6 Reasons Why Your Deck Is Covered in Ants (With Fixes)
Your home’s deck is the best place to enjoy the sunshine, summer BBQs, or cozy evenings snacking on s’mores. However, no deck is immune to ants infestations – and the severe damages that can come from it! As soon as you notice ants crawling around your deck, it is crucial to identify the mound and get rid of your ants.
Your deck might be covered in ants because there is food, water, or a colony nearby. To get rid of ants, clean the deck, cut access to resources, and follow them to the mound. You can use a mix of Borax and sugar or boiling water to kill a colony. A DIY vinegar-based solution can kill any ant left.
When noticing ants on your deck, it is essential to act quickly before any damage occurs. Below, you can learn about why your patio is covered in ants and how to remove them safely.
Are Ants Harmful to a Deck?
Of an estimated 22,000 species of ants, over 13,800 have been identified. While most of them are not considered harmful to humans, they can be dangerous for the integrity of your deck or house.
Indeed, ants prefer to start their mounds in a location close enough to food and water. And, if your deck or home provides this, they might be starting a colony nearby or within the deck’s wood. Their woodwork, as well as the holes and tunnels they excavate in the deck, might make the porch and the house’s foundations unsafe – especially if you are dealing with Carpenter Ants!
Therefore, it is crucial to understand the reason behind the infestations and act quickly before your property’s structure is compromised.
Here are some of the most common reasons for an ant infestation on your deck.
There Is Food on the Deck
Ants tend to start a colony in favorable conditions, which means that they will be looking for food sources. If you have noticed a column of ants crossing your deck, they might be harvesting food for their colony.
Generally, ants prefer to eat sweet foods, such as honey and sugar. If you tend to have BBQs on your deck or you love spending time with your family snacking on biscuits and s’mores, you should ensure that there are no crumbs and leftovers on the floor as this can attract ants.
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The Deck Is on the Way to a Food Source
Even if there is no direct food source on your desk, ants might be crossing that location to access a food source. For example, if there are garbage bins on one side of the deck and the mound is on the other, ants might be crossing the deck to access the source and bring food back to the colony.
Remember that ants can use an integrated pedometer navigation system to find the shortest route between food sources and their nest. Therefore, if your deck is on this route, they might continuously cross it to access food. In this case, getting rid of that food source can help.
There Is a Nearby Colony
If there are no food sources on or nearby your deck, you might notice ants there if there is a nearby colony. Studies have confirmed that ants can travel as far as 200 meters from their nest for food and water. So, if you have not noticed a column but just some ants, they might be on the food search, and they might be coming from a nearby nest.
The Deck’s Wood Is Wet
Ants can start a colony nearby or within wet wood. If a part of your deck remains moister or more in the shade than another, ants might be coming from that location. Indeed, while they can’t deal with solid, dry wood, they can use the moisture and versatility of wet wood to start a colony.
The Infested Part Is Near a Kitchen or Bathroom
As stated above, all the main reasons behind an ant-infested deck relate to the presence of food and moisture. So, even if your deck is dry, clean, and away from garbage bins, you should consider what access ants have to food.
For example, if you have noticed that the ants are present in the area corresponding to the kitchen or bathroom, you can assume that the ants are using your deck as a point of entry. If you don’t stop them quickly, you might find ants in your kitchen or bathroom within a few months.
Weather Can Fuel an Infestation
Some recent studies have confirmed that the weather and climate can fuel or prevent ant infestations. Like other types of pests, ant infestations are more common in spring and summer. However, their incidence is much higher during seasons that have been particularly hot, humid, or rainy.
During these situations, ants will be looking for a reliable and safe food source that they can access regardless of weather conditions, without the risk of drowning or dying from desiccation. While their ability to always find the shortest route might help them avoid some of these issues, it is more convenient for them to start a colony near a reliable food and moisture source.
8 Ways To Get Rid of Ants
As we have seen, ants can represent a severe threat to your deck’s structure and integrity. If you don’t stop their colony from growing or spreading quickly, you might have to deal with even greater damages to your house. In turn, this can translate to costly repairs and renovations. And ants tend to start colonies in a similar spot every year!
In this case, calling a professional might be a great solution to eradicate the problem. However, there are also some DIY solutions to put in place if your deck’s or home’s structure has not yet been compromised.
When using DIY products to get rid of ants, make sure to stay away from heavy chemicals that represent a danger for your family.
