America’s Most Unwanted Pests – Volume III

americas most unwanted Revised 08-20-2013

PUBLIC ENEMY #3 – ANTS

While everyone welcomes warm weather and enjoys all the benefits that the weather brings, it also brings up pests living underground. This includes ants, which are in abundance in Southern California. There are approximately 270 species of ants in California, and nearly 250 of these species are native to the state. So, just like we love our Southern California climate, ants feel the same way. Fortunately, most ants are not dangerous or harmful to humans, however, they can be aggressive and cause significant damage to your home. It is important to know what you are dealing with in terms of type of ant and specific ant behavior in order to effectively deal with the challenge. Ants are among the most prevalent household pests in Southern California and if left un treated can be the source of many home maintenance costly repairs.

Ants are familiar insects that are easily recognized in their adult wingless form, these are know as workers. However, winged forms of ants, which leave the nest in large quantities in very warm weather to mate and establish new colonies, are often mistaken for termites, which also leave their nests in warm weather to mate. Ants and termites can be identified by three main differences:

– The ant’s body is constricted, giving it the appearance of having a thin waist, while termites have a broad waist.
– The ant’s hind wings are smaller than its front wings, while the termite’s front and hind wings are approximately the same size. However, shortly after they fly, both ants and termites lose their wings. So unless you are dealing with a swarming situation, wings are usually not visible on either insect.
-Winged female and worker ants have elbowed antennae, while termites’ antennae are not elbowed.
Identifying characteristics of common household ants Identifying characteristics of common household ants

There are five common types of ants in Southern California. The Fire Ant: Highly aggressive, they have no problem attacking an enemy that threatens their nest. Fire Ants prefer seeds, nectar from plants or fruit, and other insects as a food source.
Fire Ant Fire Ant

Carpenter Ant: Non-aggressive, wood destroying organism. Carpenter workers can vary in size from 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch in length. They are black, brown or reddish in color. A common misconception is that all carpenter ants are black. Carpenter ants leave behind wood dust much like a termite would.
Carpenter worker ant Carpenter worker ant

Velvet Ant: Velvet ants are the most common type of ant found in Orange County, California. They feed off honeydew left from other insects. They will often invade homes looking for more food. Attracted to sweet sticky nectar, and other insects.
Velvet Ant Velvet Ant

The Harvester Ant and Argentine Ant are the other types common to Southern California, however less common than the previously mentioned species.

Ants usually nest in soil; nest sites can vary with each individual species but they are most often found next to buildings, along sidewalks or walkway, or close to a food source such as trees or plants. Ants often enter homes looking for food and water, warmth and shelter, or refuge from dry, hot weather or flooded conditions. Ants will appear out of nowhere if food sources become scarce or weather conditions change. In the absence of any other food source ants will resort to eating other insects and will swarm a food source and kill it. Ants are highly social insects will a well developed system of community organization. Once they invade an area and claim it as home it is difficult to eliminate them.

Effectively managing an invasion is best done through a pest control professional. A Pest expert will effectively indentify the ant species and take the proper steps to eliminate the problem. For a free pest control inspection contact the professionals at BugOut. 1 Click. 1 Call. 1 Company Does It All! BugOut is your pest control concierge! It’s that simple! 800-983-7648

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