Where There’s Smoke, There’s Fire Ants in Atlanta May 30, 2018 Causing immense, hard-to-eliminate infestations, ants are bad enough as is. But add the ability to sting to the mix, and they’re no longer a nuisance pest. Now, they’re also a health threat. That’s the concern fire ants bring to the table, and it’s ever […]Continue reading
Ants can be a problem year-round, but they tend to show up in overwhelming numbers during the summertime here in the Atlanta area. Although ants aren’t considered as dangerous as other pests, they are the number one nuisance pest in the nation for a reason. They often will appear in your kitchen, bathrooms, and along your floorboards in search for food and shelter. To avoid the frustration of ants in your property, it’s important to learn how to prevent summertime ants.
What Type of Ant Do I Have?
With more than 700 species living in the U.S., it is crucial to know which one you’re dealing with in order to properly get rid of these common summer ants. An infestation from any of these can be a major pain to deal with, making it important to know what you’re coming up against. A few of the most common types of ants you’ll likely encounter include:
Prevent Summertime Ants in 5 Steps
To avoid dealing with ants, it’s important to learn how to stop them from making their ways indoors in the first place! Some of our top tips for preventing summertime ants include:
- Keep a clean home. Sweep your floors regularly to get rid of crumbs. Ants are attracted to sugary food sources and a few crumbs will keep them coming back for more.
- Store away food. Avoid leaving food out uncovered. Keep food in airtight containers or store them safely in cupboards and fridges.
- Seal entry points. Ants can crawl through the tiniest of cracks. Inspect your property and use caulk to seal any gaps, holes, or potential entry ways.
- Get rid of excess moisture. Areas with standing water or leaks will attract ants quickly. Attend to broken pipes and clean up spills quickly.
- Trim back trees and vegetation. Plants close to your home can encourage ants to come in. Make sure tree branches, shrubs, and bushes are trimmed away from the perimeter!
Long-Term Ant Prevention
Keeping ants out can seem like a daunting task, especially if you’ve done all you can to prevent them! To give yourself peace of mind, it’s best to contact your local ant exterminator. At Active Pest Control, we have the experience and resources needed to prevent ants in the summertime and all year long. To learn more about how, contact our team today!
If you’ve ever stepped on a fire ant hill, you know that it doesn’t take long for these ants to get your attention. While their stings aren’t too bad for most of us, they are painful enough to make us take notice. But, there are some who have to worry a little more about fire ants than the rest of us. To them, fire ants are not an irritant. They can be dangerous.
When fire ants bite, most of us can get away fairly quickly, or simply brush them off. This is one of the key reasons they aren’t a threat to most people. But those who can’t get away and those who can’t brush them off will sustain more bites and more venom. And, in large doses, the alkaloid venom of fire ants can become toxic. That is why it is vital to search the ground if you’ll be laying a baby carrier down. Babies are not equipped with the motor skills to stop fire ants, nor are they capable of getting up and moving away. They will, however, cry. So, be aware that a baby sitting in a carrier on the ground may not be crying for food or attention. They may have a serious problem.
Others at risk for multiple fire ant bites are people who are incapacitated, weak, or disabled. If you care for people with serious illness or incapacitation, always be on the lookout for fire ants. This is especially true for people who have compromised immune systems as a result of their illness.
Some people are allergic to fire ants. For this group, fire ant bites can lead to a life-threatening reaction. Onset symptoms include itching, difficulty breathing, a swelling of the tongue or throat, dizziness, cramps, diarrhea, and nausea. If early symptoms are not caught, it can lead to anaphylaxis. When anaphylaxis occurs, it often occurs quickly and can lead to anaphylactic shock. But, it is important to understand that anaphylaxis can occur without shock. In fact, over a decade of research has revealed that more than half of patients show no signs of shock during controlled studies. So, it is vital to recognize dizziness, cramps, and other symptoms of poor blood flow to internal organs, which is the result of a toxic reaction.
The best way to safeguard against harmful insects, like fire ants, is to not have those insects around at all. If you need assistance removing these pests from your home or business, find out if you’re in our extensive service area. When fire ants are all gone, it’s Active Pest Control.
In Georgia fire ants spend very little time in hibernation. When cold weather comes, they will slow down, or even seal off the entrance to their colony, but it doesn’t last long. When temperatures warm the ground up, these ants get busy doing what they were made to do.
What are fire ants made to do?
