Move over, cockroaches. Sorry to disappoint, bed bugs. It’s official. PMPs have spoken and despite the disproportionate attention that the media, consumers and industry educational programs give bed bugs, ants are the No. 1 nuisance pest in the United States.
In late 2011 and early 2012, the National Pest Management Association (through the Professional Pest Management Alliance), in cooperation with Dr. Laurel Hansen of Spokane Falls Community College and the University of Washington, asked pest management firms from across the United States to participate in a self-administered online survey about ants. In all, more than 200 firms from 37 different states completed the survey, reporting their observations about ant infestations in residential and commercial structures. Of the 215 pest management firms that completed the survey, 100 percent treated structures for ants in 2011. The majority of the firms had fewer than 25 team members, but 15 percent had more than 100 people employed with their companies. On average, participating companies derived about 25 percent of their annual revenue from nuisance ant control work.
The ant species reported that was treated most commonly was the carpenter ant (Camponotus spp.), with 66 percent of participants reporting them as the most commonly encountered nuisance ant species. Sixty-one percent of professionals reported that their clients had knowledge of the potential for structural damage that carpenter ants can inflict, which may account, in part, for the higher percentage of service calls related to carpenter ants. In all, more than a dozen ant species were indicated as pests by participants, including:
- Odorous house ants (Tapinoma sessile) — 62 percent
- Pavement ants (Tetramorium caespitum) — 59 percent
- Pharaoh ants (Monomorium pharaonis) — 36 percent
- Little black ants (Monomorium minimum) — 31 percent
- Argentine ants (Linepithema humile) — 28 percent
- Red imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta) — 24 percent
- Acrobat ants (Crematogaster spp.) — 20 percent
- Crazy ants (various species including Paratrechina spp. or Nylanderia spp.) — 20 percent
Other species like white footed ants and ghost ants were frequently encountered on a local scale in certain geographic regions, but due to their limited impact nationwide, were reported by fewer professionals.
More than half of professionals (54 percent) report that ant infestations are increasing, with odorous house ants being encountered at an increased rate by 57 percent of professionals. The next most commonly reported species on the rise (pavement ants) barely had one third of the responses garnered by odorous house ants. The omnivorous feeding habits and predilection for nesting virtually anywhere may account for the odorous house ant becoming a top priority nationwide.
Call Earth Guard Pest Service’s today for ant control, and all other pest control services.