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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.