As a business owner, you’re probably already aware of some of the common pest risks: bed bugs, rats, birds, mice and so on. One often overlooked pest is the ant. However, these little insects could damage your business in many costly ways.
Damage caused by ants
Damage to stock and equipment
Ants can pose a serious problem if they get into food supplies, especially when they start to breed and multiply. They can also damage structures, property, equipment and appliances, depending on where they build their nests.
Risks to humans
Ant bites can be painful. In addition, some people are allergic to ant bites and, in extreme cases, could go into anaphylactic shock.
Spread of disease is another risk.
Ants carry and can spread bacteria, including Salmonella. They also can help the spread of diseases such as smallpox and dysentery.
Don’t forget that these health risks don’t just apply to your staff. Ants also pose a health risk to your customers, which in turn could lead to serious brand damage and reputational harm for your business.
Ant infestations can quickly become a serious problem because ants are highly sophisticated insects. They can adapt to risks in their environment in order to defend or protect themselves. And they also breed at a high rate, leading to large colonies.
Read more: Identify ant species
Signs of infestation
- Visible ants: As with most infestations, the most obvious sign is sightings of the pest. Ants are clearly visible to the naked eye, and they tend to congregate in the large groups, making them easy to spot.
- Colonies: Ant colonies are also quite easy to spot. They usually dig their colonies underground, so you’ll see signs of disturbed soil or dirt on the surface. These are usually found near the entrance to the colony.
- Debris: When ants build colonies in usual places, such as inside vases or gaps in wood, they often discard any waste and debris, including dead ants, in order to make room for the colony. This is called frass, a dark sand-like substance that indicates an ant colony is nearby.
Preventing ants – DIY approach
You can take a number of simple precautions in order to reduce your risks of ant infestation. Things you can do yourself:
Be smart with food
- Like most pests, ants are looking for a food source. By reducing their access to food, you reduce your risks of an infestation.
- Make sure you carefully clear away all discarded and unwanted food. Clean up any spillages as soon as possible. Check any cracks and crevices for food crumbs. Don’t forget about pet food. If it’s not eaten, it will attract ants.
- You also need to take care with how you store food. Sealed containers are a great way to hygienically store food safely. Sealed bags are also useful for small food items such as biscuits and snacks.
- Pay particular attention to sweet sticky food and baked bread or cakes. Don’t leave these lying around.
- Ants also like sweet liquids, so store your juices and minerals in the fridge.
- Keep all cutlery, utensils, and surfaces clean. Tiny scraps of discarded food or liquids can become an invitation to ants. Don’t leave dirty crockery lying around; wash it as soon as possible.
- Wash down on surfaces where food or drinks are prepared or stored. And remember to take out the rubbish each night. Leaving rubbish in the kitchens increases the risk of an infestation.
- Be aware of exterior risks too. If tree branches touch your home, for example, they could provide an access route for ants. Keep your garden trim and tidy.
Learn more about External Ant Bait Station
Preventing ants – Professional help
Why should you seek professional help?
- They are experts who know how to prevent infestations and can effectively deal with infestations that have already occurred.
- They know ants’ habits and hiding places, so they are adept at quickly finding the source of the problem.
- They have access to a variety of products, equipment, techniques and processes that can deliver an efficient solution to a specific pest problem.
- Identify the source: Experts will be able to quickly identify the exact type of ant infestation you are dealing with. They can then, through their knowledge of different ant species, track down the likely source of the infestations and the ant colony.
- Protect your property: Preventing future infestations is an integral part of any pest control solution. Professional experts will look for weaknesses in your property to see where ants may be gaining access. And they’ll advise you on best practices in order to help prevent ants setting up colonies on or near your property.
- Eliminating ants: If ants have already become established on your property, pest controllers can recommend a variety of treatments for dealing with the problem. These include liquid, powder and granule treatments and baits that target the insects while also protecting the surrounding environment and creatures.
- Co-operation: Professional pest controllers can work with you in order to develop the best customised solution for your particular ant problems.
If you’re worried that you are at risk from an ant infestation, or are already experiencing one, then contact us as soon as possible.