What are ants?
Ants are social creatures and are rarely ever seen traveling alone. They are small in size and common invaders in homes and other structures.
Ants are insects, and all adults have six legs, three body regions, and antennae. Ants also have chewing mouthparts, and only the reproductive members of an ant colony have wings.
Winged ants are typically only seen in the spring when the weather warms, and they emerge from their colony to find a mate and create a new colony of their own.
A single ant colony may have thousands of workers and multiple nesting locations, making eliminating and controlling these pests tough. Described below are some of Roanoke’s most common household invading ants.
Shiny dark brown to black color, these ants move in large, wide trails and live together in massive colonies with multiple nesting sites.
Unlike other types of ants, crazy ants do not travel in a straight line. They move in an erratic, frenzied pattern that gives them the look of being “crazy” and not knowing where they are going. They are dark brown to black, and some have a gray sheen.
Odorous House Ants
As their name describes, this type of ant emits a foul, rotten coconut-like odor when crushed. They are small in size and are brown to black.
Dark brown to black, pavement ants are another small species of ant. These ants have a varied diet and eat almost anything. Their name comes from their favorite nesting locations—in the cracks of pavement and sidewalks.
Are ants dangerous?
While there are some species of dangerous ants living in the United States, most household invading ants are nuisance pests. The ants most common in our area don’t cause any real harm to people or damage the structure of buildings.
However, just because ants aren’t dangerous, doesn’t mean you want them living in or around your home. Ants, no matter the species, invade in large numbers, contaminate food, and spread bacteria to the surfaces of a home.
Why do I have an ant problem?
The most likely reason that ants have found their way onto your property is that they have discovered food.
Ants live together in large colonies, and feeding all of its members is a big job. Worker ants are always searching for new sources of food. Something as simple as a trashcan with the lid askew can attract ants and allow them to forage for food inside.
Once they find a source of food, the workers will leave a pheromone trail so that other members of the colony can find their way to the new food source.
Different things, including compost piles, pet food, and gardens, attract ants. They find their way into gardens to feed on fallen fruits or vegetables or to feed on the honeydew that small garden pests and other insects produce.
Where will I find ants?
Ants usually nest outside but sometimes make nests inside, after finding their way in while foraging for food, or in order to escape harsh weather.
When nesting outside, ants build their nests in damp soil under woodpiles, mulch, landscaping ties, tree stumps, along fence lines, in the cracks of sidewalks or pavements, or next to foundations.
Their favorite nesting locations happen to be near homes and other buildings. This location allows ants to easily find their way indoors, usually through cracks in the foundation, under doors, through spaces around windows, and gaps in exterior walls.
Once inside, they nest in out-of-the-way locations like under floors, behind walls, inside insulation, in crawl spaces, and near heating systems.
How do I get rid of ants?
When it comes to dealing with ants, the best way to eliminate them and prevent them from returning is with the help of a pest control company. By partnering with Star City Pest Control for ant control, you will have peace of mind knowing your ant problem will be solved.
Our dedicated professionals take pride in providing the pest control services needed to help home and business owners maintain pest-free properties. Star City Pest Control provides pest control in Roanoke, VA to get rid of ants and other pests. Call today to learn more or schedule your free pest inspection!
How can I prevent ants in the future?
If your home is not currently infested by ants and you want to keep it that way, our Roanoke exterminators recommend the following ant prevention tips:
- Keep grass cut short next to foundations and fence lines to allow the sun to hit the ground and dry it out.\
- Cut back tree branches and overgrown vegetation from the exterior of your home. Ants use branches as a highway to gain access to your house.
- Keep gutters and downspouts free of debris to make sure they are directing water away from your foundation.
- Leave a 12-18 inch stone or rock barrier between mulch, soil, or grass and the foundation.
- Repair the cracks in the foundation and exterior walls of your home. Place weatherstripping around windows and doors.
- Always keep tight-fitting or locking lids on outdoor trash cans and compost bins.
- Rinse out jars and cans before placing them in recycling bins
- Place gardens as far away from the outside of your home as possible.
- Keep outdoor eating areas free of food debris
- Keep food in the refrigerator or air-tight containers.
- Remove trash and wash dirty dishes daily.
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