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ants insects

How can you tell if you have a carpenter ant infestation?

No one likes seeing ants in the house, but carpenter ants can be especially bad news for buildings. Carpenter ants are especially difficult to remove because they make their home in wood (and love soft or damaged wood in particular). In fact, carpenter ants are sometimes mistaken for terminates because both insects burrow tunnels in wood. If you suspect you have a carpenter ant infestation, there are a few key signs to look out for.

Seeing ants is always the first tipoff of an infestation. If you notice ants in and around your home, take a closer look. The bottom segment of a carpenter ant (aka its thorax) will be smooth, and carpenter ants often have a visible notch on their waist. Noticing winged ants near walls or ceilings may be a key warning sign pf a carpenter ant infestation. Winged carpenter ants are looking for a mate, and their presence may mean a colony has been active for several years. However, seeing carpenter ants does not mean you have an infestation. Carpenter ants often look for food (and mates) quite far away from the nest.

Finding wood shavings and sawdust is another key signs of a potential carpenter ant infestation. Unlike termites, carpenter ants do not actually eat wood. Carpenter ants like their nests to be very smooth and clean, and remove the debris and sawdust they create as they burrow tunnels. This debris sometimes looks like irregularly-sized pencil shavings. It may also contain dust or segments from dead ants. Carpenter ants remove debris through slit-like openings (called ‘windows’) which may also be visible.  

Carpenter ants are most active at night. You may be able to hear them by holding a glass up to the wall and tapping on it. A soft clicking or rusting sound may indicate carpenter ants. If you knock on the wall and it sounds hollow, that may be another telltale sign.  It’s also important to know where to look. Carpenter ants prefer soft wood like pine, or wood that is moist or decaying. Inside, they like to live near water (kitchens, bathrooms, moist basements and leaky attics can be prime targets), and near door and window frames. Outside, carpenter ants are often drawn to damaged hardwood trees and tree stumps.

The presence of carpenter ants (particularly winged ants looking for mates), wood shavings and debris and rustling in the walls may all be signs of a carpenter ant infestation. If you suspect you may have a carpenter ant infestation, the best advice is to call a professional.

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ants insects

How often should service be rendered to get Crazy Ants under control?

It is recommended that you service your property every 30 days to control these pests. In order to understand why this is necessary, let’s take a look at these crazy ants for a moment. The crazy ant, – Paratrechina longicornis, is a species of ant, that according to Entomologists is not native to the United States. Although it is not entirely known where it originally came from it is thought to have arrived in North America from Africa, Asia or the Carribean. These ants are named the crazy ant because of their characteristic erratic movements and behaviors. The crazy ant is a recognized pest common to the northeastern areas of the United States, as well as the southern states, and additional states out west such as Arizona and California. The crazy ant has also been spotted in Hawaii and Canada. Crazy ant adults are typically 2-3mm in size with longer legs than other ant species.

Crazy ants will feed on an assortment of things, and so they are known to be quite omnivorous. Crazy ants have been studied to eat just about anything, including garbage and composts, sweets to include fruit. They are attracted to grease, meat, plants, and liquids. Their favored environments include places like your trash, rotting trees, foliage, and soil. They nest in rotting wood, under large rocks or timbers.

The crazy ant doesn’t fly, but these pests are still able to reach new heights. The crazy ant has been found in high floors of taller buildings, as well as the lower floors. The crazy ants are also found in kitchens. These little insects are not just a nuisances, these ants can mean big trouble. An infestation can invade a building creating considerable damage. Additionally, these bugs are well known to short electrical units. They often will forage long distances from their nests, which makes eradicating infestations a little more challenging. The crazy ant workers carry food on their backs over long distances in order to feed the colony. These colonies are fairly moderate in size, with anywhere from 8-40 Queens usually residing in a single colony. Queens lay their eggs in the nest, that the worker ants will care for. Crazy ant life cycle is approximately 68-74 days. Crazy ants do not sting, but they will bite. This isn’t a concern beyond initial discomfort as most people only have a minor reaction to the bite. Less than 1% of the population will need medical attention from these bites.
If you have crazy ants, controlling them is necessary to prevent bigger problems from arising with these destructive pests. The crazy ant reproduces quickly making the job of eliminating them more of a challenge. Contacting your pest control specialist is the best-recommended option for treating your property for crazy ants. These ants aren’t attracted to the typical ant baits or red ant baits. Commercial products have been studied to have very little impact on crazy ants. After treatment by your pest control specialist, any crazy ants that survived will simply move their colony or start another. This is why treatment is recommended every 30 days because these ants often will return to re-invade, which is one of the great challenges for eradicating them.