You can find some safe and easy ways to address the ant problem in your home in the video below:
If you are looking for more information, below you can find all the methods to use to get rid of ants and prevent them from coming back!
Start by Inspecting Your House
The first step is always to check how severe the damage is. If you have found ants within your home, it can be challenging to eliminate them without using strong chemicals. In this case, you should consider investing in professional pest control services.
If the ants are only on your desk and you have just noticed them, make sure you understand why they are there. For example, there might be a nearby leak that works as a source of freshwater for ants. Inspect the deck and check whether some maintenance issues might have been attracting the ants there.
Get Rid of Stacked Wood Near the Deck
One of the best places for ants to nest or start a colony is wet or moist wood. If there is any stacked wood nearby the deck, the ants might be using it as their nesting site. Indeed, stacked, dry, or moist wood provides a steady moisture source for the colony, as well as enough shelter from the elements.
If the ants have started a colony in the stacked wood and there is food in the house that they can access, they might be crossing the desk to access this food.
Pour Boiling Water Over the Mound
One of the most important things to remember when trying to get rid of ants on your deck is that they will always come back unless the entire colony is exterminated. And, to do so, you need to know where the ants’ mound is.
Therefore, when you see ants on your deck, refrain from killing them and, instead, follow them back to the mound. Here, you can use around 3 gallons of boiling water to kill the queen as well as the ants hiding in the nest.
However, make sure that you are careful when using boiling water. Indeed, this technique can also be used to get rid of weeds and unwanted grass in your garden. Therefore, if you spill over to your flower beds, you might be killing anything growing there.
Use Baking Soda and Vinegar
If the hot water method seems too dangerous for you, you should consider creating a DIY solution with white vinegar and baking soda. Once you have mixed the two common household ingredients, you can use the solution to spray the mound. While this solution can help you get rid of ants, you might need more than just a few sprays.
Mix Borax and Sugar
One of the smartest and safest ways to get rid of ants is to create bait for them. As we have seen above, ants generally prefer sweet food such as honey or sugar – these might be precisely the foods that have attracted them to your deck in the first place!
Mixing sugar, water, and Borax allow you to create a solution that is both appealing and fatal to the ants. Since their task is to ring back food to the colony, they will harvest and carry the substance back to the mound to feed the other ants.
So, with something as simple as some sugar baits, you can kill the queen and the rest colony with minimal effort.
Create a Barrier With Coffee Grounds or Chalk
Chalk and coffee ground are natural ways to keep ants at bay. Coffee grounds are rich in nitrogen and contain caffeine – two compounds that ants prefer to avoid. Additionally, both chalk and coffee grounds act by disrupting the ants’ pheromone trail.
When they lose this scent, they will find themselves lost and unable to return to their mound. Therefore, adding these materials around the deck or patio will keep them away. Of course, this is only true if the ants’ colony is outside the deck rather than within it.
Kill Any Ants Left With Glass Cleaner
Once you have addressed the mound, you can try to get rid of any ants left on the deck. You can use a solution made with white vinegar, baking soda, or glass cleaner to spray the remaining ants. This technique won’t work unless you have already treated the colony and killed the queen.
Get Rid of Ant Trails With Vinegar
Ants tend to be a seasonal issue for many homeowners. If you face the threat of ants every year, you should also consider disrupting the main trail that the ants follow. This technique will stop them from recognizing the same odors and returning to the site. Barely washing the floor might not be helpful, but you can eliminate these traces by spraying the floor with vinegar.
Preventing Future Ants Infestations
Once you have started to deal with an infestation, it can be challenging to eliminate them. Indeed, once the ants have found the perfect location for their colony, they might be returning every season. In turn, this might make your efforts just temporarily useful and create a yearly annoyance.
Ultimately, the best defense against ant infestations is prevention. When it comes down to prevent them from accessing your deck and your home, it is crucial to keep the area clean. For this, you might get rid of any food sources nearby and prevent the ants from accessing the house by sealing the entrances.
Spraying insecticide around the doors and windows will also help you keep the ants away from your house.
When you discover an ant infestation on your desk, it is crucial to act quickly and swiftly – before the ant’s colony grows and has the chance to compromise your property’s structure severely. The reasons why you might be dealing with ants on your desk are generally related to the presence of food and water nearby.
For example, your desk might be giving the ants access to your kitchen or bathroom. Weather can also be a contributing factor. Some ways to get rid of ants on your desk involve pouring hot water on the mound and spray the ants with vinegar.