Category Archives for "Ants"

3 How to Get Rid of Ghost Ants: Control & Prevention Tips

Ghost Ants get their name because they look like tiny ghosts. These little white ants seem to appear and disappear quickly, with no notice.

You can find Ghost Ants inside and outside of your home; typically, they seek out moisture, so if they are in your home they will most likely appear in your kitchen or bathrooms. Don’t lose hope if you see them, you can get rid of them! Read on to find out how to deal with these little pests.

Size and Shape

Ghost Ants resemble the Odorous House Ant in size and shape, but the Odorous House Ant is brown or black, while the Ghost Ant is white. The head and thorax of the Ghost Ant is a bit darker in color, which is why they are also known as ‘Black-Headed Ants’.

These tiny ants are only one sixteenth of an inch in length.

Where to Find Ghost Ants

Ghost Ants have colonies that are anywhere from medium to large in size: The colonies are very flexible, and can be moved inside or outside. If you find a Ghost Ant Colony outdoors, it will most likely be under tree bark, at the base of a plant pot, or even under piles of grass. Indoors, you can find Ghost Ants in small spaces, like between the baseboards or in spaces between cabinets. In your home, they are drawn to sweets and protein sources.

While they are a tropical species, they can be found in greenhouses in colder climates.

How to Get Rid of Them

If you do have Ghost Ants, ant bait is the best way to get rid of them. Or, you can use non-repellent sprays because they are non-detectable by ants. This means the Ghost Ants won’t try to avoid them as they do most sprays.

Non-repellent sprays will kill the ants via both contact and transfer. Those ants that come into contact with the spray will track the insecticide back to their nests, which in turn will kill the others.

If you use a residual type of spray on Ghost Ants it will simply cause the ants to scatter, splitting the colonies. This won’t fix anything; it will just multiply your ant problems.

To really get rid of Ghost Ants, though, baiting is your best bet. Bait will get rid of the entire colony. Choose a sugar-based or protein-based bait, as this is what the ants are drawn to. Also make sure to choose a slow-acting bait, as this is the only kind that will wipe out the colony. Slow-acting ant baits will be taken back to the queen ants, which is key to wiping out the colony. Quick-acting baits will just kill the ants that find it, and will not take the bait back to the colony.

Ghost Ants will typically forage in random patterns. This means that their feeding trails will be hard to follow, or recognize. However, since Ghost Ants need water often, they will always be found near your water sources (kitchen sinks, bathroom sinks or tubs, and outdoors near your water spigot).

Prevention

Remember that Ghost Ants love food, so make sure to keep your kitchen clean, and to limit food consumption to the kitchen and dining room. Keep all food put away securely; keep counters and floors free of crumbs, and take your garbage out when it has food waste in it (or find a very secure garbage can).

When to Call a Professional

It is important to remember that getting rid of Ghost Ants can take a lot of time and patience, especially because you may have multiple nesting sites around your home.

If you find that you cannot control the ants, it may be best to call a pest control professional.

Control Pharaoh Ants: Identification, Removal & Prevention Tips

 

Pharaoh ants, also sometimes called sugar ants, are a major issue across the United States. Many people think that these just infest tropical climates, but essentially any place that has heat, is where they can be found. Sugar ants, aren’t really a specific type of ant, but rather a kind of ant – one that doesn’t sting and is usually small to medium sized, but even though they are not poisonous and they do not sting, doesn’t mean they aren’t a nuisance. In fact, these ants become such a problem because essentially they will eat almost anything you probably have in your home right now such as grease, sugary foods and spills, as well as dead insects. One of the biggest issues with these ants isn’t what they eat – though that’s a difficult issue too, but also the nests themselves. See when these smart little ants sense that you are trying to eradicate them, they will actually split the colony apart and create their own little nests. This means that a small nest which is already hard to find as is, becomes even smaller. Below, we will be going over a few different options to getting rid of these little pests.

Boric Acid with Ground Liver

This sounds like a pretty nasty combination to a human, but to pharaoh ants, it sounds like a yummy meal to them. Boric Acid is the best way to kill the ants and the ground liver, which also has a high fat content is a great way to lure them in. It should be noted, however, that while this option does work, you might need a few days FOR it to work since the boric acid won’t kill them on contact. No, instead they will need to ingest it and this can be done at the nest when they share the food with everyone else.

What About Sprays?

Sprays might seem like a really effective option, right? They work with so many other ants! Well, you might want to rethink it with these little guys. Remember the section above, about how they will actually break the colony apart and make smaller little nests? Well, this right here is one of the main reasons they do just that. The sprays essentially break the colony apart – more nests means more problems! The same goes with ant powders, they tend to make the nests break apart as well.

