There’s nothing like a house invasion to make a proprietor feel powerless. Once those tiny little insects move in, they can swarm about and take over in spite of your best efforts. When combating an ant infestation, the most important thing is to recognize what type of ants you’re dealing with, as each type of ant requires a specific method of pest control.
Ants fall into three primary categories: nuisance, wood destroying and harmful.
Nuisance Ants (Sugar, pavement, pharaoh and crazy ants)
Most nuisance ants are tiny, ranging from 1/12 of an inch to 1/6 of an inch long, and are brownish-black or light yellow to reddish-brown. Nuisance ants won’t cause structural damage to your home, but they’ll quickly become an annoyance because they can be very persistent and typically arrive in large numbers. They usually nest in the soil around your home and get inside through small cracks or openings in your walls, doors, or windows.
Nuisance ants come in search of food or water and always take what they find back to their nest. This is a key component of proper pest control. Simply spraying some type of pest control chemical where you see the ants crawling will not work; you have to get back to the nest. No noxious chemicals are required, as organic pest control is absolutely possible with nuisance ants.
As a quick solution, you can seal off the spot where you see the ants coming into the house. However, as mentioned, ants are persistent and will often find another way in. Further, ants have been known to split off into smaller nests to preserve the queen. Ant baits are the most common type of nuisance ant pest control. The worker ants will take the bait back to the nest and share it with the other ants. If you are unable to easily locate the source of the ants, your best bet is to contact a pest control company to have them search, find, and treat the nest or nests wherever they may be. An expert will also help point out locations that may be more prone to an ant infestation and assist you with a plan for pest prevention.
Wood Destroying Ants (Carpenter and moisture ants)
Typically, wood-destroying ants are black and larger than nuisance ants, about half an inch or bigger. There are other types of wood-destroying ants that are smaller and range in colours from yellow to orange.
A common misconception is that wood-destroying ants eat wood. In fact, they burrow into wood to create their nests. Frequently, wood-destroying ants appear in wood that has already been damaged by moisture or other pests. If you start seeing piles or spots of sawdust-like material around your house, without any reasonable explanation, you may have a wood-destroying pest on your hands and should have this checked by a pest control company.
Wood-destroying ants can require a heartier pest control and pest prevention treatment plan than the nuisance ants. Do-it-yourself baits are typically less effective than hiring a professional pest control company, but if you do try bait, make sure you get one that is specially formulated for wood-destroying ants. This type of ant is also notorious for creating “satellite” colonies, so you will want to be thorough in making sure you are getting the “parent” colony the one with the queens. Otherwise, the ants will start establishing new colonies once the bait wears off, or they will move the colonies into untreated areas of your house.
Harmful Ants (Fire ants)
The most common harmful ant is the fire ant. The name “fire ant” comes from the irritating, burning sensation of the ant’s sting. Most fire ants are highly aggressive, can bite more than once, and will swarm en masse when one ant attacks because of the pheromones released by one sting. While the majority of people will experience mild to painful discomfort when stung, the venom can be dangerous to sensitive people.
Fire ants tend to be around an inch and are reddish, reddish brown or dark brown. One telltale sign of fire ants is the mound of loose dirt they create at the tops of their nests.
If you believe you have a fire ant infestation, it’s highly recommended that you contact a qualified pest control company. You can ensure trustworthiness by checking client’s reviews.
Fire ants can be highly resistant to mild methods of pest control so they should be handled by professionals.