What are ants?
Ants are insects that live in large numbers across the world and are especially prevalent in tropical rainforests. While most of the 10,000 species live outside and away from people, some ant species enjoy the benefits of living near humans. As social insects, ants live and work together in large groups, continually searching for food and suitable nesting sites. An ant colony works together like a well-oiled machine, with each ant meeting a specific need.
The job of each ant is important and helps an ant colony succeed. Queens and males are responsible for creating new offspring. Workers are sterile females who take on the rest of the colony's responsibilities like gathering food, defending the nest, maintaining the nest, and caring for the young ants.
We identify an ant by its bent antennae, segmented body, large head, narrow waist, and six legs. Each species of ant will have unique characteristics that help to identify them from other ants.
In our area of South Carolina, some of the most common ants that invade our properties include:
- Carpenter ants
- Pavement ants
- Sugar ants
- Pharaoh ants
- Fire ants
Are ants dangerous?
Most of the ants that we come across and that regularly invade our homes and yards don't pose any significant danger to us and are mainly a nuisance to deal with. They infiltrate our homes in large numbers and contaminate our food, so while they certainly aren't welcome, they aren't a significant threat either.
However, some ants living in South Carolina do pose more of a threat to people or our property. For instance, fire ants are dangerous to people and our pets; these ants have venom-filled stingers and will use them to defend themselves or the nest from anything they view as a threat. Their short tempers mean that just simply walking past their nest could trigger an attack. They also get into and damage electrical and farm equipment.
Carpenter ants that have moved into a home and decide to stay and expand their colony will create tunnels and nesting galleries within a home's structural wood and, over time, cause significant damage to a building's structure.
Pharaoh ants are a serious problem inside of healthcare facilities. They nest within walls near warm, moist areas, and their high moisture needs prompt them to invade patient wounds, eyes, and mouths seeking moisture. Whether they have decided to live in a health care facility or a home, Pharaoh ants are responsible for spreading diseases (salmonella, staphylococcus, and clostridium) that can make people quite ill.
Why do I have an ant problem?
The availability of food is the biggest reason you are experiencing problems with ants on your property. Ants have a varied diet and will eat many of the same foods we do. These insects are highly attracted to sweet foods, greasy foods, and proteins.
Once they have discovered food on your property, they will alert the rest of the colony by laying down a chemical (pheromone) trail. In the blink of an eye, you will see long trails of ants moving around both your outdoor and indoor spaces as they gather food to bring back to the nest. Some of an ant's favorite foraging sites include open trash cans, pet food bowls, gardens, grill areas, and eating areas.
Where will I find ants?
Where ants decide to build their nest is species dependent:
- Carpenter ants like to nest inside damp or decaying wood.
- Pharaoh ants have learned to nest mainly indoors, taking advantage of the temperature-controlled environment our homes and businesses provide.
- Fire ants prefer to nest outside in open sunny areas like the middle of our yards.
- Pavement ants nest in the damp soil next to or in the cracks of pavement, sidewalks, and walkways.
- Sugar ants like to nest in damp soil found under rocks, fallen trees, tree stumps, or mulch.
How do I get rid of ants?
Ants are persistent pests that are difficult to keep out of our yards and homes. The best solution to an ant problem is to partner with an experienced professional and implement regular pest control services. Recurring pest control will ensure problems with ants are taken care of now and in the future.
If you live in the Greenville, South Carolina area and are experiencing problems with ants, reach out to the local professionals at Greenville Pest Control. We will always go above and beyond for our customers, solving pest problems while always having your family's safety at the forefront in everything we do. To learn more about keeping ants and other pests away from your South Carolina home or business through our effective pest control offerings, reach out to Greenville Pest Control today!
How can I prevent ants in the future?
- Eating areas located either inside or outside of your home should always be kept free of food debris. Crumbs and sticky spills are huge attractants to ants and will keep them returning to your property.
- In your kitchen and pantry, store dry goods in hard-sided containers with airtight lids.
- Regularly vacuum and mop floors in your home, not forgetting the areas behind and under large appliances.
- Inspect the outside of your home, sealing any possible entry points you discover in the foundation or exterior walls.
- Your outdoor trash cans should always have locking lids on them.