SHOULD HOMEOWNERS/RESIDENTS BE CONCERNED IF THEY FIND ANTS IN THEIR HOME?
Most species of ants are considered ‘nuisance pests,’ meaning that they don’t pose a significant threat to health or property, but are an annoyance when found indoors. In fact, ants are the number one nuisance pest in the United States.
Some species of ants, however, can pose threats to health and property. Carpenter ants, for example, excavate wood in order to build their nests, which can cause extensive damage to a structure. Fire ants, on the other hand, sting when threatened, resulting in painful welts that can be dangerous to allergic persons. These species should always be handled by a professional.
Regardless of the species all ants can contaminate food sources and small infestations can grow quickly, so any sign of an infestation should be dealt with promptly.
Hulett Environmental Services shares tips to eliminate indoor allergens this spring
Each year, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America designates May as National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month, an ideal time to educate the public about triggers, prevention and treatment measures for asthma and allergic diseases. In recognition of this important observation, Hulett Environmental Services reminds people that a few simple pest prevention measures can go a long way in combating allergies and asthma this spring.
Common household pests, such as cockroaches and stinging insects, can pose a significant threat to asthma and allergy sufferers. Cockroach droppings, saliva, shed skins and other body parts contain allergen proteins known to cause allergy flare-ups and increase asthma symptoms, especially in children. In addition, stinging insects send more than 500,000 people to the emergency room each year due to serious reactions from the pest’s venom.
Hulett Environmental Services recommends the following tips for safeguarding homes against common indoor allergens caused by pests:
Exclude pests by sealing cracks and gaps on the outside of the home. Pay special attention to utility pipe entry points.
Vacuum at least once a week using a vacuum with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate) filter.
Keep food sealed and stored properly, and clean kitchen floors and counters daily.
Dispose of garbage regularly and store in sealed containers.
If allergic to stinging insects, learn how to use an epinephrine kit and carry it with you at all times.
Should you experience symptoms of an allergic reaction following a stinging insect encounter, such as tongue and throat swelling, wheezing, dizziness, or shortness of breath, call 911.
It’s probably not a surprise the kitchen is considered a favorite ant hangout. In addition to food access, the sink provides a water source that ants need to survive. If you’re lax about immediately cleaning up crumbs and spills, you may be inviting ants in. Here are a few tips to keep ants out of the kitchen:
Store sweet staples like sugar, syrup and honey in plastic containers that snap shut, and wipe them down to remove any sticky residue. You can also place a bay leaf inside canisters of dry goods like flour to keep the ants out. The herb’s pungent scent repels ants and other common pantry pests.
Clean up grease spills from countertops and floors as soon as they happen.
Any empty juice or soda containers should be rinsed out before recycling or throwing away. And, make sure to take the trash out regularly.
Check the fruit bowl – any over ripe fruit will attract ants.
Keep an eye out for water buildup in the sink and leaks around the faucet.
If you have pets, be sure to pick up any leftover food and wash the bowls regularly.
Areas around the house with excess moisture are known to attract ants, so bathrooms are highly susceptible to an infestation. Carpenter ants, for example, often build nests in damp areas like behind bathroom tiles or under sinks. To prevent an infestation in the bathroom, homeowners should:
Occasionally, inspect sinks, toilets and tubs for any leaks or drips.
Give the bathroom a thorough cleaning by scrubbing the floors with disinfectant cleaner, and wiping down the inside of drawers with warm soapy water.
Check to ensure shampoo, lotion and soap bottles are secured and no contents have spilled out of their containers.
Other Common Hideouts
Ants can easily find a way indoors through even the tiniest cracks, so other areas of the home are also common hideouts. The NPMA survey revealed ants are also found in the following areas:
Hulett Environmental Services shares five simple steps to avoid an ant infestation
As weather conditions improve, ants will soon begin to enter homes in search of food and water. Hulett Environmental Services encourages homeowners to take proactive steps to reduce the likelihood of seeing these nuisance pests in your garage or crawling across the kitchen counter in the coming weeks.