W.J. Arnold. © 2016

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ants insects

Why do fire ants move only to 5 to 10 feet when you treat just the mounds?

When a person hears the word “fire ants” mean usually comes to mind due to their aggressive nature. Most people know fire ants for their reddish color and sting that inflicts pain on their victims. If a fire ant mound is disturbed, most people know immediately from the swarm that occurs that they have just made a horrible and painful mistake. Fire ants are not insects that should be taken for granted or should one wait for them to move on to another location. Once you have realized you have a fire ant infestation, your problem becomes even more difficult to eliminate.

Unless you kill the queen herself, spraying the mound is not the only answer to resolving your problem with fire ants. In fact, you may find that spraying the fire ant mound is only a temporary solution as within just a few days, you may find the return of the fire ants to the original mound area. In order to work on reducing your fire ant problem, you will need to target as many areas as possible in which the fire ants may be dwelling other than the mound. Unfortunately, you will not be able to completely eliminate your fire ant problem, as it is nearly impossible to find all of the fire ants’ hiding places. Also, fire ant tunnels are extremely complicated and deep in the ground so it is important that one is aware of this when treating a fire ant mound. It may require more than just a simple treatment of the mound to kill those fire ants deep in the mound.

Many people believe that home remedies are the best way to resolve their fire ant problem. However, most home remedies only cause the fire ants to move to another nearby location. In fact, many believe drowning fire ants is the answer to your problem but fire ants cannot be drowned. They have actually figured out a way to survive drowning! This is the type of insect you are dealing with so it is important that you hire a pesticide company with experience in fire ants to try and alleviate your problem sooner rather than later. Treating a fire ant problem can become very costly long process so it is best to get the right company for the job immediately as opposed to spending a lot of money on inexperienced companies. Hiring an experienced company can not only prevent the pains to your wallet but can also prevent the pains to your skin from the stinging inflicted by the fire ants in your yard.

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Categories
ants insects

Why should you treat your whole yard for fire ants?

Fire ants are particularly nasty pests and their presence has become commonplace in over 15 different states in the U.S. Some Fire Ants are native to the United States, but some were accidentally imported. They tend to thrive in warm, humid areas, as they are susceptible to cold, harsh conditions. When treating for fire ants, whether there is an existing infection or just for preventative measures, it is important to treat the entirety of the property.

These ants are incredibly aggressive and often territorial. When they attack, they bite with their strong mandibles and then sting their target. This sting can cause as little as mild irritation and nausea to much more severe kinds of reactions, including death in sensitive people. When stung, it feels similar to being burned by flames, hence their name. They also don’t discriminate against what they view as a threat, so they may attack people and even pets who disturb them. Fire ants may also cause severe damage, affecting plants, homes and even wiring. This makes treating the whole yard an absolute must to protect everyone in the household, the property as a whole, as well as the four legged family members. They pose a threat to everything!

Not only are these pests destructive, they spread rapidly. Depending on how many queens are within a colony, there can be up to 200 mounds and 40 million fire ants in one single acre. Each mound alone can hold up to 500,000 fire ants, a veritable army. The life cycle of these ants ranges from 30 days all the way up to six years, so when an infestation starts, they mean to stay around long term.

When looking for signs of an infestation, mounds of loose dirt are indicative of a colony and worker ants are readily seen when out scouting for the colony. These workers are most likely to be seen in greater numbers after rainfall, as they are drawn out of their colonies by flooding. Yards and open areas are the most likely to become infested by fire ants due to the higher sun exposure. They tend to prefer warm areas, which is why they’re also attracted to electrical wiring and the generated heat.

When it comes to treating a home and yard, it is imperative that the entire area be treated to prevent the Fire Ants from establishing and maintaining a colony that poses such a serious threat to people, pets, and property.

