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There are more than 700 ant species found in the U.S. although only about 25

species commonly infest homes. Ants are social insects that typically live in underground colonies, made up of workers and a queen. Ants will eat practically any kind of food, but are especially attracted to sweets.

Ant identification is relatively simple due to their three distinct body regions: head, thorax and abdomen, as well as antennae. Despite similar construction, ants vary in overall appearance.

If you’ve ever found ants crawling across the kitchen counter or noticed a trail of little black ants on the bathroom floor, you’re probably not alone. Ants often enter homes during the warmer months in search of water and food, making them the #1 nuisance pest in America.

A recent survey of pest professionals across the country, conducted by the National Pest Management Association, found kitchens (96%) and bathrooms (89%) to be particularly vulnerable to ants.

Kitchen: It’s probably not a surprise the kitchen is considered a favorite ant hangout. In addition to food access, the sink provides a water source that ants need to survive. If you’re lax about immediately cleaning up crumbs and spills, you may be inviting ants in. Here are a few tips to keep ants out of the kitchen:

Store sweet staples like sugar, syrup and honey in plastic containers that snap shut, and wipe them down to remove any sticky residue. You can also place a bay leaf inside canisters of dry goods like flour to keep the ants out. The herb’s pungent scent repels ants and other common pantry pests.
Clean up grease spills from countertops and floors as soon as they happen.
Any empty juice or soda containers should be rinsed out before recycling or throwing away. And, make sure to take the trash out regularly.
Keep an eye out for water buildup in the sink and leaks around the faucet.
If you have pets, be sure to pick up any leftover food and wash the bowls regularly.

Bathroom: Areas around the house with excess moisture are known to attract ants, so bathrooms are highly susceptible to an infestation. Carpenter ants, for example, often build nests in damp areas like behind bathroom tiles or under sinks. To prevent an infestation in the bathroom, homeowners should:

Occasionally, inspect sinks, toilets and tubs for any leaks or drips.
Give the bathroom a thorough cleaning by scrubbing the floors with disinfectant cleaner, and wiping down the inside of drawers with warm soapy water.
Check to ensure shampoo, lotion and soap bottles are secured and no contents have spilled out of their containers.

Other Common Hideouts: Ants can easily find a way indoors through even the tiniest cracks, so other areas of the home are also common hideouts. The NPMA survey revealed ants are also found in the following areas:

73% Inside walls
61% Bedrooms
60% Living Rooms
54% Basements
73% Inside walls

To keep ants from finding a way inside, homeowners should pest-proof around the outside of the home. Experts recommend sealing any cracks with silicone caulk, repairing holes in window and door screens, replacing weather-stripping, fixing loose mortar around the basement foundation and windows, and keeping tree branches trimmed back and away from the house.

Ghost Ant

Ghost ants are among the smallest ants found in Florida. Their head and thorax will be dark brown. Their gaster and legs will be pale in color, almost transparent. Their trails move slowly, but when disturbed they scatter quickly and erratic. They are attracted to sweets. They can be found generally in potted plants and under moist wooded structures.

Carpenter Ant

Carpenter ants are structural pests generally found inside wall voids and in attics. You will generally see carpenter ants active at dusk. Carpenter ants can damage structural wood if allowed to sit undisturbed for any length of time. They do not eat wood but they excavate and build their nests with wood particles.

Argentine Ants

Argentine ants produce the largest colonies, in which each colony can comprise thousands of ants. They are attracted to sweets. These ants are most commonly found in shrub areas where they protect and farm aphids, which produce honeydew, their main food source. Argentine Ants will forage very long distances often traveling from one property to another.

Pyramid Ant

Pyramid ants Are commonly found outdoors. Their nests can be found in cracks of pavement, driveways and walkways. They differ from fire ants in that their nests are volcano shaped with one entry/exit as opposed to multiple entry/exits with fire ant mounds. Pyramid Ants are beneficial insects as they prey on other pests such as fire ants, wasps, roaches etc.

Red Imported Fire Ant

Fire ants are not commonly found indoors, however they can be found anywhere outside including shrub beds, middle of the lawn, inside potted plants and along sidewalks and driveways. They have a painful stinging bite which can cause anaphylaxis, which can be life threatening to elderly people and infants. A Fire Ant mound has multiple entry and exit ways.

Ants are considered one of the most difficult pests to control because colonies often contain upwards of thousands of members. If you notice ants inside the home, it’s important to contact a licensed pest professional at Westfall’s Pest Control to inspect and treat the problem. For a free inspection and bug free guarantee, contact us at (941) 761-0125.

Ant Blog

Amazing Facts About Ants

When not being a pest in your home, ants can be pretty amazing. They’re incredibly strong for their size, they’re able to life 20 times their own body weight! All ant colonies have a “Queen” ant that like the name implies, is the head of the colony. Some queen ants are able to live for multiple years, and lay million of eggs throughout those years. In ant colonies there are “Solider” ants who are responsible for protecting the queen. If a queen dies, normally the colony ends up collapsing soon after. It’s very uncommon for a colony to find a new queen once their queen dies.

Ants are very social insects, they live together in ginormous colonies that can can consist up to millions of ants! They work together in their colony protecting their queen, babies, and finding food for the colony. They’re able to leave a natural chemical substance wherever they go, to create paths so they know where they’ve traveled. With these paths they’re able to find their way back to the colony, and even lead other ants to sources of food they’ve found and other resources. With certain species, if an ant becomes injured, another ant from the same colony will help the injured ant back to the colony, allowing it to heal from it’s injures.

Ants are truly amazing insects, it’s just unfortunate that they sometimes choose to infiltrate our homes, which dampers our feelings and thoughts towards the insect. As cool as they may be, nobody likes to see them in their home.

 

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