Facts That Make House Ants Harmful
June 6, 2019
How many times have we heard of people raving about how hard-working ants are? Or how they exemplify working as a team? Many times, most probably. Some organizations even incorporate ant behavior into their employee training. Their colonies are complex; communication is always a key to their survival. Each ant has its own job to do, and they do it quite well. This has enabled them to survive any condition that would otherwise be trying to any other species, even to humans.
Ants are found everywhere, across all continents except Antarctica. There are around 10,000 species of them. While most of these ant species live in the forests, a few species get into houses and commercial buildings. However, when we say a few, we all probably know that it means they still number in the millions. Due to this incredible number, they become harmful to pests.
So are ants mere nuisance pests? Are they harmful? The answer is yes to both. They can be harmful, especially if what you have in your house is a carpenter ant, or something similar. If you are having trouble with ants in your home, you can seek help from the best pest control management in North Carolina, Go-Forth Pest Control.
Inside The Ant Colony
All ants live in a colony. They are always a part of a social system that lives on cooperation and teamwork. Ants constantly communicate, and that is what makes their species very successful.
Inside the colony, they are led by a queen. The queen’s sole purpose in life is to lay eggs to ensure the survival of the colony. And they can really lay those eggs; about a million of them in her entire lifetime. A queen can live for years, but after the queen dies, the colony would last only a few more months.
The colony also need male ants. The male ants' sole purpose in life is to mate with the queen. So much so that after they mate, they do not live long after.
The third group of ants in the colony is the worker ants. The worker ants are female ants that are sterile. They are the ones who forage for food, protect the colony, clean the nest, feed the colony, and care for the young. They also attack other nests to kidnap the eggs that they would eventually raise as their own worker ants.
Types Of Ants That Attack Our Homes
All of us must have had an encounter with ants in our homes one way or the other. You may have noticed too that they all come in different shapes, sizes, and colors. Here are the types of ants we have all probably met before:
Carpenter ants - Carpenter ants are wood-destroying ants. This type of ant is the most destructive among the house ants; they actually cause more structural damages than termites do. They build their nests inside your home’s structural wood. They just chew on the wood to dig tunnels, unlike the termites that eat the wood. They actually prefer wood that is damp and had been previously damaged by water. The size of the carpenter ants is about ¼ to ½ inches in length, and they are black in color. Carpenter ants would always come from the outside, getting in your house to look for food. They prefer sweet foods and drinks. Once inside, they then look for the wood they can convert into their nests.
European fire ants - The European fire ants are one of the most intrusive ants in the world. They are about 2.2 to 2.8 mm in length and are light to dark brown in color. They can be found in the gardens, lawns, under the rock, or wood debris. Inside the house, during the cold months, they find their way inside the house and can be found in the bathroom, under the bathtub, or in the heaters. They also have this habit of stinging, and their stings are very painful. Inside their colony, there are multiple queens.
Crazy ants - Crazy ants can build their nests both indoors and outdoors. These ants do not mind traveling long distances to look for food. They can build their nests either on dry sites or damp sites. They can be found in hollow trees, rotten wood, under stones, under logs, among the rubbish, and in debris. When they are disturbed, they move around crazily and with no direction, hence the name crazy ants. Crazy ants do not bite but are considered nuisance pests.
Field ants - Field ants are usually found outdoors. They are 4 to 8 mm long and come in black, brown, or red colors. They can sting and are usually found outdoors only. They build their nests in yards, wooded areas, and fields. A sign that field ants are in your yard is when you spot a mound about 12 inches in diameter. They also nest under stones, logs, and porch slabs.
Argentine ants - The Argentine ants are common household pests that invade the house in search of food and water. Indoors, they set up their nests on the ground, in cracks on the wall, or in holes in the house. Argentine ants are not capable of digging deep in the ground, that is why outdoors, they live under rocks, or among leaf litter. But if ever they find any abandoned ants’ nest, they would claim it for their own.
Identifying Ants From Termites
Ants are sometimes confused with termites. It is important to differentiate one from the other so that you would know the type of treatment you should apply. Ants have narrow waists, while termites have straight waists. The antennae of the ants are bent, while termites have straight antennae. Worker ants are seen out in the open looking for food. On the other hand, termites stay hidden inside the wood. These ants are also red or dark in color, while termites are transparent., or white in color.
House Ants Can Be Harmful
Due to the fact that ants travel anywhere, there will always be a possibility that they can pick up bacteria and viruses. They are no different from cockroaches and flies in that they can also be found in the trash, or feasting on dead roaches and flies or any other insects, so they are able to pick up bacteria and viruses along the way. Then they would crawl all over the place, including our food.
The ants’ disease-transmitting capabilities are usually overlooked, yet it is always possible. They can easily transfer the bacteria and viruses once they come across your food. Eating food that came into contact with these ants can bring disease. Salmonella is among the diseases you can get by eating food contaminated by ants. E. coli is another.
Some ants are also known to sting, even without provocation. Though ant bites usually heal on their own, they can induce discomfort. For some people, however, allergic reactions may happen. The most common reaction is the local reaction. Symptoms include pain, redness, and swelling. This would only last for a day or even less. In a large local reaction, symptoms include pain, blisters, erythema, and itch. It also takes longer to heal itself, which is about a week.
Treating Ant Bites
Ant bites usually heal on their own, but there is something you can do to ease the pain. After being bitten, remove the ant by your fingertips. Then wash with soap and water. Apply a cold compress to soothe pain and itching.
If you have local or large local reactions, you may take antihistamines which can be bought over the counter as well as an analgesic for pain.
If you are overwhelmed by the sheer number of ants invading your home, do not worry. You can call the best pest control management in North Carolina, Go-Forth Pest Control.
Why Go-forth Pest Control?
Go-Forth Pest Control is a family-owned company with solid experience in the extermination of pests like ants, cockroaches, mice, mosquitoes, flies, spiders, weevils, moths, and wasps. Go-Forth Pest Control has a team of excellent professionals who are highly skilled and well-trained, using only the latest and most advanced equipment in the business. You can really say goodbye to these pests. They also use family-friendly and pet-friendly methods of extermination, so you can rest easy knowing that your family is safe.
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Go-Forth Pest Control has earned the trust of residents and business establishments in North Carolina for more than 50 years. For more information, or to set an appointment, you may click here or dial 336-841-6111. Our friendly operators are standing by.