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ants

Carpenter Ants

Camponotus fellah MHNT.jpg
“Camponotus fellah MHNT” by Didier Descouens– Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 viaWikimedia Commons.

Carpenter ants (Camponotus spp.) are large (0.3 to 1.0 in or 0.76 to 2.54 cm) antsindigenous to many forested parts of the world.[1]  They prefer dead, damp wood in which to build nests. They do not consume it, however, unlike termites.[2]  Sometimes, carpenter ants hollow out sections of trees.  They also commonly infest wooden buildings and structures, and are a widespread nuisance and major cause of structural damage.[3] The most likely species to be infesting a house in the United States is the black carpenter ant(Camponotus pennsylvanicus).  However, over a thousand other species are in the genusCamponotus.

Habitat

Carpenter ant species reside both outdoors and indoors in moist, decaying, or hollow wood. They cut “galleries” into the wood grain to provide passageways for movement from section to section of the nest.  Certain parts of a house, such as around and under windows, roof eaves, decks and porches, are more likely to be infested by carpenter ants because these areas are most vulnerable to moisture.

Carpenter ants have been known to construct extensive underground tunneling systems.  These systems often lead to and end at some food source – often aphid colonies, where the ants extract and feed on honeydew.  These tunneling systems also often exist in trees.  The colonies typically include a central “parent” colony surrounded and supplemented by smaller satellite colonies.[4]

Food

Carpenter ants are foragers that typically eat parts of other dead insects or substances derived from other insects.  Common foods for them include insect parts, “honey dew” produced by aphids, or some secretions from plants.  Carpenter ants can increase the survivability of aphids when they attend to them.  They attend to any aphid species, but can also express preference for specific ones.[citation needed]

Most species of carpenter ants forage at night.  When foraging, they usually collect and consume dead insects.  Some species less commonly collect live insects.  When they discover a dead insect, workers surround it and extract its bodily fluids to be carried back to the nest.  The remaining chitin-based shell is left behind. Occasionally, the ants bring the chitinous head of the insect back to the nest, where they also extract its inner tissue.[5] The ants can forage individually or in small or large groups, though they often opt to do so individually.  Different colonies in close proximity may have overlapping foraging regions, though they typically do not assist each other in foraging.  Their main food sourcesnormally include proteins and carbohydrates.[6]

Nesting

Carpenter ants work to build the nests that house eggs in environments with roughly 12-15% humidity due to their sensitivity to environmental humidity.  These nests are called primary nests.  Satellite nests are constructed once the primary nest is established and has begun to mature.  Residents of satellite nests include older larvae, pupae, and some winged individuals.  Only eggs, the newly hatchedlarvae, workers, and the queen reside in the primary nests.  Since satellite nests do not have environmentally sensitive eggs, the ants can construct them in rather diverse locations that can actually be relatively dry.[7]

Control

While you can certainly use your own methods of pest control to include diatomaceous earth, we strongly suggest to let Atak Pest Control, Inc. use their exclusive Home Pest Control Package to manage all of your ant problems.

Don’t hesitate call us today (281)291-9222!

REFERENCES

  1. Cranshaw, Whitney; Richard Redak (2013). Bugs Rule!: An Introduction to the World of Insects. Princeton Univ. Press. p. 329.ISBN 140084892X.
  2. http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/housingandclothing/dk1015.html
  3. Strauss, Levi (January 2005). “Carpenter Ant Fact Sheet”. Spokane County Extension. Washington State Univ., Spokane, WA. Retrieved February 19, 2014.
  4. Colony Size and Polygyny in Carpenter Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) Roger D. Akre, Laurel D. Hansen and Elizabeth A. Myhre Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society , Vol. 67, No. 1 (Jan., 1994), pp. 1-9
  5. Pricer, John. The Life History of the Carpenter Ant. Biological Bulletin , Vol. 14, No. 3 (Feb., 1908), pp. 177-218
  6. Yamamoto, Marcela, and Kleber Del-Claro. “Natural History and Foraging Behavior of the Carpenter Ant Camponotus Sericeiventris Guérin, 1838 (Formicinae, Campotonini) in the Brazilian Tropical Savanna.” Acta Ethologica 11.2 (2008): 55-65. Print.
  7. Pararas — Carayannis, Carolyn. “Carpenter Ants.” Colony Behaviors of Carpenter Ants. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 October 2013.

