Some people are of the mindset that an ant is just an ant…but this is far from true if you are trying to get rid of unwanted ants from your home or yard.
Let’s take a look at the various types of ants you may be finding in your southern Louisiana home so that you can learn more about where their nests are kept and how to get rid of them.
Carpenter Ants Carpenter ants are large, and they can be various colors, including red, orange and black. If you’ve been noticing activity late at night, you may have carpenter ants in your yard, as these ants are nocturnal and come out at dark, cruising along fences and tree limbs. Another telltale sign that you have carpenter ants is finding nests in trees and branches. Carpenter ants do not sting, but they will bite, so never reach into an ant nest.
Little Black Ants Little black ants are a species of ants, and they include the tiny black and brown ants that are common in U.S. households. Even though black ants are an important part of our ecosystem, they can become a major headache when you find them in your yard. Plus, once they make it into your outdoor space, they’re one step closer to invading the inside of your home. These ants will eat just about anything, including other insects, sweets and oily foods. You will notice little black ants in large colonies, traveling along sidewalks and foundation walls.
Red Imported Fire Ants
Fire ants are found in the southern states, Louisiana included. They can be identified by their reddish-brown color and double pedicel (waist). Fire ants are good at hiding their mounds because you can’t see the entrance holes, but their aggressive behavior certainly gives them away. These ants nest outdoors, but they will have no problem entering your home in the late summer in order to find food and water.
Yes – crazy ants do exist! They are named this because of their fast, erratic movements. Crazy ants are found in habitats that are warm and humid, making Louisiana a great home. You are more likely to find crazy ants inside the home or in potted plants. But they can also nest outdoors, so keep an eye out for dark brown ants that have long legs and antennae, plus move very fast.
Leaf-cutting ants have a very distinct look to them since they have long legs and three sets of spine on their thorax. They live in the soil and make mounds that are crater shaped and built together like a small town. Leaf-cutting ants get their name from their ability to carry freshly cut dried leaves to their nest. These leaves eventually turn into a type of fungus that the leaf-cutting ants eat for food.
Acrobat ants look very similar to carpenter ants, so it’s easy to get them confused at first. The difference between acrobat ants and carpenter ants is that the acrobat species works during the day. They can be defensive when disturbed, and these motions are what lead the ants to be called acrobats (they balance their gasters into the air). You’ll be most likely to find acrobat ants in trees, but they will also migrate into the home, living in insulation and walls.
Pharaoh ants are most likely to be found inside the home instead of the yard, but they may also be found in cardboard boxes or electrical boxes outdoors. They are tiny and have a yellowish color with two pedicels. Pharaoh ants prefer living in dark, narrow spaces instead of in colonies in the ground. They are picky eaters as well, preferring foods that are high in sugar and protein.
Tired of Living with Ants?
There are many types of ants that can be found in your home or yard; little black ants and carpenter ants are the most common species found in the Baton Rouge area. That’s because little black ants and carpenter ants eat old leaves, wood and food scraps, and when there is a constant source of food, these ants will build nests so that they can return. While a few of these ants are certainly okay, multiple colonies are not.
These are the most common ants found in Louisiana, so there’s a good chance that what you’re seeing in your yard may come from one of the species listed above. There are many other ants as well, including field ants, ghost ants and odorous ants, so if you feel that you have a greater problem on your hand, contact the local, Baton Rouge based professional ant exterminators at Dugas Pest Control today.
It’s summertime, which means you’re probably seeing plenty of ants around your home. Getting rid of ants can be a difficult task because these insects have a stubborn way about them. Many products that you buy in the stores work directly on the ants to kill them, but you’ll have new ants at your doorstep the next day. This is why it’s important to adopt a plan that not only kills the ants on contact but also erases trails and wipes down new colonies.
With summer upon us, we’d like to offer the following tips for getting rid of
Tip 1 – Identify the Ants Properly
Many ants look the same, but you can learn a lot about the ones in your home if you find out what species it is. Take a close-up photo of the ant and email it to a local university, a local exterminator or do your own research online. When you identify the type of ants in your home, you can learn more about where they nest and how to get rid of them.
Incorrectly identifying ants is a big problem for homeowners trying to solve the problem themselves. If you are not sure what type of ants you have, call us today for an inspection to ensure a correct identification.
Tip 2 – Keep the Home Clean
Your best defense against ants and other pests is simple: keep your home clean. Sweep up food crumbs, wipe up spills, wash dirty dishes and have trash securely wrapped in garbage bags. This can be difficult when you have a full house of kids on your hands, so consider purchasing a small dustbuster that can get crumbs and spills off the floor throughout the day. If you have pets, spray a mixture of vinegar and water (three parts water, one part vinegar) around the food bowls to keep ants away without disrupting Fido’s schedule.
Tip 3 – Erase Ant Trails
You never see just one ant. Where there is one, there is a hundred more. This happens because ants leave a scent trail for other ants to follow, so even if you eradicate the ants you see on the floor, others will follow shortly after. Unfortunately, cleaning the floors isn’t enough to erase this scent. Instead, mix vinegar and water in a spray bottle and spray where you’ve seen ants. This should prevent them from continuing to look for food in your home and erase scent trails.
Tip 4 – Eradicate Ant Colonies
Unfortunately, using a vinegar and water solution isn’t enough to eradicate ants that are already living in your home. You will need a more powerful bait solution to take care of this problem. Interestingly, the ants you see crawling around initially are scent ants that are sent to scope out the area. Instead of killing these ants, learn from them so that you can wipe out the colony. Ants prefer fatty and oily foods in the summer, so purchase ant traps that are geared to this taste. Set out the bait trap and wait. You will see more ants at first, but don’t worry. This means more of the ants will eat the bait and share it with the colony. Ants have various taste preferences, so you may find that liquid bait works better one time, while solid bait works best another time.
Tip 5 – Spray Entry Points to the Home
Once you’ve been effective at using bait, you need to take proactive steps to make sure ants don’t return. Spray insecticides around doors and windows, and make sure that there are no gaps or cracks that lead into your home. These can be easily sealed up with caulk. It’s best to use insecticide sprays that contain permethrin or bifenthrin after you have used bait traps since they can interfere with them, and insecticides will not kill ants already in the home. You may also spray a barrier product around the perimeter of the home; look for products that say “barrier treatment” on the label.
Extra Tip – Call a Professional!
At the beginning of this article we promised 5 tips for getting rid of ants…but now we’ll offer you one free bonus tip!
Sometimes, ant problems get out of hand, especially when dealing with fire ants that are more resilient to traditional insecticides. In fact, many homeowners call us after unsuccessfully trying to get rid of ants on their own.
If this is the case, call our team of professionals exterminator at Dugas Pest Control in Baton Rouge, Louisiana if you want a solution that will erase an ant problem for good!