Our latest blog takes a deep dive into the problem of ants in your home or workplace.
I’m having a real problem with ants at the moment. I’ve never really been bothered by ants - the odd one here and there never seemed much of an issue before and so I’ve always been a bit dismissive of people who moan about them. But that was before…. NOW! Oh my goodness! They are EVERYWHERE and in everything and they are driving me and my family crazy.
A roundup of some of our previous posts on ants:
I thought I would turn to our blog for guidance and to see what we have covered about ants in the past.
1. Fact or Fiction: Ants don't like baby powder
If like me, you think that ants fall into the nuisance rather than life-threatening pest category, you've probably also looked into home remedies to prevent ants from invading…
You can read more about whether or not baby powder can actually prevent ants from entering your house in Fact of Fiction: Ants don't like baby powder
2. Fascinating facts you need to know about Ants:
There are more than 10,000 known ant species found worldwide, and ants have been the subject of many films and television shows. Love them or hate them, ants are pretty fascinating. Read about the 10 Fascinating Facts about Ants You Need To Know, or check out our infographic version in this blog post.
3. World War - Ants vs Fungus!
Ants can be defined as the most developed of all insect species, but in tropical rain forests, a fungus named "Ophiocordyceps" is known to balance the ant population if it gets too large. How it does this is almost stranger than fiction, but fossil evidence proves that it has been around for the last 48 million years, and is known to kill ants mercilessly! Find out how the fungus does this in World War Ants.
I think we need to look a little deeper at why ants could be a problem in your home, some of the common signs of an ant infestation, and then why DIY may not always be the solution.
Why is an ant infestation a problem?
Apart from being a real nuisance, an ant infestation can actually cause some real problems. Here are three of the biggest problems that we believe an ant infestation may cause:
Damage to your property:
Some types of ants can cause damage similar to that caused by termites. Carpenter ants create nests in hollow areas and wood that is moist and starting to decay. Instead of eating the actual wood, these ants cause damage by tunnelling through it. Since the majority of damage they cause is hidden in walls, window and door frames, decks, porches, and other wood surfaces, determining if you have a carpenter ant infestation is more difficult.
If you see piles of wood shavings under a wood surface, you may have a carpenter ant infestation. The actual sight of one or more ants is also a sign of an infestation. Carpenter ants are usually black in colour, and measure between 0,64 – 2,5 cm in length.
Risks to your health:
Certain types of ants can also be a health risk.
All types of ants are capable of biting - they use their mandibles and mouth to pinch the skin if they feel threatened. These bites can cause some pain and discomfort, but they are usually not dangerous.
However, some ants - such as the Fire Ant - have stingers, and ant stings are completely different from ant bites. If aggravated, fire ants react aggressively and can inflict a painful sting, resulting in a pustule some 48 hours later. This sting is painful, and the venom can lead to serious issues that are not only uncomfortable but even life-threatening in some cases.
Symptoms of a fire ant sting vary from person to person. Pain, swelling, redness, and itchiness are common around the sting mark. Nausea, diarrhoea, stomach cramps, dizziness, chest pain, and difficulty breathing may also occur if you have a more serious reaction to the venom.
If the venom leads to an allergic reaction, you may experience swelling of the throat that makes it difficult to breathe.
They bring other pests:
We’ve written about how pests can encourage other pests to your home in our blog article “Pests attract more pests” and ants are no exception to this. Ants are viable food sources for other pests, making your home appealing to an invasion by all sorts of pests.
Some of the “pests” ants attract aren’t pests exactly - spiders and bats particularly are an excellent form of natural pest control - but most people still would prefer not to encourage them to come indoors.
3 common signs of an ant problem
So how to know if you have an ant problem? Well, it probably comes as no huge surprise that the most common signs of an ant problem are - yes, you guessed it - ants. Let me elaborate:
Live ants:If you’re seeing large numbers of live ants in your home or workplace then you may well have an ant problem. If you find them in your kitchen or in areas where you prepare food, then you need to do something about it fast.
Ant pathways in and out of your home or premises are another sign. Some types of ant will lay down a pheromone trail to a food source . This chemical attracts other ants to find food.
A nest site can look like a small pile of soil or dirt. Some species of ant like to make their home in walls or other quiet, dark places, which are more difficult to spot.
How can ants be controlled?
Although homeowners like me usually start with DIY ant control remedies, the results are often less than satisfactory - as I have discovered. My small ant problem has not only NOT gone away, but seems to be getting worse. Time to employ the services of a pest control professional (thank goodness I'm in good standing with my local Rentokil branch).
Once my local technician has identified the species of ant that is invading my home, they can use a range of powerful insecticides to get rid of ants efficiently. Treatments are targeted to the specific ant species in order to solve the problem far more quickly than my DIY attempts have managed.
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