Household Ants

There are several species of ants that regularly invade our homes in search of food, water, or shelter. Household ants are small and hard to identify—even for the most seasoned pest professional. Typically, their colonies are outside, but the ants will forage for food and other resources inside your home. Some household ants will nest inside if they find a favorable location. They don’t build mounds but tend to nest under mulch, pine straw, landscaping timbers, logs, potted plants, firewood piles, and other debris. When nesting indoors, they still like to be near a water source, such as in a wall void near plumbing.

The best way to keep household ants out of your home is to keep things clean and tidy. They will not stick around if there is no food or water for them. Clean up spilled food, put away uneaten food and drinks, and vacuum up crumbs from carpeted areas and furniture. Don’t leave dirty dishes on the counter or in the sink, and don’t let the trash pile up.

Yard Ants

Yard ants will rarely, if ever, come indoors. They can nest in a variety of places, but areas near moisture sources tend to be favorable. Many yard ants will nest in and around trees and bushes, where most of their food sources can be found. They can also be found under leaf litter, mulch, pine straw, and other ground coverings. Some species build mounds in open sunny areas, while others prefer the shade.

You will never be able to completely eliminate all yard ants, but keeping a well-maintained yard that is free of debris and moisture issues is the best way to discourage ants from nesting there. Keep bushes and trees trimmed back from the house, and eliminate or reduce piles of leaf litter, mulch, and pine straw.

Fire Ants

Around 1940, the red imported fire ant was accidentally brought into the port of Mobile, Alabama, in cargo ships coming from Brazil. Since then, the species has spread throughout the Southeast and over to California and is considered one of the most detrimental pests ever introduced into the United States. They cause damage to wildlife, crops, and property. And they can be especially dangerous to people who are allergic to their stings. Billions of dollars are spent every year trying to control this pest.

Fire ants prefer to build their mounds in open sunny areas. However, they have also been found nesting in shaded areas and inside electrical components, such as air conditioning units, switch boxes, and transformers. Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do to discourage fire ants from nesting in your yard. Even regularly mowing over their mounds will not displace them. That’s why we offer a special control program using fire ant bait. After inspecting and measuring your yard, we apply the necessary amount of bait. We perform this treatment twice a season and guarantee elimination for the entire year.

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants vary in color and size. The most commonly recognized species is the large, black Pennsylvania carpenter ant. Carpenter ants are nocturnal and forage mostly at night. They tunnel and nest in moist wood (under a rotten log, inside a tree stump, near a clogged gutter system, around a leaking window frame or a wooden chimney with faulty flashing, etc.) but do not eat it. Their diet consists mostly of protein-based foods, such as other insects. Although carpenter ants help break down rotten wood and return it to usable nutrients, they are not always welcome guests. Not only is their presence a nuisance, but they can also cause great damage to wooden structures and other objects in your home.

To prevent carpenter ants, pick up sticks and limbs, get rid of stumps and dead trees, and do not keep firewood stacked next to the house. Replace rotten wooden parts of your structure, such as fascia boards, siding, and window and door frames. Eliminate moisture issues inside, under, and around the perimeter of your home, and make sure gutters aren’t clogged with debris.

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The Ant Diet

In general, ants have a varied diet but tend to prefer sweet foods and liquids. They will also eat insects and other protein based foods at times—especially carpenter ants. Depending on the species and time of year, ants will eat just about any food that we eat, and they are very good at finding the resources they need to survive. If you see a lone ant on your kitchen counter or coffee table, it is most likely a scout ant. When it finds food, it will head back to the colony to let others know and start a trail. These guys aren’t messing around!

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