Natural Ways To Get Rid Of And To Keep Pharaoh Ants Away

There are a few natural ways to keep these or any ants away for that matter, such as:

  1. Sweeping and vacuuming the kitchen and other rooms daily – make sure there aren’t ANY food crumbs or food in general on the floor.
  2. Make sure that if you have any jars or bottles with any sticky food stuffs or food in general on the outside, that you wipe these bottles and jars off, this includes things like ketchup, honey, maple syrup, jam and jelly, and more.
  3. Be relentless about NOT letting them have any food. In a lot of cases if you clean the space, keep bottles and jars clean and seal ALL your containers, in a few days once they realize they don’t have a food source anymore, they will move on to another location.
  4. Use vinegar not bleach. To us humans, vinegar smells better than bleach, but to these ants it seems that the opposite is actually true.
  5. There are defensive barriers you can try. Many people say that certain natural ingredients will create a sort of line of defense against the ants, you can try a few things, but remember to stay away from grease, sugar and sweet foods, etc. Some options to try are cinnamon, powdered charcoal, baby powder, white vinegar and even citrus oils.

Create Ant Baits

You can buy chemical ant baits, but they don’t always work, so if you want to, you can try these options as well.

  • Corn meal: Its said that ants cannot digest this properly, so when they eat it, they essentially die. Its not the most humane option, but it does work.
  • Boric acid and honey: The boric acid as mentioned above, will kill the nest and the honey will lead them to the acid.
  • Cream of wheat: Another thing that ants can’t digest. Essentially they will try to eat this and it will expand in their stomach, killing them.

Last note, make sure that you seal off any entrances. Remember, these ants can and will take advantage to the tiniest holes and crevices in your walls, floors and doors so make sure you use a silicone caulking agent, putty or even glue to keep them away by sealing those holes up!

Odorous House Ants : Identification, Control, Bite Info

The odorous house ant ranges across the entire United States from Canada to Mexico and feed on things found in your home, preferring things high in sugar. When living outside they look for honeydew excreted by aphids or on the nectar of flowers and buds.

The body of the odorous house ant is from brown to black with a segmented antenna and uneven thorax. One characteristic of this pest is the rotten odor emitted when it is crushed. According to the College of Agricultural Sciences at Penn State, these ants can develop extremely large colonies. There colonies tend to include many queens among several thousand workers.

The odorous house ant nests indoors near moisture and warmth. The can feed on a lot of different food types and often cause us conflict when they raid our pantry. Controlling this invasion can be managed through the use of baits or using natural methods to keep them from entering.

How to get rid of the Odorous House Ant

Ants on the whole are not the worst insect as they do provide good environmental benefits. The will eat the larvae of fleas, silverfish, clothes moth, bed bugs and spiders; however, when they are also eating our food products, some control has to be taken. There are some natural and effective methods to get rid of them from your home:

Watch for their scouts

When you first see ants entering your kitchen this should be a warning to you that they are scouting out your area as a potential food source. These first ants are the scouts who will return to the nest and inform the others of all the potential food they have found. Do not let them find any.

– Wash all dishes as soon as you done using them and do not let dirty dishes stacked in your sink or on the counter. Clean your cupboard surfaces with vinegar as it will leave a nasty smell the ants will not like. Ensure your garbage container closes tightly and rinse all recyclable containers before throwing them into a bin.

– Sweep or vacuum your kitchen daily to make sure all crumbs are picked up and removed from the ant’s path. You don’t want those scouts finding any crumbs.

– If you have used a jar or container; honey jars, jams, pickles or any food with sticky residue, rinse them off before storing.

– Keep your food sealed in air-tight containers.

– You may find it necessary to store fragrant items such as deodorants in sealed containers. These items can get the ant’s initial attention.

Seal off the entrance areas

Find out where the ant is getting into your home and seal off their entrance. You may have to follow the ant to watch how they are entering or leaving and then use a silicone caulk, putty or glue to seal the opening. Make sure you are using a permanent solution that will not deteriorate and reopen the area.

Wash down their path

Soapy water will kill the ant and destroy the chemical scent they have left for other ants to follow. Place about one teaspoon into a spray bottle and fill it with water. Shake to make sure soap is mixed thoroughly and keep on hand for any sighting of ants. When you see them, give them a spray of the soapy solution and it will kill them. Spray the path they have traveled to prevent other ants from wanting to follow behind them.

Put up barriers

There are number of products you most likely have in your home already that will scare the ant away from your home:

  • Cinnamon
  • Citrus oil
  • Baby powder
  • White vinegar
  • Powdered cleaners
  • Powdered charcoal
  • Turmeric

By creating an unbroken line of one of these items where you have seen ants entering your home, it will keep them out. It only needs to be about a quarter of inch wide and spread across their entrance. You must have eliminated the ants from inside your home before applying this barrier otherwise you will be trapping them inside.

