Ants are insects that play an important role in the environment. Still, it is very annoying when ant colonies invade your place. They can become such a nuisance! If you are here, it means that you need to get information about them. Read further and you will discover all it takes to get rid of ants: how to identify them, how to kill them & more useful stuff.
After reading this article, you will be prepared to fight them and prevent any ant infestation! Let’s get started!
Types of ants
Researches show that there are more than 12,000 ant species in the entire world. Moreover, their colonies may include millions of ants. Though, this fact depends on the species. All in all, needless to say that we will present you the most common ant types. Let’s introduce them!
1. Carpenter Ants: This type is well-known because the carpenter ants nest in wood. They are not disease-carriers, but they weaken the wood holding your house.
2. Odorous House Ants: You probably think they have a weird name. Well, the name comes from the fact that when crushed, they release a smell similar to rotten coconut. They do not carry diseases, but their waste contaminates the food.
3. Argentine Ants: As the name says, they come from Argentina. They are attracted to standing water and prefer wet environments. Their colonies grow fast and can become huge.
4. Pavement Ants: These ants eat almost everything like meat, grease, bread and so on. They don’t threat your health, but their body-waste contaminates food.
5. Fire Ants: You will probably find them nesting in sunny areas. This type is a very aggressive one, these ants even sting, if you attack the hill.
What Ants Look Like?
Generally speaking, ants are similar to termites and these two insects are often confused. Still, there are some big differences between them (Read more in the article about termites). Returning to ants, they have a narrow waist that separates the thorax from their abdomen. What is more is that they have big heads, bent antennae, but no ears at all. They only feel vibrations in the ground and perceive movement. The exoskeleton covers ant body, which is a hard case.
Now you know to recognize ants, but let’s dig deeper. We also want you to learn distinguishing between ant types. Let’s do it!
|Size: they are large; their length is between ½ to 1 inch.|
Colour: from yellow to black
Characteristics: as their name says, they enjoy grow colonies in galleries they excavate in damaged wood.
|Size: they are medium-sized; they are about 1/8 inch long|
Colour: from uniform dark-brown to black
Characteristics: they are easy to identify because of the smell they release when crushed. It stinks like rotten coconut.
|Size: they are also medium-sized; their length is almost 1/8 inch.|
Colour: their colour ranges from light to dark brown
Characteristics: they also release an odor when crushed. It smells like must.
|Size: they are medium-sized; again, they are about 1/8 inch long|
Colour: they range in colour from light brown to black; their legs and antennae are lighter than the body.
Characteristics: they have parallel grooves on their head and thorax.
|Size: their size ranges from small to large; the type includes subtypes ranging from 1/16 inch long ants to ¼ inch ants.|
Colour: most of them are red coloured, while the abdomen is darker than their body; there are also brown or black fire ants.
Characteristics: huge colonies.
The ant life cycle has four stages:
- Egg: oval-shaped & tiny.
- Larva: similar to worms. At this stage, they have no legs and eyes. They feed on what adult ants regurgitate.
- Pupa: they reach this stage when the larva makes a cocoon around itself and pupates.
- Adult: after pupae stage, the insect metamorphoses into adult shape.
If the eggs are fertilized, then the future ant will be female ants. If not, then the future adults will be male ants.
Ant life cycle may last between 6 to 10 weeks. Still, some queens live more than 15 years, while some workers are able to live only for about 7 years.
Signs of Ant Activity
Now that we know who ants are, we also must know how to recognize sings of ant activity.
- Of course, the most obvious sign is when you notice some ants crawling in your kitchen. If their number is large, you need to act fast!
- Another sign that ants are visiting you is if you find ant nests outside. Even if they invade your house, it is most likely they will nest outside.
- Do you own any pets? If yes, then pay attention to their food bowls. Ants eat almost anything so they will also eat pet food. This is why you need to carefully search for any trails.
- Inspect your house and look for ant signs of wood damage. Some ant species damage the wood structure. Knock the wood and pay attention if it sounds hallow.
- If you hear noise coming from the walls, you may face an ant infestation.
- Have you noticed wood shavings in your house? Then there is a great possibility for you to have ants nesting around your house.
How Do You Get Ants
Well, there are more answers to this question:
- One of the reasons that lead them into your place is FOOD. They need to eat in order to survive. So if you leave food uncovered, it is likely to attract ants.
- They look for moisture. If your house offers such climate, that it will be the perfect place for them.
How to Kills Ants
We recommend you to don’t jump directly to killing them. They bring many benefits. So, read our article to learn how to keep them away. Still, if you can’t stand them, we have some killing options you may choose from.
1. Boric acid. This is a substance that you must keep far from children or pets. It is very efficient against ants. What is does is to kill them when ingested. Mix some boric acid with honey or even maple syrup. Ants like the sweet taste and will ingest the mixture. You can find many sorts of it on Amazon, click here.
2. Honey baits. As we said earlier, ants love sweet-tasted products. Put some honey in to a bowl and let it do the job. The ants will come, but they will get stick in the honey and die. It works for a small infestation, of course.
3. Boiling water. This is a cruel some remedy, but it is effective. If you discover the nest of the ant hill, pour boiling water into it. To increase the potential of the remedy, add salt, or vinegar to the water. You may need to repeat the treatment for a couple of days, to eradicate the colony.
4. TERRO T401 Ant Killer Aerosol Spray. This is a chemical product you can find on Amazon. It kills ants on contact and has long-lasting effects. Moreover, it is suitable for both indoors and outdoors. Click on the link to buy it now.
6. Call a pest management company. You deal with a widespread infestation? Call them! They have the most efficient products and they know how to use them properly. Even if they may be more expensive, it’s worth the money.
You can choose between DIY pest control and an exterminator. A DIY method start at about $4, but it can go up, depending on the ingredients. If you choose the exterminator option, the prices vary. This is because of the ant types and the severity of the infestation. Generally speaking, a one-time treatment might cost you between $200 and $1000.
How to Prevent Ant Infestation
It’s time to learn some tips about prevention. If you do this accurately, you will manage to keep ants at bay.
- Pay attention to any leaks in or around your home. Fix the moisture problem and this will keep ants away.
- Keep the house clean. It is the most important rule, so let me say it again: keep the house clean!
- Make sure that the trees around your home do not touch it. If you ignore this, you will allow a bridge to your house. The ants will be more than happy…
- Inspect your house and surroundings periodically. If the wood of the house structure is damaged, replace it quickly.
- Don’t let wood construction exposed. Instead of it, paint or seal it, before it gets wet.
- Seal and fix any cracks your house may have. Of course that firstly you need to look for them…
- Put screens to your windows. Periodically check them for holes and repair them.
Well, here we are at the end of the article. Now you have the right weapons to fight this war. We revealed you everything about ants: how to identify them, how to kill them & more awesome advice. So, it’s time for you to deal with some ants! We keep our fingers crossed for you!