The Argentine Ant

Ant control Baltimiore

An Argentine Ant

The Argentine Ant  Spread from South America to the United States about 100 years ago. The ant  is known for its rapid breeding, which is the result of multi queen colonies that can survive even after the death of one queen, its friendliness towards its own species, and ability to subdue other ant species. The ant is also omnivorous, and can thrive in human habitations.

The ant  mostly spread artificially along lines of transportation. Originally entering through the Port of New Orleans, it was subsequently found in locations along every major rail line going out of New Orleans. From focal cities such as New Orleans, Birmingham, Montgomery, and Atlanta, the ant spread to local towns.

The ant  can survive in all types of soil and adapt to all types of vegetation, although it shows a preference for habitats where honeydew producing aphids are prevalent.

The ant  has invaded over a third of the states, infesting an area greater than 4,000 miles. One notable location is a huge super colony which stretches along much of the California coast line.

The Argentine ant  is, for the most part, warm weather restricted, although it can survive in states such as Missouri, Illinois and Maryland. However, during the winter, it is not able to live outdoors, in these areas, and migrates into homes to survive. In urban areas the ant can spread from house to house, and thus enlarge its distribution rapidly despite its inability to survive outdoors.

Because the colonies have so many queens, merely spraying the area with poison will not eradicate it. On the contrary, it stimulates surviving queens to lay even more eggs.The Argentine ant  can be eradicated through the prudent use of ant stations; however the special poisons in the stations do not kill the insects initially. Rather, the ants take the lethal meal back to their colonies where the workers and queens ingest the poison and die. The whole process takes about five days.

How to Recognize and Get Rid of the Pharaoh Ant

Pharaoh Ant Baltimore

Pharaoh Ant Baltimore

The Pharaoh ant  is a tiny light-yellow to red-brown voracious ant reaching 2mm in size. The ant is known for its aggressive breeding and invasive abilities. Pharaoh colonies proliferate by “budding,” whereby a segment of the colony, including queens workers and their brood, (eggs and immature ants), leave the colony to form an alternative nesting site. Unlike some ant colonies, the Pharaoh ants have no inter-colony hostility. They help each other out, and can consolidate into smaller colonies, when under attack from ant poisons or baiting stations They are therefore referred to as unicolony ants.

While many ant  colonies have only one queen, and are therefore easily eradicated, the Pharaoh ant has multiple queened colonies. Killing a part of the colony will only stimulate the remaining queens to breed faster, and lead to an increase instead of decrease in the ant population.

Unlike many ants, which have two breeding cycles each year, Pharaoh ants can breed continuously in an indoor heated environment, and this contributes to their rate of spread. While the ants prefer warm environments, for their colonies, they can nest almost anywhere, and colonies as small as a thimble, can be found between sheets of paper, or in furniture The abundance of these small nests makes it hard to eradicate a population of Pharaoh ants, and clearing an infested building can be a project taking years.

Pharaoh ants are adapted to rapid urban spread, and are capable of infesting a whole city block in as little as 6 months time. They quickly spread through the urban envirnoment, invading apartment dwellings, grocery stores, food establishment and other buildings. They can even thrive in unsanitary hospitals or rest homes. They are a health hazard in improperly sterilized hospital environments, entering wounds, invading drip lines and instrumentation. They are an exception to the general rule that ants do not spread deadly disease, as the Pharaoh ants are believed to carry bacterial infections such as Staphylococcus and Psuedomonas.

While attracted to sugared foods such as jellies, honey, corn syrup, fruit juices and soft drinks, they are essentially omnivorous and can subsist off of many other human foods including greases, shortening and peanut butter, They feed off their own dead and a variety of household substances such as shoe polish.Pharaoh ants can also destroy household material, and have been known to gnaw holes in silk, rayon and rubber goods.

The most effective eradication strategy for Pharaoh ants is to place baited ant stations in areas where the ants like to forage. The ants take the slow acting poison back to the colony, where the other ants will then eat it and die. Because they are omnivorous, traps set with ground liver mixed with boric acid, a slow acting ant poison can also be effective.

Homeowners should avoid the temptation of killing individual ants and trails of ants as they make their way to the ant stations, as this prevents the ants from collecting sufficient poison and carrying it back to the colony, which is essential for effective Pharaoh ant eradication. .

