Montreal homes extra vulnerable to ant invaders

Finding an ant in your home is usually nothing more than a mild annoyance, but this summer Montrealers may find their view of the pest changing for the worst.

Best ways to shield home from carpenter ants include fixing water damage and trimming vines

A bone dry spring has been a boon for Edmonton's ant population. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

Finding an ant in your home is usually nothing more than a mild annoyance, but this summer Montrealers may find their view of the pest changing for the worst. 

That's because ants are more common in many Montreal homes this year after a short winter allowed more of them than usual to survive.

Sean Rollo from ORKIN Canada told CBC Montreal's Daybreak that the pest control company is already receiving a lot of calls about ants and are predicting a rough year ahead for invasions.

Although ants in general may see a population boom this year, it's carpenter ants that are the biggest danger to homes, Rollo said.

Carpenters are easily spotted because they are bigger than other ants. But catching them is tricky.

Rollo said people usually don't find them until the wood in their home is already compromised by the bugs burrowing their way through it.

Pest management companies in Canada say it’s likely that the short winter has allowed a high number of carpenter ants to survive the winter. (Courtesy Orkin)

"Typically they appear if there is water damage in the house. The ants are usually a secondary concern," Rollo said. "In a way ants are an alarm system that indicates there's a problem with your house."

Ant proofing?

Carpenter ants are most attracted to wood that is soft because of water damage or in bathrooms where a lack of proper ventilation can cause wood to rot.

The home invading pests can be hard to get rid of because even if they are eliminated from one part of the house, that site may only be a satellite nest. 

Finding the main nest can be extremely difficult.

Adding strategic sealant and fixing water damage can help keep the carpenter ants away, Rollo said. He also suggested trimming any vines, which he says act as an ant highway.

"Ant-proof is a strong word [but] you can definitely make your home unattractive to ants," he said.