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7 Ways You're Inviting Ants Into Your Home—And How to Stop Them

Experts share their insight on this all-too-common insect problem.

Once you spot one ant in your home, you know that trouble is right around the corner. That sole intruder likely has others crawling behind it, and before you know it, your space will feel overrun with troublesome insects. Sometimes it seems like ants are unavoidable, but your habits could be making your home extra enticing to these pesky pests. Read on to discover seven ways you may be attracting ants into your home—and what you can do to stop them.

RELATED: 6 Foods in Your Kitchen That Are Bringing Mice Into Your Home.

You're letting shrubbery and trees grow too close to your house.

Detail of a bungalow/cottage-style front porch with an American Flag hanging from the front column.

You might like having a lot of greenery to surround your home, but be careful where you're letting things grow.

Shannon Harlow-Ellis, associate certified entomologist and technical specialist with Mosquito Joe, tells Best Life that shrubbery and trees can act as a highway for ants to travel onto, if they are overhanging or touching a house.

With that in mind, make sure you're never letting your greenery get too close to your home.

"By keeping this vegetation at least 3 inches off of the structure, you restrict those 'highways,'" Harlow-Ellis shares.

RELATED: 9 Cleaning Habits That Are Attracting Spiders to Your Home.

You're wearing your shoes inside.

Young female lying in new beige sneaker son cozy comfortable living room sofa putting feet on pillows and resting and relaxing. Comfortable clothing and footwear concept

Footwear can also act as a transportation method for ants, according to Ryan Farley, a home care expert and CEO of LawnStarter.

"If you or your kids spend a lot of time outside, it's entirely possible to bring in a passenger or two on your shoes," he says.

And it might not stop there.

"This can be enough to get the process started, especially if you wear shoes in the house," Farley warns. "Try to avoid wearing shoes indoors, and make sure your foyer or mudroom is closed off from the rest of the house."

You have a window air conditioner unit.

A old window unit air conditioner still being used by people whom don't have central air.

This summer has been a hot one, and many of us have been pulling out all the stops to try and keep our homes cool. But if you have a window air conditioner unit, Leonard Ang, home expert and CEO of iPropertyManagement, says that you could end up inviting in a new problem.

"If you have an in-window air conditioner, it's important to make sure it's securely set in the window and that the window fully seals around it," Ang notes. "Not only does this keep the cold air inside and the hot air out, but it also keeps pests from getting in through the cracks."

RELATED: 8 Indoor Plants That Keep Bugs Away, According to Experts.

You have fragrant flowers planted nearby.

Flower Pot on a porch

While beautiful flowers can spruce up your yard, you should avoid planting these too close your home as well—especially if they have a strong smell. Fragrant flowers to watch out for include gardenias, roses, lavender, peonies, daffodils, and azaleas, according to Better Homes & Gardens.

"Ants use their sense of smell to find food, harborage, and water," Harlow-Ellis tells Best Life. "By planting fragrant flowers near the structure, the workers or foraging ants will smell that as a food source."

You're leaving pet food sitting out between meals.

Dog and Cat Staring at Food Bowl

You may be well aware that you shouldn't leave food out if you don't want to attract ants. But that also includes any of your pet's food, according to Megan Wede, co-owner of pest-control company Done Right Pest Solutions.

"Pets like cats and dogs often have food dishes that have wet or dry food sit for hours at a time in between feedings. This food source for your pet can also serve as a food source for ants," Wede cautions.

To deter ants, she recommends that pet owners schedule feedings and clean their pet's food dish until the next meal.

RELATED: 8 Ways You're Inviting Spiders Into Your Home, According to Experts.

You have leaky pipes.

Man Repairing a Pipe

It's not just food that can cause problems, however.

"Just like any other living creature, ants also need water to survive," Mo Samir, pest control expert and senior technician for Bugwise Pest Control, says. That means your leaky pipes could be an exciting find for these pesky pests.

"To stop ants, fix any leaky pipes or taps and ensure that there's no standing water in or around your home," Samir advises.

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You're not cleaning near electrical outlets.

Red ant watching other ants walk into electrical outlet. showing rebbelion, leadership, observation, individuality.

Not many people realize that ants have quite a "thing for electrical outlets," Ben Esman, general contractor, landscaper, and founder of My Backyard Life, tells Best Life.

"The electromagnetic fields can attract them," he explains.

Therefore, any mess around electrical outlets may just increase the draw for ants.

"Sweet spills or sugary residue near these spots? It's like hosting a party they weren't invited to," Esman says. "So make sure you regularly wipe down surfaces and check behind appliances."

Kali Coleman
Kali Coleman is a Senior Editor at Best Life. Her primary focus is covering news, where she often keeps readers informed on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and up-to-date on the latest retail closures. Read more
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