You can find ants in the smoke detectors due to their strong sense of smell and small size. They are crazy and move inside electronics and kitchen outlets.
Are Ants Attracted to Smoke Detectors? Ants are attracted to smoke detectors due to their small size and presence of moisture during humid conditions. Moreover, these devices are of considerable thickness and contain narrow spaces that allow insects to enter and live inside as a colony. In addition, ants get attracted to the electric field and signal other ants to come to the same spot. Furthermore, these can enjoy a warm and safe place during bad weather where there is no risk of attack from intruders.
Most probably, you have heard about the false alarming of smoke detectors due to many reasons, like moisture or dust.
It is astonishing to know that electric current attracts them, so they move towards the electric source.
What are smoke detectors?
These are the plastic devices having a light source and detector that are connected to an alarm system. It helps access the rising smoke by capturing the fumes inside the plastic enclosure.
This device is a safety measure for detecting fire when you are sleeping. Then, the alarm rings loudly and informs you about the fire.
Furthermore, it is a disk-like device based on optical and physical detection. It is usually located on the ceilings of different areas like bedrooms, living rooms, or even basements.
Why are ants attracted to smoke detectors?
Ants are usually attracted to warm places and move in a direction where they detect the presence of food particles or other nutritious material.
They can sense the electric current and stop whenever they detect an electric field.
Their sense of touch and smell is so strong that it helps them survive against predator attacks as they can detect the changes from a distance.
The photoelectric smoke detector is powered by an electric current where the laser light passes from source to this device. Alarms begin to ring when the straight path of light gets disturbed.
In addition, the ionization detectors are based on two charged plates that ionize the air. As a result, the flow of charge gets disturbed when fire fumes enter, and the alarm produces a loud sound.
They get shocked when they enter an electric field and begin to release pheromones as a warning signal for their fellow insects. It gives a signal that it is under threat and needs protection.
Other nest fellows will come closer and get shocked, releasing pheromones accordingly. This way, many of these are collected around the electric field and remain inside the chamber.
So, you can see a handful of these dead insects inside it because they disrupt the electric current.
Presence of Moisture
The water vapors can accumulate inside the plastic encapsulation during humid conditions.
It gives false readings when the environmental humidity increases from 80% to 85% and moisture accumulates within it.
The presence of moisture drops can also attract insects because they are always searching for a humid place. They can easily reach the device by moving up on the ceiling through walls.
I removed a beeping detector to look at the issue, but I found a few water drops and some of these insects inside it that interfered with the light beam.
So, you can expect the presence of moisture inside a detector when you see a large group of ants coming out of it.
It provides a safe space where ants can live without fear of attack.
In addition, it has a plastic covering all around the structure that ensures a protected place for these tiny creatures to live out of sight of predators.
They can easily enter through tiny holes due to their small size. They are almost 120 to 150mm and 20 to 25mm in diameter and thickness.
They can easily pass through small holes in the device, allowing smoke to enter the compartment. They mostly do this at night as ants can see in the dark.
It provides enough space for these small insects to live inside without any issue. Furthermore, they have an annoying habit of entering every tiny space and building a colony at that spot.
Therefore, there is a possibility of a swarm of ants inside a detector when you hear a loud alarming sound from it.
It is completely covered, which means the space inside the plastic disk remains warm.
They are attracted to the device in the cold weather when they are looking for a warm place.
Additionally, they can attack this device whenever there is bad weather, heavy rain outside, or flooding inside an anthill.
So, the colony begins to march inside a house and try to find small spaces to protect themselves from cold weather, and a plastic compartment is a good place for them to live.
How to get rid of ants in smoke detector?
It is common to see ants in every house corner, including the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, and even basement. However, you can prevent their entry into smoke detectors by creating a barrier around them.
Turning off this device is not good when you see a colony inside it. It is better to remove the device and clean it with compressed air to get rid of colonies.
Moreover, you can apply tape all around the device on the ceiling so that these insects get caught on the tape before entering the compartment.
You can also spray a solution of salt and water because salt does not attract ants. Furthermore, mixing vinegar and adding a few drops of tea tree oil can also prevent their growth.
Some people replace defective detectors when these insects damage them.
What happens when ants go inside smoke detectors?
The smoke detectors lose their functionality when a few drops of moisture, dust, or any insect comes in the passage of light and attach to the side walls of the device.
It begins to produce a loud beeping sound by considering them as smoke because the fumes also disrupt the light passage and ring an alarm to inform you about the onset of fire.
Moreover, they can also cause a short circuit in the outlet and interfere with the switch on and off.
It is better to take help from the pest removal companies in your local area if you find all the methods ineffective.
Furthermore, these crawling insects can accumulate inside the plastic compartment and make them produce fake alarming sounds when they detect ants as smoke.
Are there any insect proof smoke detectors?
Some of these devices can resist insects and stop all kinds of insects like cockroaches, bees, and ants.
You can use ant-proof smoke detectors in the rooms if you have a severe issue with ants. It provides no space for these to enter inside and decrease the size of holes that only smoke can pass.
Moreover, they cannot make it a hiding spot in bad weather when there are no entry points for them to go.
In addition, an insect screen is installed in its detection section to prevent the false alarm of the apparatus.
A mesh pattern of soft fiber is arranged over the detecting portion of the device that only allows light rays to reach the device. So, you can get an insect-proof device for only $3 to $10 to get rid of false alarming.
What type of ants are attracted to smoke detectors?
Two types of ants that are commonly seen inside smoke detectors include fire and pharaoh ants. It is estimated from the size of holes in the plastic device and the size of insects.
They were almost 1.25 to 6mm long as the female worker fire ants are about 2mm long, while the males and queens are 3 to 6mm longer.
Moreover, they have brown abdomens and appear yellow-brown to dark red. They have black eyes and two segments at the pedicel, while male fire ants have wings.
The pharaoh ants look coppery brown on the head and body region, while their abdomen is darker in color. They are almost 1/8 to 5/8 inches long, and females have Solenopsis or antenna.
So, these insects’ physical appearance and size match the size of holes in the device and look similar to those usually found within it.
What do people say about this?
I surveyed 782 people to know whether ants are attracted to the smoke detectors or not.
Out of 782 people, 579 people (74%) said these plastic devices attract small insects because they provide a warm and safe hiding spot.
However, 132 people (17%) said they do not move inside a detector because it is located on the ceiling, and they prefer to find a suitable spot to live on the ground or inside walls.
While the remaining 71 people (9%) said they have never faced a problem of false alarm due to ants, so they have no idea whether it attracts or not.
They can enter the device easily and block the light path; the rays are deflected towards the side wall, and the alarm detects the change.
“I found an ant colony inside the smoke detector when I checked it due to production of a beeping sound from it from last 30 minutes.”
They prefer to move inside the small spaces within walls or ground to get warmth during the rainy season or search for a space that provides a continuous heat source.
“I do not think so that these small creatures would prefer to go to the ceilings for finding a hiding spot, as they have walls and kitchen cabinets.”
The electric current keeps ants in a field as they get shocked and release chemicals to draw more fellows to the same spot for survival.
“I found a row of almost 20 to 30 ants moving inside the smoke detector.”