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How to Get Rid of Army Ants | Temecula, CA

Macro shot of a red and brown army ant

Ever wondered how to get rid of army ants? These tiny terrors, marching in colossal armies, are a force to be reckoned with in the natural world. Known for their aggressive behavior and nomadic lifestyle, army ants can become a serious nuisance when they invade our homes.

While fascinating creatures to observe from afar, their relentless foraging and swarming tactics can leave your pantry bare, and your peace of mind shattered.

This guide will be your weapon in this war against unwanted houseguests. We'll explore various methods for eliminating army ant infestations, from DIY solutions you can implement yourself to professional treatments that ensure complete eradication.

By the end, you'll be equipped with the knowledge and strategies to reclaim your home from these persistent invaders.

Key Takeaways

  • Army ants are nomadic and aggressive, creating temporary living structures called bivouacs when they invade homes.

  • To prevent infestations, keep your home clean, seal entry points, and maintain a tidy perimeter around your house.

  • For large infestations or persistent problems, consider professional help to ensure complete eradication and long-term solutions.

Understanding Army Ants

Before we dive into battle strategies, let's get to know our enemy. Army ants, scientifically named Eciton burchellii, are far from your average kitchen counter culprit. These creatures thrive in humid climates, preferring the dense jungles, forests, and swamps as their natural habitat. But they do go inside homes to forage for food, especially during the spring and summer seasons.

A well-oiled machine

An army ant colony is a marvel of social organization. It revolves around a single queen, responsible for egg-laying and ensuring the colony's survival. The worker caste, the tireless workhorses of the colony, handle food gathering, nest maintenance, and brood care.

Male ants, on the other hand, have a singular purpose — mating with the queen before dying shortly after.

Unique tactics

Unlike other ant species, army ants are nomadic, constantly on the move in search of prey. This behavior has earned them the nickname legionary ants.

Their hunting technique is unlike any other. They deploy massive raids, sending out waves of worker ants that overwhelm their prey with sheer numbers.

Unlike fire ants, which these ants are sometimes mistaken for, army ants do not live in ant mounds. Army ants don't have permanent nests; instead, they create temporary living structures called "bivouacs" formed from their own bodies.

A threat to be taken seriously

While army ant bites and stings might not be life-threatening to humans and pets, they can be painful and cause irritation. A larger concern is the sheer volume of ants involved in an army ant raid.

Left untreated, an infestation can quickly spiral out of control, causing significant damage to property and disrupting your daily life.

Signs of an Army Ant Infestation: How to Spot the Invader

An army ant highway

Now that we understand the army ant's unique characteristics, how can you tell if they've set up camp in your home? Here's what to watch out for:

Trails of trouble

Unlike some ant species that leave behind single-file lines, army ants travel in massive numbers. Look for wide, dark, and constantly moving trails of ants snaking across your floors and walls. These army highways are a telltale sign of an active infestation.

Living nests on the move

Remember those temporary living structures called bivouacs? If you spot a pulsating mass of dark brown ant bodies clustered in corners, under furniture, or near baseboards, you've likely encountered an army ant bivouac.

These writhing clusters can be unsettling, but it's important not to disturb them, as this can provoke the ants to attack.

Following the food trail

Army ants are relentless scavengers, always on the hunt for their next meal. If you see a surge in ant activity around pet food bowls, overflowing trash cans, or sugary spills, it might be an army ant scouting party searching for a new food source. They're also particularly drawn to areas with high moisture, so keep an eye out for them near leaky pipes or damp basements.

Unexpected visitors

Army ants are tiny but determined explorers. They can squeeze through the tiniest cracks and gaps, making your home vulnerable to invasion.

Check for ant activity near windows, door frames, utility lines, and other potential entry points. Even the smallest gap can be a superhighway for an army ant army.

Stopping the Army Ant Invasion Before it Starts

The best defense against any ant infestation, including army ants, is a good offense – prevention. By taking proactive steps to make your home uninviting to these unwelcome guests, you can significantly reduce the risk of an incursion. Here are some key strategies:

Clean up, always

Man rinsing a pan and woman cleaning the countertop in the kitchen

Army ants are drawn to readily available food sources. Maintaining a clean and tidy home is crucial. Eliminate any potential food crumbs, spills, or pet food residue that might attract them. Wipe down surfaces regularly, and don't forget to store food in airtight containers to keep them out of reach.

Seal up the fort

man sealing crack between the window and trim

Tiny cracks and gaps are all an army ant needs to stage an invasion. Inspect your home's exterior for any potential entry points, focusing on areas around windows, doors, foundation lines, and utility penetrations.

Seal any cracks with caulk and weatherstrip doors and windows to create a tight barrier.

Tame the wild frontier

raking debris from the backyard

The area around your home can also harbor army ants. Keep your landscaping well-maintained by trimming vegetation away from the house foundation.

Clear away debris piles, like fallen leaves or branches, that might provide army ants with shelter or nesting sites. The goal is to create a clear zone around your home that is less hospitable to these marching multitudes.

