If you were like many children on Christmas morning, you judged the value of gifts by the box size. After all, the larger something has to be, the more valuable it is. As adults, we know that such thinking is faulty because there is a difference between value and expense. While a new car is more expensive than most engagement rings, the ring has far more value because it represents something beyond the mundane.
Small things can have a significant impact, and that reality applies to ants. Even though they are tiny, when you notice a line of ants marching through the kitchen or encircling the garbage can, you know your day has changed. When ants invade a home or property, it affects what you do. For example, if you have imported red fire ants in the yard, you are unlikely to walk barefoot through the grass.
You don't need to change your lifestyle because ants are inside your home. Instead, secure ant control in Chesapeake from family-owned and operated Hawk Mosquito & Pest. Our company offers affordable, budget-friendly pest control that swiftly and effectively removes pests from your home. With our core value of integrity driving our decisions and practices, we know you will be 100% satisfied with our prompt, attentive service.
You probably found this article because you have ants crawling across the furniture, countertops, and inside pet food bowls, and you want them removed. Please keep reading so you can identify the ant species causing problems and what you can do to stop the infestation.
Types Of Ants: Understanding Common Ant Species
Ants are insects with six jointed legs, two clubbed antennae, and a body with a pinched waist between their thorax and abdomen, similar to their wasp cousins. Some ants, known as alates or swarmers, have wings; these are reproductive ants that leave the nest in the spring or late fall to form new colonies. Ants are social creatures that live in groups, and while most species live outside in the soil, one species (i.e., carpenter ants) builds their homes in water-logged timber.
Thousands of ant species exist worldwide, but the following types of ants in Chesapeake are problematic for many homeowners:
Little black ants
Odorous house ants
Red imported fire ants
We know that to most people, one ant looks just another, but there are differences, and understanding those characteristics will help identify the ants in your house, so let's take a moment and look closer at the ants on our list.
Argentine ants have 1/16 to 1/4-inch dark brown to black bodies. While many ants have this same coloration, one distinctive characteristic of these ants is they travel in long lines. They often travel up trees and buildings and into homes. Argentine ants are aggressive towards other ant species.
As previously noted, carpenter ants are the only species that live in moistened wood. Unlike termites, carpenter ants do not eat wood but build nests by boring smooth tunnels deep into timbers. Carpenter ants have the largest bodies (1/2 to 5/8-inch) of the ants on our list; their bodies are black, red, brown, or red and black. Outside, they use rotting fence posts, landscape, and tree stumps for homes, but when they invade a house, they migrate to a poorly ventilated, damp basement or crawl space.
Little black ants got their name from their characteristics: body color and size. These ants have a 1/32 to 1/16-inch jet-black body, and when they invade a home, they live behind woodwork and masonry.
Odorous house ants have black or brown bodies 1/16 to 1/8-inch long. Outside, they move their nesting location every few months; inside a Chesapeake home, they live in humid areas near water heaters, leaky plumbing fixtures, wall voids, and wood previously inhabited by termites. We will discuss why these ants are called "odorous" in our next section.
Pavement ants have a 1/8-inch dark brown or black body. As their name suggests, these ants live in pavement cracks in the sidewalk, driveway, and mortar joints at ground level. When they infest a home, they nest underneath insulation, floors, and inside walls.
While red imported fire ants may invade a home, usually through AC units, they primarily live in the yard. These 1/8 to 3/-8-inch dark reddish-brown ants create irregular mounds two to four feet in diameter near foundations, landscape materials, trees in fields, and lawns.
When compared to the other ants on our list, thief ants stand out due to their pale yellow to brown 1/16-inch bodies. Also called 'grease ants" or "sugar ants," these ants invade the nests of other ants (hence the name "thief ant) and steal their food and offspring.
Hawk Mosquito & Pest provides ant control for homeowners to remove whatever type of ant is inside your home. Our technicians know the signs of an infestation and can identify the species invading your home.
Assessing The Risks: The Problems Created By Ant Infestations
Ants are a nuisance. No one wants a line of ants marching across the countertop while trying to prepare breakfast. It is frustrating to have ants crawling over Fido's food in his bowl. It is horrifying when you have a guest visit and see an ant traveling across her leg. Even though the feeling may be unjustified, you feel dirty and unsettled when ants are in the home.
Have you sat on the back porch and noticed an ant climbing up the masonry wall? If so, you may have wondered how they seemingly defy gravity. The secret lies in their tiny claws at the base of each of their six legs. While these enable ants to scale surfaces, bacteria stick to them as they walk. When those same ants travel over exposed foods, countertops, and food products, the bacteria transfer and contaminate those items. Argentine ants are known to crawl over trash, dead animals, and sewage and may spread the bacteria that causes dysentery.
One ant that can cause physical damage to your house is the carpenter ant. These ants bore smooth tunnels deep into fungus-infested timbers in the crawl space or basements. Over the years, carpenter ants will create new satellite nests under your home, resulting in more damage to support beams, etc. Warping window and door frames due to sagging floors and collapsing structures may result after years of a carpenter ant infestation.
Some ants bite, and other than a momentary pinch, there are no lasting effects, but that is not true with imported red fire ants. These ants not only bite, but they sting. Soldier ants immediately swarm out of the nest onto the perpetrator when the nest is disturbed. Once on their victim, they bite to anchor themselves and then repeat sting using their smooth stingers to inject venom. The toxin causes immediate pain, and soon afterward, a painful fluid-filled pustule emerges, which itches for several days. Individuals with allergy sensitivities may experience anaphylactic shock from fire ant stings.
Protect your family's safety, home structure, and personal sanity by using the ant control service near your house from Hawk Mosquito & Pest.
Ant Prevention Strategies: Using Science To Keep Ants Out
The following ant prevention tips will deter ants from entering your Chesapeake home after Hawk Mosquito & Pest ends your current infestation:
Seal cracks and gaps in the foundation and roofline.
Prune tree branches and shrubs away from the house.
Relocate firewood piles 20 feet from the house and elevate them.
Remove decaying timber from the yard.
Fix moisture issues outside and inside the home.
Cover indoor and outdoor garbage cans.
Vacuum the house regularly.
Suction out the corners, cracks, and crevices in the home.
Wash and store dishes after meals.
Store food products in airtight plastic or glass containers.
Put pet food up before retiring to bed.
Maintaining a clean, dry interior and exterior will deter ants from trying to enter in the future. When a Hawk Mosquito & Pest technician inspects your home to provide ant pest control treatments, we can offer additional ideas and answer any questions.
Expert Ant Control: Call Us At The First Sign Of Ants In The House
We will dispatch a trained technician to your Chesapeake home to investigate for an ant infestation. We will look for entry points, attractants, and hot spots and work to identify the offending species to provide targeted treatments.
Our initial process begins with an interior treatment focusing on cracks and crevices where ants hide. Because ants create pheromone trails to lead other ants to food sources, we treat the exterior to disrupt those trails and to create a barrier to discourage ants from entering the home. You don't have to worry about the effectiveness of our treatments because we back them with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. We also offer eco-friendly solutions so you can have peace of mind about environmental impact.
Contact Hawk Mosquito & Pest today to learn more about our ant pest control services in Chesapeake and get a free, no-obligation quote.