Ant Control

Ant Control Tips!

Although ants can be difficult to control once they have entered a home, the following preventative measures can play a major role in helping to avoid infestations:

 

  • Wipe up crumbs and spills immediately
  • Store garbage in sealed containers and remove from the home frequently
  • Keep food packages closed or sealed and store products in air-tight containers
  • Avoid leaving food out on the counter or pet food out on the floor for long periods of time
  • Repair holes or gaps in window and door screens
  • Seal cracks and holes on the outside of the home including entry points for utilities and pipes
  • Keep tree branches and shrubbery well-trimmed and away from the house
  • Replace weather-stripping and repair loose mortar around basement foundation and windows
  • If you suspect an ant or any pest infestation in your home, contact a licensed pest professional to inspect, identify and treat the problem

The Insects That Ride On The Backs Of Ants Just For Fun

Army ants are one of the most brutal and warlike of all insect predators. Despite their small size, army ants are known for laying siege to a variety of different insect nests. These ants eat millipedes, other ants, termites and they have even been found raiding wasp nests for eggs and larvae. Although these ants must be among the most feared of insect predators, other insects have adapted to leech-off of army ants. Other insects may scavenge for food left over by army ants, and some insects even take shelter in army ant nests. One of the most unusual insects that is known for following army ants around is a type of beetle that is referred to as Nymphister kronaueri. Two researchers, Christoph von Beeren and Alexey K. Tishechkin, discovered these beetles hitching rides on the backs of army ants.

 

Army ants are in the habit of marching in formations for long distances. This makes army ants an ideal form of transportation. Most insects would never dare to attach themselves to dangerous army ants just to effortlessly travel long distances. However, the Nymphister kronaueri species of beetle has managed to do this very thing without becoming ant food. This beetle is one of many insects that has adapted to living among ants. These insects are referred to as “myrmecophiles”, which translates to “ant lover”.

 

Myrmecophiles prefer to live among ants for several reasons other than locating easily accessible food sources. Insects prefer dwelling near ant colonies for the same reason that wild animals prefer to dwell near human habitats. Ant colonies operate under strict rules and they are typically located in environments that are ideal for many different types of insects. The strict rules governing ant colonies make ants less unpredictable than other solitary arthropods. Some insects have been living among ants for fifty million years. However, only the N. kronaueri beetle has the guts to ride on the backs of army ants. This beetle uses its mandibles as a way to latch onto the backs of traveling ants. This beetle has only been found in Costa Rica, and its ant-like appearance may fool army ants into thinking that N. kronaueri beetles are their own kind. However, you would think that the beetles would give themselves away once they started riding on the army ant’s backs.

 

Do you believe that some insects prefer to live among termites and other social insects for the same reason that ant habitats are preferred by many different non-social insects?

Two Dangerous Ants Are At War, And Both Are Dangerous

Two Dangerous Ants Are At War, And Both Are Dangerous

 

Two potentially dangerous and highly damaging invasive ant pests are currently at war with each other in the United States. Several years ago, a researcher from North Carolina State University in Raleigh accidently discovered the fierce conflict that still exists between the two ants. The war is between Argentine ants and Asian Needle Ants. The researcher, Eleanor Spicer, had discovered needle ant nests within Argentine ant territory in North Carolina. This was a surprising find since Argentine ants are known for destroying all other ant species in their territory. These ants are unique for forming colonies that can span incredibly large areas of land. These colonies are referred to as super colonies. The largest super colony of Argentine ants ever discovered was found in the Mediterranean and it spanned a distance of six hundred kilometers. Surprisingly, Spicer soon discovered that the Argentine ants in North Carolina were not gaining much ground. The ants had suddenly stopped progressing once they arrived at a two square mile area. The reason for their sudden halt had to do with the Asian needle ant. It turned out that the needle ants could hold their ground against Argentine ants. At the time, the needle ants were prevailing against Argentine ants. A few months later, Spicer noticed that the Argentine ants had retreated significantly. But she was not yet sure if needle ants were responsible for the retreat.

 

In order to determine if the needle ants were forcing the Argentine ants into retreating. Researchers poisoned large populations of needle ants in order to see how Argentine ants would respond. Soon the Argentine ants regained ground, which indicated that the loss of needle ants in the region allowed Argentine ants to gain an advantage. Clearly the two ants were at war. Evidence is showing that Asian needle ants are winning the war. Since Argentine ants cause significant damage to American crops and infrastructure, nobody will miss them. However, Asian needle ants are also invasive to America, and unlike Argentine ants, they can cause extremely painful stings. In allergic individuals death from Asian needle ant stings can result. More people are allergic to Asian needle ant stings than to honey bee stings. The needle ants are also harmful to the environment since they either scare away, or kill termites and other ants. These insects are essential for maintaining the health of the natural environment in America.

 

Do you think that Asian needle ant stings will become in issue in America?