This is the time of year when armies of pesky ants often invade Iowans’ kitchens and homes.
Entomologist Jody Green says there are many types of ants but the small black ones are most common around Iowa. They can typically be seen marching in a line on kitchen tables and countertops.
“They’re really good at following that pheromone,” Green says. “They find something and they leave a little chemical trail and they all follow it, so it’s like an ant parade.”
She says there are great commercial products available to get rid of ants but first you need to find their entry point.
“See where they’re coming in and out and get a sugar ant bait,” Green says. “Liquid ant bait is great. You can get them at any hardware store very cheaply. Make sure you bait them close to where their trail is and off your counter. You want it closer to the window or door or crack where they’re coming in because they’re often coming from outside.”
The ants will carry the poison back to the colony and they will die within about a week. Green says the large, black carpenter ants can cause more serious problems.
“They do nest in rotten wood or moisture-damaged wood and they can forage long trails long distances,” Green says. “A lot of times, if there’s trees outside or rotten wood, they’ll come in. Occasionally, they’ll nest in the structure and that’s something for which you’ll want to get a professional.”
Green says smaller black or yellow ants are the ones you tend to see marching in a line and those are much easier to get rid of using a commercial bait.