The National Pest Management Association released its “Bug Barometer” this month and indicated a very buggy spring and summer.
According to the NPMA, the unusually mild winter and the warm, wet spring have intensified the threat from the booming of pest insects.
As the bug barometer indicates, both the Pacific Northwest and the Midwest will face an increased ant population this spring and summer. While mosquitoes, ticks and subterranean termites will be more prolific than usual across the West Coast, Southwest and Southeast. Cooler regions like the Northeast may have occasional invaders like earwigs in the chilly spring times and mosquitoes after spring showers.
Almost every region is now battling ants. The three most common ants that can be found indoors are the carpenter ant, odorous house ant and argentine ant. The outdoor species we all fear that can pose a health risk is the red imported fire ant.
Carpenter ants are usually red, black, or a combination of those colors and they enter buildings and homes to nest or forage. Their common name, “carpenter”, refers to the way they make their nests in wood, creating smooth tunnels and galleries. They are typically found in wood that is structurally sound. Colonies are normally formed during the first warm days of spring through June, depending on the climate. Carpenter ants often build a parent nest and multiple satellite nests, which can be found in neighboring trees or adjacent structures. If a parent nest is found indoors, it’s often associated with a water leak or other source of moisture.
Odorous house ants are native to the U.S. and are typically brown or black and they get their name from the rotten, coconut-like odor emitted when crushed. They are attracted to moist and shady areas or areas near food. Their nests are found near materials such as lumber, firewood, bricks, rocks, and cardboards. If you find odorous house ants inside your home, the source of the problem could either be outside, or near a moisture problem inside your home; problem areas are near pipes and heaters, or beneath toilets.
Argentine ants are often dark brown to black in color. They prefer the climate of the Southwest but can be found in any region. Their colonies can get massive, with hundreds of thousands of workers. Argentine ants “prefer to eat sweets, but they will eat almost anything including meats, eggs, oil and fats.” They usually enter homes by trailing along branches of trees and shrubs in the direct contact with the structure and they are attracted to water. So eliminate standing water near your home or in the yard, and prune trees and shrubs to at least 6’’ – 12’’ away from your home. These can be critical steps to prevent ants.
For above ants, you can first identify them, and then eliminate any food and water sources. You can also purchase a pest treatment product from your local retailer. However, if your ant problem persists, it’s best to contact a local pest control professional to help you treat the source of the problem.
Red imported fire ants are dark reddish brown. Like any other ants, red imported fire ants have a hard exoskeleton and six legs. They also have a stinger on their abdomen, which is how they defend themselves and how they sting invaders. They were introduced to the U.S in the 1930’s and are common in many regions throughout the country. What makes this ant species notorious is the painful sting that leaves swollen welts and burning pustules. Such stings can also cause anaphylactic shock to some people.
The best way to prevent a red imported fire ant infestation is to seek professional pest control, as fire ants are highly aggressive and will defend themselves if their mounds are disturbed. So be careful and do not harass any fire ant mounds. Avoid a sting by leaving the job to experienced pest management experts. Call today at 855-855-4873 to speak with a local specialist and to schedule.
To learn more about ants and how to prevent them, watch our video about ants with one of our leading entomologists.