Yes, we specialize in Ant Control!
Ants can really be agravating, especially when they are found inside, on the floor or the kitchen counter. The picture of the tiny ant on this finger to the right is a Brachymyrmex. It is an import to this area and are becoming so common that you can find them by simply looking carefully the the trunks of some trees around your home but you might also find them just as easily crawling all around the grounds of your property as well as up and down the sides of your home. Once they have found a source of nourishment inside the home they will become regular visitors to your countertop. As the larger picture to the right demonstrates they are attracted to sugary liquids.
The picture below is a Fire Ant mound. This particular picture is of an Imported Fire ant variety, which fortunately we are not yet experiencing. We, however, have a few species of Fire Ants, which are stinging ants and good at ruining your enjoyment of your green lawn.
There are dozens of types of Ants that are likely to infest your home environment, and the type of ant determines the products that are effective in controlling them. One nice thing is that most can be controlled effectively using natural and less impactful methods.
Usually nest outdoors in stumps and logs in contact with the soil and in dead tree limbs and cavities or in homes in wood damaged by termites, fungi and moisture. They don't actually eat wood - though the galleries they excavate can be quite extensive.
Black Carpenter Ants are relatively large. Known mostly by color, this type of ant also has 1 segement to its waist and a long abdomen containing lightly-colored dull hairs. Carpenter ants are mostly black, but their colors can also range from black and red or even solid red. Though their name suggests otherwise, Carpenter ants do not eat wood and instead feed on plant juices and other insects.
Black Carpenter Ants do bite and can spray formic acid, but they do not possess the ability to sting their prey. Habits:Most carpenter ant species establish their first nest in decayed wood and later expand or enlarge this into sound wood.Inside structures, nest are located in wood (preferably softened by fungus rot or water damage) in insulation, and/or wall voids.Worker carpenter ants are a nuisance when out searching for food but are destructive to timbers utilized for nesting activities.
Outside structures, nests are typically in rotting fence posts, stumps, old firewood, dead portions of standing trees, and under stones or fallen logs. Swarming carpenter ants can appear inside or outside homes and structures from spring to fall in central Missouri. Swarming black carpenter ants can easily be mistaken for swarming termites if found inside homes and structures.
Small red to yellowish ants that can nest in wall voids, cabinets, boxes of food and any other accessible crevices and spaces and are even known to invade sick rooms and feed on blood plasma and wound dressings.
Pharaoh ants, Monomorium pharaonis, are becoming a serious nuisance in the Pacific Northwest. They are particularly bothersome in multifamily buildings and in hotels, condominiums, warehouses, grocery stores, or other places where food is abundant or is frequently handled. Because they are omnivorous and have the obnoxious habit of getting into virtually everything, pharaoh ants can also pose a serious health threat in hospitals and veterinary clinics where they are attracted to intravenous units, medical preparations, and open wounds.
Historically, pharaoh ants are believed to have come from Africa sometime during the last century. The name originated with Linnaeus and his mistaken belief that these ants were one of the biblical plagues, along with flies and locusts, during the time of the Egyptian pharaohs.
Odorous house ants are small ants about 1/8th inch long and dark brown in color. They are found throughout the U.S. and in spite of their name, are only an occasional pest in the house. Their name comes from the disagreeable odor similar to the smell of rotten coconuts, that is given off when the worker ants are crushed.
Odorous house ants commonly nest outdoors in the soil under stones, logs, mulch, debris and other items. They will also nest indoors in wall and floor voids, particularly in moist or warm areas. If only a few workers (wingless ants) are observed in the house it is an indication that they are nesting outdoors and entering the house in search of food. If winged swarmers are found indoors, or if workers are consistently seen in great abundance, it likely indicates they are nesting within the house.
Odorous house ants regularly forage for food along well-traveled trails. They feed on dead insects, sweets and meats. One of their favorite foods is the sweet honeydew produced by plant sap feeding insects such as aphids and mealybugs.
