ANTS MARCH INTO HOMES AS WEATHER WARMS
Franklin Pest Solutions Indiana encourages homeowners to take proactive steps to eliminate ants
Ants: The unwanted houseguests
There is one houseguest that no one wants, but nearly everyone gets – ants. And as the weather continues to warm, this pest will begin marching one-by-one indoors. Franklin Pest Solutions Indiana encourages homeowners to take the necessary steps to prevent ants from ruining their summer fun.
A recent study of pest professionals, conducted by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) has revealed that ants are the No. 1 nuisance pest in the United States and often become a problem during the warmer months as they venture indoors to look for food.
“Unfortunately, ants are more than just a household annoyance,” said David Sloop, branch manager at Franklin Pest Solutions Michigan City. “This pest can pose health risks and cause extensive property damage once inside the home.”
Carpenter ants can tunnel through wood to build nests inside structures. They are classified as wood destroying insects because of this. Unlike termites, carpenter ants chew through wood. They don’t actually eat it like the termite does. Carpenter ant nests contain more than 3,000 workers and just one queen per colony. Sometimes, satellite colonies are formed as the nest grows larger. This enables all of the ants to work together to forage for food and really thrive.
Moist, decaying wood and structural voids is their habitat of choice. It’s easy for them to chew through. Outdoors, you’ll find them in rotting tree stumps, logs in firewood piles, and damaged portions of trees. Indoors, they’ll stick closely to a water source. If you have a rotten wood window frame or a gutter leak issue that’s saturating your siding, this is what will attract them to your home.
One telltale sign of carpenter ant presence is sawdust (we call this frass). This is the chewed up wood they shove out of the tunnels as they burrow through. It contains dead ant body parts a lot of times. Sometimes, you can even hear carpenter ants chewing if you have a very active colony.
Carpenter Ant Facts & Characteristics:
- 1/4-1/2″ (7-13mm) long is the average size of a worker
- Bodies are black, dark brown, dark red, or any combo of these colors
- Three body parts (head, thorax and abdomen like all ants)
- Circular ring of hairs at end of abdomen
- Thorax and abdomen separated by a spike called a node
- No stinger, but powerful mandibles that could bite you if you aggravate them!
Odorous House Ants
Odorous house ants are known to contaminate food sources. Their colonies may contain up to 100,000 ants with many queens! These ants are notorious for creating “super colonies” where food, water, and offspring are exchanged between satellite colony locations. Inside, odorous house ants will nest in wall voids around water heaters, pipes, and in crevices around sinks and cabinets. Outside, nests are found in soil, usually underneath rocks or logs. They feed mostly on honeydew, plant secretions, and sometimes seeds and other insects. When these natural food sources are not readily available to support a growing colony, they’ll move toward indoor structures in hopes of finding other means to thrive.
Odorous House Ant Facts & Characteristics:
- 1/8 inch (3.5mm) long in size (they’re super tiny!!)
- Workers emit a rotten coconut-like odor when smashed (thus their name)
- Brown to black in color
- Three body parts (like all ants) with a hidden spike between the thorax and abdomen
- 12 segmented antennae
- No stinger
Pavement ants are (9 times out of 10) the tiny little ants you’ll see show up in your kitchen around your pet food dishes, your sink, or near some crumbs you left on the counter. These ants are opportunistic feeders that normaly nest outside in soil, Occasionally, they make their way indoors in walls, insulation, and under flooring. Pavement ants access interior structures by means of slab pipes (which is why they’re also known as “Slab” ants), cracks in cement, and natural openings such as crevices around windows and doors. If you’ve ever seen an ant hill in a sidewalk crack, these are the culprits!
Pavement Ant Facts & Characteristics:
- Leave scent trails so other ants can find food sources and swarm them quickly
- Forage up to 30 feet in trails from their colony site
- Feed on insects, honeydew, seeds and plant sap outdoors, but will eat meats, nuts, cheese, honey, breadcrumbs, and grease indoors
- Travel under edges of carpeting
- 1/8″ in size (as tiny as the odorous house ant!)
- Has two spiky nodes that separate their thorax and abdomens
- Has a stinger, but rarely uses it
- Light brown to black with lighter legs and antennae and a grooved texture on their heads
How to get rid of ants in the house
Luckily, a mixture of IPM tactics can effectively prevent and manage most ant infestations. There’s a great analogy that I like to use when educating people about trying to get rid of ants in the house using DIY products or methods.
Think of it this way: a lot of people don’t like going to the doctor, or they simply don’t have insurance to do so affordably. When you get sick, you’ll go grab a bottle of something from your nearest drug store and try that first. When it doesn’t work and you can’t take it anymore you’ll break down and go in to see a doc. They’ll prescribe something to you that you can’t get on a shelf at the drug store. And it works. And usually it works quickly. And BOOM. No more sickness.
It’s just like ant control. There are a lot of products readily available on the shelf at your local home improvement store. They all claim to get rid of ants. You’ll see baits, traps, aerosol sprays, and granules. But before you waste your money, think about your ultimate goal. Are you willing to spend $50 on DIY products and hope you got the right stuff? Or are you really looking for true peace of mind and no more ant problems?
No two species of ants are treatable in the same way. A carpenter ant treatment is not the same as the treatment you need for pavement (sugar) ants in your kitchen. Pest control professionals are here for a reason. We identify exactly what type of ant you have. Then we prescribe the right treatment, which includes prescription product placement, but also includes tips and advice for prevention that you just can’t get on the back of a can of Raid. We don’t just treat the symptoms of an ant infestation.
We solve the problem at the root source so you don’t have recurring issues!
Experts from the NPMA recommend the following tips to avoid ant infestations:
- Eliminate sources of moisture or standing water near a home.
- Keep tree branches and other shrubbery well trimmed and away from the house.
- Seal cracks and holes on the outside of the home.
- Store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house and five inches from the ground.
- Keep food in sealed containers and dispose of garbage regularly.
- Keep pet food and water dishes clean and remove any spilled food.
Looking for an ant exterminator Indiana?
If you suspect an ant infestation, contact a licensed pest professional to identify the species and recommend a course of treatment. It’s the smart thing to do. 🙂