The Ants Go Marching One By One…Or Do They?

Ants are fascinating creatures on a National Geographic special. They lose their appeal, however, if they’re on your counter, your pet’s food, in the pantry, and on your skin. Killing or relocating one may be easy, but ants are never alone.

Communal Living: Why Home Remedies May Not Be Enough.

To give you an idea of the scope of the problem, let’s look at the facts:

● A young queen ant and her consorts leave her mother’s nest on a mating flight. That one flight will fertilize the new queen ant for the remainder of her life.

● The longest recorded lifespan of an ant queen is 28 years, and according to a study conducted by Texas AM University, they lay approximately 800 eggs a day. Colonies can number in the hundreds of thousands.

● Colonies are hidden in the ground, inside walls, in tree stumps and logs. What you see is just a tiny percentage of the population.

● The ants you see wandering through your house are worker drones. Once they find food or water, they mark the trail with a pheromone. That scent trail guides her sister drones back to the food source.

● Consequently, bug spray may kill a few hundred ants in your pantry, but the queen will replace them.

● Oils and vinegar may mask the scent trail, but new scouts emerge daily. New worker ants will forge trails back to your pantry as the oils, vinegar, and bug spray fade.

Ant Infestation Prevention

Preventative measures can stop a migrating colony from taking up residence. Such remedies include sealing the nooks and crannies of your home, keeping all food sources in tightly sealed containers, and never leaving crumbs, dirty dishes, or pet food out for the scouts to find.

Any parent or pet owner can tell you this is easier said than done. When you have little helping hands (or paws) living in your home. Crumbs get lost in the carpet, drinks get spilled, and bits of food fall where brooms can’t reach without rearranging the appliances.

Home Remedy Limitations

If you discover a trail of ants, you can try some home remedies.

Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous Earth spread around your home can stop ants from advancing. The microscopic razor-like edges kill ants as they walk across it. Unfortunately, it is irritating to our skin and lungs if we breathe it in. This becomes problematic if there are children or pets in the home.

It is also true that surrounding your house could prove useless if the colony has taken up residence in the walls or foundation of your home.


Insecticide is effective if used correctly. Bug spray is a short-term solution and is often toxic to people and animals.

An ant trap, on the other hand, attacks the root of the problem. The ants eat the poison-laced food and take it back to the colony to regurgitate and feed the queen. (Remember to keep the trap out of reach of children and pets.) No queen, no colony.

Insects do build a tolerance to insecticides, however. They may not take to the food, or the colony may raise another queen. It can take weeks before you know the insecticide did the trick.

If Simple Remedies Fail

Sometimes home remedies don’t work, or we want the pests gone yesterday. Decisive, quick action is necessary to:

● Get rid of or prevent invasion.

● Prevent colony building and the resulting damage to your home and property.

● Save kids and pets from painful bites if they stumble on a nest.

In such cases, the best solution is to hire a professional to eradicate the pests from your property.

Hiring an Ant Control Company

Entrusting the care of your home and family to a stranger can seem daunting. If you’ve never hired an exterminator, here are seven questions a savvy homeowner can use when narrowing their search.

1. Pests change from region to region. Does the company have experience with the pests in your neighborhood,. Here in the Phoenix area, that means ants, termites, scorpions, bed bugs, roaches, silverfish, poisonous spiders, and rodents.

2. Check customer reviews.

3. Does the company rotate its insecticides to prevent bugs from developing resistance to them?

4. Are their insecticides safe for people and pets?

5. What is their turnaround time after receiving a call?

6. Do they communicate with their clients on important matters, such as what they are doing to your property
and what to expect after they’ve completed service?

7. How often do they recommend service, and do they have plans at competitive prices?


Ants, while generally peaceful, are still a force to be reckoned with when dealing with a large colony. Killing worker ants won’t solve the problem, and killing the queen isn’t always easy. On the other hand, with the information in this article, you are forewarned and armed should you wind up facing a horde of ants bent on moving in with you.

Polite Pest provides pest control for ants and other pests in Phoenix, Mesa, Gilbert, Chandler, Queen Creek, and Scottsdale. For more information or to schedule an estimate, click here.

Related Posts

Expect First-rate Customer Service From Our Helpful Team.

Pests aren’t polite, but our friendly staff
members are.