ANT INFESTATION: THE BEST WAY TO TREAT THEM

ANT INFESTATION: THE BEST WAY TO TREAT THEM

ANT INFESTATION: THE BEST WAY TO TREAT THEM

Ants usually become our problem whenever they get inside homes, office buildings, restaurants, or warehouses. 

Ants invade these places in search of food, and where there are humans, there naturally is food!

Ants are usually attracted to sweets, proteins, fats, and oils, but can still be attracted to a wider variety of foods.  During the dryer weather, they will also search for water. It is usually the strategy of ants to send out patrollers to scout for a food source. 

Once a patroller finds food, it will send out pheromones to signal to the rest of the ants in the nest to come and join in the feast. This will result in hundreds more of them appearing around a food item, with long lines of ants coming from the nest.  This makes them such a nuisance to have around the house. 

Ants can also cause more structural damage to buildings than termites. 

In the United States, they caused millions of dollars in damages in homes and office buildings.  They build nests in walls and in foundations, and in small cracks and crevices in walls.

Ants are known to attack electric outlets because, for some reason, they are attracted to electric wirings.  A specific species of ants, the carpenter ants, boreholes in the wood, causing extensive damage.  

Ants nesting outdoors can also be a problem.  They usually nest in the soil and this damages the soil, making it uneven and too soft.  Truly, when ants go marching, trouble follows. 

Overview

There are more than 10,000 identified species of ants that can be found all throughout the world, save for Antarctica.   Their scientific name is Formicidae and they belong to the insect order Hymenoptera.  They are closer relatives of the bees and wasps, instead of the termites in which people confuse them with. 

Ants are small insects, their size range from .08 to 1 inch and are omnivores. Most of their species are actually found in tropical forests, where they make up around half of the insect population and are beneficial to the ecosystem. 

Ants go through 4 stages in their lives.  They pass through the egg, larval, pupal, and adult stages.  Only the queen can lay eggs. The rest of the female members of the colony are sterile.  After the eggs hatch, they become larvae, which do not look like their adult counterparts at all.  Larvae are not mobile and they look like worms.

Most common types of ants in the United States

When we said there are around 10,000 species of ants, we did not mean that they are all common household pests.  Only quite a few species are actual pests, while most live in forests where they do their own thing.  

Carpenter ants – Carpenter ants are the most destructive household pest, they cause structural damage. Calling them “carpenter” is a misnomer, these ants are capable of destroying structures by boring holes through wood.   They build their nests inside your home’s structural wood by chewing on it to dig tunnels, unlike the termites that eat the wood. They actually prefer wood that is damp and had been previously damaged by water.  They have caused more structural damage than termites did. The size of the carpenter ants is about ¼ to ½ inches in length, and they come in black color. Carpenter ants y prefer sweet foods and drinks, usually coming.  Once inside, they then look for the wood they can convert into their nests.  

European fire ants European fire ants are about 2.2 to 2.8 mm in length and come in light to dark brown in color. It is said that the European fire ants are one of the most intrusive ants in the world. They can be found in the gardens, lawns, under the rock, or wood debris.  They find their way inside the house and into the bathroom, under the bathtub, or in the heaters when the weather gets cold. These ants sting and their stings are very painful. European fire ants have multiple queens in their colony.

Argentine antsThey are common household pests that invade the house in search of food and water.  Indoors, they set up their nests on the ground, in cracks on the wall, or in holes in the house.  When they are outdoors, they live under rocks, or among leaf litter because they are not capable of digging deep in the ground.  They sometimes also take over abandoned ants’ nests.

Crazy antsCrazy ants are called as such because they move around like crazy and with no direction when they are disturbed.  Crazy ants can build their nests both indoors and outdoors.  They build their nests either on dry sites or damp sites. They can be found in hollow trees, rotten wood, under stones, under logs, among the rubbish, and in debris.  If needed, they travel long distances to look for food. Even though crazy ants do not bite, they are considered nuisance pests.

Field ants –  Field ants are 4 to 8 mm long and come in black, brown, or red colors.  They can sting and their stings are painful. They are usually found outdoors, building their nests in yards, wooded areas, and fields.  One sign of having field ants in your yard is the presence of a mound.  

Social Behavior

Ants are highly social insects.  They communicate well with each other and show us what it really means to work as a team.  They form colonies, and the strength of the colonies depend on each member’s ant.

A colony is led by a queen.

The queen ant is the largest ant in the colony. Her sole purpose in life is to lay the eggs to ensure the survival of the colony, and sometimes she participates in the caring and grooming of her young.  The queen initially has wings, which she sheds after she starts a new colony. If the queen dies and has no replacement, the colony can survive for only a few months. The rest of the female ants in the colony are not capable of laying eggs because they are sterile.   There are some ant species who have more than one queen.

The male ants have only one purpose in life, and that is to mate with the queen.  After doing this, they die. 

The worker ants are female ants.  They are sterile ants. They are smaller in size than the queen, but other than the difference in size, they have similar physical attributes.  They have lots of tasks for the colony, including protecting it from enemies, foraging for food, feeding the colony, keeping the nest clean, caring for the newly hatched ants, protecting the nest, and even invading other colonies to get food and even the eggs of the other ant colonies.  These eggs will be kept until they hatch, and once they become adults themselves they would become slaves of the colony.

How to get rid of ants

Since ants do nothing but become a nuisance in the house, it would be worth all the effort to get rid of them.  Follow these tips and tricks for your house to be free from ants.

  1. Remove their sources of food.  Place food inside sealed containers.  Wipe off food residue and drink spills.  
  2. Seal off cracks and crevices around the house. Secure any openings, as these can be used as entry points by these ants.  Take special notice to areas around heaters and cooling units.  
  3. If you see one of those patrollers that I have mentioned earlier, it is best to get rid of it.  This may prevent all the other ants in the nest from showing up.  
  4. Sprinkle some diatomaceous earth on areas where you think ants frequent.  Diatomaceous earth is made from fossilized remains of diatoms.  They are like little shards of glass so it can cause several cuts on the ant’s body when they crawl on it, causing them to dehydrate and die.  Choose food grade diatomaceous earth so that it will be safe around kids and pets. You can purchase this from a local gardening store near you.
  5. Put some dishwashing soap and water in a spray bottle.  Spray the ants with this combination. Dish soap sticks to their bodies.  This would dehydrate them enough to kill them.   

These tips and tricks will surely help you in your fight against the ant.  However, if the infestation becomes too heavy, you may need some professional help.  As some trusted friends who have the same experiences on pests find me a local company that can help me with pests, we have a thumbs up for Go-Forth Pest Control.

Why Go-Forth Pest Control?

Go-Forth Pest Control has been in the business of pest control for 60 years now. 

We have a team of expert professionals who can take care of your pest problems, be it ants, roaches, mosquitoes, flies, bed bugs, poisonous spiders, wasps, and many other pests.  We use only state of the art equipment, so you can say goodbye to pests!

For more information, or to set an appointment, just dial 336-841-6111. 

Our friendly operators are standing by.

 

Go-Forth Pest Control is a family owned exterminator company based in High Point, NC. The company covers The Triad, The Triangle, Charlotte, Hickory, Wilmington, Columbia SC.