Because they come in large colonies, ants are difficult to control. We know they enter the home for two reasons: to forage for food and find shelter.
Termite vs. Ant
Ants develop wings in the spring (they are known as swarmers); so many people think their flying ants are termites. They’re not. The best way to tell the difference is to look at the body and antennae. Ants have thin, pinched bodies and elbowed (or bent) antennae. Termites have long, smooth bodies, and straight antennae.
How They Operate
In the ant colony, there’s an egg-laying female (also known as the queen), short-lived males, and workers (which are sterile females). Ants communicate with each other through a chemical message that they leave on the surface. It’s called a “trail pheromone,” and it helps the workers navigate between the nest and the food. The trail can be removed using detergent.
The most effective type of control to get rid of ants is by killing the queen. Simply crushing or spraying every ant you see won’t be enough, because they can always reproduce. In fact, spraying the ants you see will only kill 1% to 10% of the colony. The success rate for a new colony to thrive is low without a queen.
There are many types of ants, but the ones most likely to be found inside the home include: carpenter ants, thief ants, pharaoh ants, pavement ants, odorous house ants, and crazy ants. A good way to trap a sample is by placing a dot of honey or jelly on an index card, and bringing the pest into Suburban Exterminating Co., Inc. (879 W. Jericho Turnpike, Smithtown, NY 11787 (516) or (631) 864-6900 https://www.suburbanexterminating.com). You can also look at our Pest Identification pages.
Where They Hide
The problem with ants is that they like the same food that we do, so it’s difficult to get rid of ants when there’s always something in the kitchen. Carpenter ant nests are likely to be found near wet or old wood (rotting timbers, window sills, rafters, etc.). You can also notice that their trails tend to be in long, straight lines around edges of the home.
It’s also important to recognize their attractions, such as cough syrup, sweet liqueurs, sugar, and honey, to name a few. They can also be found around pet food, garbage, and kitchen counters/floors/cabinets if not cleaned correctly.
What GOOD Do They Do?
Ants actually reduce the amount of dead plant/animal matter. They also help aerate the soil when they’re nests are created there.
Call a Professional
Suburban Exterminating Professionals can be reached in Nassau or Suffolk County at 864-6900.