Only a few of the known 12,000 ant species are found in Bristol area. Most are relatively harmless. Nonetheless, homeowners are extremely troubled when they discover a line of ants marching across their kitchen counter or invading the food in their pantry. The problem may be even more serious when carpenter ants are the suspected culprits. This species is known for burrowing into wood, which can cause extensive structural damage.
Odorous house ants, pavement ants, and carpenter ants all are familiar pests to exterminators in Bristol. A single member of a colony may leave behind a powerful pheromone trail when a food source is discovered. Unless this scent trail is obliterated and the nest destroyed, ant problems can become chronic in homes and businesses.
Most of the ants that are frequently found within the Bristol area are quite small, measuring much less than one-half inch in length. They all have a pair of antennae and six legs. Brown and black are common colors, all of which means that it can be difficult to distinguish one species of ant from another.
Exterminators may be able to identify pavement ants by the parallel lines that are found on the thoraxes and heads of these insects. Additionally, their legs tend to exhibit a lighter color than their bodies. Odorous house ants are mainly distinguished by the smell of rotting coconut that is emitted when they are crushed. Carpenter ants are far larger than any of these other species. Their heart-shaped heads and round profiles further distinguish them from other area ants.
Most ant species prefer underground nesting areas as these provide adequate shelter from the elements and protection from predators. Other ant species are more likely to nest well away from human habitations within the root system of a tree or beneath a fallen log. Still, if ants find a likely nesting location that is close to a building, they will establish a colony there. Carpenter ants present the biggest cause for concern, as they tunnel into damp, rotting or untreated wood. Left untreated, these tunnels can cause wholesale structural damage.
An ant colony can provide an effective means of pest control with their appetite for protein. They eat a wide variety of insects on a regular basis, which makes them a desirable species as long as their colonies are located well away from human habitations. Additionally, most ant species require sugar in their diets. This is frequently obtained from the substance called honeydew, which is produced by aphids.
Proteins and sugars are major factors in the human diet as well. This means that ants are irresistibly attracted to numerous foods that are intended for people. From meat to candy, many foods are vulnerable. This includes fruits and vegetables as well as sodas and juices.
PROBLEMS WITH ANTS
Ants are, at a minimum, an annoyance in kitchens. They march across tables and countertops in a methodical attempt to gather food to feed the colony. With them, they trail all sorts of bacteria and germs. These toxins are transferred to surfaces in the kitchen and pantry as well as onto food items. People may become ill from exposure to these substances.
The ant nest itself may be a hazard if it is placed beneath a paving stone, walkway or patio. A large nest may destabilize the rock, making it uneven.
However, the biggest problem posed by ants comes from the carpenter ant. This species chews into all sorts of wood, potentially causing structural problems that can only be fixed with expensive repairs.
Ants are highly social creatures that live in large colonies consisting of thousands or even millions of members. Most of their time is spent underground or in sheltered areas where predators are unlikely to see them. The common ant species in Bristol are not aggressive toward people or animals. Instead, they remain intent on the necessity of keeping the colony fed.
The people most likely to experience adverse health effects as a result of the presence of an ant infestation have asthma or allergy issues. This is especially true in the case of a carpenter ant infestation. These determined, tunneling insects leave a wake of tiny particles behind them. When these particles encounter heating, cooling and vent systems, they may be released into the air.
Intestinal and stomach issues also may arise with an ant infestation. This is because the ants trail germs and bacteria into people's homes and their food. These illnesses may be uncomfortable, but they are rarely life-threatening.
SIGNS OF ANT INFESTATION
Ant control may be necessary if these signs are noticed:
• Ants clustered around a foundation or the exterior wall of a building
• A line of ants walking across a table or counter
• Finding ants in or around food
• Rustling sounds coming from behind walls
• Small sand piles around pavement
• Mounds of wood shavings near building foundations
In an effort to prevent an ant infestation in your Bristol home or business, SafeGuard Pest Control, LLC suggests these actions:
• Seal all cracks and holes in building exteriors
• Do not leave food sitting on counters or tables
• Immediately place dirty dishes in the dishwasher
• Promptly wipe up liquid spills and crumbs
• Store all food in containers with tight lids
• Place tight lids on garbage cans
• Do not allow wood to be perpetually wet
• Do not use unfinished wood
Although many ant infestations cause little real harm, they are still annoying and unsanitary. This makes the services of an ant exterminator a necessity. Home and business owners are encouraged to seek the help of a professional technician as many do-it-yourself remedies are ineffective and may be unsafe if they are not used correctly.
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.