Baits

There are many ant baits you can purchase; however, they are produced from chemicals. You can make some natural ant baits at home with boric acid that has proven to be very effective. Boric acid is a stomach acid and when ingested will kill the ant. If they walk across this solution and take it back to the colony, it will also kill many ants inside the colony.

The odorous house ant will let you know they are present when you see their line of travel through your home and by the sudden odor of what is defined as rotten coconuts. Use these tips to keep them out of your home and certainly out of your kitchen.

How To Get Rid of Ants

Ants can be a problem in any household, and may be frustrating to get rid of once they have entered your space. Generally, if they are coming in from the outdoors, they will be a seasonal problem if you live in the northern climes. If you live down in the more temperate south, ants can be a hassle all year long. But if they have established a colony in your house or home, regardless of where you live, they will be year round pests.

So, we will need to break this down into two distinct parts. Ants that are foraging from the outside, and ants that have established a colony in your home.

Outside Ants

Virtually all outside ants are foragers, and the only reason they are in your home is for the food potential. What many people don’t realize is that ants are in virtually every living space that you are in, but if there is no worthwhile food to be found, they won’t stick around. That’s one of the reasons why, if you spill sugar or syrup on the floor or in a cabinet one day, the ants will mysteriously appear, seemingly overnight. They have always been there, you just didn’t know it.

Prevention

It probably goes without saying that prevention is worth a pound of cure. That means for sweet eating and grease eating ants, your counters, cabinets, floor and stove top must be clean, clean, clean. Ants may show up and inspect the area, but if there is nothing to eat, they won’t soon come back. Even that little bit of sugar you spill from a spoon as you are adding it to your morning coffee, will bring ants on the run. And once they leave pheromone trails for others, which is how they “talk” to each other, they will keep coming back again and again. Large trails, made by a lot of ants, means “yummy ahead,” while slight trails, made by one or two, means “not to bother.”

Vinegar, Ammonia and Citrus, Oh My!

Any or all of the above listed substances will destroy the pheromone pathways, and curtail ants from coming back. At least for a while, anyway. You can mix ammonia with water and wipe down counters, baseboards, windowsills, or wherever else you see the ants coming in from. Cracks where the counter meets the wall are very common entry ways for ants. Make sure to target them without fail.

Vinegar and citrus extract can be sprayed right from the bottle, and are easy to dispense where you want them. Use liberally, and let them dry naturally. That leaves more of the essence intact, which will deter ants for a longer time period.

Taking the Offensive

You really can look at an ant invasion like it is a war. Spraying and wiping down counters and keeping them clean, won’t get rid of ants, but it will deter them. If you want to solve the problem, you’ll have to take the offensive.

Ant Killers

One of the best natural ant killers is mixing boric acid with powdered sugar, or if they are grease eating ants, mixing it with grease. This works because ants take food back to the colony to feed the queen and the larvae, and once ingested, boric acid will literally cause them to dehydrate. It may take a few days, but it will work, you’ll just have to be patient.

If you don’t want to go natural, get an ant bait. Believe it or not, most of them are also made with boric acid, and the best ones are the sugary sweet liquids laced with the stuff. They are usually self contained, so the ants enter a little compartment, feed on the liquid, and go back to the colony. However, if you know exactly where they are coming in, you can get a liquid in a bottle that you can dispense. A few drops at the entry point, and you won’t see ants again. This happens because they are leaving a pheromone trail, and the trail gets bigger and more intense with each feeding ant. It stops at the food source, and that spells doom for the ants.

These types of ant baits, or ant traps as they are also commonly known, are available at hardware stores everywhere, and they will kill entire colonies of ants within a day or so.

Inside Ants

In most cases, inside ants are called carpenter ants. We used to call them “giant ants” when I was a kid, because compared to other household ants, they are three times larger. You can positively identify them by looking at their head and antennae. The head will be heart shaped and the antennae will have a downward pointing elbow.

Carpenter ants will literally burrow into the wooden frame of your house, and much like termite infestation, they can cause serious structural problems in the years to come.

In general, they won’t come into your house, which makes finding them much more difficult to locate. The best ways are to check out the immediate surrounding of your home during the evening with a flashlight because carpenter ants do most of their foraging at night in darkness. Or, put your ear up to a wall. If you hear light rustling, scratching and gnawing noises, chances are you have a carpenter ant infestation.

Prevention

Carpenter ants are wood lovers, and they will generally invade a house or home by a “bridge.” Overhanging branches, wood piles or even stacked firewood next to the side of a building are all bridges that carpenter ants will employ. By removing all of these bridges, you’ll inhibit carpenter ant infestation and save the time and the effort in eradication.

Taking the Offensive

Unlike outside ants coming into your space to feed, who are only coming in for the food, once carpenter ants are in, they are in for good. There is no chasing them away with vinegar or ammonia. It’s time to go to war.

