Ants are one of the more common types of pests that pest control professionals encounter, and they often come inside homes. Many of these ants are nuisance ants, which build nests outdoors but forage into homes to find food. These ants can be difficult to get rid of; however, exterminators use several different techniques that vary depending on the type of ant.
Here’s how exterminators get rid of ants:
* Extermination options – Ants like sweet foods, so exterminators make baits using poison or toxins that mimic their favourite foods. The most commonly used bait is boric acid powder; it comes in granular form and causes fewer secondary insect problems than other poisons. This bait is often combined with peanut butter as a tempting additive. Exterminators also use commercial ant baits, which are formulated to be attractive to the ants.
Exterminators apply these poisons by dusting along baseboards and doorways outside – anywhere they’ve spotted ants foraging around. This technique is called perimeter treatment, and it’s done at ground level so that pets or children can’t reach it.
Once an exterminator finds the main source of the infestation, he takes a sample back to his office to identify what kind of ant it is so he can prescribe the proper extermination method for that species. If you think you know what kind of ants are in your home, here’s how you can identify various types of house-invading ants .
Extermination services come with warranties that last up to one year, depending on the company. This means that if you find yourself with additional ant problems over the next year, your extermination professional will return to the home free of charge.
Extermination methods –
extermination services can use several methods to get rid of ants, including:
* Chemical sprays –
These sprays are usually based on pyrethrins or pyrethroids, which are derived from chrysanthemum flowers and kill ants on contact. Also called insecticidal dusts, these products also work by affecting an ant’s nervous system so it feels compelled to clean itself and spread the pesticide throughout its colony. Although effective against most species of ants, this method is less useful for pharaoh ants because they’re resistant to pyrethrins.
* Fogging –
This method is used for killing large numbers of ants, but it’s difficult to control where the insecticides go once you start spraying. Because of this, fogging isn’t considered a good option inside homes. Foggers are somewhat effective outdoors because they can disperse chemicals across lawns and other areas that may have nests.
* Systemic injections –
This exterminator treatment is only available from licensed professionals, and it involves injecting pesticides directly into trees or shrubs near a home to kill foraging ants before they enter your house. The injection process requires a lot of maintenance because you must regularly re-apply pesticides at varying intervals throughout the year
* Baiting –
Commercial ant baits are highly effective against certain species of ants. The advantages to using baits is that they’re not only easy to apply, but they also can provide several weeks of control for ant populations hiding deep inside walls or other hard-to-reach areas.
* Insect growth regulators –
When professional exterminators use IGRs, this means that they’re injecting pesticides into trees near the home to stop these insects from maturing and reproducing. This treatment doesn’t kill adult ants but will help reduce their numbers over time until your home becomes infestation-free .
DIY methods – Want to get rid of ants by yourself? Here’s how:
* Eliminate food sources –
Ants come indoors looking for food sources such as crumbs or spilled soda. Clean up food spills right away, and store all food in tightly sealed containers ,
* Apply pesticide –
You can purchase ant baits from most home improvement stores to kill foraging ants before they enter your house .
If you’re overwhelmed by the variety of different ant types, there’s a simple way to remember the difference between “good” and bad” ants. Good ants can:
* Eats aphids –
These include carpenter ants and harvester ants . Both species eat aphids, which are tiny insects that feed on plants. Aphid colonies tend to be easy to spot because they form large clusters at the tips of stems or branches where sap is flowing from a broken leaf vein.
* Lives in the soil – The most common good ants are odorous house ants. These ant species prefer to build their nests in warm, moist areas that are rich with organic matter ,
* Grows wings when it’s time to leave the colony – Living outdoors is how some types of ants reproduce. Winged males and females swarm together during mating flights . As they set out to establish their own colonies, male swarms die within a few days after leaving the nest. Female young queens lose their wings after finding a suitable nesting site. Once settled inside their new home, these queen ants will start laying eggs and establishing her own colony .
The most harmful kind of ant is one that damages or eats wood or plants .
Some examples of invasive or harmful ants are
* Fire ant – It’s a very common species of stinging ant that usually lives in moist, mucky soil . Although they look similar to ordinary house-invading ants, fire ants are more aggressive and have painful venom that can cause you to have an allergic reaction. You should call pest control if you see any colonies nearby .
* Red imported fire ant – This troublesome species is originally from South America but has spread throughout the southern USA. Small colonies of these insects can be foraging across lawns during the daytime ,
* Carpenter ant – These large ants will not only damage your home by hollowing out sections of wood , but they’ll also ruin other wooden structures around your property .
* Pavement ant – This tiny species is found living in sidewalks and pavement . You’ll notice that the ants build nests under rocks and other flat objects, and they’re known for their highly aggressive nature when they’re protecting their larvae and queen .
* Allegheny mound ant – These large black ants build antenna-shaped mounds typically found in yards. They feed on plants , so if you find them foraging near seedlings or shrubs, it’s because they’re looking for food .
Ant Inspection is a key
The best way to avoid any problems with harmful ants around your property is to regularly inspect your home and remove all possible entry points by sealing cracks or covering window sills.
Once inside, follow these tips:
* Eliminate moisture and food sources – Insects and ants need both moisture and food to survive, so make sure you eliminate as many potential sources of water as possible , such as leaky plumbing or overflowing pet bowls . Also seal up any open containers that could hold grains or crumbs.
* Be patient – If your home is located in an area where harmful ant species are common, it’s best to be patient and wait for the ants to die off on their own . Treatment won’t kill adult ants but will help reduce their numbers over time until your home becomes infestation-free .
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