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ants

Ants

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ant#mediaviewer/File:Scheme_ant_worker_anatomy-en.svg

Diagram of a Worker Ant License: Public Domain

WHERE DO THEY LIVE?

 

The Earth seen from Apollo 17.

The Earth seen from Apollo 17. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ants have colonised almost every landmass on Earth. The only places lacking indigenous ants are Antarctica and a few remote or inhospitable islands. Ants thrive in most ecosystems and may form 15–25% of the terrestrial animal biomass. Their success in so many environments has been attributed to their social organisation and their ability to modify habitats, tap resources, and defend themselves. Their long co-evolution with other species has led to mimetic, commensal, parasitic, and mutualistic relationships.

Ants are found on all continents except Antarctica, and only a few large islands such as Greenland, Iceland, parts of Polynesia and the Hawaiian Islands lack native ant species. Ants occupy a wide range of ecological niches, and are able to exploit a wide range of food resources either as direct or indirect herbivores, predators, and scavengers. Most species are omnivorous generalists, but a few are specialist feeders. Their ecological dominance may be measured by their biomass and estimates in different environments suggest that they contribute 15–20% (on average and nearly 25% in the tropics) of the total terrestrial animal biomass, which exceeds that of the vertebrates.

NOT AN ANT!

 

English: Termites which seems like Ants. So, i...

English: Termites which seems like Ants. So, in general viz White termites. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Termites, although sometimes called ‘white ants’, are not ants. They belong to the order Isoptera. Termites are more closely related to cockroaches and mantids. Termites are eusocial, but differ greatly in the genetics of reproduction. The similarity of their social structure to that of ants is attributed to convergent evolution. Velvet ants look like large ants, but are wingless female wasps.

HOW TO EFFECTIVELY KILL AN ANT!

Ants communicate with each other using pheromones, sounds, and touch. The use of pheromones as chemical signals is more developed in ants, such as the red harvester ant, than in other hymenopteran groups. Ants use pheromones for more than just making trails. A crushed ant emits an alarm pheromone that sends nearby ants into an attack frenzy and attracts more ants from farther away. Several ant species even use “propaganda pheromones” to confuse enemy ants and make them fight among themselves.

The sure way to kill an ant is with the Home Pest Control Package from Atak Pest Control, Inc.! What are you waiting for? Call us today and eradicate those ants without igniting the battle alarms!

Categories
ants

The Pharoah Ant

The pharaoh ant (Monomorium pharaonis) is a small (2 mm) yellow or light brown, almost transparent ant notorious for being a major indoor nuisance pest, especially in hospitals.[1] The pharaoh ant, whose origins are unknown, has now been introduced to virtually every area of the world, including Europe, the Americas, Australia and Southeast Asia.  This species ispolygynous, meaning each colony contains many queens, leading to unique caste interactions and colony dynamics.  This also allows the colony to fragment into bud colonies quickly.  Colonies do not display aggression toward each other; this is known as unicoloniality.  Monomorium pharaonis is also notable for its complex foraging system, involving intricate trail routes maintained with several pheromones.  It was the first ant species discovered to use a negative (repellant) pheromone. These chemicals are integral for communication in this species.  Pharaoh ants are a tropical species, but they thrive in buildings almost anywhere, even in temperate regions provided central heating is present.

Biology and Nesting Habits

The Pharaoh ant colony consists of queens, males, workers, and immature stages (eggs, larvae, pre-pupae, and pupae). Nesting occurs in inaccessible, warm (80 to 86°F), humid (80%) areas near sources of food and/or water, such as in wall voids.  The size of the colony tends to be large but can vary from a few dozen to several thousand or even several hundred thousand individuals. Approximately 38 days are required for development of workers from egg to adult.

Mating takes place in the nest, and no swarms are known to occur.  Males and queens usually take 42 days to develop from egg to adult.  The males are the same size as the workers (2 mm), are black in color and have straight, not elbowed, antennae.  Males are not often found in the colony.  The queens are about 4 mm long and are slightly darker than the workers (Smith and Whitman 1992).  Queens can produce 400 or more eggs in batches of 10 to 12 (Peacock et al. 1950).  Queens can live four to 12 months, while males die within three to five weeks after mating (Smith and Whitman 1992).

