There are more than 10,000 ant species that occur worldwide however only about 25 species commonly infest homes. Ants will eat practically any kind of food, but are especially attracted to sweets. Ants can live from several weeks to several years. Depending on the species, they can range in size from 1/12 to 1 inch (2 to 25 mm).
Ants are close relatives of bees and wasps and can by identified by their three distinct body regions: head, thorax and abdomen, as well as antennae. (However, winged forms of ants, which leave the nest in large numbers in warm weather to mate and establish new colonies, are often mistaken for winged termites, which also leave their nests to mate and the two can be easily confused. However, shortly after their flights, both ants and termites lose their wings, so wings usually aren't present.) Ants have a narrow "waist" between the abdomen and thorax, while termite's body is not constricted and they have a broad waist. Ants also have large heads, elbowed antennae, and powerful jaws.
Ants are social insects, which mean they typically live in large groups or colonies. Depending on the species, ant colonies can consist of millions of ants. Their structured nest communities may be located underground, in ground-level mounds, or in trees. There are three kinds of ants in a colony: The queen (or queens), the female workers, and males. Ant communities are headed by a queen whose function in life is to lay thousands of eggs that will ensure the survival of the colony. Depending on the species, a colony may have one queen or many queens. Workers (the ants typically seen by humans) are wingless females that never reproduce, but instead forage for food, care for the queen's offspring, work on the nest, protect the community, and perform many other duties. Male ants often have only one role—mating with the queen soon after which they may die.
Are ants dangerous?
Most species of household-invading ants, including pavement ants, are considered nuisance pests and don’t pose significant threats to people or properties. However, some species are considered damaging or dangerous pests and present more of a threat to structures and people. For example, harvester ants damage lawns by removing grass and vegetation from the areas around their nests, creating unsightly bare patches in your yard. While not considered dangerous or damaging pests themselves, Argentine ants are attracted to areas of moisture; if these ants are nesting in your home, there could be an underlying moisture issue present, which can be dangerous.
Whatever the species, ants should not live in or around your home as they are known to contaminate food and spread bacteria onto the surfaces in your home.
Why do I have an ant problem?
Ants work together to care for their colony. Whenever ants discover a food source on your property, they travel back and forth from their nest to gather the food. Ants feed on a variety of things, including vegetables, meats, sweet liquids, cheese, fruits, and grease. All their food choices are things that trash cans, compost bins, gardens, outdoor eating areas, and pet food bowls provide and can be found in most yards. After being drawn in by these attractants, it’s only a matter of time before ants find their way inside. Once on your property, they find their way inside homes, garages, and outbuildings while foraging for new food sources. In addition to food, ants also move inside if the weather becomes unsuitable. Extremely hot, dry, wet, or cold weather often drives ants to seek shelter indoors.
Where will I find ants?
Their ability to nest in a variety of locations is what makes ants so difficult to control. Where these ants choose to nest outdoors is often determined by their exact species. Pavement ants create their nests in cracks and crevices in and next to sidewalks, foundations, cement slabs, and driveways. Argentine ants nest in moist soil like is found under stones, rocks, mulch, fallen trees, or in the ground next to sidewalks. Harvester ants choose to establish their nests in open areas like yards, parks, and golf courses.
How do I get rid of ants?
Ready Pest Control understands that ants and other household pests are difficult and stressful to deal with. Our certified pest control technicians are experienced in eliminating the pests that live throughout the Illinois and Wisconsin region and know how to protect people and their properties from them. We offer professional ant control services that you can trust to eliminate ants from your property and help prevent them from returning.
If you are looking for quality pest control solutions for your home or business, reach out to Ready Pest Control today!