Imported Red Fire Ants

Imported Red Fire Ants

With the persistent surge of rain in the recent weeks, you might start to notice some unwanted pests arriving in your yard. A particular pest to look out for during this rainy season is the Imported Red Ant. These ants can survive in harsh weather conditions, including floods. The Imported Red Fire Ant or RIFA can not only cause damage to your home but also pose health risks to your family.

These ants are known for their fierce survival methods in harsh conditions. During floods, the RIFA colony can connect to form a ball and float until they reach dry land. When doing this, the RIFAs become hungrier and more aggressive, making them more likely to attack. The RIFA is known to have a painful sting/bite that can be more aggressive than other species of ants. A person is most likely to be stung by multiple RIFAs that causes a raised welt. RIFAs venom is protein based, which can cause a strong allergic reaction.

For homeowners, it’s important to know the places to look to indicate a RIFA nest. Most RIFA nests are located outside in soil or near structural foundations and typically build a dome-shaped mound. These ants can also be found under objects such as stones of the base of a tree. One location that homeowners might not realize RIFAs can invade are HVAC units and electrical boxes. They will usually build their nest right up against them or inside the boxes.

If you end up finding these nests or RIFAs roaming in your home, contact a professional ant control company who can help set up a treatment and control plan for your home. Since RIFAs are known to have a very painful bite, it’s important to remove them as soon as possible.

Where Did These Ants Come From?

Where Did These Ants Come From?

Ants are the #1 nuisance pest in America. They are one of the most challenging pests to control, along with bed bugs, because their colonies can number in the 1000s. Ants are considered commercial pests because they like to live close to people and eat the same things that we do. Ants can be seasonal pests or a year-round problem depending on the species. They will often enter our homes in the warmer months of the year in search of water and food. Most species, including fire ants and odorous house ants, will build their nests outdoors and come inside in search of food that they will collect and take back to their colonies. Other species like carpenter ants will actually make their way into your home and build their nests indoors. Ants are often found near food sources, moisture, and in hidden areas where they have protection and concealment such as wall voids, under floors, behind window frames, and under appliances. Ants in the bathroom and ants in the kitchen are the two most common scenarios when these pests make their way into your home, although they can be found in other rooms, as well.

Regardless of the species, when ants become a problem in your home it is often necessary to use a professional pest control company to help get them under control. Here are some important aspects to any successful ant control program:

1. Proper Identification

One of the most important components to any ant control program is to properly identify the species of ant you are dealing with. Different species have different behaviors, prefer different environments, and have different diets so treatment will vary greatly between them. It is important to know where to find them and how to treat them to ensure success in eliminating and controlling them.

2. Eliminate Food Sources

One of the main reasons ants come into your home is in search of food to take back to their colony. Eliminating things that attract them can help keep them from taking over your home. Clean up any food crumbs from kitchen floors and countertops and wipe them down frequently. Clean your appliances regularly. Empty your trash routinely and wipe the cans down. Clean outdoor grills and remove crumbs from tables, decks, and patios after each use. Keep foods, including pet food, in sealed containers. Place a bay leaf in canisters of dry food (such as flour) as the scent repels ants and other pantry pests. Rinse any empty containers before placing them in recycling bins. Get rid of any overripe fruit as this will attract ants, as well.

3. Eliminate Moisture

Ants need moisture to survive. Eliminating or reducing the moisture in your home can help prevent ants from coming inside. Repair any leaks around pipes and in your roof. Check gutters to make sure they are not clogged and ensure downspouts are directing rainwater away from foundations. Consider installing gutter guards to help prevent clogs. Thoroughly clean bathrooms with disinfectant cleaners and make sure shampoo, conditioner, and soap bottles are closed tightly and don’t have any leaks.

4. Eliminate Points of Entry

In order to get into your home, ants have to have a way inside. It is important to identify where they are gaining entry into your home to successfully control and eliminate them. Carefully inspect the exterior of your home and seal any holes, gaps, and cracks especially around areas where pipes and wires enter your home. Trim back shrubs and tree branches so they are not touching the sides or roof of your home. Keep mulch and timber at least 2 feet from your foundation. Move debris such as firewood, rock piles, boards, etc away from your home. Remove any tree stumps, fallen tree branches and logs from your yard. Repair any holes in window and door screens and replace weatherstripping.

As always, if you suspect you have an ant problem, contact a professional ant control company who can help you properly identify the species of ant you have and set you up with a thorough and comprehensive treatment and control plan.

 

Don't Let Pests Crash Your Summer Party!

Don't Let Pests Crash Your Summer Party!

With the last day of school, graduation ceremonies, and Memorial Day quickly approaching, you’re probably feeling the pressure to get your outdoor area ready for all the festivities. Not only are you concerned about the look of your lawn and impressing your guests, but you also need to know which pests to avoid and, if possible, prevent from ruining your celebration. Here’s your party pest avoidance checklist:

Mosquitoes

mosquitoes
We’d like to be completely rid of mosquitoes forever, but that would be a difficult task! Let’s look at what you can do to reduce their occurrence in and around your home:

  • Eliminate breeding grounds
  • Be cautious of the time of day you plan your festivities; mosquitoes are most active early morning and late afternoon
  • Minimize wearing floral prints and perfumes as they attract more mosquitoes
  • Receive regular mosquito reduction service

Ticks

ticks
We understand the concern that ticks can breed. Take a look at these tips to prevent one of these pests attaching to you:

