Ants are some of the most common and nuisance pests in American homes. They are similar to most species of wasps and bees in that they are social insects that form colonies where the members have defined roles. An ant colony can have several thousand ants to millions of ants, depending on the species. Most ants share a “hive mind” and work in unison for the colony, finding food, feeding the young, and protecting the colony. They also work together to find solutions to complex problems. Ants use their antennae to perceive odors, detect changes in air pressure, and feel vibrations and movement.
The pests can damage property, contaminate food, and become a nuisance to residents. Read on for more facts about ants and how to control an ant infestation.
There are many species of ants and they come in a variety of sizes, colors, shapes, mandible-sizes, head-sizes, and more. However, they all share some traits, there’s the head, thorax, and abdomen. This is one factor that separates ants from termites. These insects have six distinguishable legs and two pinchers that are used to construct nests and carry food. The queen ants are noticeably larger than worker ants and may also have wings. The queen ants live at the center of the nest and tend to have thicker and larger waist areas. Ants are usually brown, yellow, black, or red.
Ants are social insects that live in nested communities consisting of a queen, male, and female workers. The colonies come in all shapes and sizes. Some colonies comprise of only a few dozen ants, but the average colony contains thousands of individual ants. Ants make structured nests and build very elaborate chambers and tunnels to house food eggs, and their young underground. The species of ants determine their habitat. Their nests can be found in plants and trees, in wood structures, or in mounds outdoors.
Ants have been known to build their nests within lawns, in the cracks of pavement, or right near or beside homes. In the house, ants can construct their nests under appliances, in wood structures, or near a food source. Ants will become inactive during the winter months in colder regions and continue to be active in warmer temperatures.
These small insects can get into homes and buildings in many ways. Since they make their nests underground, ants can also use holes not easily visible from the outside. Small cracks in the foundation, and any openings in the exterior walls such as those made for drains, cables, and venting are some of the entryways used by ants. Ants will also get inside underneath front doors and garage doors.
Scout ants will explore new territory foraging for a good food source. And if they find a house will plenty of accessible food, they will leave a chemical trail for other ants to follow. Food crumbs spilled drinks, and trash attracts the pests.
Ants are considered pests because they are simply a nuisance, creating an unsightly spectacle as they crawl in pantry goods and travel across floors and walls. Ants can be destructive at times. For instance, carpenter ants create property damage by building their nests and tunnels in wooden structures, electronics, and lawns. Some species, such as Red Imported Fire Ants, will defend their nests if harassed. However, only a few species of ants have painful bites and stings.
Ants will walk across dead animals, through feces and other materials that they can transfer to food and cooking surfaces. What’s more, these insects will chew their way into food packages
Elimination of ant infestation requires proper identification of what type of ant you’re dealing with. Different control methods are required for certain species. Also, getting professionals to do the work ensures that the entire colony is removed and the ants do not come back. The control process starts with the removal of the food source followed by thorough inspection to find the origin of the ants. Tracking the trails that they follow can lead to the surface opening to the colony. Once the colony entrances are found, baits or non-repellents can be used.
Baits have an attractant that foraging ants think is food. The ants take the bait to the colony and share it with other ants. Homeowners usually notice an increase in ant activity because baits because more ants are being drawn in by the baits. The active ingredient in the bait is untraceable and usually slow-acting, which ensures the ants survive long enough to spread it through the colony until it reaches to the queen. As the colony begins to die off, there will be a progressive decline in ant activity.
Because non-repellents are undetectable, applying the liquid near or directly on the entrance area of the colony means the ants will pick up the products and carry them back inside the nest. Just like bait, this product takes advantage of the ants’ most endearing qualities: taking care of each other. As they groom each other and pass chemical for communication purposes, using a non-repellent insecticide lets the ants spread the intoxicants without knowing what they’re doing. Depending on the species being targeted, it may take several treatments to control the colony.
Ants are attracted by food, water, and shelter. This is why keeping your home free of spills and food debris is important in staving off ants. Ants will go after fruits, meat, starches, and anything they can consume to get energy and bring back some to the colony, as well. Ants are also known for seeking out sugary foods. Stopping ants can be tricky because they are relentless insects that will use all means to find a way into your home. But taking the following steps can help deter these pests and keep them out of your home:
Ants serve a vital purpose in the ecosystem. But when they invade your kitchen, garage, or yard, they can contaminate food with their foraging and may pose a health risk to your family. Contact SafeHaven Pest Control at (972) 382-6906 to get a solution tailored to your specific problem. Pest Control Companies are educated in interrupting the life cycle of ants to obtain elimination. Our specialists will provide an in-depth examination and effective solutions to eliminate ants and prevent them from returning.