What You Need to Know About Ants
May 12, 2016
Are ants taking over your kitchen? Do you feel like your house is on an ant hill? Have you tried EVERYTHING you could find on the internet to get rid of them?
We get more calls for ants during the spring and summer than almost any other pest; some people even deal with ants during the winter. With over 14,000 ant species in the world, the 3 most common ants we deal with in our area are pavement ants, carpenter ants and odorous house ants. Though each type of ant is different than the other, they are all a nuisance and some can even be damaging to your home.
Odorous house ants and pavement ants generally live on the exterior of our homes in soil but can come inside to forage for food. Since these ant colonies can contain more than 100,000+ ants, they can be very difficult to deal with. These types of ants will eat almost anything including, bread crumbs, meat, cheese, fruit and anything sweet. They both can also be drawn to any open water sources. These are normally the ants people deal with in their kitchen and bathrooms in the spring and summer.
In the case of carpenter ants, they live in wood. It could be the dead tree in your back yard, an old stump, a fence post or in your home. They don’t eat and digest the wood like a termite does, rather they chew out a section of the wood to live in and then evacuate the shaving known as “frass”. They are especially drawn to older, water damaged wood as it is easier for them to chew through. Carpenter ants are mostly a nocturnal pest, leaving the shelter of their nest to forage for food outside. Because of this, if very possible for people to have a serious problem with them and have no idea. They often will branch out and create multiple colonies in a home with the larger parent colony somewhere on the property. Since the queen carpenter ants can live up to 25 years, it’s very important that this particular ant is handled correctly.
When ants enter or exit your home to forage, they leave behind a pheromone trail to mark where they have been and as a pathway for other ants to follow. Have you ever gone to the hardware store and bought a can of “ant spray” hoping that if you spray enough of your house, you’ll never deal with ants again? The problem with that is this; ants can detect most of the products you can buy from a retail outlet. Because of this, they simply avoid these treated areas and just find a different way into the house. This may take some time, which is why the problem will seem to improve temporarily but at some point they end up coming back; often in a different area because their old paths are no longer an option for them. You will generally only kill the ants you spray directly with a product like this, so the 25 ants you furiously sprayed in your mulch bed, hoping that you “killed the nest”, was just a drop in the bucket.
Ants are determined, resourceful and colony minded! The best things you can do to minimize your risk of getting them inside is to seal up any cracks in the foundation, trim back any tree branches touching the house or roof, eliminate standing water sources, cleaning up any spills or crumbs in the kitchen quickly and relocating any wood or building material that was up against the house. If you feel that you have a problem with any of these ants and you have tried all of these things, please contact us. We use the best products available in our industry and will fully guarantee our A+ rated award winning service.
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Ant Identification Guide
ID some of the most prevalent ant species in the region with this full-color guide.