Ants often infest kitchens and bathrooms, but homeowners may also encounter them in cooler spaces like basements, garages and around air conditioning units. The key to preventing ants from finding a way inside is to eliminate harborage sites around the property.
Experts from Hulett Environmental Services recommend the following five simple steps that homeowners can do today to thwart an ant infestation.
1. Block off access points. Take time to inspect the outside of your home for cracks and crevices, paying special attention to areas where utility pipes enter. Seal any small holes or gaps with a silicone-based caulk. Keep tree branches and other shrubbery well trimmed and away from the structure. 2. Eliminate sources of water in and around the home. Indoors, routinely check under sinks for areas of moisture and repair any leaky pipes. Consider using a dehumidifier in damp basements, crawl spaces or attics. Outside, ensure that downspouts and gutters are functioning properly so that water flows away from the home’s foundation. 3. Keep a clean kitchen. Wipe down counter tops and sweep floors to remove crumbs and residue from spills. Store food in sealed containers, and keep ripe fruit in the refrigerator. Also, make sure to dispose of garbage regularly. 4. Don’t forget about the pets. After mealtime, keep pet bowls clean and wipe up any spilled food or water around them promptly. Store dry pet food in a sealed plastic container rather than the paper bags they often come in, which can be easily accessed by ants, rodents and other pests. 5. Work with a pest professional. Eliminating ants can be challenge without the proper treatment. Some species of ants, like carpenter ants, can cause serious property damage while others can pose health threats. If you see ants in your home, contact a licensed pest professional to identify the species and recommend a course of treatment.
Entomologists at the University of Florida scoured the literature to come up with a list of insects that were the coolest, fastest, largest, longest, loudest and brightest. They also chose more unusual champions: best imitator, least specific vertebrate bloodsucker and most spectacular mating just to name a few of them. Wired Science put together a list of 40 of their favorites, all which have their own allure to them: Earth’s Most Extreme Insects.
What are crazy, hairy ants? Are they referred to as Rasberry Crazy Ants or Caribbean Crazy Ants?
These are probably all one and the same species Nylanderia pubens with multiple common names.
Rasberry crazy ants were first found in Texas in 2002. They are believed to be related to a species from the Caribbean.
Caribbean crazy ants are found in Florida – have likely been there since the 1950’s but pest professionals have been receiving more and more reports since 2000.
The more common Crazy ant (Paratrechina longicornis) looks similar to the Rasberry and Caribbean crazy ants, but have marked differences. Their antennae and legs are significantly longer and their bodies are slightly larger. Their populations are also more spread out around the U.S.
Hulett Environmental encourages homeowners to take proactive steps to eliminate ants
There is one houseguest that no one wants, but nearly everyone gets – ants. And as the weather continues to warm, this pest will begin marching one-by-one indoors. Hulett Environmental encourages homeowners to take the necessary steps to prevent ants from ruining their summer fun.
A recent study of pest professionals, conducted by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) has revealed that ants are the No. 1 nuisance pest in the United States and often become a problem during the warmer months as they venture indoors to look for food.
Unfortunately, ants are more than just a household annoyance. This pest can pose health risks and cause extensive property damage once inside the home.
Odorous ants are known to contaminate food sources and carpenter ants can tunnel through wood to build nests inside structures. Luckily, a mixture of IPM tactics can effectively prevent and manage most infestations.
Experts from Hulett Environmental recommend the following tips to avoid ant infestations:
Eliminate sources of moisture or standing water near a home.
Keep tree branches and other shrubbery well trimmed and away from the house.
Seal cracks and holes on the outside of the home.
Store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house and five inches from the ground.
Keep food in sealed containers and dispose of garbage regularly.
Keep pet food and water dishes clean and remove any spilled food.
If you suspect an ant infestation, contact a licensed pest professional to identify the species and recommend a course of treatment. For more information, please visit www.bugs.com
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