Ants: The Year-Round Pest
July 11, 2019
Most pests have a relatively defined peak season, and a period where they are either hibernating or somewhat inactive, but there is one group of pests that is active all year: ants. While ants do tend to come around more during the spring, they are a nuisance all year round. With a threat so consistent, you’ll definitely want to know everything that you can about these tiny pests- from signs and prevention to favorite hiding spots and removal- so that you can take steps to avoid an ant infestation from happening in the first place, or at the very least know that you have one and get it taken care of. That’s just what we’re here to do; here’s our all you need to know guide on ants: the year-round pest.
What Types of Ants are Common In North Carolina?
First things first: let’s briefly go over some of the types of ants that you should be on the lookout for; identifying the problem is the first step toward solving it:
- Acrobat Ants: Yellowish brown or black in color, and distinctive for their sometimes-smelly odor and ability to stand up on their hind legs, acrobat ants can cause irritating bites, and are known to sometimes strip insulation from wiring, causing electrical issues.
- Argentine Ants: A tiny breed, Argentine ants come in shiny brown or shiny black variations; while they pose little threat regarding home damage, they come in huge colonies (often in the hundreds of thousands) and can rapidly contaminate food if not taken care of.
- Carpenter Ants: Larger in size and red, black, yellow, or some combination of the three, carpenter ants are a particularly destructive type, because of their nesting tendencies; a colony of carpenter ants can do serious structural damage to any wood in your living space or business.
- Fire Ants: These ants are venomous and are more aggressive than many other ants; they will attack, and their stings can be quite painful. Be on the lookout for a dark reddish-brown color, and their distinctive nesting mounds, which may start small but can grow as a big as 3 feet.
There are several other ants that reside in North Carolina, but these are the four that typically can cause the most amount of trouble. Be mindful that all species of ants are capable of developing wings, so if you see a flying insect that matches one of the above descriptions, there is a possibility you are dealing with an ant problem.
What Are the Signs of an Ant infestation?
Signs of an infestation are straightforward when it comes to ants. If you’ve noticed that large numbers of ants quickly gather to food you leave out, or the food in your pantry, that’s a big red flag that ants have infested your home. Also look around for ant nests in the form of soil mounds outside of- but still close to- the home. While ants do tend to enter homes to scout for food, most species like to nest outside while remaining close enough to a food source (aka: your home) that food retrieval isn’t too far away. One prominent exception is the Carpenter Ant, which will nest in wood structures inside the home. Lastly, and most simply, just look for a consistent ant presence in parts of the home that they wouldn’t have a reason to be in; an ant shouldn’t have much of a reason to be lurking around your bedroom or bathroom, so if you consistently see stray ants in places that aren’t near the kitchen or dining area, it’s a good idea to investigate for some other signs.
What Can I Do to Prevent an Infestation?
Ant prevention can be a difficult task, because an ant can easily enter your home through even the smallest of cracks. Doing your best to block or fill every crack near entryways is an option, but the difficulty of finding every single possible entry point, and then totally completely blocking that access point, is an extremely difficult task. One thing that you can do is keep your home or business as clean as possible, particularly when it comes to food.
Even the smallest crumbs of food can attract ants, so sweeping and vacuuming as often as possible can go a long way in keeping ants out of your space. Keeping the sink clear of dirty dishes and your kitchen counter tops and tables clean and wiped down (along with other surfaces that are commonly eaten on) are also useful practices when it comes to ant infestation prevention. Remember: every crumb counts!
I Think I Have an Ant Infestation. Now What?
If you have an ant infestation that is causing you some major irritation, or an even more nefarious ant infestation (such as carpenter ants), A-1 Pest Control can help! Our residential and commercial services are built to ward off any pest infestation, and that includes ants! We’ll work with you, whether it’s a problem in the home or at your place of business and create a pest elimination plan that will have your space ant-free in no time!