What are ants?
Ants are one of the most common and easily identified species of pests that invade homes and businesses in Central Maryland. They have three body segments with constricted waists, bent antennae, and six legs; the reproductive members have wings. Ants are social insects that divide their workload into groups, or castes – with each caste having different responsibilities. The workers make up the largest number of ants in a colony. These are sterile females and are responsible for gathering food, caring for larvae, maintaining the nest, and providing defense for the colony. Males and queens are responsible for reproductive activities. Queens are reproductive females and lay the eggs; males only have one purpose: to mate with the queens.
An ant's appearance, behavior, and food choices vary by species. Some of the most common ants living in Central Maryland include the following:
Acrobat ants vary in color from light brown to black, and they have a unique heart-shaped abdomen. Their most distinguishing characteristic is their ability to raise their abdomen over their thorax and head. This acrobatic display usually occurs when they are disturbed. These ants travel in long lines along wires, utility lines, and pipes to gain access into homes and other buildings.
One of the largest household invading species of ant living in the United States, carpenter ants are large black ants, although some species are red or a combination of black and red. Carpenter ants create their nesting sites inside pieces of wood—preferring water-damaged or decaying wood.
Odorous house ants
Odorous house ants, as their name suggests, invade homes and other structures. They are small and black or dark brown. The best way to identify these ants is by the foul odor they emit after being crushed. Many liken the smell to that of a rotting coconut.
Pavement ants received their name because their favorite nesting locations are cracks found in pavement, sidewalks, and driveways. These ants are small and black or brown. Other physical features include parallel grooved lines that run along their head and thorax and a pair of spines that emerge from the end of their thorax.
Pharaoh ants live together in extensive colonies, often consisting of multiple nesting spots. They are very small and a yellowish or light brown color, appearing almost transparent. These ants are major pests inside homes and hospitals.
Are ants dangerous?
Ants can be dangerous to people or property, depending on their species. However, most species that invade our homes, such as odorous house ants, pavement ants, and acrobat ants, are nuisance pests – posing no significant danger to people or property. There are, however, some species of ants that are dangerous. The pharaoh ant, for example, poses significant health risks to people. They spread disease pathogens that cause salmonella and Streptococcus, which make people very ill. These ants are an enormous health and sanitary risk in hospitals, as they are known for seeking out moisture from the open mouths of sleeping patients, inside patient wounds, and IV bags.
The carpenter ant is another dangerous species, due to the structural damage they cause. After moving into a home or other building while foraging for food, they often decide to stay and create a satellite nest inside, near food sources. Carpenter ants tunnel through structural wood to create nesting galleries, causing damage in the process that can become extensive and costly to repair.
Why do I have an ant problem?
Ants are on your property or in your home because they’ve found easy access to food, water, or shelter. Our homes provide them with gardens, compost piles, trash cans, bird feeders, pet food, clogged gutters, and leaky fixtures where they will find food and water, as well as provide them with a variety of areas where they can create nests.
Where will I find ants?
Ants make their nests in a variety of indoor and outdoor locations. They place their outdoor nests close to homes and other buildings, in damp soil under woodpiles, lawns, mulch, landscaping ties, tree stumps, along fence lines, in the cracks of sidewalks or pavements, and next to foundations. This allows them to eventually find their way inside while foraging for food, or to escape harsh weather. Favorite indoor nesting spots include spaces under floors, behind walls, inside insulation, in crawl spaces, and near heating systems. Additionally, carpenter ants prefer to nest inside structural wood.
How do I get rid of ants?
The best way to eliminate current problems with ants and prevent future ones is to partner with Royal Greens, Inc. Our experienced technicians are always reliable, honest, friendly, and willing to work with our customers to solve their unique pest control problems. We provide the services necessary to ensure long-term results to your pest problems here in Maryland. We get rid of ants and other pests with the help of our effective home pest control services in Central Maryland. Our professionals know all about ants, as well as how to keep them off of your property and out of your home. To protect your Central Maryland home from ants, reach out to Royal Greens today!
How can I prevent ants in the future?
In addition to our professional services, the following prevention tips will help to avoid problems with ants:
Cut tree branches and overgrown vegetation away from the exterior of your home. Ants use branches to gain access to buildings.
Keep gutters and downspouts free of debris to make sure they are directing water away from your foundation.
Leave a 12-18 inch stone or rock barrier between mulch, soil, or grass and the foundation.
Repair all cracks in the foundation and exterior walls of your home.
Place weatherstripping around windows and doors, and door sweeps on exterior doors.
Seal spaces around wires and other utilities entering into your home.
Keep tight-fitting or locking lids on outdoor trash cans and compost bins.
Rinse out jars, cans, and other containers before placing them in recycling bins.