Ants

What are ants?

Ants are social insects that live together in large groups. In fact, some species may have more than a million members in a single colony. Ants are a big problem in Texas, Utah, Arizona, and Colorado, with their large colony size and ability to maintain multiple nesting sites making them a formidable pest for local home and business owners to contend with. There are more than 10,000 ant species worldwide, with most of them living in tropical areas away from civilization. However, many others live close to people.

ants

Some of the most common species to invade our properties include the Argentine ant, fire ant, rasberry crazy ant, ghost ant, harvester ant, odorous house ant, pharaoh ant, acrobat ant, white-footed ant, thief ant, and pavement ant.

The main characteristics of ants include:

  • Three body segments — head, thorax, and abdomen
  • Two compound eyes
  • Constricted waist
  • Elbowed antennae
  • Powerful mouthparts they use for chewing, grasping, biting, and carrying
  • A hard, waterproof exoskeleton covered in spiracles (tiny holes that allow these insects to breathe)
  • Wings only on reproductive members (queens and males)

Ant colonies are formed and headed by a queen. The queen's job is to create viable eggs, mate with males, and produce more ants to maintain the colony. The male ant's only job is to reproduce with the queen. The worker ants are the member of the colony most commonly seen by people; these ants are sterile females and responsible for foraging for food, caring for the developing ants, and protecting and maintaining the nest.

Are ants dangerous?

Several species of ants pose threats to both people and our property, including:

  • Fire ants and harvester ants are aggressive and deliver painful bites and venom-filled stings to people and animals.
  • The Pharaoh ant spreads things like salmonella and streptococcus. They are a significant concern and a problem in hospitals because of the diseases they spread and the moisture they seek from patients' eyes, mouths, wounds, and IV bags.
  • Carpenter ants invade and nest within structural wood, causing costly and extensive damage.

 While most of the ants invading our homes are nuisance ants, it's important to remember they also cause significant problems, including spreading bacteria across surfaces and contaminating food. Additionally, ants are a frustrating pest that seems to appear out of nowhere and keep appearing despite our best efforts to keep them out. 

Why do I have an ant problem?

Ants become a problem in our homes after seeking out food and shelter. If the weather suddenly becomes too dry, hot, rainy, or chilly, ants migrate indoors. Common entry points that ants frequently use to enter homes, businesses, and other structures include openings around door thresholds, windows, and the gaps where utility pipes and wires enter buildings. They also move inside through cracks, gaps, or vulnerable points they discover in the foundation and through damaged door trim.

Another problem associated with ants is their ability to "bud" when disturbed or threatened. Budding is when a team of worker ants brings a queen and some young ants from the colony to a new nesting site, expanding the colony and ensuring its survival. An ant's ability to bud makes controlling these pests difficult without the help of a professional.

Where will I find ants?

ants on the floor

Depending on the specific species, ants create nests underground, at ground level, in trees, or inside structures like homes, businesses, and outbuildings.

Common outdoor nesting sites include:

  • Fallen trees and logs

  • Mulch

  • Under dense shrubbery

  • Tree cavities

  • Stones and landscaping ties

  • Open grassy areas

Inside of our homes, common nesting sites include:

  • Behind walls or under floors near water pipes

  • Inside of structural wood

  • Inside insulation

  • Behind or under large appliances

  • Above ceilings

People most often see ants crawling and gathering near food sources like kitchen floors and counters, trash cans, pet eating areas, and outdoor eating areas. You may also see ants traveling in trails on sidewalks, walkways, and driveways. After finding a food source, ants emit pheromones that provide scent trails that the rest of the colony can follow.

How do I get rid of ants?

When it comes to getting rid of ants, the best course of action is to partner with an experienced professional. At White Knight Pest Control, we understand how stressful and frustrating dealing with ants can be and will support you and provide the effective ant control services needed to eliminate the entire ant infestation.

At White Knight, our passion is serving others and keeping pests away from people and their property. We eliminate ants and other pests and have three different service plans (monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly). After choosing the perfect treatment plan for your property, we'll provide an initial visit, regular treatment visits, and our service guarantee to help you maintain a pest-free environment. To learn more about keeping your property free of ants and other pests, give us a call today!

How can I prevent ants in the future?

At White Knight Pest Control, we will help you prevent ant problems through our regular pest control treatments. In conjunction with our comprehensive services, the following prevention tips will help you keep ants out of your Texas, Utah, Arizona, or Colorado home!

  • Remove food sources: Regularly vacuum and wipe down counters. Take out the trash and wash dirty dishes daily. Store food in containers with airtight lids or in the fridge. 

  • Maintain outdoor attractants: Outside, keep lids on trash cans and compost bins. Store pet food in metal containers with lids and pick up uneaten pet food between feedings. Maintain gardens and outdoor dining areas.
  • Reduce excess moisture: Moisture attracts many types of ants and other pests. Cut overgrown vegetation away from your home's exterior to allow the sun to hit the ground and keep it dry. Maintain a crushed rock barrier (12-18 inches) between the soil and foundation of your home. Repair any leaky hoses and fixtures. Maintain your gutters and downspouts to direct water away from the outside walls of your home. 

  • Lower humidity levels: Use dehumidifiers and air conditioners to dry out damp areas of your home. Properly ventilate crawl spaces to eliminate excess moisture.

  • Eliminate entry points: Inspect the foundation and exterior doors, sealing any gaps you find. Place door sweeps on exterior and basement doors. Repair damaged door trim. Install screens in open windows and doors.

Helpful Ant Articles

Salt Lake City's Ultimate Ant Prevention Guide

Just How Crazy Are The Crazy Ants In Salt Lake City?

 

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