The little black ant. Yes, that's what they're actually called. Little black ants (Monomorium minimum) are annoying and numerous pests. A single colony can consist of more than 2,000 ants that are active both day and night. They can be found in yards and houses all over the United States, especially the eastern half of the country and southern California.
The biggest difficulty we face with little black ant control is their versatility. They will nest in almost anything. Outside they will be in the ground, in trees, in mulch, in cracks in sidewalks and driveways, in rotted wood, under rocks, etc. Inside, black ants will nest in woodwork, masonry, wall voids, and even under carpets. When it comes to food, they will eat everything. Favorites are sweets, vegetables, fruits, meats, dead insects, plant secretions, and grease. They'll even eat honeydew, which is a secretion given off by plant suckers like aphids and scales. Following the scented trails they leave, they collect the food and bring it back to their nests. They can bring some pretty big pieces, too—up to 20 times their own weight. Despite their strength, getting rid of black ants isn't all that difficult. The problem is that it's pretty much always temporary. Once gone, you can count on them coming back at some point.
A clean house is the first step in any pest prevention. A little black ant will eat anything and everything, so do your dishes. The little bits and pieces of food that get left behind on dirty dishes, pots, pans, and silverware make a nice meal for a black ant. Clean stoves, countertops, and tables diligently after every meal or snack. Crumbs on the floor are an easy food source too. Develop an habit of sweeping, mopping, and vacuuming. Also remember to take your trash out regularly and to rinse out bottles and cans before ants can find them.
Protect your food products, even if your kitchen is spotless. Little black ants can and will invade your home in search of food. Don't give them the chance of finding unsafeguarded foods. Store everything in tight containers, preferably plastic containers with snappy lids, tin/aluminum canisters, or jars with rubber gaskets. This includes, but is not limited to, flours, sugars, pastas, cereals, chips, butter, and oils. Basically, if it's something you can eat then the ants would also like to eat it.
Before you start to kill ants, you should probably make sure you know where they're coming from. It would be nice to know if they are inside your home or if they're sneaking in from the outside. You should be able to target the colonies more effectively later. When you see ants inside, watch them for awhile and see what little nook or cranny they are retreating back into. Spend some time outside looking around for ant colonies too.
While you're looking for ants outside, if you see some, pay attention to how they are getting in so you can block that opening off. Even if you didn't see any ants out there, you'll want to look for openings anyway. Once you get this black ant infestation under control, you'll want to avoid future ones. So walk around outside with a caulking gun and fill any cracks in the foundation along with any openings that may have been created from electrical wires, cables, phone lines, plumbing, etc.
Clean your yard and along your house. While little black ants do sometimes live in your home, more often than not they have a nest outside somewhere. Outside the home, look for and remove any decent sized rocks, logs, pavers, stepping stones, stumps, mulch, and anything else that looks like something black ants or for that matter, any pest might like to live under. It's also a good idea to trim back tree and shrub branches that are up against the house. Black ants will sometimes use these to get to your house.
Because black ants gather food and take it back to their nest, ant baits are probably the most effective and easy to use form of ant killer. Ant baits don't kill ants immediately, which allows them to take it back to the nest and infect the entire colony. Ant baits are generally applied or placed directly in the ants' scented trails.
Outside control can be by broadcasting a long-lasting insecticide, throughout the entire yard and garden areas. Granule applications will last longer than liquid applications, however, liquid applications are more economical when treating large areas and are very effective in controlling mosquitoes.
For more information on treatment options and applications instructions, contact any of our locations below.