Several species of small to medium-sized ants are occasional pests in and around the home. One of these is named the acrobat ant because of the way the worker ants carry their abdomens above the rest of the body as if they were performing a balancing act. Acrobat ants are slightly longer than 1/8th inch. They vary in color from yellowish brown to dark brown, and the heart-shaped abdomen is usually darker than the rest of the body. Magnification is required to see a pair of spines on the back edge of the middle section of the body that helps identify this ant from other species. The habit of the workers to carry their abdomens in the air when they are disturbed is probably the best way to identify this species.
Acrobat ants may nest both outdoors and indoors. Outdoor nests are most often in dead and decaying wood such as logs, stumps, dead trees limbs, firewood and hollow tree cavities. They may nest in damp soil beneath leaf litter or rocks. The small worker ants readily enter buildings through cracks around windows and doors and other openings. Trails of workers may be seen moving between the nest and a food source. Acrobat ants feed on a variety of foods, including other insects and sweets.
Also known as grease ants and sometimes "sugar ants", thief ants are one of the tiniest household ant species found worldwide. These ants are about 1/16-inch long. The name is derived from the ants' habit of stealing larvae and pupae from neighboring colonies. They are omnivorous and feed on food that is high in protein, including the larvae and pupae of other ant species, as well as other insects.
While thief ants and pharaoh ants resemble one another, several characteristics of the thief ant can ensure proper identification. The thief ant is light brown or yellow in color and measures only 1/16-inch in length. Thief ants have petioles with two nodes, one thorax without spines, ten segmented antennae with two-segment antennal clubs and small, compound eyes. The thief ant also tends to forage in well-defined trails, while Pharaoh ants are less likely to make trails but do so after food or water sources have been established.
Thief ant colonies tend to be smaller than those of other species, but can contain two or more queens and several thousand workers. The thief ant queen is capable of establishing new colonies without the help of her workers, though she may still choose to include two or more workers after mating.
Thief ants feed on protein and greasy foods such as nuts, meats, cheese, peanut butter and sweets. Because worker thief ants are small enough to enter food packaging, they can become a nuisance in the kitchen. Outside, thief ants forage for dead insects and rodents. Because of this, it is possible they can transmit pathogens from a food source to human food.
The most common ant in southern California is the Argentine ant (Iridomyrmex humilis). According to Wild (2004), this species was originally described in the genus Linepithema by Mayr in 1866; therefore, the proper binomial should be Linepithema humile. It is a small, dark-colored ant about 3 mm (1/8 inch) long that invades homes in search of food and water. They are especially fond of sweets, but will feed on practically any food. They love the yolks of hard boiled eggs and carry minute yellow clumps of yolk back to their nest in endless ant columns.
These ants are extremely well adapted to urbanized areas of the United States with mild climates and well-watered gardens. They pose a serious threat to native wildlife by upsetting delicate food webs. They are especially formidable due to their aggressive behavior and the enormous size of their colonies which can literally "team up" with other colonies.
Fire ants are a variety of stinging ants with over 285 species worldwide. They have several common names, including ginger ants, tropical fire ants and red ants.
The bodies of fire ants, like all insects' bodies, are divided into three sections: the head, the thorax, and the abdomen, with three pairs of legs and a pair of antennae. Fire ants can be distinguished from other ants by their copper brown head and body with a darker abdomen. The worker ants are blackish to reddish, and their size varies from 2mm to 6 mm (0.12 in to 0.24 in). These different sizes of the ants can all exist in the same nest.
A typical fire ant colony produces large mounds in open areas, and feeds mostly on young plants, seeds, and sometimes crickets. Fire ants often attack small animals and can kill them. Unlike many other ants, which bite and then spray acid on the wound, fire ants bite only to get a grip and then sting (from the abdomen) and inject a toxic alkaloid venom called solenopsin, a compound from the class of piperidines.
For humans, this is a painful sting, a sensation similar to what one feels when burned by fire-hence the name fire ant-and the after effects of the sting can be deadly to sensitive individuals. The venom is both insecticidal and antibiotic.