ABOUT ANTS



Although there are thousands of ant species across the globe, only a small number of these make nuisances of themselves in homes and offices across Bristol. Unfortunately, some of these are more than a nuisance. In the case of carpenter ants, they can be incredibly destructive.

No one likes to discover a line of ants marching across a floor, table or countertop. They may bring dirt and bacteria with them, creating the need for constant cleaning. Moreover, they are capable of contaminating food supplies that are intended for people or pets. Additional concerns also may be associated with common ant species such as the citronella ant, the odorous house ant, the pavement ant and the thief ant. This is because they are known to cause destruction in gardens and to destabilize patios, walkways and paving stones.

The only effective way to deal with an ant infestation is by completely destroying the nest. With the skills, knowledge and tools at the disposal of a professional Bristol exterminator, it is possible to get rid of ants for good.

APPEARANCE



All ants are insects with six legs. Additionally, they are equipped with a pair of antennas that operate much like the human nose in that they enable the ant to smell. Most ants that are frequently seen in the Bristol area are either brown or black, which can make it difficult to distinguish among the various species.

Carpenter ants are by far the largest ants in the region. Workers, which are equipped with wings, may range anywhere from three-and-a-half to 13 millimeters in length. Black and brown are common colors, but workers alternatively may be red or yellow. They also have a heart-shaped head.

Adult citronella ants may be just six millimeters or shorter. The most frequently seen members of the species are the workers, which are yellowish in color. One of their more distinctive characteristics is the lemon smell that they emit when they are crushed.

Odorous house ants typically are less than three-and-a-half millimeters long. Their bodies are black or brown, and they give off a smell like rotting coconuts when they are crushed underfoot.

Pavement ants are distinctive because their legs usually are a lighter color than their brown or black bodies. However, at just two-and-a-half to three millimeters in length, this can be difficult to see.

Thief ants are among the smallest ant species in Bristol. Measuring one-and-a-half to two millimeters in length, the thief ant's body may be either yellow or brown. They get their name from their practice of taking pupae and larvae from other ant colonies.

HABITATS



Underground burrows provide the most natural habitat for most of Bristol's ant species. An underground location protects the colony from predators and the elements. Ideally, the nest is located close to sources of food and water. Nests generally include a series of interconnected tunnels and several chambers.

The nest may be located in any of a number of locations. Within the roots of a tree or beneath a fallen log are likely spots as are piles of yard debris.

Carpenter ants have different habitat requirements. They prefer to tunnel into wood to build their nest. Damp, rotting wood is preferred for easier excavation. This habit may be detrimental to the structural integrity of a building.

DIET



Sugars and proteins contain all of the nutrients that ants need. Typical food sources include aphid-secreted honeydew and other insects, both living and dead.

People also eat sugars and proteins in various forms, which means that many foods that are intended for human consumption are irresistible to ants. This includes honey, syrup, jam, peanut butter, fruits, vegetables, salad dressings, barbecue sauce and many other items. Pet food also may be carried away for consumption in the nest.


PROBLEMS WITH ANTS



Carpenter ants are the biggest cause for concern among Bristol property owners. Their nesting habits can be destructive, particularly if the infestation is not discovered for a period of years. Significant repairs may be necessary.

Other problems that are associated with ants are less destructive but scarcely less irritating. Ants are exceptionally good at finding new sources of food. They may do so in garbage cans and other unsavory places before wending their way across a kitchen counter or table. Food that they infest is likely contaminated and must be thrown away.

Additionally, the underground nesting habits of otherwise nuisance ant species can cause problems in gardens and with patios, sidewalks, driveways and more. Some stones may become unsafe to walk on, and the nest will have to be eradicated before repairs can be made.

BEHAVIOR



Ant colonies may be active both night and day, especially when the colony is particularly large. The need to search for and bring food back to the nest is ongoing. When ants discover a food source, they lay down a powerful trail of pheromones for other members of the colony to follow. This makes it easy to exploit a pantry or cupboard to the fullest extent. Eradicating this pheromone trail is essential to ending an infestation and ensure that there is no recurrence.

HEALTH ISSUES



Fortunately, the ants that are commonly found in Bristol are not known to transmit any kind of illness or disease to people through bites. Food poisoning is another matter. Ants wander far and wide in search of food and water, leading them to many undesirable locations. They track large amounts of contaminants with them everywhere they go, so food poisoning is relatively common when an infestation is underway.


SIGNS OF ANT INFESTATION



The following signs may indicate an ant control issue:

A line of ants found in a kitchen or pantry
The emergence of flying ants either within or just outside a building
Small piles of sand, soil or wood shavings close to foundations or walkways
Perpetually damp wood that may attract carpenter ants

PREVENTION TIPS



To help prevent ant problems, the following precautions should be taken:

Cover up or seal all cracks and holes in exteriors
Do not leave food on counters or tables
Seal all food in metal or glass containers
Fix water leaks when they are discovered
Do not use untreated or unpainted wood on the property

ANT CONTROL



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 Bristol area home and business owners with successful ant eradication and 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.

FREQUENTLY ASKED ANT CONTROL QUESTIONS

 

DOES DIY ANT CONTROL WORK?

DOES DIY ANT CONTROL WORK?

Many people try DIY ant control before calling an exterminator. Ants seem like such a basic, common pest, that it seems reasonable that they would be easy to control. The reality is far more complicated.

