Ants, Ants, and More Ants!
Summertime is here and so are the ants. Here in north Georgia, when we have a mild winter, we can be pretty sure the result will be an increase in the ant population. Cold weather serves to kill many of the pesky little insects, but the milder conditions keep them healthy and ready to reproduce come spring and summer. Ultimately, the heat and dryness of summer means the ant comes inside to find what is missing outside….a source of water and cooler temperatures. Your home becomes the perfect “home away from home” for the local ant population. After all, the goal of the colony is to reproduce and to survive. They are looking for water, food, shade, and a place to nest. Don’t let your home become the next tourist destination for ants.
One type of ant we commonly see here in Canton, Cartersville, Woodstock, and the surrounding areas of Georgia is the Argentine ant ( Linepithema humile). As you might have guessed from the name, this ant is not from around here! Around 1880, the Argentine ant is thought to have immigrated to America via coffee shipments to Louisiana. From there, they spread far and wide becoming one of the most invasive and common ants in the Southeast. They are light brown in color and about 3/16 of an inch long with colonies consisting of over a million or more worker ants alone! There are thought to be hundreds of queens in each colony. That’s a lot of mama ants making lots of baby ants to continue the family line. Interestingly, these guys can travel hundreds of feet away from the main colony to forage. From compost piles to pine straw, they like to find an area that retains moisture even during the heat of a Georgia summer. Here’s a wild fact, Argentines love the excrement produced by aphids and other insects! Yuck! So here’s the scoop – honeydew is excrement filled with sugar made by aphids and others after eating plant sap. This food source is a common food source for the ant. While wintertime is also a time the ant moves indoors to try to survive the cold, summertime can also be a popular indoor phase for ants. As stated earlier, the ants need moisture and food. They can find these things outdoors as long as the weather cooperates, but if you provide an easier source for them…well, let’s just say they are opportunistic creatures. The dry weather brings them in, but heavy rains can cause the same effect. Why? The rains make breeding easier and more prolific so we see a huge increase in the population after seasons of rain. Ants can be a problem in pretty much every season and situation. What to do?
To get rid of an ant problem is much harder than preventing an ant problem in the first place. The Argentine is an invasive species, so don’t feel any guilt over getting rid of infestations. They don’t belong here and can be harmful to other indigenous insects. Normal sprays purchased at the hardware store can be a misleading solution. Yes, they will kill the insects they come in contact with and make you, the homeowner, think you have solved the problem. After all, you can’t “see” them anymore. The issue though is where you see 5 ants, there are likely thousands if not millions more nearby. Baits are very effective pest control and are best applied by a licensed pest control company that knows where to treat for the best results. The idea with baits is that the workers take the bait back to the colony to eradicate more than just what is seen on the surface. Treating the outside of your home is an excellent way to protect your home and also get rid of a problem with Argentine ants. Be aware that most off-the-shelf sprays are not formulated to effectively treat Argentines. Canton Termite and Pest Control use products specifically designed to deal with this invasive pest. Remember to store food, especially sugary varieties, in sealed containers. It doesn’t take long to draw the attention of foraging ants when you leave food out for even a short time. Standing water is another draw for the ant. Limit the standing water around your home. Leaks around your showers and sinks can be a big problem as well so be sure to check frequently for home repair needs.
As always, Canton Termite and Pest Control is here to help you resolve your pest issues. If you have an ant problem or any other aggravating pest, give us a call or text at 770-479-1598 or check out our website at cantongeorgiapestcontrol.com.
We would be happy to be the first step to protecting your home and family and giving you a pest-free life!