The world contains over 10,000 known ant species with the U.S. currently hosting about 1000 of them, and over 10 species roaming in Florida.
Some of these ants are known to be harmless, while others can be harmful. Those harmless to humans are often harmful to the home structure. Their reproduction is commonly through swarming and budding.
Whether they stay in your house or infest your lawn highly depends on the weather or climate of the area, versus the temperature, and humidity in your home. Most of these ants feed on food (both cooked and raw). That’s how they contaminate and make humans fall sick.
In this brief guide, we shall discuss the three most common of harmful Florida ants, how to spot them, why they’re infesting your home, and how to get rid of them.
Pharaoh ants are 2mm long yellowish-brown ants with black and red markings on their abdomen. You might often confuse them with thief ants, due to similarities.
When pharaoh ants come into contact with stored food, they can transmit salmonellosis and dysentery to your family members. This means that the minute you see a meal or stored cereals infested with pharaoh ants, don’t hesitate to throw away.
In case you have a sterile room or equipment and find even one of these ants in there, ensure you disinfect the chamber and apparatus before using to clear off contamination.
When it’s cold outside in Florida, pharaoh ants will find shelter in your home for artificial warmth. You may often find them in your pantry and kitchen area, but when warm outside, they busk in your lawn.
They build nests on wall corners, cloth folds, cabinet void, and dark spaces. With this, it becomes easy to identify them. However, using pesticide to control them might cause more harm than help.
They live in colonies. When they come into contact with a toxic substance such as aerosol, the colonies split and spread. If they only occupied your pantry, they may now move all over the house, making it harder to locate and control them. A professional would best know how to control pharaoh ants at your home.
You can commonly identify these ants by their full black pigment. However, some contain brown, or red and black pigments as well. When it comes to size, they’re quite large, compared to other ants, with a 13mm length, and with large mandibles.
From their name, you can tell they’re wood’s worst friend. Carpenter ants build tunnels in wood, making it weak. The worst that could come from these ants would be structural and cosmetic damage that is unsightly and bad for a home.
More damage can be caused when the ants form colonies around wood in your home. With colonies, damage caused is obviously faster and more visible.
How can you identify the presence of carpenter ants in your home?
- The most common way is seeing the debris of wood ash around wooden features in your home. Sometimes the shavings might contain dead ants to show that nesting occurred in that area and that a colony has infested it.
- The second most common sign of carpenter ants is the rattling sounds they make when tunneling wood. Most of the time, it’s quite audible.
- You can also be lucky enough to spot those referred to as “workers” when they leave the colony and go food-hunting.
- The final but rare way to identify their existence is spotting the winged ants (also referred to as swammers) roaming around. They represent the formation of a new colony. Once you locate a swammer, you know the carpenter ants are building an ancestry in your home.
The main reason carpenter ants come to your home is because of available moisture that they may not be getting outside. To get rid of them – after identifying them – simply use chemical methods. For prevention purposes, correct the moisture content in your home, replace decaying and hollow wood structures.
These are one of the smallest ants measuring 22mm in length. They range in color from yellow to light- brown, have wings, and little compound eyes.
Thief ants will get inside your home mainly through cracks on walls, doors, and wooden surfaces. They’ll also walk in through the front or back door if you leave the doors open.
Once in your home, thief ants will go for the stored food – mostly the readily cooked ones. Well, they have a sweet tongue! They’ll feast on all sweet meals in your kitchen.
These ants forage most of the meals. Moreover, you may find them inside your cooking oil bottles if left unsealed. Removing them might be tedious thus you may opt to dispose of your expensively bought cooking oil.
They also seem to like a protein-filled diet such as nuts and nut-made products like peanut butter, and greasy foods like cheese and meat. Ensure all food containers are well sealed.
While the thief ant may not be naturally harmful, they do feed on dead insects, pupae, and larvae which may end up being detrimental to humans. For ant identification, you’ll see well-defined trails that the thief ants create when foraging. It’s quite hard to locate them due to their tiny nature, but you can spot them moving around in lines.
To prevent thief ants into your home, fill up or repair all cracks in the house. However, you may need first to control those that already infested your house by contacting a professional at Brantley Pest Control solutions to handle the situation.
How to Control Florida Ants
Other common Florida ants include roger ants, pyramid ants, white-footed ants, and big-headed ants among many more. To control these tiny insects, you can purchase some reputable chemical spray, or aerosol, or make a DIY chemical solution.
Due to the nature of most of these ants, whether small by size, defense mechanism and the like, you may not successfully control your home’s ant situation. Therefore, you may require an exterminator.
For pest extermination services in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee, and other Florida locations contact Brantley Pest Control solutions.