• Types of Ants: Know the Tiny Pests that Infest Your Property

    28 June 2018
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    An ant is scurrying on the ground

    Types of Ants:

    Know the Tiny Pests that Infest Your Property

    There are over 12,000 known ant species worldwide and 700 of them in the United States. However, only a few of these are likely to interfere with the tranquility of your home.

    Without much ado, let’s have a look at some of the most common ant types inside or near your home or business.

    #1. Argentine Ants

    Argentine Ant is eating its food on a leaf

    Argentine Ant (CC BY-SA 4.0)

    Argentine ants are prominent the most in the Southern United States. An Argentine ant measures about 1/8 inch long and produces a musty smell if crushed.

    Its body color ranges from light brown to dark brown. Plant nectar, live and dead insects as well as honeydew from aphids, scales, or mealybugs, among other insects, are the most favorite food for Argentine ants.

    Habitats

    Argentine ants, just like the majority of ants, are social insects. They live in large colonies and usually move in wide trails. Some of the places that you are most likely to find these ants include at plant bases, in piles of trash and under stones or wood. When the weather is cold, the ants form nests in open areas while during the warm months, they shift to shaded areas.

    #2. Carpenter Ants

    a broken tree damaged by carpenter ants

    Carpenter Ant Damage

    Carpenter ants are a hazard to your property as they can cause serious damages to the wooden parts. The adults are typically reddish black, and each is approximately 5/8 inch long. They can be found anywhere in the United States but more common in the northern part where the climates are cold and damp.

    Habitats

    They form their nests inside the wood, and they do so by tunneling through it. That’s how your wooden structure comes on the receiving end in case of a carpenter ant infestation.

    #3. Crazy Ants

     

    Tawny crazy ant (Nylanderia fulva) female worker

    Tawny crazy ant (Nylanderia fulva) female worker. [CC BY-SA 4.0]

    Crazy ants are black to brown and have very long legs as well as antennae. If disturbed or when searching for food, crazy ants move around or run in an erratic, jerky manner, and this habit made them earn their name (crazy). Unlike some other ants, these don’t have stingers.

    Habitats

    Crazy ants are spread in the entire of the United States but most rampant along the Gulf Coast. They usually nest in moist or dry places. Outside human dwellings, they build their nests in dense vegetation, mulch, trash, soil or plant or near structure foundations while indoors, you can spot them beneath your carpers or inside wall spaces, among other places.

    #4. Odorous House Ants

    an odorous house ant is eating its food

    Odorous House Ant (By Susan Ellis, Bugwood.org)

    Odorous house ants are called so because they produce a foul smell, like that of a rotten coconut, if they happen to be crushed. An adult odorous house ant is dark brown or black, and its length ranges from 1/16 to 1/8 inch.

    Although they are unlikely to cause any damage to your structures, odorous house ants should not be welcome at your place since they can soil food.

    Habitats

    Odorous House Ants can be found anywhere in the United States but less frequent in arid areas. They prefer nesting outdoors, especially in exposed soils.

    They build their nests in piles of materials like wood or rocks. Indoors, these ants are most likely to be spotted in kitchens and bathrooms, especially inside wall voids.

    #5. Pavement Ants

    a pavement ant colony

    Pavement Ant (By Joseph Berger, Bugwood.org)

    An adult pavement ant is dark brown or black, and its length is approximately 1/8 inches. Pavement ants are called so due to their tendency to build nests inside or beneath pavement cracks. The presence of these ants near or in your home or should not be entertained since they can contaminate food.

    Habitat

    Pavement ants are most prominent in the southern United States. They live inside or beneath pavement cracks, especially near foundations of structures or in landscape areas.

