Ants like to chew and are capable of making their way through hard surfaces when foraging for food. The caulk in windows and electrical wires cannot stop them from getting inside.
Can Ants Chew Through Wires? Ants can chew through wires using their strong mandibles to crush hard objects like metal, concrete, rubber, caulk, etc. Ants do this to build their nest inside electrical outlets, circuit breakers, transformer boxes, and air conditioners.
Crazy, fire, black garden, and acrobat ants can get electrocuted when they enter an electric field, so you have to prevent them from reaching connections by sealing them and installing ant-proof outlets.
They can chew various objects as their teeth are supported by strong mandibles that can help pierce through hard surfaces.
These insects are not afraid of interfering with electrical connections like animals, but an electric field attracts them toward the primary source.
Why do ants chew through wires?
Ants are responsible for causing structural damage to the building by breaking concrete, removing caulk, and chewing the electrical wires.
The concrete, caulk, and plumbing wires are a barrier to their entry inside the home when they are foraging for food. They have to chew the material to make their way through it.
Moreover, they have strong teeth coated with zinc that can help these insects break the barriers and get inside the home to access food or moisture.
It takes several hours to days to break it, as these tiny creatures have small teeth and need consistent activity to bring a noticeable change.
These insects look for narrow spaces to build their nests, move to areas behind walls, sockets, and switches, and reach electrical connections.
When you turn on the switches, an electric field is created in the periphery that can attract these insects moving close.
In addition, they are efficient at sensing an electric field and heat produced by appliances and get attracted to it.
It leads to direct exposure to the wires inside the socket and makes them chew connections.
How do ants chew through wires?
Electrical connections have internal metal wires covered inside rubber insulation to avoid the risk of electrical shock if someone accidentally touches them.
Most ant species reach electrical connections by following an electric field. Then, they begin eating rubber material or outer insulation, which is a soft material and easier to chew.
After that, they come in direct contact with internal metal and make efforts to cut them into pieces. This direct exposure is not considered safe if the switch is turned on.
These insects get electrocuted due to the flow of electrical charges through their tiny bodies. Their bodies act as a medium for transferring electrical current from the socket to the ground.
It begins with biting electrical cords and insulating materials until they reach internal metal and cannot resist damage due to severe electrical shock.
It leads to their death as their bodies touch the ground surface, maintaining the flow of charges from socket to ground.
What happens when ants chew through wires?
Ants have a risk of death when they chew the wires because their tiny bodies cannot tolerate high-voltage currents. As a result, electrical shocks can lead to their death instantly.
The dead insects release pheromones that smell like oleic acid and are detected by other colony members. These secretions help them reach their dead mate quickly.
All these insects can die when they touch their deceased fellow and become electrically shocked after entering the magnetic field.
It is common to see a pile of dead insects close to the water line connection because they move closer to moisture to have some water but die due to electrical shocks.
In addition, they can cause a short circuit leading to the failure of appliances and the destruction of sockets. Sometimes, the short circuit can lead to fire and cause severe damage to the house.
What type of ants chew through wires?
Some species of ants are attracted to electric or magnetic fields and begin to move closer to the sockets in the walls.
Tawny Crazy ants get attracted to heat and the magnetic field created by kitchen appliances and sockets when they are turned on.
Crematogaster sp. or acrobat ants are also reported to be dangerous for homes, as they can cause malfunctioning of an air conditioner and disturb the switching mechanism.
Garden ants, or Lasius neglectus, are also known for their invasive impact on the house, as they attack cables and wires connected to the TV and other appliances.
Additionally, fire ants cannot resist reaching electrical equipment and are involved in massive-scale damage. A loss of almost $140 million is observed in Texas each year due to these insects.
Electrical ants are named for their affinity for electrical outlets and are native to South America. They are almost 1.2 to 1.4mm long that can reach sockets while foraging for food.
You can find these insects within telephone and transformer box, switches boxes, and electrical outlets.
Most of these insects get attracted to electric pumps, air conditioners, and circuit breakers.
How to get rid of ants chewing through wires?
It is essential to get rid of pests from the home to protect wires and electrical connections, as they can chew almost everything from soft to hard.
You can use GFCI outlets in kitchens and bathrooms to avoid fires as they turn off in almost 25 to 30 milliseconds after detecting a short circuit and stop the flow of electrical charges.
Moreover, you can spray vinegar or peppermint solution in the periphery of switches to make them unattractive for these insects, as they do not like strong scents.
It is better to use ant-proof outlets that do not provide a route for entry and access to wires. A pest control spray works well if you have a heavy infestation of chewing insects inside your home.
A cinnamon powder can be used to make a boundary around outlets if crazy insects are moving close to the water connections.
In addition, some people prefer to cover the vulnerable cables with an insulating material, like thick tape, that can add a barrier between these insects and cables.
You have to turn off the switch before touching these cables, but the best way is to call an electrician for this purpose, as they are experts and can efficiently deal with the problem.