Ants in Your Outlet? Here’s How to Get Rid of Them

2018 Jan 10
Posted in: Electrical
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See ants coming out of your outlets? If so, that could mean that they’ve built a nest in your walls—in the midst of electrical wiring. 

Unfortunately, that’s a problem because ants can eventually damage your home’s electrical equipment.

Don’t worry, though. In this article we’ll explain…

  1. How to get rid of ants in your outlets
  2. How to prevent electrical damage from ants

For starters, let’s take a closer look at why ants create electrical trouble...

Need help right away? Give us a call, and we’ll quickly send over one of our certified electricians to fix the electrical problem. Note: you’ll also need to call a pest control company to eliminate the ants.

How ants can damage electrical wiring/equipment

Nobody knows for sure why ants are attracted to electricity, but we know it’s a common occurrence for homeowners to find them crawling out of outlets.

Now, ants in your outlets can cause damage in 2 ways:

1. Ants will chew through wiring 

When ants get inside your home’s walls, they’ll often chew through wires which causes them to be electrocuted and can create an electrical short.

Now, you’d think this would stop ants from going near electrical equipment once they see other ants being electrocuted, right? Well, that’s not actually the case. You see, ants release scented chemicals called pheromones from their abdomen when they’re in danger. These pheromones act like a smoke signal that attracts other worker ants to come to the rescue. 

When other ants come to help and touch electrocuted ants, the current will pass through to them and electrocute them as well. If this happens inside of an electrical switch or appliance, after enough dead ants build up, the switch could shut off or the appliance could malfunction.

2. Ants will build nests

Ants can also cause damage by building nests inside your walls. Ants often bring in outside soil, which contains moisture. This moisture can cause corrosion to appliances and electrical wiring/components.

So, if your air conditioner suddenly shuts off, or you randomly lose power to electrical appliances, ants could be to blame. Now we’ll show you how to fix the problem...

See ants coming exiting your outlet? Here’s what to do

Hire a pest removal specialist. The specialist will...

  • Spray the inside of your home with pesticides, especially around the outlets where ants are exiting.
  • Find any ant trails outside leading into the home and spray them with pesticides. If there are no trails, it usually means the ants have built a nest inside the walls of your home. If that’s the case, the pest specialist will use a pesticide that won’t kill the ants instantly, but cause them to carry it back to their nest which will contaminate and kill the queen and the entire colony.

If you see ants AND are experiencing electrical trouble, follow these steps:

  1. Shut off the main power to the appliance. Go to the circuit breaker and shut off the power to the appliances that has stopped working. This will prevent further damage to your electrical equipment.
  2. Contact a pest control specialist. The specialist can locate the source of the ants and kill them.
  3. Call an electrician. An electrician will asses the damage and repair any broken wires or equipment.

Want to prevent electrical damage from ants? Here’s how

Follow these steps to prevent ants from harming your electrical equipment:

  1. Have a pest control specialist spray in and around your home regularly to prevent ants from colonizing near electrical components and fixtures.
  2. Keep your home clean so that ants don’t want to venture indoors and inhabit walls or electrical appliances.
  3. Seal or insulate all sensitive or vulnerable electrical components with electrical cable insulating tape, rubber or Teflon. A certified electrician should do this for you so you don’t risk suffocating any appliances that will cause damage to them down the road.

Need help from an Arizona electrician?

Just give us a call. We’d be happy to answer any questions you may have or help you schedule an appointment with one of our trusted electricians.

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