The first thing you’ll need to do is to locate where they are actually getting in. This may not be as hard as it seems. Carpenter ants will leave little piles of sawdust at their entrance points. They do this because as they burrow, they push all of the waste wood and debris back out of the hole. Rarely will they exit inside of your house, so look around on the exterior for little piles of sawdust.

Ant Killers

Just like sweet eating ants, carpenter ants cannot resist sugar or syrup. You can literally use the same formulas for sweet eating ants inside of your house that you can use for carpenter ants outside. However, placement of the bait is the key here.

Finding the location of where the ants are entering is critical for this procedure. The bait must be placed on the path that they use to get in and out of your home. If you don’t do that, the chances are that they won’t find it. Plus, since you are doing this on the exterior of your house, you must take the weather and weather patterns into consideration.

If you put out sweet bait on the night it rains, it will do absolutely no good. The water can wash away or dilute the bait so much that it will have no effect. Hot and dry spells are excellent for liquid bait, and make sure the bait is in place at dusk, when carpenter ants forage.

Also, there may be several places where the ants enter. Worse, they may not all be of the same colony, so each entry point must be baited to kill the colony that is using it.

Again, just like inside ants, it may take a few days to eradicate the colony. But as always, patience and perseverance will win the day in your battle with ants of any type.

Pavement Ants

Pavement ants are native to Europe and were mostly brought over to the colonies in the 1700’s when colonists were carrying soil on the ships for ballast. Once the ships reached the colonies the soil was off loaded, along with the ants living in it. Today these ants are spread over the East Coast and can be found in California and Washington. While passive by nature, pavement ants pose little threat to humans and pets, but can cause a good deal of annoyance.

Identification

Either light brown or black in color, these ants are typically 2.5 to 3 mm long, 1/10 to 1/16 inches. Winged breeding ants can be twice as large as the normal working ant. Pavement ants can’t bite but they do have the ability to sting.

Colonies

Each colon can contain thousands of worker ants and multiple queens. Unlike many other ants colonies are normally contained to one area instead of spread out through the yard or drive way. Keeping with their name, they tend to build nests along the edges or in the cracks of concrete and pavement. These ants can also be found nesting inside the home in empty wall spaces, in or beneath insulation and beneath water heaters.

Eating Habits

Pavement ants are not picky eaters. They will forage for almost any type of food. A few of their preferred foods are greasy things, sweets, seeds and both living and dead insects. Pet foods are also on the menu. They will set up little highways between food, water and heat sources and their nest. The worker ants can easily find their way back and forth by following these lines.

Control

With so many different control methods around it can be hard to determine which one is best for you. From baiting to spraying to natural control methods, you’ll need to find what works best for you and your home.

  • Baiting: A poison is spread over the hill or on one of the highways that the worker ants travel. The poison bait will be taken back to the colony and share it with the rest of the ants. This will effectively kill off most of the nest. Some baits use a stronger poison that may kill the worker ants before they get the chance to share it with the colony. Instead try to find a weaker poison. It may take a number of applications and several weeks to kill off the nest.
  • Insecticide Spray: Sprays can be used to kill off the worker ants seen searching for food or water or can be applied onto the ant nests. If you can’t find the nest then sprays can be used on the highway areas. Look for worker ants around door thresholds, cracks in walls, windows, plumbing areas, and behind appliances. Research has shown that when used properly insecticides pose no threat to pets or children. So make sure to carefully read over instructions before using any products.
  • Home Treatments: If you want to try a more green treatment before chemical control methods there are a few ways to do this. For the ants that may have invaded your home you can use a cleaning mix of vinegar, water and a dozen drops of tea tree oil. Spray this mix around counters, doorways, windows and other possible entry points. This can cause the ants to lose the scent of their highways, causing them to get lost. To kill off a nest all you need is water and a large pot. Bring a gallon of water to a heavy boil and then pour over the nest. The heated water will kill the ants you can see and will brown many of the ants in the nest. You will have to do this once to twice a day until the nest is inactive. While this method works well for pavement ants, it does not work on ants that spread out their nests.

Prevention

There are very few ways to prevent any ants from trying to colonize your yard, but there are things you can do inside to help keep them outside. Regular cleaning is the best prevention as it removes any food sources the ants may find inside. Check your home foundation for any cracks and fix them before ants can nest. You can put baby power across any entry points. The ants don’t like the small partials sticking to them as it mixes up their scent signals. You can also plant an ant barrier of sorts around your home. Mints, hot peppers and other strong scents plants typically deter ants.

Living with pavement ants can be a hassle, but with localized colonies and passive natures they can be controlled much easier than other varieties of ants. If you find yourself with an infestation that you can’t control call in a professional pest control expert.