tiny ants that are a mere 1/16 of an inch long, crawling around inside your West Palm Beach property? You probably have a sugar ant infestation. These ants are called sugar ants because they are strongly attracted to sweet food sources. But they are more commonly known as ghost ants. These ants have a head and thorax that is a brown color and an abdomen and legs that are a pale, yellowish color. Their light coloration and small size make them difficult to see. This is why they were given the name "ghost." But we're going to stick with the sugar name for the purposes of this article. If you have a sugar ant problem right now, or you'd like to prevent one, here is a quick guide to help you get control of these ants.
How Sugar Ants Get In
There are two ways sugar ants get into West Palm Beach Properties. They'll find a tiny hole in your exterior, or they will be carried into your property. If you want to keep them out, it is important that you understand these two points of entry.
Entry Points — Sugar ants will search your foundation walls and low points on your property. If you have a crack in your foundation, a gap around a pipe, a hole in an exterior wall, or some other easily accessible entry point, these ants will take advantage of them. But they're not limited to low entry points. If you have vegetation that touches your exterior walls, these ants will go from your plants to your walls, climb all the way up to your roofline, enter your property, and climb all the way down through your walls to gain access to interior areas. Trimming bushes, shrubs, and other plants that are near your exterior can have a big impact on sugar ant infestations.
Potted Plants — Sugar ants can create nests inside potted plants. If you have potted plants outside, and you bring them inside, you could bring sugar ants in with them. This can be the source of an infestation. Be sure to inspect your potted plants carefully before bringing them inside.
What Sugar Ants Eat
Obviously, these ants are drawn to sweet food sources. But if you want to control sugar ants, you need to be aware of one of the most common food sources they target. When aphids, scales, and other plant-damaging pests feed on your plants, they produce honeydew. This is a sweet substance that is highly sought after by sugar ants. How can you tell if you have honeydew on your vegetation? Look at the health of your plants. If leaves are darkened and your plants look sickly, there is likely to be honeydew present. You can work to protect your plants by properly managing the moisture. This will reduce plant-damaging insects AND sugar ants.
Clean your gutters out and remove obstructions.
Trim your vegetation to allow the air to keep things dry.
Water your plants in the morning to let the sun dry the topsoil.
Rake leaves and fronds away from your exterior.
Reducing and controlling moisture can have a big impact on pests that explore your exterior.
Understanding Interior Infestations
When sugar ants show up inside, it is likely that there is a food source or some moisture issues that have lured them inside. Addressing potential food sources and moisture problems can prevent an infestation. When some scout ants take a peek inside your home, let them find the following conditions:
Kitchen areas and food-storage areas that are clean and free of spills and debris.
Trash bins that are clean and trash that is frequently emptied.
Pantry foods kept in sealed containers.
Faucets that do not leak.
Humid locations that have dehumidifiers.
What To Do About Sugar Ants
If you ever have trouble with these ants, it is best to have a licensed pest management professional take a look at your issue before you take action because you could make your problem worse. If your property is in the West Palm Beach area, contact Native Pest Management for assistance. We'll give you the right solution to appropriately address your ant problem.