Why Do Ants Enter Houses?

There are billions of ants in this world. Ants can live anywhere except Antarctica, simply because it’s too cold there — ants generally thrive in temperatures between 23°C and 35°C (73.4°F and 95°F) because they’re cold-blooded, so they need the environment to regulate their body temperature. It is not uncommon to find them in the home.

Ants enter houses in search of food, water, or shelter and may seek to establish a nest. These opportunistic feeders are efficient at locating food sources and will communicate the presence of food using pheromones.

Let’s get into more details about why ants enter houses and how you can prevent infestation.

Why Do Ants Enter Houses? 

Ants enter houses for different reasons — maybe they’re hunting for food, searching for a new place to call home, or following the chemosensory that leads them to the sugar or other kinds of delicious foods lying around your kitchen. Ants work together in groups, so if one detects something, it’ll send cues to its fellow soldiers to let them know about it. They can move very fast, and before you know it, they’re on your food.

Ants on kitchen top
Roberto Junior@123rf.com

Ants Are Looking for Food and Water

Ants need their basic needs met, too, so they’ll explore every place that has food and water. They enter houses that have access to food and water, and they also like damp areas.

When food isn’t stored correctly, that’s when ants will come to feed on them. Ants can smell food from afar as they have 4-5 times more odor receptors than other insects. Houses with sugary food tend to attract ants as they are fond of sweet things, although they also consume many other things, from plant seeds to dead insects.

If there are small dead animals at your home, like house spiders, cockroaches, or lizards, the corpses will also attract the swarms of ants. If you spill anything sweet on your kitchen counter or house floor, ants will approach the area if you don’t wipe it clean enough. Ants are willing to venture relatively far from their nests to find food.

Ants are also attracted to pet food. It would be a good practice to empty pet bowls so that the leftovers won’t attract ants to your house. Keeping pet bowls clean and empty always will also lower the risk of other pests infesting your home.

Ants Sometimes Make Their Nests in Your House

Chances are, the ants entering your house are the same ants living in your home. Some ants can build nests in your place — they may have lived in your house for generations. They usually use rotting wood or wall voids to make their nests. 

In winter, ants will mostly stay indoors. They don’t hibernate in the winter like some other animals, but they make their homes several feet deep into the soil or in walls to protect them from the elements. Ants are very active in warmer months, and it is during this time, they become a nuisance to households.

In America, ants are the number one nuisance pests. According to a National Pest Management Association survey, kitchens are 96%, and bathrooms are 89% vulnerable to ants. That said, you want to keep these areas clean and dry because ants love to build their nests in places close to food sources or anywhere damp.

Final Thoughts

Ants enter houses because they want to look for food, water, or shelter. Whenever you expose food in your kitchen or anywhere in the house, ants can come looking.

Ants are also attracted to small animals, so if there are dead spiders, cockroaches, or lizards, you’ll see many ants swarming their prey. You’ll also find ants in damp areas. The best way to keep ants’ presence minimal is to store food properly and avoid having moist regions in your house.