In this region of the country, and more specifically in Bucks and Montgomery County, there are several ant species that frequent our homes as uninvited guests. Controlling them requires us to know thy enemy, and these are the ants that make the most wanted (gone) list around here.
So when a customer calls a pest control company and says they have ants, the biggest thing to consider is what kind of ant it is. Why? Because certain ants require one treatment over another and some species behave differently and others prefer different kinds of food and all of this can make or break a treatment. In other words, just spraying Raid or bleach water on the ones you see will not eliminate the problem long term.
So the following public enemy number ones are as follow:
The pavement ant: One of the most common ants encountered, most often found outside as their little mounds start to sprout up in between cracks of pavements and slabs as well as along garden edges and the like. These ants live under slabs and find their way into homes through cracks in the foundation or in between basement window cracks etc. The way these ants grow their colonies and reproduce is by making a swarm. Many times as a pest control company I get a phone call saying that the customer found hundreds of flying ants in their living room or kitchen. This means that someone in the home is a colony of pavement ants that have set up shop and are looking to grow. These flying ants mate in the air as they swarm resulting in the growth of a colony, at least that is how it works outside in their natural environment, but inside they just fall and die. Spraying for the flying ants will do nothing, it’s the crawling ants that must be dealt with. You can usually determine if this ant is a pavement ant by the 2 spines on the thorax, get that microscope out!
Odorous House Ants: These ants are tough to control and build extremely large colonies. The colonies can have many queens and tend to build colonies inside near sources of water or moisture. Interesting fact about these ants is that if you crush and ant between your fingers you can smell an odd odor, hence the name. These ants are treated with a combination of non-repellent insecticides and baits.
Carpenter Ants: Carpenter ants inside a structure can be a result of two things. One is they have invaded your home and developed a colony in your home by excavating a piece of wood that has been damaged by moisture. So it’s important to think of any leaks you may have had over the years or check the attic for water damage in the roof. The other is they are simply visiting from the outside and you are seeing them as a result. This means that there may be a colony close to the house and they are just out foraging for food, and you house is in that search pathway. Carpenter ants can cause some damage to the home if the colony becomes large enough. Even though you see them during all hours of the day, they are most active at night. They can be treated by a thorough exterior and interior service spray along with baits.
Pharaoh Ants: These ants are the king of all pests and the can be the most difficult to control. They are well adept at surviving inside structures and if they are treated incorrectly, will bud, which means they will start a whole new colony in a complete new part of the home. So they can infest an entire home in vast numbers quickly. What is the wrong way to treat these pests? Spray. This is why using a professional for these ants is the best bet in controlling these ants. A selection of bait will be used which will begin the process of elimination.