Seeing a few ants in your kitchen is fine, but seeing a large number of them inside your home can be a telltale sign of infestation. Learn more about them here.
Everything You Need to Know About Ants (Header 1)
Ants are among the most common insects you usually encounter. They’re also one of the most common nuisances that cause home and business owners to seek help from pest control professionals.
One of the prerequisites for a successful ant control service is learning about what these pests are—their characteristics, behavior, nature, and differences from other insects. Only then can one determine the most viable solution that can eliminate not just the ants you see aboveground but also the thousand others hiding underground.
Below are some of the most important facts about ants that you need to know for effective pest control:
What Are The Most Common Ant Species?
There are more than 12,000 known species of ants, all of which possess distinguishing characteristics that separate one from another. Over 700 of them can be found in the United States, with only about 25 species known to infest residential and commercial properties.
Some of the most common species considered as pests are carpenter, pavement, fire, acrobat, and odorous house ants. Each of them varies not just in physical characteristics but also in behavior and nature. The 2012 National Pest Management Association survey cited three species as structural and nuisance pest ants, namely the carpenter, pavement, and odorous house ants.
What Are the Differences Between Ants and Termites?
These two insects are often mistaken for one another due to their similar features. But the most noticeable difference between them is the shape of their bodies and antennae. Ants have a distinct narrow waist and elbowed antennae, while those of termites’ are broader and straight, respectively.
They also consume different types of food. Termites chew on wood to absorb and digest cellulose. Ants, on the other hand, feed on sugars and proteins. And although they may be largely attracted to wood, they only gnaw on them to burrow further into the structure and build their nest inside.
Why Are Ants Considered Pests?
Generally, ants are considered beneficial to the environment. Apart from aerating the soil, they also eat a large variety of organic materials, providing food to other organisms. Some species, however, can be harmful to humans and plants due to their invasive behavior and ability to bite and sting.
One of the most common species, carpenter ants, chew on wooden structures to build tunnels, which can cause serious structural damage. Other species like fire ants have stings that can trigger allergic reactions or cause intense pain that can last for a few days.
Where Do Ants Usually Build Their Colonies?
Depending on the species, ants can build their nests inside or outside the home. Their colonies are difficult to find as they’re usually deeply buried underground—with rooms intricately connected through systems of tunnels, housing thousands of their kind.
If their nests aren’t underground, they’re most likely found inside a home. Carpenter ants usually build their colonies in damp, damaged wooden fixtures, such as foundations and beams. Pavement or sugar ants, on the other hand, often take shelter underneath sidewalks, patio blocks, or bricks. They may find their way inside buildings through cracks in walls, windows, and doors.
How Would You Know if Your Home Is Infested?
Spotting one or two ants in your kitchen or pantry is not a cause for worry. But, seeing a large number of them inside your home is a clear indication of possible infestation.
Carpenter ants are especially notorious for building nests within wooden structures. If there are pieces of rotten wood or ant hills around your house, it’s possible they’ve already made their nest in your property. These insects also leave chemical trails from their nest toward the food source, which their fellow ants will go after. Try following those trails to see where their shelter may be.
What Would You Do if Your Home Has Ant Infestation?
Attempting to eliminate the insects you see aboveground may do only little to no damage as their nests go further underground. The best course of action is to seek an ant control service provider if you suspect a possible ant colony inside your home. Pest control service providers will usually perform a comprehensive inspection first to identify the type of ants present and their possible nesting site within the house. These are critical prerequisites in eliminating not only the ants that you see but also the entire colony hidden underground.