Ants are social insects. They are beneficial outside, where they prey on pests like fleas, eat dead insects, and dead vertebrates. They cease being beneficial when they enter your house. While California has about 270 species of ants, only a few cause problems.
Description Of Problem Ants
Ants are usually black, brown, or red. They have a head, thorax, and abdomen and a pronounced waist. They have six legs. Here are the problem ants in Monterey in order of frequency.
- Pharaoh ants (Monomorium pharaonis)
- Argentine ants Linepithema humile
- Odorous house ants (Tapinoma sessile)
- Thief ants (Solenopsis molesta)
- Southern fire ants (S. xyloni)
- Pavement ants (Tetramorium caespitum)
- Red Imported fire ants (S. Invicta)
After a mating flight, the female ant lands and digs a nesting chamber. She lays eggs and tends the legless larvae that hatch. When the larvae pupate and become adult ants, they dig out of the nesting chamber and start foraging. These sexless females take care of the new eggs that the queen lays. They feed the larvae and the queen, who does nothing but lay eggs and eat. Workers enlarge the nest as their population grows. Some species of ants form multi-queen super-colonies, which makes colonies very hard to kill.
Ants often come into a home when there is a drought or a flood. When foraging ants detect food inside your house, they form a line to take some and send it back to the colony. Pheromones let other ants know there is food available, attracting even more ants. Once inside, ants may nest in crawl spaces, wall voids, and in other warm areas.
Ants Are Dangerous
Household ants can be dangerous. They can transmit E. coli, shigella, and salmonellosis when they move across food-preparation areas or utensils. Pharaoh ants can also transmit salmonellosis, staphylococcus, clostridium, and streptococcus. In addition, red imported fire ants, southern ants, and harvester ants all sting. These stings hurt, but for some individuals who are allergic to them, they can kill. A pustule forms where the sting is. People can get secondary infections when they scratch these pustules.
DIY Ant Control Fails
Once you have problems with ants, it is hard to get rid of them yourself. Large colonies and multiple queens make it difficult to wipe out entire nests. The places ants nest are generally hard to reach and can make pesticides fail to reach enough of the colony. And over-the-counter pesticides can be dangerous if used incorrectly. An invasion of ants is something you need help with.
Smith’s Pest Management can help. Our trained technicians will come and inspect your house inside and out. After the inspection, we will develop a detailed plan to get rid of all your ants. We use eco-friendly and safe treatments that are deadly for pests but safe for your family. After the ants are gone, we will come out monthly or quarterly to make sure they stay out.
Preventing Ant Infestations
Ants are tough to prevent. If you follow these tips and work with us, together we can keep your home ant-free.
- Seal cracks in the foundation with a caulking gun.
- Seal the openings around pipes, electrical wires, and cables as they come into your house.
- Make sure window screens are free of holes and fit tightly in the windowsills.
- Clean up food spills promptly.
- Fix leaks in and around the house.
- Remove yard debris.
- Keep the lawn mowed and flower beds free of weeds.
- Put food in ant-proof containers
We will help you find any other things you need to do to keep the ants outside, where they belong. Call Smith’s Pest Management today to get rid of your ants once and for all.