    Those are some of the most common US ants. If you have spotted any of them near your home or your business property, it is essential that they are eliminated as soon as possible since they certainly affect you negatively in one way or another.***

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  • Ant Killer Baking Soda: Easy Steps to Make a Potent Natural Ant Killer

    25 June 2018
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    Ant Killer Baking Soda: Easy Steps Make a Potent Natural Ant Killer

    Ant Killer Baking Soda:

    Easy Steps to Make a Potent Natural Ant Killer

     There are lots of home remedies that are not only safer but cheaper as compared to the use of poisonous chemicals. One of those remedies is the use of ant killer baking soda.

    Ant Killer Baking Soda: Easy Steps Make a Potent Natural Ant Killer

    Ants can be a serious nuisance at your place. They will not only contaminate your food, floor, and utensils but they won’t hesitate to sting you if you happen to step on them. Regardless of how much you wouldn’t want to kill any animal, you can’t simply afford to see ants take over your kitchen or anywhere else at your home or commercial premises.

    While the first thing that some people resolve to do when they spot ants is to rush to the nearby home improvement store to buy some pesticides, use of toxic chemicals to kill the insects is neither the cheapest, safest nor the most effective way of dealing with an ant infestation.

    There are lots of home remedies that are not only safer but cheaper as compared to the use of poisonous chemicals. One of those remedies is the use of baking soda.

    How is baking soda used to kill ants?

    You’ll need:

    • Baking soda
    • Powdered (confectioners) sugar
    • Water
    • Plastic spoon and cup

    Home Remedies for Ants: How to Make Ant Killer Baking Soda

    Put sugar

    Take a plastic cup and into it, put five confectioners’ sugar (about five heaping spoonfuls). You may be tempted to use regular sugar if you don’t have confectioners’ sugar but kindly strictly use the latter if you want to deal with ants once and for all.

    If you use regular sugar, ants will be able to pick the grains of the sugar and leave out the baking powder, and that won’t go well with your objective. On the other hand, it will be extremely hard or impossible for the insects to separate the powdered icing sugar from baking soda. Therefore, the pests will end up eating a mixture of the sugar and baking soda.

    Add baking soda

    Add baking soda to the cup containing sugar. The amounts of the sugar and baking soda should be the same. Therefore, you’ll just add five baking soda heaping spoonfuls just as it was the case with icing sugar. Even if you want to make a smaller mixture, ensure that the portions of the two ingredients are equal.

    Ant Killer Baking Soda: Easy Steps Make a Potent Natural Ant Killer

    “While some people resolve to do when they spot ants is to rush to the nearby home improvement store to buy some pesticides, use of toxic chemicals to kill the insects is neither the cheapest, safest nor the most effective way of dealing with an ant infestation.”

    Control Exterminating – NYC Exterminator

    Mix

    Once you have put baking soda and icing sugar as prescribed above, the next thing you need to do is to mix the two. Do the mixing well to ensure that there’s no part of the mixture where the ants can eat the sugar without ingesting baking soda.

    Place the baits in the proper spots

    Ants don’t hide much; you’ll see them moving here and there as they collect food and take it to their relatives. Therefore, it won’t be difficult to establish the strategic areas that you can place the bait that you’ve already prepared and had many of them fall into the trap.

    Place the mixture in those spots and wait for the insects to eat it. You can place the bait on a paper or container or directly on the surface where the concentration of the insects is high.

    The majority of ant species like eating sweet foods and so, the reason for adding powdered sugar to baking soda is to attract the insects. On the other hand, baking soda is the ant killer ingredient.

    Naturally, ants have acidic compounds in their bodies. When they eat baking soda, which is basic, the base in it reacts with the acidic chemical that these pests have, and as a result, the affected ants die. In fact, they explode once the reaction occurs.

    —————————–

    Related Article:

    Natural Ant Repellent: 4 Quick Ways to Kill the Annoying Ants Naturally

    —————————–

    Effective DIY Ant Killer

    Although this method won’t kill all the ants present at your place immediately, it can, in the long run, lead to the extermination of the majority of them, if not clearing the whole infestation.

