With over 10,000 species of ants in the world, three very common species cause the most problems for homeowners. These 3 types are difficult to control and even more difficult to treat once they establish a base in your home. The most common types of ant infestations are caused by the fire ant, carpenter ant and pharaoh ant.
Fire ants build large mounds in open areas, under fallen timber near riverbeds and where ever they can find soil in urban areas. Fire ants will feed on almost anything including garbage, seeds and insects. They have been known to attack small animals, such as baby birds, and kill them. Fire ants, unlike other stinging ants, actually inject venom, called Solenopsin, which gives the feeling of being burned, which is how they got their name. To eliminate fire ants, the queens must be destroyed.
Carpenter ants build a series of nests in dead, damp wood. Unlike termites, they do not eat the wood, but burrow through it to set up a series of nests, connected by “galleries”. The series of nests is designed for protection since not all of the ants will be in one nest at one time, making it difficult to kill the entire colony. In order to prevent carpenter ant infestations, it is helpful to know where the nest is. Look for wood “sawdust”, known as frass, to help determine where the nest may be. In many cases, carpenter ants will have multiple satellite colonies inside and outside of a building. They will forage over 300 feet in order to find food.
Sometimes called “sugar ants,” these are the most common household ant. This type of ant can infest food items and are very difficult to treat. The colonies have many queens and the colonies expand by budding, where a subset of the original colony sets up an additional colony, which makes this type of ant very invasive and resistant to treatments. They feed on almost any type of food including jellies, honey, peanut butter, corn syrup, fruit juice, baked goods, soft drinks, cereals, and greases. They will even feed on toothpaste, dead insects, and shoe polish!
If your home is under invasion from any of the three ants above, you have several treatment options to choose from. Treatments vary depending on what type of ant has infested your home. After identifying the correct species, a systematic approach must be used to ensure eradication. Application of residual pest control materials, baits, sprays, and dusts are suggested in order to eliminate the nuisance.
No matter what type of ant has invaded your home or yard, there is a treatment that will work to eliminate the infestation. For more information on how to prevent an ant infestation, visit www.pestdefense.com.