Ant control services are needed because ants are everywhere!! They thrive in all major cities, wetlands, deserts and our wooded wilderness living in structured nests. Like us, ants are social. They live and work together in highly organized, efficient societies. This is the secret behind their success.
Ants are frustrating when they get into your home environment. They contaminate your food, infest your home and build mounds in your lawn.
While colonies of ants may look like just a bunch of insects running around aimlessly, they are in fact a very organization.
The queen is usually recognizable by her size. She is much bigger than male and worker ants. Additionally, she is winged until she lays her eggs at which time either she, or worker ants, detach them. The queen is the only ant that can lay eggs. Depending on species of ants, a colony may have more than one queen.
Worker ants are responsible for building and maintaining the nest, protecting and defending the colony from other ants, and most importantly feeling the colony. Younger ants work inside the nest, taking care of the queen. Older workers go outside to gather food and defend the nest against enemies.
Budding occurs when one or more queens leave the nest on mating flights accompanied by worker ants who help establish a new colony. The mated queen builds a cavity and rears a brood. The first brood molts into workers who forage for food and care for the brood while the queen continues to lay eggs. The colony grows in size and numbers as more young are produced.
The several hundred winged reproductive ants that emerge from colonies for their nuptial flights are swarming ants or swarmers. Weather conditions, such as temperatures and rain, trigger their mating flights.
Are They Ants or Termites
Ants are frequently confused with termites. Ants can be identified from other insects because they have elbowed antennae and three distinct body segments with very slim waists. Their bodies are covered with a hard exoskeleton armor. Ants have 6 legs with 3 joints. They have large heads with compound eyes. Their front wings are much longer than their back wings.
Winged termites have straight antennae and no waist between the thorax and the abdomen. They have four long wings equal in length. Termites break off this wins. Ants do not.
The ant life cycle has four stages of development; egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Eggs are almost microscopic and hatch into soft, legless larvae. Larvae are fed and groomed by the worker ants until they pass through the pupa stage. The pupa resembles the adult except that it is soft, uncolored, and immobile. The pupa is in a cocoon spun by the larva. Six weeks to two months are required for development from egg to adult.
What Do Ants Eat
They are foragers, and will trek the distance of two football fields in search of something to eat. Most ants eat a wide variety of foods, although some have specific tastes. For many ants, the central ingredient of their diet is honeydew, a sweet, sticky secretion produced by aphids and other plant-sucking insects. Fire ants feed on honeydew, sugars, proteins, oils, seeds, plants, and insects. Pharaoh ants feed on sugars, proteins, oils, and insects. Crazy ants like sugars, protein, and insects. Carpenter ants prefer sugars and insects. Ants’ preference for certain foods will vary throughout the year depending on how much brood is being produced in the nest.
Ants use scouts to locate food. Food scouts lay down a scent trail of various chemicals known as pheromones for others in the colony to follow to the food source. The pheromone deposited by scout ants is short-lived and must be reapplied continuously. Ants also require water and workers bring water to the colony in their guts.
A common misconception is carpenter ants eat only wood. However, they feed on honeydew and sugars, using wood only to live in. They cannot digest the cellulose in wood products, but will make their homes in soft wood by excavating small chambers in it to raise their young.
Ant Control and Prevention
The best defense against any insect invasion in your home is prevention and cleanliness.
- Ants can fit through extremely small openings and gain access into the home. Seal entry points around doors and windows, cracks and crevices where ants can gain access into your home.
- Trim overhanging tree limbs and branches, plants, ornamentals and shrubbery away from the structure of your home.
- Clean up spills in your kitchen area.
- Remove trash regularly and place in cans with locking lids.
- Rinse out jars and containers before placing them in your recycling bins.
- Do not leave pet food out.
- Reduce moisture sources, including leaks in roofs and around plumbing.
- Replace rotting or water damaged wood.
- Remove tree stumps, piles of lumber or yard debris, nesting sites for ants.