    This is because the worker ants tend to take food to other colleagues in their colonies, including the queen, drones and the young ones. If the food taken by the workers has baking soda, the others in the colony won’t escape death if they happen to ingest it.***

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  • Natural Ant Repellent: 4 Quick Ways to Kill the Annoying Ants

    21 June 2018
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    Natural Ant Repellent

    Natural Ant Repellent:

    4 Quick Ways to Kill the Annoying Ants

    Although pesticide use is seen as one of the quickest solutions for the eradication of home-invading ants, the chemicals have negative impacts on people, non-target animals as well as the environment. Here are some DIY natural ant repellent to kill ants.

    ————————–

    Though they are unwelcome in any home, ants force their way in to, feed on the available food. To make matter worse, these tiny insects won’t spare you when you provoke them; they will sting you mercilessly. Ant extermination is not an easy task and can be frustrating sometimes.

    DIY Ant Killer

    Instead of the use of anti-ant pesticides, there is a variety of natural remedies from which you can choose to get rid of ants that are friendly to people, animal, and the environment.

    Here are some of the most useful DIY ant killer options:

    #1. Vinegar and water

    Ants dislike vinegar, and for that reason, people mix it with water and spray the solution to their homes to repel the insects. This strategy is most effective in situations where an ant problem is not serious.

    The procedure putting vinegar (white or apple cider) with water in a spray bottle in equal proportions and then mix the two by shaking the bottle. Upon ensuring that both have blended well, spray the solution along floorboards, around windowsills and doorways and anywhere else you spot ants entering your house.

    Repeat this every day until all ants leave your house. You can also develop a habit of cleaning your floors, windows as well as countertops with vinegar to discourage ants from crawling over them.

    #2. Cinnamon essential oil

    Just like vinegar, cinnamon is also an effective natural repellent of ants. However, unlike vinegar, cinnamon oil is an ant repellant with positive insecticidal activity. The insects won’t dare to come close to a house with a cinnamon smell.

    This is how you get rid of ants using cinnamon: add a quarter to a half teaspoon of cinnamon to a cup of water. Then, put a cotton ball to the solution to soak and then use it to wipe the areas which ants use to gain access to your homes and any other place where you may spot the tiny animals.

    Do this every day until when you won’t see any ant in the house. In addition to applying the cinnamon solution, you can also place ground or whole cloves of cinnamon close to ants’ entry points.

    Natural Ant Repellent: 4 Quick Ways to Kill the Annoying Ants Naturally

    Cinnamon

    “Just like vinegar, cinnamon is also an effective natural repellent of ants. However, unlike vinegar, cinnamon oil is an ant repellant with positive insecticidal activity.”

    Control Exterminating – NYC Exterminator

    #3. Lemon

    Another smell that ants hate is that of a lemon. Besides, lemon smell masks the trails that ants make to notify their other colony members about the presence of food sources.

    Make a cup of a solution of water and lemon juice, with the ratio of the two components being 1:3 and spray it around your house and baseboard. You can also soak a cotton ball in the solution and rub it on the areas where ants pass through to gain access to your home.

    Such areas mostly include door thresholds and windowsills, among others. Spray/apply the solution daily until all the ants go away from your home.

    Natural Ant Repellent: 4 Quick Ways to Kill the Annoying Ants Naturally

    Carpenter Ants Infestation (Photo: Control Exterminating)

    #4. Peppermint

    Ants also hate peppermint smell, perhaps due to the interference it causes to their capability to communicate with pheromone markings. Peppermint grown around your house can deter ants from gaining access to your home.

    Another way in which peppermint can be used to repel ants is by making a solution of it and water and then spraying it on windowsills and door frames, among other places where ants pass through to your house.

    Approximately ten drops of cinnamon are enough for a small bottle of water. Alternatively, you can put a few drops of peppermint on a cotton ball and then wipe all possible ant entry points with the peppermint-infused cotton ball.

