Pests will always be around no matter the season. Even with changes in weather conditions and things turning unfavorable in their natural habitat, pests will look for new places to live and find ways to survive. In the US, various types of pest infestations remain rampant.
According to Sellner and Wicht (2021), pests have invaded housing units across America, a scenario that raises public health concerns. Out of 124 million occupied housing units in the US, about 11.3% claimed to have cockroaches in their households and nearly 12% reported seeing mice and rats. It can be noted however that rodents and roaches among other pests were the only ones mentioned in this particular report. One may ask: Are roaches and rodents the most prevalent pests in America? How about ants, mosquitos, bed bugs, or termites? Which among these common household pests ranks first?
Top 1 Pest Problem in the US Revealed
There have been so many articles and studies that discuss America’s most pervasive pest problems. Some say that the most nuisance pests in most US cities are bed bugs while others say roaches and rodents. Yet, despite these famous claims, not so many of us are aware of what really is the number one pest that is commonly bugging most American homes. Based on studies and observations made since 2010, the major pest that is found in many homes and buildings across the United States is…the ant.
They are tiny and lowkey, and not many would think they can be on the topmost list of pest problems in entire America. Yet, surprisingly, surveys have proven that ants are ranked as the number one nuisance pests invading American homes, office buildings, restaurants, apartments, and other structures on a daily basis. Preventive Pest Control stated that in 100 homeowners, 54 consider ants as their number one headache. This was based on the survey conducted by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) in 2011. In 2013, Chris Williams also wrote about ants as the number one household pest in America and claimed that, while other pests may come and go, ants will always be there. Bain Pest Control (2017) also classified ants as the number one nuisance pest in the US.
Risks of Ant Infestations
Nobody likes ants around. They bite and sting and can be quite a nuisance especially when they get to our food and belongings. Still, most people tend to underestimate ants and think that these little critters only cause minimal damage to the household. Only a few of us truly understand that there is so much more about ants and the extent of the danger they can inflict on people and structures. Here is a list of things that make ant infestations very risky:
Ants are disease propagators and high-risk food contaminators.
Flick emphasized that ants have very poor personal hygiene and as stubborn as they are just to get to their food source, ants will do anything even traveling from long distances, not minding trekking through all sorts of filth and dirty paths until they reach their destination. Of course, you can expect these pests to be covered with all kinds of germs and bacteria, which can be spread through cross-contamination especially when they touch your food.
Ant bites and stings may cause allergic reactions.
One obvious reason humans detest ants are the fact these tiny pests may attack aggressively and their bites, most particularly those of fire ants, can be quite painful and annoyingly itchy. When ants sting, venom is injected into your skin and this is alarming for those who have allergic reactions to sting. DeBella (2022) maintained that ant bites are not only harmful to humans but to pets as well.
Ants are destructive to structures.
Besides termites, carpenter ants are also infamous for causing structural damage to homes and buildings. While they also destroy your food supplies and packaging, they chew on wooden structures and build nests therein to house their colony. Moreover, carpenter ants can threaten a house’s foundation as they dig underground, making the ground unstable. If you see holes on wooden structures and mounds of wood shavings near those craters, you have a carpenter ant infestation.
Ways to Eliminate Ants
A lot of DIY pest control methods and ant repellents such as vinegar, lemon, coffee grounds, peppermint oil, and cornstarch among many others are really effective. If you don’t want ants to thrive on your property, you may also consider the following tips:
Remove their main source of survival: Food.
One thing that attracts ants is FOOD or the smell of food. Ants can capture the scent of food from miles away. Hence, if you want to keep these bite-sized nuisances at bay, all you need to do is deny them of their survival tools. In other words, starve them. Always make sure to store your food inside air-tight containers, refrigerators, and freezers.
Keep your surroundings clean and free from food crumbs and food debris.
Always clean after food spills and immediately remove food debris on your floors, food counters, and basically anywhere on your home or property. Besides using a disinfectant, you should also vacuum regularly.
Throw away your garbage every day.
Garbage cans are another good source of food for ants. To avoid attracting these annoying pests, make it a habit to dispose of your smelly garbage on a daily basis and not let your trash linger and overflow.
Remove all entry points and openings.
To prevent ants from having access to your household, you must seal all cracks, holes, and openings you can find. You need to also fix broken windows, those tears on your door screens and window screens, and other structural damages.
Getting rid of an ant colony is never an easy job for these pests surely do not just go away even after you apply methods of pest control. You may succeed in exterminating these pests temporarily, but knowing their nature, they always come back as long as they sense abundant sources of food. In case of heavy ant infestations, an inspection is really a must through the help of licensed pest control agents.