Millions of ants invade homes and businesses across Levittown each year. With activity peaking in the spring and summer months, it makes sense to enact a year-round pest control program that minimizes the risk of an infestation.
Common ant species include the acrobat ant, the pavement ant, the odorous house ant and the citronella ant. Any of these may cause disorder, but the most serious threat comes from the carpenter ant. An infestation of these destructive insects can cause serious structural damage.
Experienced pest management professionals perform treatments to ensure the cleanliness of homes and offices. When combined with exclusionary techniques, it is possible to live an ant-free lifestyle.
The typical ant species in Levittown share characteristics like a pair of antennae and six legs. Most of these species also are small, which can make it difficult to distinguish between them. Experienced pest management professionals are trained to spot the differences.
Pavement ants are similarly small at less than three millimeters in length. They also may be either brown or black, but their bodies are darker than their legs.
At their largest, odorous house ants may be just over three millimeters. Also brown or black, this species may be identified by the scent of rotting coconut that they emit after being crushed.
Citronella ants are easier to identify because they are yellow. At six millimeters, they are larger than most ant species in Levittown. When they are crushed, they give off a distinctive lemon scent.
Carpenter ants are easy to identify because of their size. The largest adults may be as much as 13 millimeters long. With brown or black bodies, carpenter ants also may be identified by their head-shaped heads.
The ant species around Levittown prefer loose soil in which to build nests. This means that it is unusual to find an ant colony that is living inside a human habitation.
Instead, nests may be found beneath paving stones or alongside or under sidewalks and driveways. Some colonies may establish a nest beneath a fallen tree or close to a stump. A woodpile or yard debris pile may provide concealment for another colony, but some nests are built in gardens.
Ant colonies may use the same nesting site for several seasons. This provides them with an opportunity to create increasingly larger and more complex tunnels and chambers as the needs of the colony grow.
Carpenter ants are the exception to the underground nesting rule. They prefer to nest within damp, rotting wood. These conditions guarantee easier tunneling. Some of these nests will be created in rotting stumps and fallen logs, but others are found in fences, decks, basements, attics and wherever else damp wood is located. A carpenter ant infestation of long standing may threaten the structural integrity of the building.
Ants have nutritional needs that are relatively similar to that of humans. They subsist on a diet of proteins and sugars. Protein is obtained from insects living and dead, though ants may obtain this substance from meat in kitchens as well. Sugar is procured from fruit in orchards. Honeydew, a substance that aphids secrete, also is a staple food.
Because humans and ants have some dietary needs in common, ants are liable to seek many foods in pantries and kitchens. These may include meats as well as honey, syrup, sugar, jam, desserts and more.
PROBLEMS WITH ANTS
Ant colonies may have thousands, or perhaps millions, of members. Accordingly, a great deal of food is required to sustain the population. Workers in the colony continuously forage for food, and this may take them to all sorts of unsavory locations such as the carcasses of wildlife, garbage cans and sewers. When they are able to obtain access, they also make their way into the homes and offices where people live and work. Once inside, they wander across countertops, tables and floors.
These ants spread all sorts of germs and bacteria onto these surfaces. Moreover, they contaminate food supplies that are intended for human or pet consumption. As these items are no longer safe for people to eat, they must be thrown away. It also is necessary to thoroughly disinfect any surfaces on which ants have been discovered.
The problems associated with carpenter ants may be even more acute. These large ants construct massive networks of tunnels and chambers in the structural components of buildings. Left untreated, these colonies can undermine the integrity of these components, necessitating extensive repairs.
Large, successful ant colonies are active both day and night. This means that people may discover ants marching across their kitchen counters at any hour. This persistent behavior is essential to colony survival.
Additionally, ants have developed numerous adaptations that help them to discover food sources. Their antennae function much like a nose in that they are capable of "smelling" food. When an individual ant finds a food source, they lay down a durable pheromone trail that other colony members may follow. Eradicating this trail is essential to ensuring that other ants do not easily discover a food source that can be exploited.
Food poisoning is one of the most common health issues associated with an ant infestation. When ants travel through unsanitary places like gutters, sewers, garbage cans and animal carcasses, they can track any number of germs and bacteria into human habitations. They leave these contaminants on surfaces and in food supplies.
People who ingest this food or prepare food on unsanitary surfaces may have serious intestinal problems that need to be reviewed by a medical professional.
SIGNS OF ANT INFESTATION
An ant exterminator may be necessary if the following signs are present:
• Ants marching across a floor, counter or another surface
• Small piles of sand next to pavement
• Wood shavings on floors or just outside foundations
• Ants flying inside or outside buildings
Property owners should take these precautions to avoid issues with ants:
• Repair or remove damp wood
• Fix plumbing leaks promptly
• Seal all exterior cracks and holes
• Keep food in glass or metal containers with tight lids
• Wipe up crumbs and spills
• Immediately place 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 Levittown area home and business owners with successful ant eradication and control for nearly 30 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.