This pest is among the most numerous animal species on Earth. While in the midst of an ant infestation, it is easy for property owners to feel like most of these insects are residing with them.
Odorous house ants, pavement ants and carpenter ants cause problems for Warwick homes and businesses. Once an ant finds a food source, a pheromone trail is established. This signals to colony members that they should follow this trail. Without erasing this trail and removing the nest, it is virtually impossible to keep ants out.
It is not always easy for the average person to distinguish one ant species from another. This is especially true since many of the common ants in Warwick share characteristics like have six legs and a pair of antennae.
Odorous house ants are tiny. Most adults measure one one-eighth or three-sixteenths of an inch long. Their coloration is dark brown or black, but the best way to identify them is from the rotting coconut smell that is released when they are crushed.
Pavement ants are slightly larger at one-quarter of an inch. Like odorous house ants, pavement ants generally are brown or black. However, their legs tend to be a shade or two lighter than their bodies.
Carpenter ants are even bigger, with many adults measuring one-half inch long. Similar black or brown coloration is sometimes varied by red and yellow. This species is further distinguished from others by the bend in their antennae.
The preferred habitat of the carpenter ant is of particular concern to property owners. This is because this species seeks wet, rotting or unfinished wood in which to dig tunnels. These tunnels, and the galleries that branch off of them, provide the carpenter ant with a place to live and raise their young. Although their appetite for destroying wood is not as bad as that of the termite, carpenter ants can cause considerable structural damage.
Pavement ants and odorous house ants cause problems along sidewalks, patios, driveways and foundations when they build their underground nests. Members of these species look for cracks and holes that they can use as access to the area beneath pavers and concrete, which provide safe and protected places to nest.
Most species of ant need proteins and sugars. Protein typically is provided by insects, living and dead. Aphids secrete honeydew, which is a sweet liquid that satisfies the ants' craving for sweets.
Since people consume both proteins and sugars, it follows that ants are attracted to many foods that are intended for humans. Ants may show up at a picnic or barbecue where they dine on meats cooked in sauces, sodas, desserts, fruits and vegetables. When it is possible to get inside a building, ants will look for access to similar foods, such as when fruit or crumbs are left on a countertop.
PROBLEMS WITH ANTS
Odorous house ants and pavement ants are mainly nuisances in that they tend not to cause massive problems. However, many people are disturbed by the thought of having ants in the places where they live and work. These species also pose the risk of spreading foodborne illnesses by contaminating human food with bacteria. Any food that has been attacked by ants should be thrown away.
Carpenter ants pose a potentially bigger problem because of their wood-tunneling habit. When caught early, an infestation will probably not cause a great deal of damage. Nonetheless, because most of the carpenter ant's work is done out of sight of humans, years may pass before an infestation is discovered.
Unlike in other parts of the world where ant species may bite and sting, ants throughout Warwick and Pennsylvania are not aggressive, though they may be capable of biting. Ants generally show little awareness of people and pets, intent as they are on ensuring the colony's survival. Workers are constantly on the search for reliable food sources, so they may be sent scouting quite a distance from the nest. If they find food, then they lay down a pheromone trail that is easy for others to follow.
No evidence shows that these common ants transmit illnesses to people. However, this does not necessarily mean that they are harmless. They can contaminate any food that they contact. This is because ants travel everywhere in search of sustenance, include animal carcasses and garbage cans. Their explorations can introduce bacteria and other harmful substances to food that is meant for people and pets.
People with respiratory issues may have increased symptoms as the result of a carpenter ant infestation. This is due to the ants' wood tunneling, which releases tiny particles into the air.
SIGNS OF ANT INFESTATION
Leading indications of a possible ant infestation include:
• Seeing a single ant or a line of ants on countertops or tables
• Having wood on the property that is frequently wet or is untreated
• Flying ants emerging either inside or outside a building may indicate a carpenter ant infestation
• Small piles of sandy soil on driveways, sidewalks or similar areas
• Rustling sounds coming from behind walls or beneath floors
To reduce the chances of experiencing an ant problem homes and offices should take the following precautions:
• Immediately clean up crumbs and spills
• Do not store produce on counters
• Keep all food in lidded containers
• Seal or block all exterior cracks and holes
• Do not allow branches to touch structures
• Put screens on windows and doors
Professional ant extermination often is the only way to end an infestation. This is mainly because ants are adept at communication among colony members, enabling them to find and exacerbate food sources with surprising ease. Unless this communication, which takes the form of a pheromone trail, is eradicated, the problem will continue.
Extermination also includes the destruction of the colony. To complete this delicate operation, extensive training and experience are required. Working with an experienced exterminator is the best way for Warwick homes and businesses to solve their ant control issues.
SafeGuard Pest Control, LLC has been serving Warwick-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.