One of the main reasons why DIY ant control methods fail is that they use the wrong kind of bait. Several ant species are commonly found in the area, and they all have their own behavior and habits. They also follow their own diets. If a bait does not appeal to the species of ant that is responsible for the infestation, it is destined to fail.

This may seem counterintuitive, but another reason why a DIY ant control product does not seem to be effective may be because it is working too quickly. This may be the case when the homeowner is confronted with numerous dead ants yet does not see a slowdown in the number of ants invading their property. Ideally, the bait kills slowly so that the ants have time to take it back to the nest where it can do maximum damage. Unless the colony is wiped out, the problem will simply continue.

In some cases, the bait that is used may not be sufficient to kill the colony. Some ant colonies may have thousands of members, and reproduction can happen with shocking speed. If the bait depletes too quickly, then the colony may be able to produce more new members than are being killed by the poison.

Homeowners who are really dedicated to the idea of enjoying an ant-free house are encouraged to contact a professional ant exterminator at once. With their ability to accurately identify ant species and their knowledge of ant nesting behavior, it is far easier for an exterminator to deal with the problem. Moreover, the exterminator knows precisely what sort of bait to use for each ant species.

IS IT POSSIBLE TO CONTROL ANTS IN THE YARD?

IS IT POSSIBLE TO CONTROL ANTS IN THE YARD?

It is possible to control ants in yards, but it is not always necessary to do so. In fact, ants can be a beneficial species in the garden. They provide natural control of other pests and they are unintentional pollinators. Ecosystems may be healthier thanks to the soil aeration that ants provide, and ants are instrumental in the decomposition of decaying plant matter.

However, having ants in the garden is not always good news. Many ant species are notorious for "farming" aphids. An aphid is an insect that secretes honeydew after feeding on sap from plants. Aphids are hazardous to gardens, and with ants providing care for them, their numbers can grow. Overall, this can have a detrimental effect.

By far the biggest concern is the carpenter ant with its habit of building a nest in wooden structures. They can cause extensive damage that could cost thousands of dollars to repair. A suspected carpenter ant infestation, even if it has not made its way to any structures yet, is certainly worthy of nipping in the bud as soon as possible.

People who find an ant infestation in their yard that concerns them are advised to contact an exterminator immediately. The exterminator can identify the species and provide recommendations regarding whether or not the colony needs to be destroyed.

HOW CAN PEOPLE GET RID OF ANTS IN THEIR CAR?

HOW CAN PEOPLE GET RID OF ANTS IN THEIR CAR?

For many people, discovering ants in their car is like something out of a horror movie. Moreover, these discoveries tend to happen at the most inopportune moment, such as when the car owner is running late for work. It is a baffling situation, and the person has to wonder why ants would bother to get into a car in the first place.

The answer is that the ants are doing what they always do: Looking for food. Ants typically do not look to cars when they want to establish a new colony. Instead, they are simply looking for an additional food source to keep all of the colony members fed.

Many people have eaten more than a few meals in their cars. No matter how careful they are, spills and crumbs are inevitable. With the ant's innate ability scent food wherever it may be, they will soon move in on those crumbs.

The car owner can take steps to get rid of the problem. Moving the car to a spot farther away from the ants' nest makes sense as does clearing all trash from the car. A thorough vacuuming of the car's interior is in order, and it may make sense to clean the tires and wheels too. An ant control professional may need to be called to take care of the colony before it can find another inappropriate food source.

WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO GET RID OF ANTS OUTSIDE?

WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO GET RID OF ANTS OUTSIDE?

It is an unfortunate reality that it is virtually impossible to end an insect problem without destroying the colony. Knowing the location of the nest may make getting rid of the colony faster and more effective. Of course, if an exterminator is on the job, he can ensure that the appropriate bait is used so that it can be carried back to the colony. He also may identify the nest's location if he believes that additional control methods may be advisable.

The most highly recommended way to get rid of ants outside is with the assistance of an exterminator. This way, homeowners can be confident that the pest has been correctly identified, which means that the proper, and most effective, control methods can be employed.

These control methods are effective on the worker ants that are seen outside the nest and the colony members that never leave the nest. This ensures that the colony is eradicated, and that is the only way to put an end to the infestation.

When an exterminator performs this service, homeowners can rest assured that the methods used are safe for people, animals and the environment. Nonetheless, these methods are powerful enough to eliminate the problem.

HOW CAN PEOPLE GET RID OF ANTS IN THE WALL?

HOW CAN PEOPLE GET RID OF ANTS IN THE WALLS?

Ants are small and determined, which can lead them to be found in some incredibly out-of-the-way places such as inside the walls of a home. Such infestations can be extremely difficult to eliminate as access to the nest may be poor. In some situations, the nest cannot even be located.

Fortunately, a licensed pest control technician understands ant behavior. This makes it easier for them to determine where a nest might be located. Ants that are nesting inside walls are of particular concern because there is a strong possibility that they are carpenter ants. These destructive pests can cause a great deal of damage to any wood in the structure.

When ants are discovered inside walls, the exterminator is likely to use baiting to attract the ants so that they will take the poison back to their nest. A particularly bad infestation may call for the drilling of small holes in the wall and then the application of a powdered poison. The exterminator will present all available control methods to the homeowner so that an informed decision regarding treatment can be made.

 
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