  • Wear light-colored clothing to help you see if you have picked up any ticks if you live in a wooded area
  • Wearing long-sleeves, pants, and shoes without open toes is suggested if your festivities are in an area with tall grass. Ticks will use the tall grass to attach to you
  • Keep grass cut low and inspect yourself thoroughly after working in the yard

Fleas

fleas
Fleas are typically a nuisance for our furry friends, though they can still cause issues for you too. Here are a few suggestions to keep your home and pets flea-free:

  • Check pets frequently for fleas and flea dust
  • Vacuum carpets, mop floors, and clean furniture regularly
  • Bathe pets frequently and speak with a vet about preventative medicine
  • If you think you have a flea infestation in your home and/or yard, call your exterminator for a free flea treatment quote

Fire Ants

fire ants
Like mosquitoes, fire ants can be an unwanted fixture on your lawn during the warmer months. They leave painful bites and can be an issue for pets and humans alike. To prevent fire ants from ruining your summer fun, try these tips:

  • Avoid all contact with fire ant mounds
  • To stop them from coming into your home, seal any cracks and replace any weather-stripping
  • If you see mounds around your home, call a pest control company to discuss a treatment plan
Common Summer Pest Problems in Georgia

Common Summer Pest Problems in Georgia

Summer is in full-swing here in Georgia, the heat is rising, and the bugs are coming out to play (bite!). Here are 5 common summer pests to be on the lookout for and tips on how to prevent and get rid of them:

Chiggers

Chiggers (sometimes referred to as mites or red bugs) are so small they’re hard to spot. But you’ll know you’ve been bitten after an itchy, uncomfortable rash develops. While they don’t pose serious health risks, they can ruin outdoor fun and leave behind irritated skin that you’ll want to scratch. To prevent chigger bites this summer, limit time spent in areas prone to chiggers – woods, grassy areas, near lakes, ponds, streams & rivers – keep arms and legs covered when outside, and wear insect repellent with DEET. If you get bitten by chiggers (most commonly on legs and waist with red, itchy skin), take a bath or shower immediately to get rid of chiggers that may remain on your body, wash the clothes you were wearing in hot water, and then apply a itch-relief lotion or ointment to the affected areas – like hydrocortisone or calamine.

Mosquitoes

Mosquito bites, on the other hand, can be more serious since they carry multiple diseases, viruses, and parasites. The best way to minimize your risk of contracting mosquito-born illnesses like Zika, encephalitis, West Nile, dengue fever, and malaria (some of the most common) is to prevent mosquito bites by limiting travel to well-known, affected areas, keeping arms and legs covered in light-colored, loose clothing when outdoors, wearing insect repellent with DEET and reapply often, and controlling mosquitoes around your home with professional mosquito treatments. You can also reduce mosquitoes by eliminating breeding sites – any areas with standing water.

Fire Ants

Fire ants can be dangerous for the whole family, including pets. They’re aggressive and cause painful bites, often with severe allergic reactions, which can be especially harmful to small children and pets. The best way to prevent and control fire ants around your home is with regular yard treatments, specifically targeting fire ant mounds, by a professional exterminator. Treatments are usually applied in granular form and get rid of fire ants in as little as 72 hours.

Bees & Paper Wasps

Bees can be a threatening summer nuisance and often cause painful stings if threatened. One of the most common summer bees is a paper wasp. Paper wasps will form nests on or in almost any horizontal surface, resembling an umbrella attached by a small stem. They vary in color but can be brown and yellow striped or red with blackish wings. They’re most likely to sting when their nest is disturbed, which can happen accidentally when nests are hidden. Paper wasps can be highly aggressive and cause severe pain and allergic reactions so it’s recommended to leave nests undisturbed if posing no serious threat or contact a bee exterminator to access the situation.

Ticks

Ticks are dangerous for both humans and animals as they spread infectious diseases – like Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, through bites. Take steps to protect yourself from tick bites while outdoors by avoiding areas where ticks are prevalent, like wooded areas and in tall grass, and use an insect repellent with DEET. You should also treat pets with tick repellent products to reduce their risk of tick bites.

Click here for tick removal tips from the CDC.

Tawny Crazy Ants in the South

Tawny Crazy Ant, An Aggressive Ant Species, Marches Through South

Source

Photo courtesy Joe A. MacGown/Mississippi Entomological MuseumSource

Fire ants have long been a threat in the southern United States, but another aggressive ant species known as the tawny crazy ant is taking over in many areas of the region. These ants can invade structures in extraordinary numbers and Northwest Exterminating wants to advise homeowners to take preventative steps to protect their properties from infestations.

Unlike fire ants, tawny crazy ants don’t sting, but they can become a nuisance once inside. They are highly adaptable, nest everywhere and are even known to damage electrical equipment, so it is important for homeowners to take steps to curb their activity.

Crazy ants enter homes in the autumn or after rainfall because both conditions reduce their supply of honeydew. Once inside, crazy ants usually nest underneath floors or in wall voids. Outdoors, their nests are commonly found in soil under objects or next to foundations.

To prevent crazy ants from gaining access to a structure, experts at the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) recommend the following tips:

  • Trim vegetation away from the home to prevent pathways inside.
  • Seal all cracks and crevices on the outside of the home, including around doors and windows.
  • Clean up food spills and other potential attractants as soon as possible.
  • If an infestation is suspected, contact a licensed pest professional to treat the problem.

SOURCE: PPMA

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