Getting Rid of Common House Ants

Baltimore Ant Control

The Common House Ant

Tiny little black ants  are common place throughout the world. Their name relates to their small size and their dark black color. They are usually only about 1/16th-1/8th of an inch. [spin]The Queen ants are about twice that size.

Little black ants  dwell underground in chambers hewed out of the earth. They are grouped in colonies, each containing a queen. The presence of a colony can be recognized by a tiny mound of fine dirt, seen above ground. They usually live at the edge of the forest or near human dwellings. Sometimes they are found in rotting tree stumps

Tiny black ant  colonies contain only one queen per colony. The queen breeds the worker ants who sustain the colony by foraging for food. After a colony has grown for several years, the Queen breeds a class of male and female swarmer ants. These are winged bearing insects. The swarmers engage in an autumnal mating ritual in which they fly through the air in search of a new colony. The male and female swarmers mate. The males die and the females tunnel under the earth to become the queen of a new colony.The queen lives underground without food until she has bred the new generation of worker ants who quickly go out and begin searching for food to sustain the colony.

Little black ants  feed on sweet fruits, honey dew made by other insects and scraps of human food. Occasionally they will enter into homes in search of food. They are attracted to sweets and crumbs of food found in the kitchen.The little industrious ants are busy night and day foraging for food and they can carry up to 20 times their body weight in food back to the nest. That’s the equivalent of humans carrying a 1,600 pound load! While adult ants have strong jaws, they imbibe food by sucking the juice out of the meal and leaving the dried residue.

When ants  enter into a house the best way to get them out is to set up ant bait stations, with ant poison. The ants will take the poison back to the colony, where they and the queen will ingest it and die. This technique takes several weeks to fully work, but is an effective form of ant eradication.

Getting Rid of Carpenter Ants in the Early Spring

Baltimore Carpenter Ant Control

Carpenter Ants

Hi folks, I’m Boruch Fishman, and I welcome you to another episode of “Day in the Life of Dovid Davis Pest Specialist.” In this broadcast, we’re going to explore the life cycle of the carpenter ants. I will share with you some of Dovid’s techniques for getting this insect pest out of the house

Carpenter ants  are large black, brown, and red ants, 3-4 times larger than the typical house ant.  Carpenter ants  make their colonies in trees with thick bark. They live in the trees, breed in the trees, and survive off the tree’s wood products. Their colonies consist of a queen, workers, soldier ants, and even slave ants, taken from captured colonies. Carpenter ants  are not attracted to sweets or food like other species of ants. However, they will move indoors when there are fluctuations in the weather. This especially occurs in the late summer and fall when the weather begins turning colder.

While carpenter ants are natural tree dwellers, once they migrate indoors they will make the house their new home and stay their throughout the winter months. They will usually gnaw out a new wood nest in which they will live.  Indoors, the carpenter ants will begin to burrow into the wood structure of the house. Carpenter ants  are wood damaging insects, and are second only to termites in their ability to chew through tree products. Beginning in February when the weather starts turning warm, carpenter ants  will begin emerging from the indoor wood nests they have been living in all winter. They initially appear in warm indoor rooms such as the kitchen.

Dovid Davis, the owner of A-1 Pest Control in Baltimore, Maryland  told me that  he starts getting calls about carpenter ants that have started to emerge beginning in February,. While the largest number of calls come in February, the ants  will continue making their appearance in the home until the warmer weather of late spring arrives.

Carpenter ants,  like termites, have a swarming cycle. Swarming begins in the spring when the weather warms. A portion of the ants in the colonies grow wings. Then the male and female swarmers take off in search of a new home. When they find the new location, the now pregnant Queen will  form the new colony, which over time will expand into a thriving termite community.

Dovid gave specific advice about how  to end a carpenter ant infestation. The homeowner or pest control specialist must first locate the queen colonies and then apply ant poison in liquid or crystal form. If the colony can’t be located it is also effective to use poison crystal and sprays on the ant trails. The ants will carry the poison back to the colony and eventually this will cause the death of the Queen and  end the colony.

The carpenter ant colonies may be found outdoors as well as indoors, and it is important to eradicate every colony that is found. Commercial ant feeding stations with boric acid are also effective; however, they take longer to act. One pesticide treatment is usually enough, but, if the colonies aren’t located, several treatments, in areas where ants are seen crawling, may be required.

Well folks that’s it for another episode of Day in the Life of Dovid Davis Pest Specialist, and I wish you all a pest free day.