In Virginia, we most often receive ant control calls for three different types of ants. The types are the common “household ants”, carpenter ants, and red imported fire ants. The household ants are spotted inside business and homes. Carpenter ants infest the wood of your building, similar to termites, and can quickly cause significant damage. Fire ants will be found outside and like to build their colonies in sunny areas. Fire ants have painful bites and welts, and are considered the most dangerous.
The Difference Between Ants and Termites
It may be difficult to tell the difference between carpenter ants and termites. Here are a few differences:
- The antennae on a termite are straight, while the ants are bent or elbowed.
- Ants have two larger wings in front and two smaller wings in the back, while termites have four wings of about the same sizes
- Termites’ wings are about twice as long as their bodies while ants are about the same size.
- Ants are segmented and have thin waists, while termites are more uniform along their bodies with a wider waist.
Red Imported Fire Ants
Red imported fire ants have painful bites. They first arrived in the states between 1933 and 1945. It is believed they came to Mobile, Alabama from South America in shipping containers. Since then they have quickly spread throughout the southern United States. They can quickly create massive colonies underground that can spiral through large tracts of land. They are very invasive and it is important to act quickly if you spot them. Fire ants create extensive tunnel systems, which means they can quickly retreat from any treatments that you apply. A professional knows the steps to take to eliminate the entire colony.
Dangers of Fire Ant Stings
Fire ant bites are very painful and often cause welts. While most bites can be treated with over-the-counter products like Benadryl spray, some bites can cause serious allergic reactions. If you have a serious allergic reaction, you should seek medical treatment immediately. Signs of a serious reaction include difficulty breathing, chest pain, fever, headaches and dizziness.
Controlling Fire Ant Infestations
There are number of fire ant control products from your store. Usually these are made up of powders that you sprinkle on the mound, and then spray with water and it works to eliminate the colony. Although this can treat the ants at surface level, it does not usually address the ants underground because of their extensive tunnels. The ants may simply move to another location in your yard. EcoTek can completely eliminate the ants and make it safe your children to play outside again.
Carpenter ants can damage your home by building colonies inside of weak and decaying areas of wood. They do not eat the wood the way termites do, but they will still cause significant damage to your property. You may be able to find them around your home in trees or logs, but they can quickly spread to your home. If you suspect an infestation, it is important to identify and quickly treat it before significant damage is caused.
How to Identify Carpenter Ants
If you want to identify carpenter ants, looks for sawdust, which is a sign of a carpenter ant tunnel. The tunnels can be difficult see since they flow with the grain of the wood, which is another sign that it is carpenter ants instead of termites. It can be difficult to spot signs of an infestation before the damages occurs. Call EcoTek for a free inspection if you suspect you have carpenter ants.
Eliminating Carpenter Ants
Just like fire ants, carpenter ants create extensive tunnel systems and underground networks. They are capable of building up into the walls of your business or home. Home or store treatments may deal with immediate nest, but often these dust or liquids do not completely eliminate the infestation. At EcoTek, we guarantee that the infestation will not return.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I prevent ants?
You can prevent ants in two ways. The first is to make sure to limit food to your kitchen and to make sure you keep your kitchen clean and free of crumbs. Fixing leaking pipes can also help to prevent ants since they are attracted to water.
Additionally, you can take the steps of sealing all windows and doors and looking for small cracks that can be sealed. Be sure to keep bushes and plants trimmed away from touching the house. These steps can make it harder from having the ants come in.
How do I keep ants from coming back?
Often treatments you buy from a store will only work for a short time and then the ants will return. The best way to get rid of ants permanently is to contact the experts at EcoTek. We use the best pest control methods to get rid of ants by identifying the types and tailoring our treatment plan to your specific needs.
What are signs of an ant colony outside?
One of the most visible signs is the sandy mounds that will appear in and around your backyard. The tunneling systems are extensive which makes it difficult to treat the ants on your own. You may also see the ants around your yard since they are bigger than typical household ants and a reddish color.
How do I prevent fire ants?
Fire ants are a highly invasive species. It is difficult to prevent them from invading your backyard because they are so aggressive. However, regular treatment will take care of any existing colonies and stop new ones from forming. Contact us to learn more about our pest control plans.
Do carpenter ants look different from other ants?
The easiest way to tell the difference between a carpenter ant and a household ant is by the size. Carpenter ants are quite a bit larger. Additionally, they are completely black and have a rounded thorax.
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