Have you seen any ants in your home? Do you see them every year? If the answer is yes, then I hope this information will be able to help you in getting rid of them. I actually wanted to use the word “control”, but in some situations you can’t use that word with ants. In most cases you need to get rid of them period. If they are in your house or in your foundation, then there is no way to be nice with them, you can’t dig them out and let them loose in the wild.
If they are in your yard, then you will need to investigate to see if they will bother you or if they can bother you. It really helps to know what kind of ants are on your property. With a little knowledge if you know the appearance, behavior, nesting habits, and type of problems that ants can cause, this will help you to be able to identify what ants you have and what kind of control methods to use.
Canada has over 100 species of ants and the most common ones are: the black carpenter ant, pavement ant, pharaoh ant, odorous house ant, Argentine ant, and thief ant. Most of the ant problems in Canadian homes are caused by carpenter ants, pavement ants, and pharaoh ants.
Of all ant species, the black carpenter ant is the largest in size and the most common to cause structural damage.
Pavement ants depending on location of nests are more of a nuisance, especially if nesting indoors.
The pharaoh ant is another indoor nuisance pest. You can find them in the kitchen often looking for foods high in protein and sugar. The most likely to be seen outside the nest during non-swarming season are the workers. The workers forage for food to carry back to the colony. Foraging often brings ants into the home, because they are attracted to nearly any food that is left out and not stored properly.
The odorous house ant is also called the stink ant and coconut ant. The reason being is that when the ant gets crushed, you can smell rotten coconut.
They are found in walls or beneath floors. They don’t like rainy weather too much and that’s when they will invade buildings. They prefer sweet items but will also eat meats and grease
The Argentine ant is an invasive species. These ants will set up quarters in the ground, in cracks in concrete walls, in spaces between boards and timbers, even among belongings in homes. Outside, they generally nest in loose leaf litter or beneath small stones. They can create super colonies. Argentine ants are omnivorous, meaning that they can eat almost anything, but they prefer sweet foods.
The thief ants and pharaoh ants resemble one another. If you can study them you will see that thief ants have 10 segmented antennae ending with a two-segmented club. Pharaoh ants have 12 segmented antennae ending with a three-segmented club. I know I know, it’s not much to go on. Thief ants feed on protein and greasy foods like nuts, meats, cheese, peanut butter and sweets. Because the ants are small enough to enter food packaging, they can become a problem in the kitchen. They can also spread disease from food outside to food inside.
If you stop to think of what season you’re in, you’ll have a chance to figure out what the ants need to eat to be able to find a means to get rid of them. During mating season, from spring and into the summer, the colony needs lots of protein to help the larvae grow quickly and so ants look for food high in protein. As summer progresses, the colony begins to focus on preparing the nest for winter. At this time the ants will change from protein to carbohydrates, because they need lots of energy. Sugary things, like nectar and honeydew,are quite popular.
Lucky for us here in Canada, most ant species rarely bite humans. Some species have jaws strong enough to bite through human skin, but most cannot. Ant species such as black carpenter ants can bite if provoked.
There are times we come across ants with wings. Those ants are both male and female. The females will lay eggs later on and the males will die shortly after mating. In my opinion, there is no need to try to figure out if the any is male or female. I just squish them both. If it’s a male and he found a mate, he will die soon, and if he missed a mate, I just helped his demise quicker. If it’s a female, then she won’t have the chance to lay eggs, mate or go back to the nest and give orders.
Ants cause many problems. Pharaoh ants have been known to transmit diseases in hospitals and long term care facilities. Outside, the nests don’t help lawns and gardens. Inside, they can chew on wood, chew insulation, and chew electrical cables. Imagine how much fun it is to have to cut open a part of your wall to go fix any cables that have been chewed. The money and time and material needed to do the repair.
It does take work but if you can keep your home clean and put away leftovers and clean counters every single day of the week, 365 days a year, then you have a better chance of not having ants in your home. Keep leftover foods stored tightly in containers, wipe up any crumbs and spills as soon as possible and sweep the floor every day.
Don’t forget it’s also a good idea to rinse food containers before throwing them in the garbage because that will take away any edible residues that can attract ants. Also keep up to date with repairs like any and all cracks in the walls and foundation. Make sure doors, windows, and other points of entry remain properly sealed, as well. If you have a few ants around, there are many home remedies that will also help you.