For homeowners here in North Central Florida, ants are simply a part of life. We have a wide variety of ant types in our area. Some stay outside and mind their own business, while others like to venture into places they probably don’t belong. If you’ve noticed your well pump switch is shorting out on electricity more than usual, it may be a result of nearby ant populations.
Although ants are small, they can have a big impact on your well pump switch. Nylanderia fulva, commonly known as the tawny crazy ant, do not dig holes and tunnels themselves. Instead, they look for pre-existing, enclosed spaces to nest and protect them from predators. Their smaller-than-average bodies allow them to squeeze into small cracks like cell phones, computers, well pump switches, and more. Tawny crazy ants like to reside in rural areas and seek protection in nearby well pump switches, especially after it rains.
Once a tawny crazy ant enters a well pump switch, its body triggers the well pump switch’s electrical contacts. Normally, these contacts snap together to create an electrical connection to turn the pump on. In this situation, the switch short circuits and electrocutes the ant. After it dies, the ant releases a defensive pheromone that warns other ants of danger and activates their fight-or-flight response. The ants will swarm the switch due to their strength in numbers, only to be electrocuted upon entry. The tawny crazy ants’ call-and-response nature creates an unfortunate cycle that ultimately short circuits well pump switches.
While tawny crazy ants are notorious for destroying well pumps, you can rest easy knowing that they are not coming in hordes. These ants cannot spread quickly and rely on humans to transport them in materials such as rotten wood. However, tawny crazy ants are not the only ant species that are attracted to well pump switches.
Here are three ways to protect your well pump switches from pesky ants:
Check your well pump and nearby equipment to spot any ant colonies. Some of their favorite places to nest are mounds, ant hills, wood structures, plants, or trees. If you find an ant colony, try to exterminate or move the colony. Be careful if you use ant killers or pesticides because they can be a potential risk to your home’s water supply.
Even though exterminating or moving the ant colony will give you peace of mind, it may only be a temporary solution. Another ant colony could move in and you’ll be back to square one. Instead, try moving the pump switch. When it rains, as it often does in Florida, ants seek higher, warmer ground. Mount your well pump switch as high as possible to discourage ants from climbing to such great heights.
If you want extra protection, you can wrap your well pump switch with electrical tape to prevent ants from entering. Additionally, you could use silicone caulk to cover any edges or cracks. If you decide to use caulk to seal your switch, make sure that it is acid-free. If not, the caulk will destroy the metal.
Whether it’s ants or an unknown issue that’s affecting your well pump, Perry’s Pump Repair can help! We have over 30 years of experience with well pumps and treat all of our customers like they are part of the family. You can depend on our experts to diagnose the problem and get your well pump up and running again. Call us today for any of your well pump needs!