Ants are surprising insects. They do strange things, respond strangely to ant pest control, and create odd problems. If you're battling ants and wondering what on earth is going on, you should find answers here. Today, we'll take a look at common ants in Richmond, what to do about black carpenter ants in your home, what to expect from fire ants, and how to apply effective ant control to address ant problems. If you just want to know what is the best pest control company for ants in Richmond, you can't go wrong with Go-Forth Pest Control. We offer industry-leading pest control in Richmond and emphasize environmentally friendly solutions. Our technicians are familiar with common ant pests in our area and can solve even the most mysterious ant control issues. Jump to our contact page for indoor or outdoor ant control. With that said, let's get into our subject matter for today. Here's what you need to know most about ant pest problems in Richmond.

ant on a stick
carpenter ant crawling on wood

The Types Of Ants You Can Find In Richmond

We have several ant pests in our area. Perhaps you've noticed. Before we discuss the problems ants can create in your home, let's look at a few ant pests to watch out for and how you can identify them.

Carpenter ants are entirely black, red with a dark abdomen, or entirely red, depending on the species. These are generally big ants. If you see a large ant in your home, it is probably a carpenter ant. Carpenter ants have minor and major workers that range from ¼ to ½ of an inch in length. When you only see one ant, you may not know you're looking at a carpenter ant if it is a minor worker. It is hard to tell a ¼ inch and from a ⅛ inch ant. But a ½ inch ant is somewhat easy to identify as a carpenter ant. Winged ants are even easier to identify as they are twice the size of the workers and they have wings. After mating, the winged ants shed their wings. So, when you see a giant ant in your home, not only can you easily tell that you have a carpenter ant problem, but that large, wingless pest is letting you know that you have an active and mature nest in your home. 

Fire Ants are red, which makes sense. If you look closely at fire ants in Richmond, you should notice that the abdomen is a slightly darker red color. A large, reddish ant in your home is more likely a carpenter ant than a fire ant. Fire ant workers are ⅛ to ⅜ of an inch in length. They are quite a bit smaller than carpenter ants. The reproductive ants (the ones that have wings and then shed them) are as long as ¾ of an inch. Telling these larger fire ants from red-colored carpenter ants is more challenging. One factor to consider is that fire ants prefer to live outside in the sunny areas of your yard. They don't like the interior of homes. When you see a large red ant in your home, it is likely that you have a fire ant nest close to your home. Go outside and perform a quick inspection around your exterior. Look for ant mounds. Fire ants make these. Carpenter ants do not.  

Odorous House Ants: These are dark-colored ants that look black. They are 1/16 to ⅛ of an inch long. The reproductives are twice that size, which puts them at ¼ of an inch. A large reproductive may look like a minor carpenter ant worker. There is one quick way to find out which ant it is. Odorous house ants smell like rotten coconut when squished.   

We have several other types of black ants in our service area. They range from 1/32 to ⅛ of an inch and have reproductives that are twice the size of workers. In most cases, they're small enough to distinguish from carpenter ants. So, why so much focus on carpenter ants? We're glad you asked. 

The Issues Ant Infestations Create In Homes

Carpenter ants are destructive insects. They tunnel into wood and may weaken structural timbers. If carpenter ants invade your home, you may not realize you have a problem if you don't know how to identify them. That is why we emphasized telling the difference between carpenter ants and other ants.

How much damage can carpenter ants do? It varies. A structure that has water damage and wood rot is more at risk than one that does not. A home with a plentiful food source for ants, such as honeydew or nectar, can have a large infestation of carpenter ants. Homes with old wood fences, decks, wooden landscaping borders, sheds, and exterior stairs can have more trouble than homes with materials that are resistant to carpenter ants. While carpenter ants are responsible for hundreds of millions of dollars in property damage annually in the United States, not all homes are at risk of extensive damage.

Our recommendation with carpenter ants is to learn what they look like, routinely check the wood of your home for changes, check for frass, inspect spider webs for shed wings, and deal with these ants quickly when you detect trouble. If you see black carpenter ants, contact a licensed professional for an inspection and treatment advice. These are the most destructive of all carpenter ant species.  

Carpenter ants aren't the only ants that create issues. While certainly high on the list, there are other issues that may arise when ants get the wrong idea about living in your Richmond home.

  • Fire ants are stinging pests. Most of the time, they leave a few itchy wounds on the skin and nothing more. But individuals who are sensitive to stinging insect venom may have an allergic reaction. An allergy to stinging insect venom can develop as you get older or after repeated exposures. It is a good idea to visit an allergist if you start to notice fire ants in your yard or home. 
  • Some ants get into electrical outlets and power boxes. When they gain access to these, you may experience strange electrical problems. A common way ants get into outlets and power boxes is by way of branches that touch exterior walls, windows, and utilities.
  • Certain ants gather into a swarm and stack on top of each other. It is startling to see swarming ants because they create a biomass that looks like something from a horror movie. While not dangerous, these masses are certainly disturbing.
  • Some ants take over yards. If you have flowering weed problems and you start to notice tiny ant hills, you can expect to see more ant hills and less grass. What happens is the ants excavate the soil, bring it above ground, and choke the grass around their mounds.

Ant problems are the number one reason Richmond residents reach out to us for pest control. It isn't that ants are the worst pests in our area, they're just hard pests to ignore when they invade in large numbers and do some of the things listed above. More than this, we get calls when ant control fails. There are few things as frustrating as doing the hard work of purchasing and applying ant control products only to keep seeing ants in your home.  

Why Do-It-Yourself Ant Control Usually Fails

The subject of this article is all the problems ants can create. One problem that is often not considered is that DIY ant control can turn small problems into big problems, which is a problem in itself. Why does this happen? There are a few reasons why. Let's start with the most important reason.

  • Some ants have multiple queens. When ant control works too quickly, a colony can split into two or more colonies. This is called budding. So after all your hard work, you can have more ant mounds and more ant activity than you had before.
  • Some ant control methods don't work because they aren't scientifically derived. A good example is using boiling water to stop fire ants. Does it work? Sometimes. But this method often fails because fire ants can create a nest that is several feet below the ground. Hot water won't get deep enough to address some nests.
  • Many people turn to ant bait as a solution. But bait can fail when too much is used, not enough is used, or when bait is not spread out enough. In each case, ants use their incredible defensive behavior patterns to avoid this dangerous food source.

Sometimes DIY ant control seems to work, but it only works for a short time. The ants keep coming back over and over. A professional will use methods that provide sustained ant control in your yard.

How To Get Rid Of Ants For Good

A pest control service provider uses several methods to manage ant pressures and keep ants out of your home for good. Spot treatments in your yard reduce general pests, which ants eat. Mound treatments address certain ant pests. Appropriate baits and bait placement address difficult ant pests. An exterior liquid application makes it hard for ants to live near your exterior or get in through tiny entry points. All of these work to provide layers of protection.

If you're in Richmond, reach out to Go-Forth Pest Control for ant control or ongoing pest management that includes coverage for ants. We'll help you find the right fit for you and help you keep the interior of your home ant-free! 


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