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Ants are Out and About

Odorous house ants are thriving in Maryland right now, marching into kitchens in search of proteins and sweets. As their name suggests, odorous house ants are marked by a rotten coconut-smell when crushed. They are small, black ants who pack together in large nests containing thousands of members and numerous queens. The foraging workers can enter your home through the tiniest cracks in your foundation, underneath exterior doors and beneath windows. Once inside, odorous house ants will generally be found in your kitchen searching for their favorite snacks including meats and sugary treats. DIY treatments can be frustrating when trying to control these determined insects, as it is often necessary to find their nests and treat them at their source. Home Paramount technicians use EPA-approved products to treat the nests and solve the problem.

In North Carolina, we are getting calls about harvester ants, though many customers tend to confuse them with fire ants. It is relatively easy to tell the two apart by their nests. Fire ant nests are smaller, soft soil mounds without a central exit hole. Harvester ants build large nests with a central opening and clear the area surrounding the mound, often resulting in a bare spot in your lawn. The ants are also different, with fire ants being medium-sized red and black ants and harvest ants, like their nests, being much larger. Both ants will bite and attach to you before stinging repeatedly, but the harvester ant’s sting is considered more painful. Harvester ants are named for their dietary preference for seeds, and given their focus on hard-shelled food, it’s not a surprise that these ants have strong mandibles which deliver a painful bite coupled with a potent venomous sting that can cause a serious reaction in some people. Homeowners complain of their aesthetic impact to lawns and landscapes for their habit of creating barren spots as they clear the area around their nests. The large nest mounds are large, noticeable, and about 3 feet deep. Each nest contains about 10,000 members, including a single queen, alates, and foraging ants. The foragers collect seeds, often grass seeds, grind them up, and store the food in granaries within the nest. Harvester ants are not indoor pests but should be controlled outdoors because of their painful stings and clearing habits. Home Paramount can control harvester ants at the nest site, using state-of-the-art management products.

Florida customers are encountering ghost ants, an important household pest named for their difficulty to be seen – their pale camouflage coloring and small size making them hard to spot. More importantly, their adaptable nesting habits make them difficult to control. Ghost ants make themselves at home both indoors and out. Inside, these adaptable ants will nest nearly anywhere, including in potted plants, between books or in wall voids. Outside, you can find them nesting in flowerpots, under loose bark and at the base of palm fronds. Ghost ants are budding ants, which means that their colonies easily fracture when threatened by change, such as the application of a repellant, over-the-counter insecticide. Female reproductives will rapidly leave the original colony with workers in tow and quickly establish new colonies, aggravating and spreading the infestation. Home Paramount uses an IPM approach to ghost ant management. Although ghost ants take time to control, it can be accomplished through the application of the right product at the right time in the right place.

There are 20 quadrillion ants roaming the Earth, members of over 12,000 species. Each species is unique, requiring a diversity of control approaches based on identification and biology. Our team of entomologists trains our service technicians in the latest control techniques so that we can solve your unique problem. Pest control is an art and a science, and we’re here to help.

Home Paramount Pest Control technician with a homeowner Home Paramount Pest Control technician with a homeowner

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