    Hopefully, by using any of these methods, you’ll be able to get rid of ants from your home in a safe manner. You can also share this information with your friends so that they can benefit from it as well.

    And, if you still can’t handle the ant infestation in your home, call Control Exterminating. We will treat your ant problem thoroughly.***

    natural ant repellent

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  • Carpenter Ants: Why You Need A Pro to Get Rid of the Big Black Ants

    11 June 2018
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    Carpenter Ant Infestation: Why You Need a Professional Pest Control

    Carpenter Ants:

    Why You Need A Pro to Get Rid of the Big Black Ants

    Carpenter ants can be hidden behind drywall or some other area inside your house’s structural foundation. That’s why ant extermination by professionals is your best defense against these big black ants.

    Carpenter ants are big, black insects and are among the most common pests in the New York City. The size of an adult carpenter ranges from a quarter to half of an inch.

    The tendency of these insects to make tunnels in wood for nesting made them get their name “carpenter ants.” They usually live in moisture-rich dead or damaged wood. Some of the places that you are likely to see these ants include in tree trunks, hollowed out trees, woodpiles, attics as well as crawlspaces.

    Carpenter Ants Behavior

    Similarly to the majority of ants, carpenter ants feed on nearly anything that comes their way. Nevertheless, they prefer foods that are rich in protein during the spring. While in summer, they like eating carbohydrate-rich foods.

    Although they are in constant search for food, carpenter ants are most active at night since that’s the time they are less likely to be seen by their predators which comprise of lizards and birds. A place with carpenter ants is easy to tell as you will spot tiny sawdust piles with some dead insects and insulation components.

    Can Carpenter Ants Bite People?

    Some people tend to avoid places with carpenter ants for fear of being bitten. Some just have unfounded paranoia as they are not sure if carpenter ants can bite. By the way, do they actually bite?

    The answer is yes; carpenter ants will bite you if you are close to them and they feel threatened. They bite as a way of defending their nests. These insects have powerful mandibles which they mostly use to cut wood, and they will use the same to attack you.

    When a carpenter ant is biting you, it can penetrate its mandibles into your skin, leaving behind fairly large bite marks. Bites by these ants are painful and are accompanied by a sharp-pinch sensation since besides wounding your skin and flesh, the ants also release formic acid, similarly to bee stings.

    Black Carpenter Ant

    “Carpenter ants will bite you if you are close to them and they feel threatened.”

    Control Exterminating

    You’ll also feel slight pain immediately, and then a prolonged burning sensation will follow, thanks to the injected formic acid. The bites are also characterized by red spots which to some people may be inflamed. The marks take approximately seven days to heal completely.

    Although bites by carpenter ants are painful, they neither have venom nor do they contribute to the transmission of diseases. In as such, the bites don’t pose any health risk to people.

    What to Do After A Carpenter Ant Bite

    Once carpenter ants have bitten you, try as much as you can to clean the inflicted wounds using soap and lukewarm or hot water. If the wounds are open, apply antibiotic ointment to them.

    You may also bandage the wounds once they are clean if you so wish. The wounds are likely to develop itchy sensation, and you may be tempted to scratch them but don’t fall into that temptation, kindly. Instead, apply some ice packs to the wounds. The ice packs will minimize the itching.

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    “Once carpenter ants have bitten you, try as much as you can to clean the inflicted wounds using soap and lukewarm or hot water.”

    Control Exterminating

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    Carpenter Ant Infestation

    Carpenter ants like wood. They don’t consume it; they just like to chew on it. They are considered one of the leading causes of damage to wood-based structures in the US.

    If you have seen a trail of these ants, you could very well be facing an ant infestation already. And it’s best to be familiar with their habits, so you will be more aware of where to look and when to look for them.

