It is time to act even if you have only seen just one ant crawling around in the fibers. You can be sure that there are hundreds, but more likely even thousands of them lurking in the gaps between the carpet weave. Ants are nicely camouflaged in carpets, and the tiny ones might even look like flecks of dust. Don’t trust that your vacuum cleaner can get them all because ants can be sticky. If you don’t take care of this problem quickly, then those ants can find their way into your appliances and into your electrical boxes. Once inside your walls, they can also cause damage to a home, and as they die off, you might also be smelling the reek of their bodies as they die off and send out a pheromone to attract more ants.
Ants like to nest in carpets because the tiny thin holes between the carpet fibers provide ants with the perfect place to nest and multiply their numbers. They can also store crumbs they have picked up in your kitchen.
Yet another thing you might want to consider is that a carpet may not be as clean as other parts of your house, depending on what type of carpet it is and whether or not the pile is very thick.
Cleaning your floors and all of the rest of your place with water and vinegar daily, as well as cleaning under the carpet, may help to deter the ants from conglomerating underneath but probably not for long. If your carpet has underpadding, and your climate is a little humid, then that layer between the underpadding and the carpet itself is the ideal abode for an ant colony.
If your carpet is in a family room or anywhere where people eat things like toast, crackers, chips, or popcorn, there is bound to be food left on the floor. However, for the most part, ants are opportunistic creatures who will eat almost anything. That can include other ants, live insects, dead insects, grains, fruits, and vegetables. Many also love mushrooms, mold, and fungus. They also love toothpaste, deodorants, and other cosmetics.
Different ant types like different foods:
Carpenter ants – Carpenter ants burrow through wood, but they don’t. Actually, eat it. They chew it up and spit it out, laden with the bacteria that they carry. Processing wood like this part of carving its way through your home’s structure to create a nest for their colony. Carpenter ants prefer sweet foods like the sugar secreted aphids, other insects, including other ant species, fleas and mites, and the flesh from dead animals. Carpenter ants will also hang around your houseplants and potted trees, such as potted firs and palms.
Fire ants – Fire ants eat seeds, sugar, meat, and fat, which means you can never leave a little spaghetti or a discarded peanut butter and jelly sandwich out on a counter on a counter. They will go right for it.
Pavement ants – Pavement ants, are always looking for the cracks and holes in your house so they can lead to some water, but in the end, they will eat just about anything. It can be quite overwhelming to confront a swarm of these tiny ants all over a watermelon rind or fruit in your kitchen. You should also check your boxes of cereals and crackers to make sure they are not swarming in there.
Pharoah ants – Pharoah ants are very small ants that eat any food that you care to drop or leave out as well as dead animals. It only takes this ant 38 days to develop a colony of several hundred thousand individuals.
Sugar ants – Sugar ants go for the sugar first but will also eat anything, including fat, other insects, and dead animals. Their favorite foods are jams, jellies preserves, cake, fruit nectar, and honeydew. They like honeydew melon and also the honeydew secreted by other insects, such as aphids. Aphids are often found on houseplants, usually with an army of sugar ants in quick pursuit.
Thief ants – These tiny ants prefer fat, oil, and meat, meaning it’s not a good idea to leave your Thanksgiving Day leftovers on the counter. They are also one of the tiniest of ants and will often hide their colony inside the colony of another type of ant.
According to a How Stuff Works Trusted Source 10 Cockroach Hiding Spaces | HowStuffWorks Are you wondering about cockroach hiding spots? Learn about cockroach hiding spots in this article. home.howstuffworks.com article, ants can carry more than 220 times their body weight in their mandible (jaws) and bring back one huge particle of food for the rest of the colony to enjoy.
You might have also noted that almost all ants like to feast on dead animals, and that would include rats, mice, squirrels, raccoons, or any other creatures that may be around your home. There is nothing to prevent an ant from nibbling on a dead carcass outside and then moving to your kitchen cupboards where they can infect your dry goods, like spices, sugar, and flour, with their bacteria.
If you see ants coming up through the carpet, try to pull it back to see if the ants aren’t actually coming up through the floor. If you have a wall-to-wall carpet, it might be a good idea to purchase a dehumidifier to try and keep the room dryer, so the carpet ants will be less attracted to the nest there.
Ants also love to hang around a toilet or inside your toothbrush or hairbrush, where they can spread bacteria. Dishcloths and scrub brushes are also damp, moist places that attract ants. You should also check your cosmetics and creams for ant infestations, especially lip glosses, scrubs, and perfumes that might smell like sugar or fruit.
There are more than a couple of ways to remove ants from a carpet, including dry cleaning, vacuuming, using ant bait, and using powder insecticides, and the sooner you attack the problem, the better.
If you suspect you have ants in your carpet, then the importance of dry cleaning the carpet every six months can’t be stressed enough. If your carpet is wall-to-wall, there are companies that offer at-home carpet dry cleaning solutions. In that case, a professional cleaner will bring over a large carpet cleaning machine that first suds and then rinses the carpet. The only issue with this is the carpet may stay damp afterward, offering the ants to thrive. That is why dry cleaning rugs are recommended, especially if it is an area rug. However, you can easily rent a shampooing machine to clean any type of rug, which may partially help to disinfect your rug of ant-borne bacteria.
A vacuum with a HEPA filter is best as it helps to filter all harmful substances and odorous pollutants from the rug. This is important because dead ant bodies can be attracting more ants with pheromones that attract other ants as they die or even after they are dead. Vacuuming might be one of the only ways to keep the pests at bay if you are not in. a position to use a pesticide because of allergy or asthma issues.
