If you own a home or business, you have likely battled ants in the past. They are among the most common pests in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and often require a trained technician to exterminate them.
There are a variety of different ant types found in Yardley and throughout the area, including: the carpenter ant, citronella ant, odorous ant, pavement ant, and the thief ant.
Ants also vary in size and color. They might be anywhere from 1/20” to ½” in length, and their coloring might be yellow, red, brown, and black. Some ants in this area are a combination of these colors.
Ants live in colonies where they build nests. These colonies consist of an average of 5,000 ants, but populations can reach into the millions. Some ants prefer to live outdoors, and others prefer to live indoors. Outdoor ants generally look for food outside, but sometimes they enter a home or business. Inside ants build their nests inside a home or business, which allows them to stay warm over the winter season. These nests might be in foundation walls, under floorboards, inside wall cavities, in insulation, behind cabinets in the kitchen, inside rotted window framing, etc.
When it comes to food, ants are as diverse as humans, even more so. Generally, ants are omnivores, meaning they eat both plant material (like fruits and vegetables), and “animal” material such as other insects, aphids, spiders, etc. One of their favorite foods is sugar, but they have also been known to eat engine oil, and even other ants. Whatever they will find they will eat, including human foods like bread, meat, sweets, cereal, pasta, fruit, and various other starches.
PROBLEMS WITH ANTS
With the exception of the carpenter ant, most ants are just a nuisance. Because there can be so many of them in one nest, they can easily make themselves known in kitchen cupboards, bathrooms, living rooms, etc. However, carpenter ants can cause actual damage to wooden structures, and the insulation inside them. This is why it is of the utmost importance to call a pest control provider if you see any evidence of ants in your home or business.
For the most part, ants live solely to carry on their ant tasks. They are not inclined to bite or attack humans.
This is true, at least, for most of the ants found in the United States. Fire ants, however, are stinging ants. When a person is bit by a fire ant, the wound feels like a burn, hence the name, Fire Ant.
On a grand scale, ants are not associated with spreading disease. They can, however, spread bacteria and germs where they walk, which is why you should always store food in tight containers, keep the kitchen clean, etc. Ants that spread germs and bacteria can do some damage in schools, hospitals, and in homes with young children. The Pharaoh ant, which is indigenous to the New Jersey and Pennsylvania area, can transmit Streptococcus, Salmonella, Shigella, and Staphylococcus, all of which are disease-causing organisms.
SIGNS OF ANT INFESTATION
Worker ants will scavenge for food anytime of the day or night. If there is an infestation in your home or business, you will readily see ants carrying out this activity. Even though one single ant might simply be a scout from outside, it’s more likely that there are thousands of others very close by. Nests of up to 40,000 ants are not uncommon and should be dealt with by a certified technician immediately.
In an effort to prevent an ant infestation in your Yardley home or business, SafeGuard Pest Control, LLC suggests these actions:
• Keep all of your food sealed tightly
• Clean spills and crumbs from foods and beverages
• Keep pet areas clean
• Damaged screens should be repaired or replaced
• Foundation and structural cracks should be repaired immediately
• Keep bushes and tree branches trimmed back away from structures
Although a number of home remedies exist, ant control via folk remedies are rarely, if ever, successful. And, because they are unsuccessful, they can also be unhealthy due to both the remedy itself and the fact that the ants remain in the home. Some of these folk remedies include setting out Borax, powdered sugar, etc., spraying the structure with red pepper spray, wiping peppermint oil on the cabinets and floor, or drawing chalk lines to prevent ant access. While creative, such methods are not known to be effective or provide a permanent solution.
An ant nest is intricate and nearly permanent, and can prove challenging for the homeowner or business owner to eradicate on their own. That is because successful extermination requires a detailed effort by the trained professional in examining the building for one or more nests, determining the type(s) of ant that exists on the property, where the nests/colonies are, how the ants are getting in and out, and finally, developing an extermination course of action. It is at this time that a maintenance program should be set up for continual ant control throughout the year.