Don’t let their size fool you. Ants, those seemingly insignificant six-legged insects, can quickly become a big problem if left unchecked. While an individual ant might not cause much trouble, an infestation can disrupt your home or business. Not to mention, it could potentially cause property damage or health concerns, depending on the species. The key to keeping these tiny pests at bay? Understanding what attracts them in the first place. That’s why our experienced ant control exterminators decided to share what draws these pests to the property and some tips to prevent infestations.

What Attracts Ants

Uninvited Guests: The Top Three Ant Invaders in London

The UK boasts over 50 native ant species, but only a select few become unwelcome guests in our homes and businesses. Here’s a closer look at the three most common ant invaders in London:

Black Garden Ant (Lasius niger)

Native to Britain, black ants typically nest outdoors in soil, walls, or under pavement. They’re active foragers, readily following scent trails to foods left behind in your kitchen. Black garden ants are particularly drawn to sweets and sugary substances. While they don’t pose a health threat, their presence can be a nuisance for two main reasons. First, black ants tend to cultivate aphids to feed off the honeydew these insects produce. And second, their excavations around plant roots can dry out your soil.

Pharaoh Ant (Monomorium pharaonis)

This tiny, light brown insect originates from tropical climates but thrives in buildings’ warm, humid environments. Pharaoh ants are omnivores that, if given a choice between different food groups, tend to alternate between foods rich in carbohydrates and proteins. They can establish multiple nests indoors, which makes them a persistent pest. More importantly, Pharaoh ants can pose a health risk as they scavenge in unsanitary areas and may transmit bacteria. They are becoming a significant problem in medical facilities like hospitals and laboratories, as they don’t shy away from consuming organic waste and intravenous diet fluids and can penetrate sterile packaging.

Carpenter Ant (Camponotus pennsylvanicus)

These larger, reddish-black ants are native to North America but have become established in parts of the UK. Carpenter ants establish their colonies in wood and can cause significant damage by tunnelling through walls and furniture to create nests. This species’ food sources usually include proteins and carbohydrates. Unlike termites, carpenter ants don’t eat wood, but their excavations can cause significant structural damage to property over time. Carpenter ants are more likely to be a problem in older buildings or those with moisture problems.

Read also: Do Ants Lay Eggs?

Keep Ants Out Of Home

What Attracts Ants to Your London Property?

Despite their differences, these three common ant species share a similar attraction to a few key things:


Ants are opportunists and won’t hesitate to exploit any readily available food source. These insects are constantly foraging for sustenance and have an impressive sense of smell to help them find it. A major draw is sugary treats, crumbs, spills, and open food containers. However, protein sources like pet food, grease, and even dead insects can also attract ants.


Just like any living thing, ants need water to survive. They might be drawn to leaky faucets and condensation on pipes, and even a pet’s water bowl can be a welcome sight for a thirsty ant colony. Standing water sources outdoors, like ponds or fountains, can also be a big attraction. During hot weather, ants will actively search for any available moisture source.

Nesting Sites

Ants seek warm, damp locations to raise their young and protect their queen. Cracks in walls, floors and foundations, gaps around pipes, and spaces behind appliances can all provide ideal nesting grounds inside your property. They may also take advantage of voids created by damaged wood, particularly for carpenter ants. Outdoors, ants might build nests in decaying wood piles and under leaf litter.

Check also: Where Do Ants Place Their Nests?


While some ant species thrive indoors, others prefer establishing their colonies outside. These outdoor ants are attracted to your property because of overgrown shrubs, piles of leaves, or other vegetation near your foundation. These elements provide them with shelter and easy access to your home or business. Bushes, trees, and overgrown flower beds also offer both shelter and potential food sources (like aphids that produce sugary honeydew). While these ants might not invade your home directly, they can act as a nearby reservoir, ready to move indoors if conditions are favourable. Even indoor potted plants can become an ant haven if they offer a suitable nesting environment.

Other Pests

Other pest species can significantly increase the likelihood of an ant infestation. Ants readily consume insects, mice droppings, and even dead mice. This opportunistic behaviour means that existing infestations of cockroaches, spiders, or rodents can create a secondary food source that attracts ants. Consequently, effective pest management strategies should address all pest populations to prevent a single infestation from escalating into a multi-species problem.

How to Prevent Ant Infestations

When you discover what attracts ants to the property, you can take steps to make your London home or business less inviting for them:

  • Food management: This is crucial. Store dry food in airtight containers, keep leftovers in the fridge, wipe down surfaces after cooking and sweep up crumbs immediately. Don’t leave out pet food overnight; keep trash cans tightly sealed.
  • Moisture control: Fix leaky faucets, repair dripping pipes, address any condensation issues on the property, and use dehumidifiers in damp areas. Eliminate standing water sources in your garden or ensure they have proper drainage.
  • Seal up entry points: Inspect your foundation, walls, and around pipes for gaps or cracks. Use caulk to seal potential entry points for ants. Regularly trim back vegetation near your property to discourage outdoor ant colonies.
  • Keep it clean: While a spotless home won’t guarantee you’ll never see an ant, regular cleaning minimises potential food sources and makes your property less attractive to these tiny invaders.
  • Call in the professionals: If you suspect an established ant infestation, don’t hesitate to contact a professional pest control company. They have the expertise and tools to identify the ant species, locate the nest, and effectively eliminate the colony.

Following these tips and being vigilant about potential attractants can significantly reduce the risk of an ant invasion.

Read also: How to Stop Ants From Coming Into My Home?

Book Ant Exterminator Today!

Don’t let a minor ant problem become a pest nightmare. Contact Toxic Respond, London’s trusted ant control specialists, for a swift and effective solution. Our expertise will ensure your home or business remains pest-free.