It usually comes in gel form. The idea is to squeeze the gel from the tube along their trails and in cracks and holes in your home. The ants swarm to the attractant and then pick it up, along with the pesticide on their feet. The pesticide is then tracked back to the colony, where it eventually poisons the whole nest. A recommended brand is Greenway Ant Bait Gel, which is easy to use and has received good consumer reviews.
There are a number of powdered insecticides on the market for effective and long-lasting insect control. However, these do work because the ingredients can affect pets, children, and adults with respiratory illnesses, they are not recommended for carpets in family homes. The diatomaceous earth can abrade the lungs if inhaled. Many powders, spray, and professional pesticides contain ivermectin, which is a very effective insecticide against most kinds of ants and is very toxic.
Both pesticides and ants are bad for your health. A study from the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Trusted Source SciELO - Brasil - Urban ants and transportation of nosocomial bacteria Urban ants and transportation of nosocomial bacteria Many ant species displaying synanthropic behavior that have successfully dispersed in urban areas can cause problems in hospitals by acting as bacterial vectors. dx.doi.org showed that ants could induce IgE-mediated bronchoconstriction. Yet another study in Neotropical Entymology Trusted Source SciELO - Brasil - Ants as carriers of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in hospitals Ants as carriers of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in hospitals Three health institutions were visited from 2001 to 2002 and samples were collected within critical areas of medical care based on criteria of greater risk of patient hospital acquired-infection. dx.doi.org showed that ants are bacterial vectors that carried staphylococcus and gram-negative bacilli, including drug-resistant strains. Unfortunately, pesticides are bad for your health as well, which is why you might want to use more natural methods to keep them at bay.
One way of killing ants, but not necessarily removing their bodies from the carpet, is to pour boiling water over the whole thing and let it drip dry. You could try this with an area rug, but it is quite likely that the ant bodies will remain in the carpet fibers and possibly make the problem worse when you try to dry it out.
One way to mitigate this might be to beat the carpet hard outside to remove any living or dead ants and then soak it with boiling water. However, don’t do this if you do not think the rug has colorfast dyes, or you could ruin it.
A commercial alternative remedy that consists of only natural ingredients is Wondercide. This indoor pest control spray is made from cedarwood and lemongrass oil that can be sprayed on your carpet to repel ants, spiders, roaches, and fleas. It is eco-friendly, but always be careful when using essential oils for pets, especially cats who can get from essential oils. The fragrance is quite preferable to the odor of chemical pesticides and might even remind you of aromatherapy. It might be a satisfactory option for helping you keep the ants under control (but not gone) if pesticides are not an option for you.
If you have no choice but to deal with ants that routinely keep returning because the problem is your slobby neighbor or you are renting and have a clause set in the lease that you are not allowed to damage carpets or walls by ripping them up to try and locate ant colonies then it might be time to move. The most effective to get rid of ants for longer is to rip up the carpet and then seal the floor and baseboards with varnish. Buying a dehumidifier and keeping it on all day may help as may lining the perimeter of your home with a powdered insect repellent. If you are renting, however, this kind of thing may not be possible.
The important thing to remember about ants is that they are completely capable of traveling from one place to another by latching onto a piece of clothing. So give your clothing a good shake if you suspect that your home has ants. If you see any ants on your clothing, then wash and dry it immediately.
If you see ants in your fridge, then you have a serious problem. Nobody recommends treating a refrigerator with pesticides as you could contaminate it with cancer-causing agents. Instead wash down the entire unit with soap and hot water and then treat every surface with an application of strong vinegar.
One way to get rid of ants for longer is to treat your home for other pests that might be about. This is because many ants eat live or feast on the dead bodies of spiders, dust mites, and wasps. To rid the outside and inside perimeters of these types of pests, try using a dust mite spray, a fogger for spiders, or a wasp fogger.
If you suspect that you have ants, then it is probably a good idea not to eat in the rooms in your home that have carpets. Whatever you do, you should also never, ever sweep debris under the carpet as that is like handing ants a meal. Of course, if you have a wall-to-wall carpet in a family room, then you might want to consider ripping the entire carpet out and opt for a well-varnished and sealed tiled or wood floor. Once varnished, even the tiniest of ants cannot get through your floor.
One of the issues when it comes to ants is that, like all bugs, they can trek diseases into your home, especially if they have been swarming all over a deceased rodent. Ants carry many different types of bacteria, including antimicrobial resistant bacteria that can cause flesh-eating disease. This is why a complete sanitization iof your home may be recommended as those bugs in your rug can make it everywhere from your bathroom sink, to your laundry to your kitten’s litter box. Ants also like to crawl around in your toilet bowl and then maybe take a trip to your soap dish, spreading bacteria the whole way. In fact, like fleas and other pests, ants have been known to hitch a ride on a pet. If you suspect that your pet has contracted fleas, then give it a bath right away, being sure to inspect the pet’s coat for any hiding ants.
Often eco-conscious company entails the abundant use of steam. If this is not affordable to you, you can try disinfecting your home yourself using diluted bleach on a mop and cloth and a hand-held steam unit. Clorox bleach is a recommended brand for homeowners who want to use it to kill aunts. Clorox disinfecting spray applied directly to a crowd of ants or trails can also help diminish their numbers and kill them.
It seems that if you have ants in your carpet that your best strategy is to work as quickly as possible to get rid of them, or you could end up with one smelly bacteria trap that is laden with dead ant bodies. The problem with ants in your carpet is that there is no real natural solution that is going to get rid of them for good. It often takes a very strong pesticide to murder off the colony, but even then, you might encounter the phenomenon of the colony splitting into two colonies in the name of survival, thus doubling your dilemma. If you have roommates or family that are allergic to ants, then you can try dry cleaning. Finally, if you are at a total loss as to how to solve this problem, then your best recourse is to throw the entire carpet out and the ants with them and then get a full pesticide treatment from a professional exterminator.