What are ants anyway?
In Texas, we deal with more than a few varieties of ants. You have definitely seen ants before but if you’re wondering how to identify them, they have three distinct sections: Head, abdomen, thorax.
There are, however, different colors and even flying ants with large wings that resemble termites. The most common species of ants we have in Texas are fire ants, carpenter ants, and Pharoah ants.
Fire ants are the ones that bite and feel like fire. You may have stumbled into a fire ant mound at some point in your lifetime so you know why they’re called “fire” ants. They’re reddish-brown in color, range from 3-5 mm in length, and they form nests in the yard that look like little dirt mounds. A single colony of fire ants can contain as many as 200,000 ants and have underground tunnels extending as far as 25 feet away from the mound. They were originally brought in from South America and have spread rapidly. They’re aggressive and if you have a fire ant problem in your yard, you should have it treated. While a few bites may not be a big deal, small children, pets, or elderly individuals can stumble into these nests and suffer serious problems.
Carpenter ants are often black or dark brown with a furry abdomen. They’re the “carpenters” of the ant world because they chew through wood to bore out tunnels for their colonies. A single colony of carpenter ants can contain as many as 50,000 ants and therefore can inflict structural damage to your home. They’re among the largest ants in the U.S. growing up to 13 mm in length. Colonies will produce swarmers (flying ants) after it has been established for 2 years or longer. These flying ants are often mistaken for termites because of the fact that they live in wood and swarm. The key difference between them and termites is that they chew through wood but don’t eat it. Termites, on the other hand, eat wood to consume the cellulose within the material.
Pharaoh ants are a major nuisance all over the world and have become especially problematic in the U.S. They’re one of the smallest ants and only grow to about 2 mm long. They’re hard to get rid of because they can hide in the smallest of crevices and enter your home through equally small cracks. They’re typically a pale yellow color and like to inhabit pantries. They’re attracted to crumbs, sugary foods, peanut butter, and any other protein or sugar-rich food that they can find.
How Serious Is An Ant Problem?
How serious the ant problem is really depends on the type of ant and the severity of the infestation. Each type of ant carries it’s own health or home risk. Carpenter ants, for example, are known to invade wood structures like the wood in your home. If left to their own devices they can cause serious structural damage to the integrity of your home.
Pharaoh ants, on the other hand, are known to spread diseases and have become a problem in restaurants, hospitals, and homes. In restaurants, they can contaminate food while in hospitals, they’re known for invading patient IV lines and even found in wounds. Fire ants carry powerful pincers and their venom can cause painful welts that hang around for a week or longer. If an elderly individual or small child stumbles into a nest and isn’t able to get out, the sheer number of bites they get can trigger anaphylactic shock.
How To Get Rid Of Ants
The best way to eliminate your ant problem is to hire a professional pest control company like Big Dave’s Termite & Pest. Ants are able to enter your home through even the smallest cracks, they form huge colonies, and they can carry diseases or painful bites so it requires professional solutions.
We can treat your home inside and out as well as put professional level invisible barriers in place to keep the ants away. We also offer affordable year-round pest control solutions to ensure they never return. If you have an ant problem, give Big Dave a call today.
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