Ants are among the most common household pests. Ants also invade offices, restaurants, hospitals, warehouses and any other building they can find food and water in. In addition to the peskiness and potentially destructiveness of the ants themselves, sometimes ants actually protect and care for other insects such as aphids, soft scales, white flies, and mealy bugs, increasing the possible potential for damage from these pests. In California, there are about 270 species of ants, but only a few are common and potentially damaging pests. Though not native to our state, the most common is the Argentine ant, a dull-brown ant about 1/8-inch in length. These ants feed on sweets, fresh fruit, plant buds, and the honeydew left behind by other insects. Argentine ants sometimes tend to honeydew producing insects which can increase the population and destructive capability of that species. Argentine ants forage for sweets and oils in homes by traveling along baseboards, under carpet edges, and up walls.
Other common problem ants are the carpenter ant, the pharaoh ant, the odorous house ant, the thief ant and the southern fire ant. Carpenter ants are black or red and black and larger than the Argentine ant at a quarter to half-inch in length and, because they hollow out and nest in wood, can do significant damage to homes and buildings. You may recognize an odorous house ant, which is dark brown to black and about the same size as the Argentine ant, by its strong odor if you step on it. Our Southern California neighbors are dealing with a serious problem from the red imported fire ant, which has established a population there and is moving north.
Ants often make their trails on pipes or wires and enter buildings via cracks and crevices. Inside your home, ants may feed on sweets such as sugar, honey or fruit juice, or on fats and meats. Your first sign of ants may be of a long chain of them leading from the food source inside your home to their nest outdoors. Caulking cracks and crevices can help prevent ants from entering your home. Rinsing out soft drink and juice containers before putting them into the recycling bin and storing sugar and syrups in airtight containers can also help.
Earth Guard Pest Services can assist you by identifying the type of ant or pest problem you have, assessing the best way to eliminate them and prevent future invasions, and help you decide upon the right combination of pest control services for your household or business.
For a free pest assessment and estimate from our licensed, bonded and certified pest control professionals, contact Earth Guard Pest Services, (916) 457-7605, [email protected]