No, the answer isn’t: bite you. Though they are prone to bite, and fire ant bites can be annoying, they have no interest in feeding on your flesh. This is an aggressive insect, and it will bite if whatever it is on begins to vibrate. When one ant bites, it triggers the rest of the fire ants to bite–and sting. Fire ants only bite to get a grip. That painful mark on your skin is left from the stinger in their abdomen which they use to inject a toxic alkaloid venom called Solenopsin. But fire ants aren’t looking to bite you. You are far too large for them to carry back to their colony. if you were something smaller, they might give it a go, because gathering food and liquid is all these ants think about 24/7.
Why do they gather food? Why don’t they just eat it when they find it?
Fire ants can’t consume solid food. They have something like a screen inside their throats that won’t let even the smallest particle pass. This is one of the reasons they bring food back to the mound. The food they bring back is turned into a liquid state by larvae inside the colony (you don’t want to know how) and workers then feed on it and share it with the other ants in the colony, including the queen.
Can you get workers to bring poisoned food back to kill their queen?
You probably know that if a queen dies, the colony dies. But it can be tricky to try and get workers to bring bait into a mound and kill the queen, because of the process mentioned above. If larvae and workers begin to die too quickly, the queen will be carried deeper into the earth, sometimes yards away from where she was, and the ants will wait till the danger has passed before they attempt to keep feeding her. This means bait must be properly mixed to kill the ants slowly.
Send an ant to kill an ant.
If you’re trying to kill fire ants, you need to think like an ant. That is why do-it-yourself measures seldom work. You’re not trained to think like an ant. But an entomologist is. They are scientists who study the behaviors and habitats of insects. If you want those fire ants gone, call a pest company like Active Pest Control which employs a board certified entomologist. They may not be an ant, but knowing how ants think helps them destroy those colonies around your home, and keep them from coming back.
Anyone who’s ever lived in the south has had to deal with fire ants at one point or another. Many times, the results aren’t pretty, and for some of us, an encounter with a fire ant mount may have even resulted in a trip to the emergency room. It’s common knowledge that at certain times of the year, if you make a misstep in a pair of flip flops, you could be covered in tiny, stinging, itchy bumps within seconds.
This summer, if you’re going to be working out in the yard or letting your family play in areas po-tentially infested with fire ants, our pest control experts want you to protect yourself and your family by knowing the facts about red ants and how they can cause harm.
Fire Ants: Where Do They Come From?
There are more than 280 species of red ants, but the Solenopsis invicta are the species that have predominantly invaded the southeastern U.S.
The red imported fire ant, the type of fire ant found most frequently in the United States, is be-lieved to have been accidentally introduced to the U.S. via shipping crates from Brazil.
Traits of Fire Ants
Fire ants may be between 1/16 and 1/4 length in length.
Unlike other types of ants, fire ants bite only to get a grip. The pain actually comes from stingers that protrude from the ants’ abdomens. Most other types of ants do not sting.
Fire ants are able to survive extreme conditions, including temperatures as low as 16° Fahrenheit.
When it rains, fire ants can uniquely react to flood situations by gathering into a “raft” situation with the queen in the middle and floating until the group comes to land. This not only means flooding doesn’t help exterminate fire ant colonies, but it also means rainfall can actually con-tribute to the spread of fire ants into other regions.
Fire ants are so aggressive that they have, in many cases, pushed away native species. Their diets consist of dead animals, insects and earthworms, but they will attack anything that disturbs their mound, including humans.
It takes only 30 days for a fire ant to go from egg to adult, and a typical worker ant will live only 180 days.
With only a single queen in the colony, a colony can still expand to house thousands and thou-sands of ants in only a month. Queens can produce 3,500 eggs per day and can live up to 7 years, equaling up to 9 million eggs produced in a single’s queen’s life.
A single fire ant colony may have dozens of queens.
Male fire ants die immediately after mating with the queen.
Fire ant colonies can contain as many as 300,000-500,000 ants. These worker ants will forage for food within a distance of about 100 yards (about the length of a football field).
Fire ant mounds can extend into the ground 20’ or deeper, with tunnels extending out 8’ in all directions. The mounds themselves can be up to 2’ high.
Heavily infested areas can contain more than 200 fire ant mounds per acre.
The ant sting feels like being burned by fire, and in some people who are sensitive to the ven-om, the stings can be lethal. Hence, the nickname “fire ants.”
The FDA estimates that Americans spend more than $5 billion annually on medical treatment, damage and control of fire ants. Additionally, these pests do about $750 million in damage to agriculture, highlighting the dire need for proper pest control solutions to help manage infesta-tions.
If you are experiencing a fire ant infestation, please contact our team at Active Pest Control to see how we can use our pest control expertise to help make your yard safe and free of red ants.