HAVE AN ANT PROBLEM?
Ugh. Ants. If it feels like they are everywhere, it’s only because they are. Almost. Ants can be found below sea level in Death Valley through altitudes of more than 14,000 feet – at almost every latitude. Due to their adaptability and highly advanced sense of teamwork, ant populations today outnumber every other insect population on the planet. San Diego, Orange County and Riverside County are not immune. Throughout the year, we play host to a wide variety of ant species:
Argentine ants (Iridomyrmex humilis) – Easily identified by the following: if you see an ant inside your house, it is probably an Argentine. They are small, just a sixteenth of an inch, and vary in color from light to dark brown. The species made its way to the U.S. from South America via coffee ships sometime around 1890. Argentine ants are the most organized and prolific of all the local ant species. They have almost completely displaced the previous local ant dynasty, the Odorous house ants. Argentines are attracted to moisture sources: potted plants, irrigation systems, sinks, and bathrooms. They also enjoy a wide variety of the same foods you eat: honey, syrups, jellies, and they will also seek out meats. Argentine ants do not bite or sting.
Fire ants (Solenopsis spp.) – Ouch! California Fire ant stings can be nasty, sometimes even worse than a bee sting, and much worse than fleas. Most California Fire ants tend to be found inland and, fortunately, infrequently. California Fire ants are not so prolific – they live in small colonies and do not reproduce with the compulsion of the pesky Argentine ants. A distant cousin, however, the Red Imported Fire ant has recently moved into town. And “ouch” will soon become an understatement. Red Imported Fire ants inflict excruciatingly painful stings. In Texas, public playgrounds and parks have been overrun by these monsters, making it unsafe for children and families to enjoy the outdoors.
Odorous house ants (Tapinoma sessile) – When we were kids growing up in Southern California, the Odorous house ant – or grease ant – was the dominant species. They are named after the rotten odor they exude when crushed. Odorous house ants grow to be a little larger, on average, than the Argentine ant. But size doesn’t matter. The Odorous house ant has been displaced from much of its homeland by the highly organized Argentine ant populations. Odorous house ants do not bite or sting.
How Lloyd Pest Control can protect you against ants:
At Lloyd Pest Control, we typically begin an ant service by treating the exterior perimeter with Termidor, a minimally invasive product that is made of fipronil (the same active ingredient used in Frontline on-pet topical treatments). Inside we treat all infested areas, primarily using dust formulations that we place inside the wall voids to keep ants from gaining access to the various rooms. We remove outlet and switch-plate covers and employ a special “duster” to place our products inside the walls and into areas that are removed from the general living space – and away from children and pets.
Is dinner on the house?
Carpenter ants (Camponotus modoc) – In the realm of pest management, Carpenter ants fall into a different classification than the rest of the ant family. Carpenter ants are wood-destroying organisms, not unlike termites and certain species of beetles. They get their name from their habit of entering wooden beams and carving out substantial galleries, often causing real structural damage. Carpenter ants can grow to lengths of a half-inch or more. It is not uncommon to hear a faint rustling sound within the walls of homes infested by Carpenter ants. They are also easily identified by the piles of sawdust that they leave behind. Treatment for Carpenter ants can be difficult. A licensed termite inspector is the best man for the job. He will inspect the property to determine whether the Carpenters have established a nest within the home or are just foraging for a colony based elsewhere. If the nest is within the home, a licensed termite inspector can often make recommendations for localized treatments depending upon the nature and location of the infestation.
ANT TIP: Ants don’t follow each other; they follow a scented path known as a pheromone trail. If you spray the trail with Windex or any glass cleaner that contains ammonia, the scent will be destroyed.