ABOUT ANTS



When ants invade Warminster homes and offices they can be difficult to eradicate. This is because ants lay down a powerful scent trail that other colony members use to locate food or water. Unless that trail is eliminated and the nest is destroyed, an ant infestation is an ongoing problem.

Pavement ants and odorous house ants are an annoyance for property owners. However, carpenter ants are another thing entirely. This pest burrows into rotting or unfinished wood to create nests where the colony's young are kept. The tunneling causes structural damage that must be repaired to maintain integrity. Professional pest control is usually the best method for ending the problem for Warminster homes and businesses.

APPEARANCE



As six-legged insects with a set of antennae, it is not always easy to distinguish one species from another. It takes training and experience to definitively identify the species, and this identification will affect the treatment method chosen.

Carpenter ants are among the largest ants that are typically found in Warminster. Adult workers generally measure between one-quarter inch and one-half inch in length. Most examples of the species are black or brown, though other colors are sometimes seen. Reproductive members of the colony have wings, but workers and the queen do not.

Pavement ants may be distinguished from carpenter ants because of their smaller size and the dark, parallel lines that decorate their heads and thoraxes. Adults typically only grow to be one-quarter of an inch long. Brown and black are common colors, but their legs frequently are a shade or two lighter.

Odorous house ants are even smaller. Their thoraxes are unevenly shaped, but this can be difficult to see with adults only measuring between one-eighth and three-sixteenths of an inch. Perhaps the easiest way to identify odorous house ants is the distinctive rotting coconut smell that they emit after being crushed.

HABITATS



The various ant species that are common in Pennsylvania have distinctive nesting habits. Carpenter ants prefer to bore into unfinished or wet, rotting wood to dig tunnels and galleries where they live and raise their young. Any neglected wooden components on or near human habitations may be vulnerable including fences, decks, siding and porches. The tunnels are highly polished and feature windows through which tunneling debris may be dumped.

Pavement ants are more likely to be found nesting beneath stepping stones or in cracks that are located in driveways and sidewalks. If there is a crack in a foundation, this may become a nesting site as well. Odorous house ants have similar habits, and both of these species can cause damage to pavers and concrete patios.

DIET



Living and dead insects form a major part of the diet for all of these ant species. It is the proteins in the insects' bodies that ants need to survive. However, they also are drawn to sugary items. In particular, aphids secrete a sweet liquid call honeydew that ants regularly consume.

Their attraction to protein and sugar makes many human foods irresistible to ants. This is why ants are often discovered trooping into kitchens or onto picnic tables. Any item that contains meat or sugar is likely to tempt a colony of ants. Sauces and dressings are vulnerable, as are sodas and jams. Ants make seek out fruits and vegetables as well.


PROBLEMS WITH ANTS



Carpenter ants pose the biggest issues for property owners. Typically, an infestation of these pests is not as devastating as an infestation of termites, but if the property owner does not notice a problem for several years, then the situation can get out of hand. Any extensively damaged wooden components will need to be replaced. Sometimes, these repairs are more cosmetic in nature, but a severe infestation may necessitate structural work.

Pavement ants and odorous house ants pose less of a problem, but any species of ant may contaminate human or pet food. Remaining edible items that have been infiltrated by ants should be destroyed to avoid the risk of food-borne illnesses.

BEHAVIOR



Ants generally are absorbed in the tasks that are necessary to ensure the colony's survival. To that end, they have a tendency to avoid contact with humans. This is somewhat easier for carpenter ants that spend much of their time inside wooden components in places where people rarely go. When ants and humans do encounter each other, ants are not particularly aggressive. Nonetheless, they may deliver a slightly irritating bite if they feel threatened.

HEALTH ISSUES



The ant species that are commonly seen in Warminster are not known for transmitting any sickness to people. However, they may contaminate the food supply with saliva, feces and urine, and they may redistribute bacteria and germs to human foods that they climb on and consume. This makes it necessary to dispose of these items before food poisoning occurs.

People with respiratory issues may have additional problems when carpenter ants are present because of the small wood particles that are released into the air through tunneling. People with allergies or asthma will want to act quickly to end an infestation.


SIGNS OF ANT INFESTATION



Signs of an ant infestation include:

• Discovering wood on the property that is routinely wet or showing signs of rot
• Finding ants in cupboards and pantries or on kitchen tables or counters
• A line of ants moving toward a structure
• Tiny dirt or sand piles that indicate underground excavation near paving
• Piles of wood shavings where carpenter ants may be tunneling
-Sounds of rustling or movement behind walls

PREVENTION TIPS



It may be possible to prevent an ant infestation by applying the following tips:

• Store all food in containers with tight lids
• Do not leave food sitting on counters and tables
• Immediately clean up spills and crumbs
• Make certain that lids on garbage cans are tight
• Keep window and door screens in good repair
• Seal even the tiniest cracks and holes in the building's exterior

ANT CONTROL



Ants are a determined species that can be exceptionally difficult to remove from a building. Some people waste time trying to deal with the problem themselves, but this often poses a threat to people, pets and the environment.

The best alternative is to arrange for a professional ant exterminator to get to the source of the problem and truly eradicate the pests from your Warminster home or business.

 
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