    Carpenter Ants: Why You Need A Pro to Get Rid of the Big Black Ants

    Carpenter Ant Damage

    How to Identify Carpenter Ants

    First off, these ants like to live in hollow wood. This means that they can create hollow sections in the wooden parts of your structure to have a place to live in.

    For these cases, ant removal experts can help you by checking your wooden structure for common signs like sawdust and small holes. They like to live in moist or decaying wood so be on the lookout for those as well. It’s important that you zero-in on their nests so you can completely get rid of the problem.

    Generally, ant exterminators will know where to look so you may want to consider getting their services to ensure that every nook and cranny inside the house is thoroughly checked.

    Carpenter Ant Infestation: Why You Need a Professional Pest Control

    Ant Infestation (Photo: Control Exterminating)

    “Ant removal experts can help you by checking your wooden structure for common signs like sawdust and small holes.”

    -Control Exterminating

    Carpenter ants can live outdoors as well. So if you have trees with hollow sections and your home is already infested, you’ll probably see them inside nearby trees as well.

    Professional ant removal services will target both indoor and outdoor nests. Once the nests have been identified, pest control experts will know what to do – which pesticide to use to eliminate them and which ones are best for preventing re-infestation, even when there are kids and pets in the home.

    It is not recommended for you to handle the problem on your own, particularly if you’ve seen ant trails on and off, and in several different places inside and outside the house. Only professional ant exterminators will know the best approach to get rid of them.

    Carpenter ants are known to damage wood-based structures of houses as well, so don’t wait too long before calling for help. The longer you wait, the more damage will be done.

    ——————————

    “Professional ant removal services will target both indoor and outdoor nests. Once the nests have been identified, pest control experts will know what to do.”

    Control Exterminating

    ——————————

    Ant Pest Control: Targeting the Root of the Problem

    You see a trail of ants on the counter, and your first instinct is to grab a can of bug spray to kill them. You think that that’s the end of it, but then you see another trail, this time on the dining table.

    While bug sprays can eliminate the pests that you can see, they do not target the root of the problem: destroying their nests. If you’re lucky, the nests can be within eyesight but they usually never are.

    They can be hidden behind drywall or some other area inside your house’s structural foundation. Ant extermination by professionals is your best defense against these pests.

    Carpenter Ant Infestation: Why You Need a Professional Pest Control

    Carpenter Ants Infestation (Photo: Control Exterminating)

    “Carpenter ants are known to damage wood-based structures of houses as well, so don’t wait too long before calling for help. The longer you wait, the more damage will be done.”

    -Control Exterminating

    Do I Really Need A Professional Ant Pest Control?

    Carpenter ants can be a serious nuisance if they form a colony in your building or at a place with much human interaction. A place with a carpenter ant infestation has primary and secondary colonies which must be eliminated if you want to keep these pests at bay completely.

    Unfortunately, without proper skills and experience, it is tough to find and destroy all these colonies and so, it is advisable that you hire a pest control expert to do it for you. Otherwise, partial removal of the colonies will leave you with a recurrent carpenter ant problem.

    If you’ve been spraying these ants with insecticide and they keep coming back, there’s a very big chance that there’s a colony of them somewhere inside the house. And in these cases, a professional ant pest control service should be hired to determine where the colonies are (there could be more than one) with the help of their equipment.

    Pest control experts know where to look first since they’ve seen and eliminated a number of them in different houses/structures before. With professional ant extermination, you’re assured that the bug experts will leave no stone unturned until they find the root of the problem and eliminate it once and for all.

    They also have proven treatments that can be applied to surfaces to prevent re-infestation. They can likewise give you tips on how to avoid re-infestation, such as proper food storage and eliminating factors inside the house that make your home susceptible to ant infestation.

