Protecting Your Air Conditioning Unit from Ants
Ant infestation can be a problem virtually anywhere—including in your home air conditioning unit. In Arkansas, this problem seems to be appearing more and more often in the spring and summer. In the summer especially, these pesky little insects can present a problem by taking up residence in your air conditioning unit and growing in number. Additionally, the mild winters we are having allow the ants to come out and multiply sooner.
According to entomologist Christian Wilcox , as the weather gets warmer, ants may seek shelter in home AC units. This problem is more prevalent after it rains . Ants seem to be attracted to the electronic components of your AC unit, and often become stuck in between electrical contact points on the unit. When the ants burrow themselves in these tiny spaces and touch the contacts, it can cause malfunction and even permanent damage to the unit if the pests are never removed.
Specifically, ants can cause your AC unit to short-circuit . If an ant is electrocuted, it can release an alarm pheromone in dying, which attracts other ants . Once a large number of ants enter the unit, they are more likely they are to cause the electronics to short-circuit. Overheating, corrosion, and mechanical failures can also result from the accumulation of dead ants and their nest material in electrical devices.
Experts are still unsure exactly why this occurs. It’s suspected that ants may sense the magnetic fields that surround wires conducting electric current, or they prefer the warmth produced by resistance to the currents in the wires. Some suggest that the ants are simply searching for food or a safe and warm place to nest.
Fortunately, there are some simple measures you can take to prevent these little pests from invading your AC unit:
First, you should avoid keeping mulch or leaf piles near your AC unit , as these are prime habitat for ants. The decomposing layers of organic material in piles of mulch or leaves are where ants often live and reproduce, and if your AC unit is nearby, the ants may soon discover it and begin to move in.
Second, try to clean out your gutters at the beginning of the spring or summer to get rid of leaves and dirt that may be ant habitat. If you have leaves around your yard and home left over from the fall, try to rake these up as well.
Lastly, if you see a significant ant presence near your AC unit, you can purchase inexpensive ant traps / liquid ant baits to place around the unit to deter and eventually eradicate the ants in the area. Ant baits/killers can also be made with common household items, such as a cotton ball soaked in Borax detergent and sugar .
As the summer approaches, be sure to regularly check your home AC unit for ants. If you do discover the beginnings of an infestation, it’s important to take action right away to avoid damage to the unit. Don’t hesitate to call your friends at Kennedy Air Conditioning of Central Arkansas to help take care of the ant problem and ensure the long life of your home AC unit!