Part of the success and persistence of this ant undoubtedly relates to the budding or splitting habits of the colonies. Numerous daughter colonies are produced when a queen and a few workers break off from the mother colony.  Even in the absence of a queen, workers can develop a queen from the brood, which is transported from the mother colony.  In large colonies there may be as many as several hundred reproductive females (Smith and Whitman 1992).

English: Compared size of a pharaoh ant

English: Compared size of a pharaoh ant (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Management

Control of Pharaoh ants is difficult, due to their nesting in inaccessible areas.  Treatment must be thorough and complete at all nesting sites, as well as the foraging area.  Thus, treatment must include walls, ceilings, floor voids, and electrical wall outlets.  Baits are now the preferred method of control for Pharaoh ants and several baits (insecticides) are labeled for indoor ant control.  A Pharaoh ant infestation of a multifamily building requires treatment of the entire building to control the infestation.  Ants nesting on the outside may be controlled by also using a perimeter barrier treatment (Smith and Whitman 1992).

Baits cannot be placed in just any location and be expected to work.  Pharaoh ant trails and their resources (both food and water) must be located for proper placement of baits and effective control (Klotz et al. 2000).  Non-repellent baits (such as boric acid, hydramethylon or sulfonamide) should be used, as repellent baits can worsen the situation by causing the colony to fracture and bud.  As a result, ant activity will briefly diminish as the new colonies establish, then become a problem as the foragers resume activity (Smith and Whitman 1992).

In addition, insect growth regulators (IGRs) are marketed for indoor control of Pharaoh ants. The IGR is used as a bait, and ants must be allowed to transport the bait back to their nests. The IGR prevents the production of worker ants and sterilizes the queen. Therefore, it is necessary to allow up to several weeks or months (depending on the size of the colonies or number of colonies) for ants to die naturally with the use of IGR.

Eradication

While you can certainly use your own methods of ant control and natural methods such as diatomaceous earth applications, it would be far more convenient and less worrisome on your part to let Atak Pest Control, Inc. manage them for you.  We will use our industry standard Home Pest Control Package to quietly and effectively keep your pharoah ant problem at bay, away from you and your guests and giving you that peace of mind that you have worked so hard to attain.

Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pharaoh_anthttp://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/urban/ants/pharaoh_ant.htm

Categories
ants insects

What are Ghost ants?

Introduction: Ghost ants are tropical ants which are generally found throughout the world in warm tropical climates and greenhouses. In the United States of America, these ants are common in the states of Hawaii and Florida, as well as on occasion in greenhouses in other states.

 

Biology & Distribution: This tiny ant derives its name from the difficulty in seeing it, due to its small size and the color of its head, thorax and body, which are a deep dark brown with gaster and legs opaque or milky white. The thorax is spineless. Ghost ant cannot adapt to colder climates and are only confined to greenhouses and buildings that provide considerable conditions that allows the species to thrive, this is the reason why these ants are generally found in a warm, humid habitat, and its presence outside of Florida or Hawaii is likely due to infested soils in plants that are shipped. It is primarily an outdoor species, and is highly adaptable in its nesting habits. It builds colonies that may be moderate to large in size. Generally, the colonies occupy local sites that are too small or unstable to support entire large colonies, nesting in virtually any crack or small void it can find, including under bark or in hollow trees, under logs and other debris on the soil. Indoors, the ant colonizes wall void or spaces between cabinets and baseboards. It will also nest in potted plants. Thus, the colonies are broken into subunits that occupy different nest sites.

 

Identification: Workers are very small, only about 1/16th of an inch long and have the habit of running rapidly and erratically when disturbed. This species is closely related to the odorous house ant, and gives off a similar unpleasant odor of rotten coconuts when crushed.

 

Control and Management: The best approach to ghost ant control in the home is cleanliness. Any type of food or food particles can attract and provide food for ants. Store food in tight containers. Elimination of insects that provide protein or honeydew sources reduces ant foraging in an area, and cleanup of unnecessary debris or objects on the soil that provide harborage eliminates nesting. Ant bait products in granular, liquid, or gel formulations can be effective, and protein baits may be preferred. If possible, following the trails of this species back to the nest and treating the nest using a residual dust insecticide, is effective.

