Within the Triangle area there are 3 main varieties of ants that EcoTek is most commonly called out to exterminate. They are red imported fire ants, carpenter ants, and what is commonly termed as “household ants”. Although household ants are mostly found inside of homes and businesses, carpenter ants can thrive within the wood of your building, but can also have colonies that are within the wooded areas of your property. Fire ants prefer to live in colonies in open areas where they get direct sunlight, and of the 3 varieties of ants that EcoTek most commonly exterminates, the red imported fire ants are the most dangerous.
The Difference Between Ants and Termites
If you are wondering whether you have termites or ants, you can let the pest control specialists at EcoTek figure it out … but here are a few helpful tips:
- While both species have four wings, termite wings are uniform in size. Winged ants have noticeably larger wings in the front than the pair in the back.
- Termites antennae are almost straight where the ant’s antennae is elbowed.
- Termite wings are twice as long as their body. Ant wings are shorter and more proportionate to their bodies.
- Ants appear distinctly segmented, because of their thin waist. Termites have a broad waist and are mostly a uniform width along their entire body.
Red Imported Fire Ants
The red imported fire ant originally came from South America and were accidentally brought in though shipping containers between 1933 and 1945 that arrived in Mobile Alabama, and since then have quickly spread throughout the southern United States. They are one of the most invasive species in the world, and if left unchecked can build massive underground colony structures that will place a multitude of their mounds throughout open areas of a property. It can be difficult to treat red ant colonies because of their extensive tunneling systems. They can quickly move to another area if you treat one part of their colony. There are some different ways to determine if you have fire ants, but it’s best that you have trained professionals come out and check for you.
Dangers of Fire Ant Stings
The stings from fire ants are extremely painful and cause welts, and in some cases where an allergic reaction occurs people have been known to experience anaphylaxis which can be fatal if left untreated. Although most fire ant stings can be treated with over the counter benedryl spray to offset the itching and swelling, anybody that experiences dizziness, headaches, fever, severe chest pain, nausea, severe sweating, low blood pressure, loss of breath, serious swelling, or slurred speech should seek immediate medical attention.
Controlling Fire Ant Infestations
There are several types of fire ant treatments you can buy from your local home improvement stores, most of which are granule or powder based treatments that require you to sprinkle on the ant mounds and then use water on them to saturate the mound and hopefully kill the ant population. The main problem with this is that although you may eliminate the mounds that you can see and treat, the ants will move through the tunnels to other colonies within the network that are safe havens from your ant treatments. The best way to truly eliminate fire ants from your property is to have EcoTek come out and perform an ant control treatment that will pump liquid insecticides throughout the entire network of underground tunnels.
Unlike termites that eat wood as their main source of diet, carpenter ants build colonies within weak, decayed and hollow areas of wood, which can be both inside your home or within logs, stumps and trees on your property. Although carpenter ants don’t eat wood, they are however known to create tunnels that go with the grain of the wood as a way to get to their food sources, and these wood tunnels can be damaging to the wood in your home or business.
How to Identify Carpenter Ants
The best way to identify whether or not you have carpenter ants is to first see if you have any wood damage where there are hollowed out areas that flow with the grain of the wood. There will also be sawdust nearby that created when the carpenter ants tunnel through the hollow areas of the wood grain.
Eliminating Carpenter Ants
Just like how fire ants will create large networks of underground tunnel systems, carpenter ants will not only have vast networks of underground tunnels, but also build paths through wood that can extend from outside on your property into your home or business. You can try DIY ant control methods that use both dusts and liquids to kill the ants, but the only way you’ll be truly able to completely eliminate them is to have EcoTek inspect and locate all their networks and nests, and then perform a treatment that uses commercial grade insecticides to completely eradicate them from your home and property.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are signs of carpenter ants?
Carpenter ants will burrow through the wood to build nests. They like areas where there is moist wood. Signs include hollow sounding wood and they may swarm out of the area when you knock on the wood. You may also spot carpenter ants inside of your home.
How do I tell the difference between the different types of ants?
Household ants are smaller in size and usually black. They tend to be found in the kitchen or near another food source. Fire ants are easy to identify because of their reddish color. Carpenter ants are the largest ants of the three and completely black in color with a round thorax.
What can I do to prevent ants from coming into my home?
Ants are always in search of food and water. Repairing any leaks will help to eliminate the water sources. Additionally, keeping your home clean will stop ants from finding food. Try eating only in the kitchen and be sure to wipe up any crumbs after you do eat.
What should I do if I see an ant?
It is important to act quickly if you see an ant. Begin by killing the ant and then wiping the trail with a cleaner like branch to stop other ants from coming in. You may want to call the experts at EcoTek to deal with the entire ant colony.
How do I tell the difference between a fire ant mound and an ant mound from other ants?
A fire ant mound can grow up to 18 inches in height. The ants enter the mound through underground tunnels, so you will not see a hole in the top of the mound. You may see tunnels leading away from the mound. Household ant mounds are usually smaller and will have a hole in the center of the mound that the ants use as an entrance.
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