What are ants?
Ants are a type of insect, and more than 10,000 species are living worldwide. They come in a variety of colors and sizes, live in many different habitats, and have varying food preferences. What all species of ants do have in common is six legs, three distinct body parts, bent antennae, and the reproductive members have wings.
Some of the most common species of ants to invade our yards, homes, and businesses in the Maryland, Washington, D.C., and North Virginia area include:
Odorous House Ants
You can identify this species by the rotten odor they emit when crushed.
This species is the biggest (in size) household invading ant in the United States. Carpenter ants are a wood-destroying species.
The favorite nesting areas for pavement ants are in the cracks of pavements, sidewalks, and driveways.
These ants live together in vast colonies. They form multiple nesting areas and are very difficult to control and eliminate.
These ants, when disturbed, raise their abdomen above their head and thorax. They also have a unique “heart-shaped” abdomen.
Are ants dangerous?
Ants are nuisance pests for the most part, but there are a few species that do cause serious concerns for people and/or property. Take the carpenter ant, for example, they are harmless to people but cause significant damage to the structural wood in homes and businesses. Pharaoh ants are another dangerous species of ant. They spread disease pathogens that cause salmonella, Streptococcus, and other diseases, which make people very ill. These ants are a huge concern in hospitals and food processing facilities.
Why do I have an ant problem?
Unfortunately, ant infestations are usually caused by us. Our yards and homes provide ants with suitable nesting sites and food and water sources. Usually, they are first attracted to properties by food sources like open containers of trash, compost, and pet food.
Then, while workers are out foraging for food they find their way inside of homes and other buildings through cracks in the foundation and exterior walls. If they discover easy access to food sources, they may decide to stay and build a satellite nest in your home to help expand its colony in a sheltered, temperature-controlled environment.
Where will I find ants?
Ants are live and forage for food both in indoor and outdoor locations. Most species of ants prefer to nest outside in soil, under woodpiles and mulch, in tree stumps, along fence lines, in cracks of sidewalks or pavement, and next to foundations. In general, most ants that find their way inside to nest they usually choose a secluded location under floors, behind walls, and under floors.
Pharaoh ants are a species that prefers to nest indoors and usually chooses warm locations near heating systems and hot water pipes. Carpenter ants invade a building’s structural wood (preferring water damaged wood) to create their nesting galleries.
How do I get rid of ants?
If you want to solve your property’s ant problems once and for all, turn to the local experts at Capitol Pest. Since 1936 we have been committed to using the latest technology and most effective products to guard residential and commercial properties from ants and other pests. At Capitol Pest, we know pests and we know how to keep them out of Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Northern Virginia homes and businesses through the use of comprehensive treatments and prevention measures. For more information about our commitment to solving your property’s pest problems, contact us today!
How can I prevent ants in the future?
For homeowners looking to keep ants out of their Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Northern Virginia yards and homes, partner with the experienced professionals at Capitol Pest. With the help of our year-round, affordable pest control plans and the following prevention tips, your home will become and stay free of ants!
Cut tree branches and overgrown vegetation away from the exterior of your home. Create a barrier between any soil or mulch and your home’s exterior walls.
Keep ants out of your home by repairing cracks in the foundation and exterior walls of your home. Place weather stripping around windows and doors and install door sweeps. Seal spaces around wires, air conditioners, and other utilities entering into your home.
Eliminate their access to food sources. Keep tight-fitting or locking lids on outdoor trash cans and compost bins, rinse out jars and cans before placing them in recycling bins, pick-up uneaten pet food, and keep outdoor eating areas clean.
Get rid of their access to water and moisture. Keep gutters clear, repair leaky pipes and hoses, and use dehumidifiers to keep basements dry. It is also important to ventilate crawlspaces.