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Categories
ants insects

How can you Protect Yourself against the Ghost Ant?

Ghost ant is small in size and it has a pale bottom and black head. It is also known as black headed ant because it has a black head. Ghost ant is mainly found in places with moisture. These ants enter the house through trees which are in contact with the house. Open areas around the house are also helpful for ghost ants to enter the house.

There are many ways through which these ants could be eliminated. Different types of sprays are available in the market which can be used for elimination of these ants. These sprays are made by using chemicals and mixed with water to use on ghost ants.

Working of sprays

Working of sprays is to make sure that the ants are eliminated. These sprays have elements which are killing the ants slowly. Some ants get infected with the sprays and take the poison with them to the colonies. In this manner all the ants in the colony are affected and killed in some time period.

These sprays are not quick killing as the quick killing is not good for ghost ants. Quick killing sprays are only killing the ants on which the spray is used. It is good to use slow killing sprays so that the poison could be taken by some ants to the colonies and all the ants could be eliminated.

Baiting to kill ghost ants

Baiting is a process in which slow killing items are used for elimination of ants. Baits are using sugars and proteins in order to attract ants. Slow killing items inside the baits are helpful to transfer the poison to the whole colony. Fast killing items are not good in baits as these will not transfer the poison to the whole colony. You can check the working of baits. If the ants are not visiting the bait then you must change the baits in order to make them effective.

If the ants are visiting the baits and killed without transferring the poison to the colony then you must use a reliable slow killing poison. When you are using a reliable slow killing poison then the ants will take the poison to the colony and help in elimination of the whole colony. It is important to make selection of effective items to be used in baits. You must understand the nutritional needs and requirements of ghost ants.

You can use the items inside the bait which will attract the ghost ants. These ants will be fed on the items inside the baits and take the poison to the colony. In this manner all the ants inside the colony will be eliminated. You can place the baits in places which are liked by ghost ants. Those places which have moisture are used and liked by ghost ants. You can place the baits in kitchen and baths in order to target many ants and kill them.  

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ants insects

The Basics of Ant Control

When going into battle it is important to know your enemies and ants are no different! As children you have seen these tiny creatures featured in your favorite cartoon or in a book carrying off your favorite picnic food, but in real life these nuisances are anything but cute.  Like they are cutely depicted, ants are social insects working together in a colony much like a platoon. To win the war you must kill the queen ant.

There are different types of ants. Carpenter ants unlike termites chew the wood to make homes but do not use the wood for a food source. Carpenter ants tend to lurk in humid locations with damp wood in beams and foundation. Tiny black ants, when found inside homes are commonly found in kitchen and bathrooms.

The ants want to bring sweet, fatty foods to their dear queen so that they will seek out these foods in our homes. Some make their nests outside of our homes and travel inside for a quick bite like the small black ants or sugar ants as sometimes called. Others, will take up residence in our homes like carpenter ants. Ants leave trails of pheromones to find their trails back to their nest as well as to return to the food source.

There are steps that you can take to prevent an infestation in your home. Keeping surfaces clean and food in airtight containers is very important, because once you have an ant infestation it is very difficult to remove them entirely. Although difficult it is not impossible to rid yourself of these pests. Creating a barrier around pet food that is left out. Rinsing out food containers before throwing them away. Trimming trees and shrubs so that they do not touch your home will help to prevent carpenter ants from entering.  Repairing, caulking and sealing cracks and crevices to block all entry points. Cleaning the entry points with chemicals to prevent the ants from following their pheromone trails. After the entry points are blocked and clean you should spray a non-repellent residual insecticide around the perimeter and entry points. Ant baits are also successful for the ants that have colonized inside of your home.

Finding the ants nests is an important step in ridding yourself from the ants infestation completely. Following the ants trails should assist you in locating their home. You may also set out desirable food to entice the ants. Placing ant baits closest to their ant colonies for the best results in eliminating the queen and killing the colony.

In the event of a major infestation contacting a professional pesticide company is the most important!!

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