Why Should You Tackle Fire Ants in the Fall?

Fire AntWe’re officially in the fall season and you’re thinking that you are in the clear when it comes to fire ants…ALMOST!  The nice fall weather brings fire ants to the surface after spending the summer underground.  Fall is an ideal time to target fire ants for next spring.

We typically think of treating in the spring and summer but southern states such as Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, and South Carolina can treat in the fall as well.  Fire ants generally slow down in the winter months so in the fall baits produce better results before the cold weather arrives.

Fire ants are travelers so it’s a good idea to team up with your neighbors to implement a fire ant control program together.  Northwest Exterminating offers a fire ant program that works within 24-72 hours.  Other products can take up to 30 days to control fire ants, require immediate irrigation to work, can be harmful to family and pets, and may require over 80 pounds of product to work.  Northwest’s fire ant service is fast, effective, covers the entire yard to wipe out colonies, even the ones underground, and it’s environmentally friendly to your family and pets.  Call us today to find out how you can take the first step in protecting your yard from fire ants.

Northwest Exterminating
830 Kennesaw Ave MariettaGA30060 USA 
 • 888-466-7849
 

The Odorous House Ant

Just because the odorous house ant is most active in the summer months does not mean your problem with them will go away with the warm summer temperatures.  In fact, odorous house ants often enter structures during rainy weather or fall temperatures.  You can find these ant nests in walls voids, around hot water pipes and heaters, crevices around sinks and cupboards.  Outside, they feed on insects, honeydew, plant secretions, scale insects, and mealy bugs but inside they are in search of human food.  Foods such as sweets, high protein items, meat and cheeses are all ideal for the odorous house ant.

The odorous house ant can have hundreds of colonies that are made up of several hundred to 100,000 ants.  Colonies have several queens and produce 4-5 generations per year.  Reproduction occurs in the nest, and colonies spread to new locations by budding off workers and queens.

Odorous House Ants are a particularly pernicious pest because they can infest block foundations and areas under garage slabs. In such protected locations, control efforts become extremely difficult. It is not unusual to drill slabs or block foundations in an effort to rid a home of these pests. Drilling is a last resort, after baits and nonrepellent products have already failed to control the problem.

Homeowners can significantly reduce their ant problems by ensuring that vegetation is not in contact with the structure. Any ground cover such as ivy or wild strawberries should be cut back at least 5 feet from the foundation. Ants may still enter the home, but removing the vegetation will allow a treatment zone to be created around the home that will be more effective at preventing pest entry. Ants will also be more easily seen trailing on the exterior, if the vegetation has been pruned back from the structure.

 

Field Ant

 

Field ants, or the One Node Ant, are large ants that are often confused with carpenter antsField ants are found in a variety of colors including black, brown, tan, red or red and black.  The key to telling the field ant apart from other ants are the ocelli, or “simple eyes” that are found on the front of the head in between the compound eyes.  (See picture above from University of Nebraska-Lincoln).

Field ants are most often found outside.  You may find their nests in open fields, grass, and under objects such as rocks, timbers and piles of firewood.  When treating for field ants, it is necessary to overturn these items and treat underneath.  Treating should take place around the structure including under and on top of the pine straw.  In addition to spraying outside, any vegetation should be cut back from walls and roof at least 18” and reduce any mulch where you can around the structure.

Sources:
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Jerry Hatch – jhatch@callnorthwest.com
Board Certified Entomologist
Certified Environmental Health Professional
Certified Professional-Food Safety
LEED Green Associate

 

Ants in the Kitchen?

As  been discussing lately, spring and summer bring many pests.  One pest in particular that affects everyone, regardless of region, is ants.  There are so many different varieties of antsArgentine ants are mainly found in southern states across the US, fire ants are notorious in the south and carpenter ants don’t discriminate by living in both the south and the north.  Ants are one of the few living organisms that live in all ecosystems.

Ants are often found in the kitchen looking for food sources.  Although ants are typically harmless…it is not sanitary to have them around your food.  To prevent ants coming into your kitchen follow the tips below:

  • Keep your sink clean.  Wash and dry any residue that may be left from cleaning dishes.
  • Check for holes or cracks that ants are using as entryways into your home and seal them off.
  • Pour vinegar down the drain to remove the smell of food (this can also be helpful if you have fruit flies).
  • Wipe the counters down regularly.  Remove any food or spills that may attract ants.
  • Sweep and mop your floors often.
  • Take the trash out regularly.
  • Keep food in containers instead of out in the open.
  • Keep trash cans rinsed and cleaned.  You can also deodorize the cans with baking soda.
  • Pour chili powder on hives and nests outside you home to prevent ants from entering.
  • Spray peppermint oil in the corners of each room.  Don’t forget the kitchen and the kitchen cabinets.
  • Use products with Borax, a mineral that is refined and dissolved and used in many ant baits.  Borax is non toxic to humans but poisonous to antsAnts take borax back to their colony and dispense it to the other ants.
  • Use white vinegar or bleach.  Both are known to get rid of ants.
  • Ants do not like the taste of cucumbers.  Cut up a small amount of cucumber and place in infected areas.
  • Place mint leaves or mint tea bags in infected areas.
  • Add salt to boiling water and spray in the corners of the house.

If the above suggestions do not work…call the experts at Northwest Exterminating

 

Odorous House Ants in Atlanta Area

Odorous House Ants are one of our most notorious ant pests. Together with Argentine Ants, Odorous House Ants account for the majority of service calls in the Atlanta area. At one time, Fire Ants were also a significant ant pest, but a number of products are now available that control fire ants very effectively. Odorous House Ants, like Argentine Ants, can have hundreds of small colonies throughout the landscape and can infest structures throughout the year. These ants become active in March and April and remain active through the summer months. Colonies may contain thousands of workers and dozens of queens. Reproduction occurs in the nest, and colonies spread to new locations by budding off workers and queens.

Odorous House Ants are a particularly pernicious pest because they can infest block foundations and areas under garage slabs. In such protected locations, control efforts become extremely difficult. It is not unusual to drill slabs or block foundations in an effort to rid a home of these pests. Drilling is a last resort, after baits and nonrepellent products have already failed to control the problem.

Homeowners can significantly reduce their ant problems by ensuring that vegetation is not in contact with the structure. Any ground cover such as ivy or wild strawberries, should be cut back at least 5 feet from the foundation. Ants may still enter the home, but removing the vegetation will allow a treatment zone to be created around the home that will be more effective at preventing pest entry. Ants will also be more easily seen trailing on the exterior, if the vegetation has been pruned back from the structure.

Baits in the form of gels, granules, and liquids can help in the long term control of ant pests, and newer nonrepellent products can offer quick knockdown and control of existing populations. Unfortunately, populations usually rebound quickly during the summer and multiple visits are necessary throughout the year to keep ants from reinfesting the structure. Visit our website to find out how Northwest Exterminating can assist you with our Fire Ant Management Program.