DIY Army Ant Control Methods

fresh and powdered cayenne pepper

Even with the best prevention efforts, army ants can sometimes find a way in. If you discover a small infestation, here are some DIY methods you can try to eradicate them:

Natural solutions (Remember safety first!)

  • Boric acid and sugar bait: This classic ant control method works by attracting ants with a sweet sugar mixture laced with boric acid, a natural insecticide. The boric acid kills ants by impairing their digestive and nervous systems. Caution: Boric acid can be harmful if ingested by humans or pets. Use caution when handling it, and keep the bait stations out of reach of children and animals. To make a safe bait station, mix equal parts boric acid and sugar in a shallow dish. Moisten the mixture slightly to create a loose consistency. Place the bait stations in areas where you've seen ant activity.

  • Diatomaceous earth: This powder, made from fossilized algae, acts like microscopic shards of glass. When ants crawl through it, the diatomaceous earth damages their exoskeletons, causing dehydration and death. Important Note: While considered safe for humans and pets when used correctly, diatomaceous earth can irritate the lungs. Wear a mask when applying it, and avoid inhaling the dust. Sprinkle a thin layer of diatomaceous earth around entry points and areas with ant activity. Be sure to reapply after rain or cleaning.

  • Cayenne pepper: The pungent odor of cayenne pepper can act as a natural ant repellent. Sprinkle cayenne pepper around potential entry points or ant trails. Keep in mind: This method may not be effective for large infestations and can lose its potency over time.

Commercial products

  • Ant traps: These come in various forms, but bait traps are the most effective for army ants. Look for traps containing boric acid or other slow-acting insecticides. The worker ants will take the bait back to the nest, ultimately killing the queen and eliminating the colony. Remember: Place the traps strategically near ant trails and replace them regularly.

  • Sprays and liquid concentrates: Insecticide sprays and concentrates can be a quick solution for eliminating visible army ants. However, these products should be used as a last resort due to potential safety concerns. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully when using these products. Wear protective clothing and ensure proper ventilation when spraying.

These DIY methods may not be a permanent solution for large army ant infestations. If the problem persists, consider seeking professional help.

Professional Army Ant Control

If your DIY efforts haven't yielded the desired results, or you're facing a large-scale army ant invasion, it's time to call in the professionals. Pest control companies have the expertise and resources to effectively eliminate an army ant infestation and prevent future problems.

The advantages of professional help

  • Trained technicians: Professional pest control companies employ trained technicians who understand army ant behavior and the most effective methods for eradication. They can quickly identify the source of the infestation and develop a targeted treatment plan.

  • Targeted treatments: Professional services often involve a combination of methods, such as insecticides, baits, and dust pesticides. These products are formulated to be more potent than those available to the public and are used strategically to target the entire colony, including the queen.

  • Long-term solutions: Professional pest control companies eliminate existing infestations and implement measures to prevent ants from any future activity on your property. This can involve sealing entry points and recommending long-term strategies to keep your home ant-free.

What to expect from professional treatment

While the specific methods used may vary depending on the severity of the infestation, professional ant control typically involves:

  • Inspection: A thorough inspection to identify the ant species, locate the nest(s), and assess the extent of the problem.

  • Treatment: The application of targeted insecticides, baits, or dust pesticides to eliminate the adult ants and disrupt the colony's lifecycle.

  • Follow-up: Depending on the treatment plan, follow-up visits may be necessary to ensure complete eradication and prevent re-infestation.

Don't let army ants take over your home! If DIY methods prove ineffective, seeking professional help is the most efficient and reliable way to reclaim your space and restore peace of mind.

Evict Army Ants for Good!

Tired of tiny terrors taking over your home? Local Bug Guy is here to squash the army ant threat and other insects, too! Our expert technicians have the know-how and the firepower (safe for your family and pets!) to kill ants in your home and eliminate their threat to you and your property.

We'll check for ant colonies and eliminate the queen and the entire colony, ensuring these persistent pests don't return.

Our service areas include Temecula, Menifee, and more. Contact Local Bug Guy now for a FREE quote!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get rid of army ants naturally?

The guide explores several natural solutions, such as boric acid and sugar bait, diatomaceous earth, and cayenne pepper. However, it emphasizes caution and highlights the limitations of these methods for larger infestations.

What attracts army ants?

Army ants are drawn to readily available food sources. Crumbs, spills, pet food residue, and sugary messes can all attract them. They're also particularly fond of moist areas.

How do I get rid of black army ants?

Black army ants are a common species. The guide outlines various control methods, including DIY solutions (with safety precautions) and professional pest control services.

Why are army ants in my house?

Army ants are relentless foragers, constantly searching for food to sustain their large colonies. Here are a few reasons why they might target your home:

  • Food source: Even tiny crumbs, pet food spills, or sugary messes can be a beacon to army ants. They'll readily enter your home to investigate and exploit any available food source.

  • Moisture: Army ants are particularly fond of damp environments. Leaky pipes, damp basements, or areas with condensation can attract them to seek a suitable location for a temporary bivouac.

Entry points: Tiny cracks and gaps around windows, doors, foundation lines, or utility penetrations can be all it takes for army ants to stage an invasion. They're excellent explorers and can exploit even the smallest openings.


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