Like all insects, these pests have three main body regions: gaster (rear end), thorax (the middle), and head (the front). Most ant species have antennae with a bend, or elbow, in the middle. While some have wings; these are known as the reproductive ants. While most workers ants, do not have wings. These insects typically live in controlled nest communities, located underground, in trees, or in ground-level mounds. Ant communities are ruled by a queen (often more than one), whose sole function is to reproduce.
The queen lays eggs to ensure the survival of the colony and is also the largest ant and can live up to 30 years. There are also female ants, that also fall into the category of worker ant or the soldier ant, and they care for the eggs, build and repair nests, and forage for food. The male ant, typically smaller than the female, emerges from the colony once to mate and then dies 1-2 weeks later.
What Do Ants Eat?
Different ant species of prefer different kinds of food. For example, the Argentine ant prefers sweet substances but will eat almost anything including meats, eggs, oils and fats. While the diet of the carpenter ant includes living and dead insects, meat, fats and sugary foods of all kinds, including honeydew and nectar from plants. When it comes down to it, ants will eat just about anything; especially if left on the kitchen counters or floors.
The Affect and Impact of Ants
These insects are also covered in bacteria that can contaminate food when their bodily waste is left behind. There are not many species of ants known to carry and transmit diseases, but there are some, carpenter ants, that can cause damage to the home. The Carpenter ant is able to chew its way into wood beams, creating tunnels inside. Additionally, some ants can cause injuries ranging from the feeling of a painful sting all the way to an allergic reaction.
Even though these insects may have a negative effect on human lives, their existence is hugely important to our environment and ecosystem. The total ant population is estimated at one quadrillion (1,000,000,000,000,000). One insect out of a thousand is an ant. These insects can also act as decomposers by feeding on organic waste, insects, and dead animals. This allows them to keep the environment clean. The Carpenter ant, for example, work to accelerate the decomposition process of timber. And all of the digging they do actually tills the soil, helping to bring particles and nutrients to the top.
Ants of Fredericksburg
There are over 10,000 species of ants, but the most common ants found in our backyards, and homes, are:
- Little Black
Each of these ant species brings something different to the table. While some are harmless kitchen ants, others can cause serious damage to your home which is why treating for an ant infestation early, is key!
Ants and the Weather
Would you be surprised if we told you that the weather has an affect on the ant population? Well it does! You can expect an increase in ants whenever the weather has been rainy because of their quest for food. During excessive rainfall and flooding the soil where an ant’s colony is located can flood causing them to search for dry ground. These insects will search for the closest shelter and in many cases that area is your home. Once these pests have decided your home is the perfect shelter, it only takes a short period of time before the entire colony has taken up residence inside of your home.
On the other side of that, when the weather is extremely dry, an ant colony will still be searching for a new home because they are in desperate need of water. Ants can be relentless when it comes to finding moisture for survival. So making sure you have no leaks and that you clean up any spills right away will help prevent the ant colony from taking residence inside of your home.
The main cause of an ant infestation is uncleanliness. Sweet food, pet food, and crumbs are only a few foods that are enticing to ants. When they are lying around your home, they are a great target for a scouting ant. They enter your home through crevices, cracks, and openings found on your walls, floors, doors, and windows.
It is very important to always keep food in tightly closed containers and seal all cracks and openings that could serve as entryways for ants. These insects may also choose to nest in your home if you have a lot of accessible food. In fact, homeowners who don’t clean food spills or messes will likely attract ants. If you want to deter these pests from your home, make sure to clean your kitchen regularly and thoroughly.
These insects are extremely skilled at locating cracks and crevices in walls, windows and foundations to enter your home. Prevent this entry by sealing points with caulk and other appropriate materials.
After sealing the entry points, it’s important to clean around them. Ants leave an invisible trail containing pheromones so other ants can follow it to the resource they’ve discovered. Scrub around ant entrances with soap and water to wash away these trails. In addition, clean up messes you make in the kitchen to prevent attracting them again.
Sugar, grease and other foods attract ants and are one of the main reasons ants enter your home. Remove potential lures by keeping food in sealed containers. Pet food should also be sealed and not left out where ants can easily access it. Also, take out trash regularly to prevent the smell from drawing ants in as the garbage breaks down.
Sigma’s Quarterly Pest Control Service (QPCS) covers ants, spiders, roaches, wasps, fleas, centipedes, crickets, mice, rats, and much more. Once we solved any issues on the inside of your home, we will focus our efforts on the outside to keep your home pest free. Exterior services will occur once every three months, and will include a foundation treatment, removal of wasp nests and spider webs using a telescopic tool that reaches up to 30 feet, a perimeter band around the home. And crack and crevice service. However, if the bugs don’t listen, we will come back and take care of it at no additional charge to you.
Hire a professional!
Ants are elusive and sometimes hard to see. Just because you can see them doesn’t mean that’s where the next colony is. Remember, ants forage for food and bring the food back to the nest. If you think you have ants, call a pest management professional. Ant infestations can be a real nuisance to deal with.
To take care of an infestation, it’s important to know what the ant looks like, how to identify that type of ant, and the potential risks that are associated with them. Thankfully, getting rid of ants is as easy as calling a Sigma Pest Control technician. If you find that you have an ant infestation, be sure to call a Sigma Pest Control technician for efficient, professional, and effective pest control services.