BE FREE FROM ANTS THIS CHRISTMAS SEASON
Parties, family reunions, and food! Lots and lots of food! Everyone is shopping for gifts. People are getting their original holiday recipes ready. You can feel the love spread all throughout. It is the most wonderful time of the year. It is the holiday season after all.
The holiday season is obviously one of the best seasons for food. Christmas cookies, fruit cakes, puddings, cakes, hams. The bakers will be constructing their annual gingerbreads with frosting, candies, and more. They are all coming to your table this season.
Alas, humans are not the only ones happy at around this time. Among the many creatures, the ants will go marching with only one mission in mind: to get as many of the food on the table as they can. Christmas is a boon to these insects. And they are a bane to us.
We all very well know that ants are among the most hardworking creatures on the planet. While admirable, this trait is exactly what makes them so irritating to us humans.
Well, ants only become pests when they start to go near human dwellings. Most of their species live in the forest, where they do more good than harm. It is those that are here that we should be ready for.
Ants are common pests
What do ants do to us that make them such pests? They are the most prevalent pests in many American households. You can also spot them in restaurants, offices, warehouses, hotels, and anywhere there are humans; because where there are humans, there is food to be had somewhere.
Let us take into account what kind of nasty things ants can do to us.
- Ants bite. How many times has it happened to you when you were just sitting quietly on your couch watching television, and you suddenly feel a painful bite. It has probably happened to me thousands of times, and though these bites are not life-threatening, they still are painful. Of course, I get back at them with a crushing blow with my fingers. However, there are some species of ants that can be deadly, among these are the fire ants.
- Ants can cause short circuits because they have this penchant for gathering in areas where electric currents are present. This can cause fire risks and blackouts as they short circuit electrical appliances. This has happened to us a couple of times. Thus, ant prevention is definitely a must for each household.
- Ants can cause more structural damage to homes than termites can. One species, in particular, the carpenter ants, boreholes into the wood. Their damage cost Americans millions of dollars annually. They can also weaken the foundation of buildings when they decide to build nests under it.
- Ants raid homes. They break into our houses to build nests, and then to raid food. They eat anything, from foods that we eat to dead insects and whatever that is in our trash. Ants usually send out patrollers to scan the surroundings looking for food. Once a patroller finds something edible, it would only take a few minutes before hundreds of ants come. This becomes possible because of the pheromones that they release, and this guides the ants towards their comrades’ whereabouts.
- Ants can actually spread disease. Ants crawl everywhere in search of food. Due to this, they might be in the trash can at one point, then crawling on your table the nest. They may be carrying bacteria, so when they crawl on food that is left unsealed, bacteria may be transferred to it.
- Ants also have negative impacts on vegetation. Ants care and protect pests like aphids, mealybugs, whiteflies, and soft scales. Ants benefit from the honeydew that these insects produce, but those insects damage plants. Ants themselves are responsible for destroying more plants than any other insects on the planet. They cause almost a billion dollars of damage to the crop industry yearly.
According to bug exterminator near me, the first thing to do to minimize, or even neutralize the damaging effects of ants is to learn how to identify them.
Ants belong to the insect order Hymenoptera with Formicidae as their scientific name. Ants are close relatives of the bees and wasps. There are more than 10,000 identified species of ants, and they can be found all throughout the world, except in Antarctica. They are small insects, their size range from .08 to 1 inch and are omnivores, They are also known for their strength, as they can lift objects that are 50 times their own weight. It is equivalent to a human lifting a car.
Ants are usually confused with termites. There are some characteristics that can help tell them apart. If you look at their waists, ants have narrowings at the waist while termites do not. Ants have elbowed antennae, while termites have theirs straight.
Ants are highly social insects and live in a colony. They communicate well with each other and work as a team. A colony is led by a queen. A colony may have one or more queens, depending on the species of ants. The queen ant’s role is to lay as many eggs as she can to ensure that the colony survives. Initially, the queen has wings, which she would eventually shed after she finds a suitable site to start a new colony. A queen can live for years. If a queen dies, the colony may soon die after, unless there are other queens in the colony. The rest of the female ants in the colony are sterile so they are not capable of laying eggs. Some colonies last for several years.
The colony has males, who do nothing much except to mate with the queen. Come to think of it, they are also vital to the colony’s survival. After mating with the queen, they die soon after.
The females become workers. They are sterile and cannot have offspring. The female worker ants do all the hard work for the colony, including protecting it from enemies, foraging for food, feeding the colony, keeping the nest clean, caring for the newly hatched ants. They also attack other colonies and raid their food and get the eggs. They raise the eggs and turn them into their next batch of workers.
Common types of ants
Carpenter ants – They are rivaled only by termites when it comes to destroying structures, costing Americans millions of dollars every year. Since their choice of a nesting site is wood, carpenter ants are considered very destructive. They build their nests inside damp and dead wood, qualities that are very attractive to them. That is how they cause huge structural damages. In fact, not even the termites can beat them in terms of most damages caused. Unlike termites, carpenter ants do not eat wood. They just boreholes and build tunnels. Look for them around the windows, roof eaves, and porches since these areas are damp and are the most exposed to moisture. In the forests, they are beneficial insects because they excavate wood. This helps in the decomposition of organic matter in the forests.
Crazy ants – They move around crazily without direction when disturbed, hence the name crazy ants. They do not bite but are considered nuisance pests. Crazy ants can crawl long distances in search of food. They build their nests indoors and outdoors. They can choose from dry or damp sites for their nests. They can be found in hollow trees, rotten wood, under stones, under logs, among the rubbish, and in debris. pests.
Argentine ants – Argentine ants are one of the most common ant species in the United States. They nest in and outside the homes. They enter a house in search of food and water, making them a real nuisance. These ants will set up their nests on the ground, in cracks on the wall, and in holes in the house. Outside the house, they live under rocks, or among leaf litter. Argentine ants are not capable of digging deep in the ground to build nests, but are very opportunistic and will take over abandoned ants’ nests.
European fire ants – This type of ants is one of the world’s most invasive ant species. They nest in gardens, lawns, under the rock, or wood debris. During the cold months they are found in the bathroom, under the bathtubs, or in the heaters, so watch out for them right now. They sting when disturbed. There are multiple queens in their colonies.
Keep them away from this Christmas
To keep them away, keep your food inside sealed containers. After eating, wipe off any food residue and drink spills. You would not know when one of these ant patrollers are crawling around searching for food.
Seal off cracks and openings by caulking because these are possible entry points for the ants.
And if you need help, call the best pest control experts in North Carolina, Go-Forth Pest Control. Go-Forth Pest Control has a team of expert professionals with excellent experience in exterminating pests, so you can have a Christmas season free from worries.