Ants Removal Service in North Carolina & Virginia
Ants are social insects and live in colonies, so similar to termites there are different groups of ants that perform different tasks within the colony. The colonies comprise of a queen and workers. There are over 700 types of ants in the US, although the number which infest homes are dramatically less and only around 20-30. Unlike termites the body shape of an ant is identified by its head, thorax and abdomen and they also have an antennae.
Ants in North Carolina and Virginia will forage any type of food but are typically attracted to sweet flavors. They can get in to our foods which in turn contaminates it making it inedible to humans. Ants will also bite when threatened and not to mention can damage our properties too.
Types of Ants
You may have seen black ants around or near your home. The most common type of ants found in North Carolina and Virginia are acrobat ants, carpenter ants, crazy ants, fire ants and odorous house ants. Each of them have different characteristics and behaviors.
Acrobat ants nest under logs, firewood, stones or trees as well as in walls and floor voids. They feed on honeydew products produced by aphids, insects (alive or dead) and termite swarmers. Workers will defend the colony aggressively if under attack and are quick to bite as well as release a foul odor.
Acrobat ants are light brown to black in color and between 1/16 to 1/8 inch in length.
Carpenter ants may be confused with termites due to them infesting wood. Carpenter ants will nest in either rotting or sound trees as well as in structures including cavities. They feed on sugar solutions from honeydew producing aphids and the juices of insects they capture. Unlike termites, they do not eat wood, they just use the wooded area as their home.
Carpenter ants are amongst one of the largest in the US and range from 1/8 to 1/2 inch in length and are commonly black, although there are some species which are red or brown.
Crazy ants get their name from their erratic behavior in their search for food. They often nest in soil under objects such as mulch, stones, potted plants, trash cans as well as wall and floor structures. They feed on honeydew produced from aphids and other plant feeders, insects, fruit, seeds and almost all household food produce. They enter structures in the fall or after a rain as both conditions reduce the availability of honeydew outdoors.
Crazy ants are light brown to black in color and range from 1/16 to 1/8 inch in length.
Fire ants get their name because of the pain the sting inflicts on the victim. They usually nest in the ground but are attracted to electrical junction boxes such as air conditioners. Fire ant colonies are extremely large and can severely injure crops, lawns, small birds and people. Fire ants like a high protein diet but will feed on pretty much anything including other insects, seeds, nectar, nuts, plants and meats.
Fire ants are yellow to dark red-brown in color and size ranges from 1/16 to 1/4 inch length. They have stingers on their abdomen and antennae.
Odorous House Ants
Odorous house ants get their name from the rancid smell they produce when they are crushed. They nest outdoors under logs and stones as well as in wall and floor structures and around heat sources such as hot water pipes. Odorous house ants prefer a sweet diet but will eat almost any household food.
Odorous house ants are brown to black in color and range from 1/16 to 1/8 inch in length. When alarmed the workers will scurry around with their abdomen in the air.
Why Do I Have Ants?
Ants are a pest, especially if they get into your home. Carpenter ants can cause structural damage. As the name suggests, they tunnel through wood when they are making their nests. The other ants mentioned don’t cause a public health risk but can contaminate food, which should be avoided.
With any pest there can be a number of varying factors such as water or food sources, landscaping or easy entry points into the structure.
Getting Rid of Ants in Your Home or Structure
In order to get rid of ants knowing the behaviors, characteristics and different types of ants is important. It may be that their nest is some way away from the structure or entry point and this is what you have to eliminate. Some ants, specifically the fire ant will sting repeatedly and if you are allergic to insect stings, then the reaction can be more severe.
Four Seasons and HomeTown have the expertise in identifying and finding their nesting site. Once found we can assist with treating them.
What can I do in the future to avoid ants?
If you have tried to get rid of ants yourself using a bait or repellent, then it may be that other issues need to be resolved as well like;
- Reducing moisture sources including any condensation and leaks.
- Caulk any cracks and crevises around the foundation of your home.
- Store firewood away from your home – pests like to nest in stacked wood.
- Move debris from the structure.
- Changing landscaping or crops to discourage them.
We can give you peace of mind with our North Carolina & Virginia pest control maintenance program. During our regular visits we can eliminate possible nesting sites and treat problem areas before they escalate into something bigger. Alternatively if you have seen ants in your house and you just need us one time for an ant infestation then we can help too.