A Guide To Ant Control & Prevention

What are ants?

Ants are social insects that live and work together. Ants are considered to be one of the most common household invaders. They have an intricate social structure and divide themselves into three different castes: workers, males, and queens. Only the reproductive members of the ant colony are winged. Ants have three distinct body regions: the head, thorax, and abdomen. Ants all have antennae. Depending on the specific species, ants can range from tiny (⅛ of an inch) to large (½ an inch). Ants come in a variety of colors including black, brown, red, and yellow.a swarm of fire ants in virginia beach

Common species of ants found living in our North Carolina and Virginia service areas include:

Acrobat ants
Acrobat ants get their name from their unique acrobatic movement of raising their heart-shaped abdomens up and over their heads when they are disturbed. Acrobat ants also emit a foul-smelling odor when disturbed. They are small in size and are black to yellowish-brown in color, though some are multi-colored.

Fire ants
Fire ants are small in size and are dark reddish-brown to black in color. These ants are easily agitated and aggressive. They will bite and sting anything they view as a threat, often attacking in large groups. Fire ant bites are rather painful.

Odorous house ants
Odorous house ants are a small species and range in color from dark brown to black. These ants produce a distinctive, unpleasant smell (rotting coconut), which helps to distinguish them from other species of ants.

Are ants dangerous?

Most ants that invade homes and other buildings, such as acrobat ants and odorous house ants, are considered nuisance pests and do not pose any real harm to people or property. While annoying to have in your home, they won’t cause damage or create significant health risks.

The fire ant is an example of a dangerous ant. They are highly invasive and will sting anything that walks past or disturbs their nest. They use their strong mandibles to bite and hold onto the skin of their victim. Raised red welts eventually become white pustules at the bite sites. Their venom is strong enough to cause an allergic response in people and pets, potentially triggering an anaphylactic shock. They also can cause damage to farm crops, household plants, and electrical equipment.

Why do I have an ant problem?

Ants can find their way onto almost any property. The most common things that attract ants to a property include gardens, outdoor trashcans, compost areas, pet food, outdoor eating areas, and leaky outdoor fixtures. Once living or foraging for food on your property, it is only a matter of time before they wander into your home. Ants move inside through cracks in a home's foundation and exterior, spaces around doors and windows, torn screens, holes along the roofline, and any other tiny openings they come across.

Where will I find ants?

Ants are found living in almost any suburban, urban, or rural environment. Outside, ants build their nests in a variety of locations, including underneath soil and mulch, in cracks along pavement and sidewalks, along fence lines, in gardens, under fallen trees, or in tree stumps. Fire ants prefer to build their nests in the ground in open sunny areas - making yards common nesting spots for these dangerous ants. Ants that have moved indoors while foraging for food often stay and create satellite nests. Common indoor nesting spots include under floors, behind baseboards, and inside insulation. They also nest in crawlspaces, wall voids, and behind large appliances and heating systems.

How do I get rid of ants?

To eliminate ants from your residential or commercial property, professional pest control is highly recommended. When you partner with Four Seasons | HomeTown, our experienced and friendly professionals will provide the tailored, comprehensive services needed to eliminate your property’s initial infestation. We then have the ability to provide ongoing preventative treatments to stop ants and other household pests from returning.

To learn more about ridding your Outer Banks, NC or Chesapeake, Suffolk, Portsmouth, and Norfolk, VA area property of ants, give Four Seasons | HomeTown a call!

How can I prevent ants in the future?

To help you stop ants from taking over your home or commercial property we offer the following prevention tips:

  • Repair any gaps in your home's exterior walls, roofline, and foundation.

  • Eliminate water sources from around your property.

  • Keep outdoor eating and grill areas cleaned up.

  • Use dehumidifiers in basement areas to reduce moisture levels.

  • Outdoor trash cans and compost bins need tight-fitting or locking lids.

  • Trim tree branches, bushes, and other landscaping away from the outside of your home.

  • Put into place a professional pest control service from Four Seasons | HomeTown Pest Control.

 

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