As kids, we wanted to bring our prized ant farms indoors in order to watch the construction of their fascinating tunnel systems, but as adults, the last thing we want is ants in our homes! With thousands of species populating every continent but Antarctica, ants are one of the hardiest insects and they operate with a hive mindset. Here’s what you need to know to better understand the ants of Alberta that could potentially be eyeing up your roof or foundation!
Did you know that ants are related to the wasp and the bee? To the tune of about 140 million years ago during the Cretaceous period, ants, wasps and bees likely evolved from similar waspy ancestors and thus their hives and hills reflect those ancestral qualities, including the “hive mind.” The workings of an anthill are very similar to that of a hive as each ant has a roll, such as worker, scout, queen, etc, that it fulfills for the benefit of the colony. Ants are easy to recognize with their bent antenna, six legs and their segmented bodies!
While an infestation isn’t exactly a benefit, ants do contribute to the earth in a big way when they remain outdoors. Ants naturally aerate and add nutrients to the soil because they dig and live underground, making it prime real estate for plants to grow. Being scavengers, they’ll eat pretty much anything, including decomposing plant and animal matter and parts of seeds. They effectively propagate the seeds as they generally don’t eat the entire seed, leaving flowers and plants to grow where they leave them.
Armed with a bit of knowledge about these little marching bugs, how do we keep them out of our houses? As we know, ants are scavengers, so the fewer food options in the form of spills and crumbs will make them less likely to want to wander into your kitchen. Fully sealing food items is a must, especially in the summertime! Be sure to check your air ducts, windows, doors, vents, chimneys and other places that ants can find access. An easy DIY is to use a mix of vinegar and water and spray the perimeter of your home or directly onto the ant assailants – ants hate vinegar and it kills them on contact!
With all this in mind, make sure you protect your home from ants! The last thing you want to deal with right now is an infestation. If you’re worried you may have the beginnings of one, give us a call at 403-262-1666. We’re here for you and we will take every precaution to keep you and your family safe during this time.