Ants Are The #1 Pest Issue Don't let ants take over your home or office.
Ant infestations are among the most common and persistent of all pest control issues for Bensalem area homes and businesses. These infestations are common because of the number of ant species that are found in the area and because ants live in large colonies.
Almost everything about the biology and habits of species such as the acrobat ant, carpenter ant, citronella ant, odorous ant and pavement ant seems designed to ensure their survival.
Compounding the problem is the fact that most DIY ant control treatments are not comprehensive enough to eliminate the problem. Pest management professionals pursue a multi-pronged approach to ant control that not only deals with the current infestation but also helps to guard against future problems.
Acrobat ants received their unusual name because of their practice of lifting their heart-shaped abdomens over their heads when they are alarmed. With black or brown bodies, most adults of this species measure just one-eighth of an inch long.
In addition to being more destructive than other species, carpenter ants are larger at about five-eighths of an inch. Typically brown or black, it may be possible to spot red carpenter ants.
When a citronella ant is stepped on, they emit a distinctive citrus smell. Their yellowish bodies, which may range from one-eighth to three-sixteenths of an inch, further distinguish them from other species.
Black or brown odorous ants emit a smell like rotting coconut when they are stepped on. Like other ant species, must adults in these colonies are just one-eighth of an inch.
Pavement ants are similar to odorous ants in size and coloring. However, upon close observation, you may see that their legs are a lighter color than their torsos.
Most of the ant species that are common to this region prefer underground nests. Loose soil is the easiest to excavate, and some species use the same nest year after year. Consequently, these nests can become larger and more elaborate with each passing season.
Ant nests may be placed almost anywhere. A convenient fallen tree or large rock may prove the ideal cover for concealing an entrance. Frequently, nests are located in fields or gardens. Some nests are found next to foundations or are burrowed into the soil between paving stones or at the edges of driveways, patios and decks.
When a colony becomes too large, some members may break away to establish a new nest. As both colonies begin producing offspring, ant infestations can become difficult to manage.
Carpenter ants have different nesting habits as they prefer to burrow into damp, damaged wood to construct nests. This species also is the most destructive ant species, and their nest may be located within human habitations in spots such as support joists, wall frames, floors, door frames and wall voids.
Protein and sugar are the staple items in the diet of most ants. In the wild, ants eat other insects to procure protein, which means that they do perform some natural pest control. Sweet substances like the honeydew that is secreted by aphids and nectar from blooming plants and trees also commonly are consumed.
With their natural attraction for protein and sugar, it is not surprising that ants so frequently invade kitchens and pantries. Meat, condiments, peanut butter, jam, syrup, honey, fruit, vegetables and pet food are just a few examples of the other foods that ants may eat.
PROBLEMS WITH ANTS
Most of the local ant species are not known for destroying property. Nonetheless, they will take advantage of, and exacerbate, problems in building exteriors. This means that they may use a gap in a window frame or a crack in a foundation to get into a building.
Once inside, they begin foraging for food, using a powerful sense of smell to guide them. Ants that find a food source lay down a trail of pheromones for other colony members to follow. Unless this trail is obliterated and the means of access is covered, ants will continue to use it to enter the building.
Carpenter ants do cause property damage every year. In fact, it is not unusual for homes and businesses to sustain hundreds or even thousands of dollars in damage when a carpenter ant infestation is underway. While they generally are not quite as destructive as termites, carpenter ants still may have an adverse effect on a building's structural integrity or destroy household goods.
In general, ants are social insects that live in large colonies that may have millions of members. Capable of methodical and coordinated behavior, ants cooperate with each other to complete tasks like building a nest, foraging for food and caring for young.
Primary responsibilities for each member of the colony vary depending upon their caste. Queens typically are the largest colony members, and they frequently have wings. They may be the only ant in the nest that mates.
Workers usually are females that do not reproduce and instead are responsible for caring for offspring, gathering food and building the nest.
Like the queen, male ants have wings. Their only role is to mate, and they die shortly after this act.
Fortunately, the ants that typically are found locally do not transmit illnesses with a bite or a sting. In fact, biting or stinging attacks by ants are rare, though they do occur.
Nonetheless, ants may be responsible for a number of health concerns. Foremost among these concerns is food poisoning. Ants are careless about where they forage for food and other supplies, leading them into animal carcasses, sewers, drains and other unsanitary places.
Their wandering causes them to pick up germs, bacteria and dirt that are then redistributed in subsequent foraging. Some of these contaminants may find their way into food that is eaten by people. Alternatively, an ant walking across a food preparation surface also may elevate the risks of food poisoning.
Carpenter ants sometimes are responsible for an additional health problem. This is because of their habit of burrowing into wood. Tiny sawdust particles may be released into the air, impairing air quality and leading to an increase in allergy and asthma symptoms.
SIGNS OF ANT INFESTATION
The following signs may indicate an ant control issue:
• Lines of ants marching across the kitchen • Ants swarming over pet food or food in a pantry • Buckling floors or sagging walls may indicate a carpenter ant problem • Tiny piles of sawdust, soil or sand on the property
To help prevent ant problems, the following precautions should be taken:
• Prevent foliage from touching building exteriors • Repair holes and cracks in building exteriors • Fix plumbing and irrigation leaks • Keep garbage cans clean • Wipe up crumbs and spills • Do not let dirty dishes sit in sinks • Put pet food out only at meals
Effective ant control requires a thorough inspection of the building to locate all existing nests, identify the type of ant involved, locate entry points, and determine the best type of treatment.
SafeGuard Pest Control, LLC has been serving Bensalem area home and business owners with successful pest control for over 20 years. Our trusted, licensed exterminators can identify the pest and implement immediate treatment so that everyone in the home or office can regain peace of mind.