Not only are ant infestations among the most common form of pest problem but also they are among the most persistent. One reason for this is that people often due not take ants seriously enough.
Too often people seeing ants in their Bucks County area homes believe that they can out an end to the problem by merely vacuuming up the ants. However, ants lay down a trail of pheromones that their confederates follow. Moreover, because the ants' means of access to the building has not been eliminated, these and other pests are free to continue entering.
To properly solve ant issues involving acrobat ants, citronella ants, odorous ants, pavement ants and citronella ants typically require help from a professional pest control provider. With the use of specialized products, implementation of exclusionary techniques and addition of prevention techniques, it is possible to keep ants away.
Acrobat ants have heart-shaped abdomens that they lift up over their heads when they believe they are endangered. Either black or brown, most ants of this species measure one-eighth of an inch.
Although citronella ants are similarly sized, their characteristics are distinct. Not only are their bodies yellowish but also they emit a lemon-like smell when they are crushed.
Odorous ants also give off an unusual smell when crushed, but it is more similar to rotting coconut. This species is similar in size to acrobat ants and citronella ants, and they have brown or black bodies.
Pavement ants are comparable in size at about one-eighth of an inch. Moreover, they are almost always either black or brown. Their legs are a slightly lighter hue.
Carpenter ants may be identified by their size, which can reach approximately five-eighths of an inch. Members of this destructive species may be brown, black or red.
Most of the common ant species that are found in the area prefer to construct underground nests. Used year after year, it is possible for these nests to become complex and large. In fact, some of the nests become so overpopulated that a segment of the colony breaks away to establish another nest. This means that the number of the ants will increase exponentially, exacerbating the problem.
Loose soil generally is preferred for excavating a nest because it is easier to tunnel through. Any area with exposed soil is vulnerable to infestation, and this can include gardens and lawns that are stressed or sparse. Nests also may be established alongside driveways, patios, decks and foundations.
Carpenter ants have different nesting requirements. Instead of soil, they chew through damp or rotting wood to build a nest. Working under cover of darkness, these wooden nests can sometimes become large. Rotting tree stumps and fallen trees may provide this habitat in the wild, but carpenter ants will nest in fences, decks, indoor and outdoor furniture, railings, subfloors, walls, support joists and building frames, causing massive damage.
The majority of ants require protein and sugar in their diet. Protein is acquired by consuming other insects, many of which are considered pests by property owners. Sugar is obtained by eating honeydew, which is produced by aphids, and plant nectar.
Ants frequently seek human food to supplement their diet. This is why they may be found at barbecues and picnics or trooping up to an outdoor garbage can in which food has been deposited. When ants can get indoors, they forage in kitchens and pantries for foods like honey, syrup, jam, fruit, vegetables, meat, soda, juice, pet food and other protein- or sugar-containing foods.
PROBLEMS WITH ANTS
Some pests, like rodents, are infamous for their destructive tendencies. This generally is not the case with most of the local ant species. Nonetheless, a sizable underground nest may be responsible for destabilizing a stepping stone in the garden or depositing piles of sand-like soil across driveways, sidewalks and pathways.
The main problem with most ants is that they are so determined to raid kitchens and pantries. This species is equipped with an incredibly keen sense of smell, which unerringly guides them to food sources, even if that food consists of just a few crumbs or a small spill of juice.
Ants are efficient workers, laying down pheromone trails to guide their colony mates to a food source. The march of ants does not stop until the access is barred and the pheromone trail is obliterated.
Carpenter ants do cause additional difficulties because of their habit of tunneling through wood. It is possible for them to hollow out pieces of wood, and if that wood is supporting a building, then extensive repairs are required. Every year, homeowners are forced to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars to repair the damage that carpenter ants cause.
With thousands or millions of colony members, ants are highly social insects. They work in perfect coordination, communicating frequently about where to find food. This means that cupboards can be raided with ruthless efficiency, and it is not unusual for such problems to persist as these pests work their way through one pantry item to another.
The ants that commonly are found in kitchens are the colony's workers. These individuals are wingless females who do not reproduce. Not only do workers forage for food but also they are responsible for taking care of young and building and maintaining the nest.
A single, winged queen generally does not leave the nest. Her responsibility is to produce young to propagate the colony. The other colony members are the males, and their only responsibility is to impregnate the queen. Once they have fulfilled this task, they quickly die.
People may not get sick if an ant bites or stings them, but food poisoning remains a significant threat in any home where ants are invading. This is because ants venture into unsavory places as they look for food. Before coming into a kitchen, they may have traveled through garbage cans, animal carcasses, oil spills on roadways, sewers and drains.
Along the way, they pick up germs, bacteria and all manner of filth. These items are carried with ants into kitchens and the food that is found there. The result is food poisoning with symptoms like nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
Carpenter ants represent an additional threat because they tunnel into wood. This behavior releases particles into the air, which can exacerbate asthma and allergy symptoms.
SIGNS OF ANT INFESTATION
The following signs may indicate an ant control issue:
• Ants found in the house
• Pet or people food covered in ants
• Tiny piles of sand or sawdust on the property
To help prevent ant problems, the following precautions should be taken:
• Keep gutters and downspouts clear
• Clean garbage cans
• Use glass or metal containers with lids to store food
• Clean up spills and crumbs
• Place all dirty dishes in the dishwasher
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 Bucks County 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.