ANTS: THE GOOD AND THE BAD
Sometimes, people cannot figure out whether ants are pests or insects that are beneficial to the ecosystem. They can be role models to us humans; they can be pests, or they can bring balance to the environment.
As a whole, ants are a very important part of the ecosystem. They are indeed beneficial insects that can till the land to reduce compaction, or predators to other, more devastating insects like caterpillars, beetles, ticks, and chiggers. Soil compaction is the reduction of the volume of the soil, in effect reducing its productivity and environmental quality.
However, there are some ant species that are considered pests. One ant does not do much damage, except maybe for their painful bites on the skin when they happen to bump into you, but a whole colony of ants can not only bite and sting, but they can cause damage to houses, buildings, and plants in the landscape. If you have a severe ant infestation, you may want the professionals to handle the dirty job for you. If you want the professionals, you would naturally want only the best, one who would give you your every dollar’s worth. For a company that offers a team of good exterminator for ants, do not settle for anyone less than Go-Forth Pest Control.
Let us now dig into the ant world, and learn about the good, and the bad side of ants.
Formicidae is the scientific name for ants, and they belong to the insect order Hymenoptera. All throughout the world, you can find more than 10,000 species of ants, that is except in Antarctica. They are confused with termites but are actually close relatives of the bees and wasps. Their size range from .08 to 1 inch. They eat anything because like humans, they are omnivores. A single ant can lift 50 times its own weight. To give you a clear picture of how strong they are, imagine yourself lifting up a car and carrying it around. That is how strong they are. Most of their species are actually found in the tropical forests, where they make up around half of the insect population there. We may have seen millions inside the house as well as outside, but what we are seeing is just a small fraction of the total number of ants.
Ants are highly social insects. They communicate well with each other. This communication is essential to their survival; they always work as a team.
They live in colonies. For every colony, there is 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. Sometimes, she participates in the caring and grooming of her young. Initially, the queen has wings, which she sheds whenever she starts a new colony. The colony can survive for only a few months if the queen dies because when she dies, nobody else can reproduce the new eggs that would ensure the colony’s survival. The rest of the female ants in the colony are sterile and are therefore not capable of laying eggs. The life of the colony ends once the queen dies, as there would be no more new ants to replace the older ants who would eventually die too. In some species, there can be more than one queen.
The male ants sole purpose in life is to mate with the queen. They are also vital to the survival of the colony, but they do nothing else. After accomplishing their mission, they walk to the sunset and die.
The worker ants are sterile female ants. They yet they have similar physical attributes as the queen, only smaller in size. They do 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, and protect the nest. They even invade other colonies to get food and kidnap 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.
Colonies can last for several years, even decades. Normally, the colonies can last as long as there are queens. Some colonies have queens in waiting, and a new queen would replace the old queen when she dies. Sometimes, the colony stays in a single place in all of its existence, but evacuate when ants feel there is a threat or when they can no longer find any food source and look for a safer place.
Some species of ants are considered pests. While the majority of the 10,000 ant species live in the forests, some have found their way near human dwellings; this is where the problem occurs.
One surprising fact is that ants can easily match the termites in terms of damaging homes and buildings. In fact, ants can do more structural damage than termites.
Ants are very active in foraging for food. They have solitary ants always on the patrol for the food they can steal inside houses, buildings, warehouses, or restaurants. They are mostly attracted to sweets but seem to eat anything that is on our table. That solitary ant on the patrol would soon alert her companions in the colony, and a few minutes later they would be swarming all over your food.
And of course, ants bite. They bite even when unprovoked. No matter whether you are just sitting still if they happen to bump into you, they would bite you.
The value of ants
Amazingly, ants are effective in hunting down agricultural pests. Some farmers even use them as a surprising alternative to chemical pesticides to crops like sugarcane and cashews. The advantage of using ants is that they are more cost-effective; and since they are natural, they are much safer than chemicals.
Pests, in order to be exterminated, need to be poisoned. To do this, farmers would have put the poison on their crops. Surely, this would kill the pests, or at least repel them. The problem with this is that as we put poison on these crops, humans would be the ones who would consume this. This would soon take a toll on human health eventually.
Ants can be a key ally in controlling the pest population. Ants work very well with each other and collectively, they are great hunters.
One type of ants that farmers use in particular is the weaver ants, tree-dwelling ants that create ball-shaped nests using leaves and larval silk. They are very good protectors of cashew and mango trees.
Another thing that makes ants beneficial is that they prevent soil compaction. Soil compaction affects soil quality and productivity. Ants move soil around and help them become more fertile.
This is not to say that you should not do anything if ants get in your household. Your home is no place for them.
Ants are unwanted visitors inside our homes. They simply have no business being there. Here are some of the things you can do to get rid of these pests:
- Seal off cracks and openings because these are possible entry points for the ants.
- Put your food in sealed containers.
- Use a homemade pesticide. Put some dishwashing soap and water in a spray bottle. Spray the ants with this combination. This would dehydrate them enough to kill them.
- You may purchase diatomaceous earth. Diatomaceous earth is made from fossilized remains of diatoms. Choose food grade diatomaceous earth so that it will be safe around kids and pets. Sprinkle this around areas where you always find ants. You can purchase this from a local gardening store near you.
If ant infestation has become too big of a problem for you, then you need to call the professionals. Let Go-Forth Pest Control do the job for you.
The best pest control management in the Carolinas
Finding the best pest control management is important if you want to completely eradicate these troublesome pests in your home safely and efficiently. For their pest control needs, people from North and South Carolina trust only one name: Go-Forth Pest Control.
Go-Forth Pest Control is a family-owned company that has been around since 1959. They have excellent experience in exterminating pests, using the latest and most advanced technology in the business We have a team of expert professionals who can provide the best pest control services to residents and business establishments all throughout North and South Carolina. They also use family-friendly and pet-friendly methods of extermination, so you can rest easy knowing that your family is safe. You may check their social media like Facebook and Google to see what our satisfied customers can say about Go-Forth Pest Control, as we are the company with the highest rating there.
Go-Forth Pest Control has earned the trust of residents and business establishments in North Carolina for more than 50 years. For more information, or to set an appointment, you may dial 336-841-6111. Our friendly operators are standing by.