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Stopping Ants Entering Your Home Minnesota

Minnesota homeowners have more than enough to worry about; the last thing you want to have on your mind is pesky ants wandering through your home and your life. (more…)

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Quick Ant Facts

  • Ants species vary in size and color.
  • Ants are one of the most successful groups of social insects. The social structure is necessary for shelter, feeding, and reproduction of the colony
  • Carpenter Ant colonies may have more than 3 thousand workers, consisting of multiple satellite colonies
  • Field Ants nest in the soil creating mounds up to 12 inches in diameter. They are commonly misidentified as carpenter ants
  • Pavement Ant colonies can average 3 to 4 thousand ants, with several queens.
  • Pharaoh Ants typically nest in heated buildings including hospitals, schools and apartments
  • Thief Ants are the smallest ant in the region and are sometimes confused with Pharaoh ants, workers are 1/16” long

Habits

  • Ants may become household pests by foraging for food indoors
  • Carpenter Ants feed on living and dead insects, meat, fats, sweets, including honeydew from aphids and nectar from plants. They are mainly nocturnal and can forage up to 300 feet from their nest
  • Unlike Termites, Carpenter ants do not digest wood
  • The Carpenter ant “main” colony contains the egg-laying queen and will nest in a stump, log or tree
  • Various “satellite” colonies contain the larvae and pupae only
  • Pavement ants have an insatiable hunger for sweet and greasy foods
  • Pavement ants commonly nest at ground-level, foraging in trails up to 30 feet from the colony

Ant Biology

Ants are social insects, meaning they live in colonies that typically have three castes, workers, queens and males. In ant biology, the queens and males are reproductives.

  • Worker Ants
    In an ant colony, workers are sterile females. Workers seldom have wings and are constantly doing what their name implies–working. They construct, repair and defend the nest, and are also expected to feed and care for the rest of the colony including the young, the other adults and the queen.
  • Queen
    The queen is usually winged until she first mates, at which time the wings are shed. The primary function of the queen is to reproduce, but in some species she will care for her first brood of workers until the colony’s numbers increase. A queen can live and reproduce for many years and may be replaced eventually by a daughter queen.
  • Males
    Males are typically winged and will retain those wings until death. The sole function of a male ant is to mate with an unfertilized female reproductive or queen. After fertilization occurs, the male dies. Once maturity is reached, males rarely remain with their original colony.

Ant Control

What can be done to prevent them from getting inside?

Reduce the number of entry points. For example; seal all cracks and holes with a silicone base product around the foundation, doors, pipes, wires, vents, and windows.

Do they cause damage?

Most ants are considered nuisance pests, mainly due to their large numbers and foraging habits. However, carpenter ants are a wood destroying insect. They are attracted to damp or decaying wood. If left untreated, over time they can cause serious structural damage to a home.

Ant identification is can be critical to solving the ant infestation. By identifying the ant, you better understand ant nesting sources, the size of the ant colony and what chemical and non-chemical treatments will best solve the ant problem.

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Ants are considered to be one of the most successful insects on earth.  With over ten thousand different species of ants, they are highly adaptable creatures that are extremely difficult to control once they have infested an area.  Considered pests around the home due to their tendency to feed on and contaminate human food, create ugly mounds in lawns and infest and cause damage to structures. Some species of ant can inflict painful bites and stings.  No species of ant feeds on or attacks fabrics, wood or leather, but depending on the species (particularly Carpenter ants) can cause as much or more damage to wood than a colony of termites.

Ant Identification

Ants can be identified from other insects largely because they have a narrow waist and have one or two joints between the thorax and the abdomen. Winged reproductive ants have four wings, the first pair being a good deal larger than the second.  There may be some difficulty in determining whether your infestation is a termite or ant colony (termites are often called “white ants”).  The following are distinctions between winged ants and winged termites:

Prevention and Ant Control

Prevention is truly the best line of defense against the infestation of any pest insect.  A thorough inspection of a home and yard can reveal potential infestation problems and possible solutions for the infestation.

Cleanliness is most defiantly the best tool in the prevention approach.  Any food or food particles are a major attraction to ants. Cleaning up quickly and storing food in air tight containers is critical.  It is also important to seek out and repair any moisture problems in the home.  Check for condensation problems and leaks and have them rectified as quickly as possible.

Indoors, ants will nest in walls, behind baseboards and beneath the foundation of the house.  Carpenters ants in particular will especially seek out decaying or moist wood and create galleries for nesting purposes.  Smaller ant species can fit through the smallest cracks and holes in order to gain access to a home.

What you need is an exterminator who will locate the nest location(s) and eliminate all the ants.  Pest control experts are able to tell the difference in ant species, which means they require different treatments.  Also, they are well trained in locating their nesting location and terminating the colony in a timely manner, of course using a nontoxic organic product line.

Ants that are typically considered as pests that can become household pests are Pharaoh Ants, Carpenter Ants, Argentine Ants, and Red Imported Fire Ants.

Interesting Facts: Latest industry estimates place the annual cost of damage and treatment of termites at $5 billion worldwide

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