Heat waves cause ants to invade SoCal homes

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- All across Southern California, people are bugging out! Kitchens and bathrooms are being overrun by ants.

"Residents are calling us regarding invasions of ants in their houses. The numbers are high," said Gevork Arakelian, an entomologist with the Los Angeles County Department of Agricultural Commissioner.

The department is tasked with handling insect and pest problems in the county and ants fall squarely in that realm. Arakelian said the recent surge in home encroachment by ants is due to the recent heat waves that torched SoCal over the past month and a half. The hot weather dried up the ants' food and water sources, sending them into houses to find their next meal.

But Arakelian said you can ant-proof your home by keeping plants and soil away from your foundation.

"Create a barrier and that could be gravel, about like 5 to 6 feet from the foundation of your house, or it could just be a cement sidewalk," he said.

But if the ants are already inside your home, Arakelian said to steer away from the fast-killing bug sprays which only kill the ants that are hit.

"The problem is not eliminated," he said. "The queen is alive somewhere outside in the soil and the ants will succeed. They will come back."

The best advice: use liquid bait stations that attract ants that are thirsty and ones that are hungry. The worker ants do all the dirty work, bringing the poisons back to the nest where the queen consumes them. When the queen dies, so does the whole nest.

Arakelian said outdoor ant killers designed to be sprayed around home foundations aren't very effective because they rinse way easily. Outdoor bait systems work better, especially if you place them near nests.
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