    So if you’ve seen ant trails all over the house, it’s best not to rely only on bug sprays that you can purchase off the rack. Hire professional ant pest control services to get rid of the ants completely.***

    Featured Image: Black Carpenter Ant, Mohammed El Damir, Bugwood.org

    Carpenter Ant Infestation: Why You Need a Professional Pest Control

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  • Ant Wars: Fight For Your Queen

    19 April 2018
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    Ant War, Why and how do ants fight

    Ants are looked at as a small, insignificant pest, but these insects can be very violent. Given the appropriate conflict, an ant war between two colonies of ants can occur. These ants will rip each other to pieces in order to protect their colony and Queen.

    Who Do Ants Go To War With?

    Ants are social insects which live in ‘families’ known as colonies. An ant war can be among ants within the same colony or a colony versus another colony. These insects can also fight other animals, and even humans when they feel threatened.

    Ant War, Why and how do ants fight

    Why Do Ants Fight Each Other?

    Ant Vs Ant

    Most ant internal ant wars (within a colony) occur as a result of issues related to the queen ant. Each colony has one female ant which is exclusively allowed to mate with drones (male ants) and reproduce. However, there are other female ants (workers) within a colony who may try to mate with the drones to reproduce. The internal war is mostly among worker ants as they try to compete for drones for mating and serving purposes. In such a case, a fight between two worker ants continues until one is defeated. The defeated ant returns to work worker while the winner is allowed to go on to mate. Fortunately, fights amongst worker ants of the same colony don’t result in fatalities.

    Queen Ant Vs Female Ants

    Nevertheless, in an extreme case, worker ants may “assassinate” the sitting queen once their number in a colony hits 300. The replacement of the queen may occur as a result of her deteriorated reproduction capability, hence the need to get another queen.  The workers with full reproductive capability become queens and mate with their male siblings to form their own colonies.

    Ant Vs Ant Colony

    Intra-colony fights may also occur as a result of wrong identification of an ant within a colony. Ants sharing the same colony identify themselves according to their unique smell. However, sometimes one of them may smell differently, perhaps like an outsider, possibly as a result of contamination or just a mistaken identity. In such a case, the ant may be attacked by its nest mates until it cleans itself and is accepted back or unfortunately succumbs to the injuries it sustains from the fight. 

    Ant Colony Vs Ant Colony

    In other instances, an ant fight may occur when one ant colony raids another colony for food. The raid triggers a conflict between the two colonies and eventually a war. Both colonies (the raider and the raided) summon their worker ants to the tournament ground where hundreds of fighters conduct a highly stereotyped demonstration of fights. Eventually, the colony that’s able to summon a larger number of workers than the other takes over the one with the less worker workforce. The end of the fight is characterized by the killing or chasing away of the Queen of the weaker ant colony by the stronger colony. The latter also takes the larvae, pupae, callow as well as the honeypot workers of the weaker colony.

    How Do Ants Fight? How Do They Attack?

    During wars between same colony members, ants will “whip” one another using their antennae for about  14 to 21 times until winners are established. While some ant species maim and kill their rivals using their mandibles, others like Brachyponera Chinensis use the sting on their abdomen to fight. During a fight,  the stinging ants mount on their enemies and pierce them using their stings. Other species of ant spray their enemies with formic acid, a poisonous substance. Some ant fights are so serious that some fighting ants end up being torn into pieces and eventually die.

    What Do Ants Do With Their Dead?

    Have you ever realized that if you kill a few ants in your kitchen, a few more are most likely to show up? The logic behind that is the fact that ants don’t leave their dead family members just anywhere. Instead, the surviving ones come to pick the dead and put them in their midden, a pile made up of ants’ waste matter and remains. This pile is said to protect the ant colony and their Queen from contamination. 

    Ants will risk it all to retrieve their fallen brothers and sisters and return them to their homes. They follow the chemical called oleic acid which has a scent that creates a path to their dead and injured family members.

    Ant War Conclusion

    Ants may be small, but they are fascinating and extremely loyal insects. Their colonies a formed in such a structure, that they are born with these natural insects.

    To see a video of an ant war in action, click here.

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