RTPC ant in rain

It is springtime in Florida, the time of year when everyone wants to head outside for backyard BBQ’s and picnics in the park. While we head outdoors for some fun on the sun the ants prepare to seek refuge inside.

Why do ants invade?

While there isn’t really an official ant season, we do experience certain times of the year when ants are a common sight indoors. April, July, and December are often months where ant activity increases because they are seeking shelter from the rain, dry heat and cold weather.

Ants are also highly organized food seekers and search for morsels every chance they get. Once they identify a food source, they return with more ants from in effort to take food back to the colony. Common sources of nutrition for these pests include crumbs, pet food and water. To avoid having these pesky house guests make sure you are wiping down counter tops, keeping food and crumbs off the floor, securing the lids on food containers and removing standing water.

What types of ants are seeking residency in your home?

There are several species of ants that enjoy indoor living. According to Pest World there are three very common indoor ants. They are Carpenter Ants, Odorous House Ants, and Pavement Ants.

Pavement Ants

 Pavement Ants are the most common of the species and are found in all 50 states. Pavement ants  build their nests in the cracks you find outside in pavement or underneath pavers and stones. These guys love people food and dirty surfaces like floors and patios. Pavements Ants will eat any kind of human food they can find but they prefer nuts, cheese, meat and bread. These ants are brownish black in color and are sometimes referred to as Sugar Ants because of their love for food. They can bite and when they do it stings.

 Carpenter Ants

These ants can be found around moist decaying wood, insulation, crawl spaces and attics. Although they do not eat wood carpenter ants can be very damaging to your home. They have large mandibles used for hollowing out old wood to build their nests sites and trails. Carpenter ants are large and are usually black in color with yellow or red hues.

Odorous House Ants

 Odorous Ants can be problem ants. They are drawn toward vegetation and will use landscaping as a means to enter into a home or building. Odorous Ants will nest inside or outside under stones, mulch and debris. Once inside they live inside the walls and floor and travel around your home in numbers usually forming a distrinct trail. When you see a cluster of Odorous Ants be sure wipe them down with a soapy sponge to eliminate the pheromones the ants leave behind for others to find them.

And of course, we have to warn you about Fire Ants. Afterall, we live in Florida and can spot their red color and large mounds in the grass. Fire ants  usually live outside in the yard and cracks between the grass and the driveway and sidewalks, but can be driven inside when the weather is inclement. They are considered to be the dangerous species because their sting is extremely painful and can even be deadly to those who are sensitive to their venom.

How do you know if you have an ant infestation?  

If you find your food covered in ants or find ants inside your pets’ food dish that is a sign that you could have a problem. Normally you can spot an infestation when you see a group of ants gathering on the kitchen countertops, climbing up walls and doors, or crawling on the trash can but ants can also be subtle at first with one or two emerging at a time. Another indication is suddenly seeing saw dust trails or piles of dirt that are actually nests in your home or garden area. To prevent unwanted guests you should have your home treted three to four times per year.

How Quickly Can Ant Infestations Spread?

Many homeowners try to tackle an ant infestation on their own by using perimeter sprays or ant bait. Ant infestations should be taken seriously and addressed quickly. Ants can multiply by the thousands in just a matter of days with up to 10,000 ants in a colony. Ants are likely to spread quicker if there is a food source to nourish the workers they will divide and conquer a number of areas around your house both indoors and outside.

The most effective way to combat ants is to hire an expert exterminator. A licensed pest control professional like St. Petersburg, Florida-based Regional Termite & Pest Control can help you identify the species of ant quickly. In fact, they offer free inspections so you’ll know exactly what you’re dealing with and how to get rid of them.

Serving the greater Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Ocala and their surrounding areas, Regional Termite & Pest Control offers both annual and quarterly pest control services for homes, offices, hotels, restaurants, retail shops, and health care practices to name a few.