Ants

What are ants?

Ants are common household invaders and are actually closely related to bees and wasps. The reproductive members of the colony are winged, while the workers are not. Ants have three distinct body regions: the head, thorax, and abdomen. They also have antennae. Depending on the specific species, ants can range from tiny (⅛ an inch) to large (½ an inch). Ants come in a variety of colors, including black, brown, red, and yellow.

a colony of fire ants swarming an anthill outside in houston texas

Some of the most common species of ants living in Houston, Texas are carpenter ants, fire ants, and pharaoh ants.

Carpenter ants
Carpenter ants are some of the largest ants to invade homes. They are typically black in color, with some having reddish or yellowish markings. Workers have large, strong mandibles that they use to tunnel through wood. Carpenter ants do not feed on wood like termites, they only use it for creating their tunnels and nesting galleries in.

Fire ants
Fire ants are a small species of ant and are reddish-brown in color. Despite their small size, fire ants are dangerous because of their highly aggressive nature. They deliver painful stings to any person or animal they view as a threat.

Pharaoh ants
Pharaoh ants have pale yellow to light brown-colored bodies. Their abdomens are darker, almost black in color. These ants live in large colonies and are difficult to control due to their ability to "bud" and establish new colonies.

Are ants dangerous?

Pharaoh ants, fire ants, and carpenter ants are all considered to be dangerous ants, but for different reasons. Carpenter ants don’t pose any direct threats to people, but they do have the potential to significantly damage the structure of any home they have invaded. Carpenter ants find their way into homes while foraging for food, and once inside, they often stay and create satellite nests near their newfound food source. If not eliminated quickly, the tunnels and nests they create weaken a home’s structural integrity.

Both pharaoh ants and fire ants pose health risks to people. Pharaoh ants spread many serious diseases, including salmonella and Streptococcus. They commonly invade restaurants, hospitals, and homes. Inside hospitals, they are known for invading patient wounds and intravenous lines. Fire ants are aggressive and attack people with their painful stings for simply walking by their nest. Their venom is strong enough to cause serious allergic reactions, and in the case of a large attack, may trigger anaphylaxis.

Why do I have an ant problem?

Ants are on your property or inside your home because it is providing them with a comfortable place to live, in addition to food and water. Gardens, trashcans, compost areas, pet food, and outdoor eating areas all attract ants. Once on your property, ants will quickly find their way into your home while foraging for food. They can get inside through cracks in the foundation, through spaces around doors and windows, and through any other tiny openings they discover.

Where will I find ants?

Ants live in a variety of locations, including in suburban, urban, and rural areas. Fire ants live outdoors in open sunny areas and are rarely found nesting inside homes. Carpenter ants and pharaoh ants do commonly nest inside homes and other buildings. Ants living outside nest in many locations: underneath soil and under mulch, in piles of wood, in cracks along pavement and sidewalks, along fence lines, and in garden areas. They may also build their nest underneath fallen trees, in tree limbs, landscaping ties, or inside tree stumps. Ants that have moved indoors to nest often choose the following spots: under floors, behind baseboards, inside insulation, in crawlspaces and wall voids, and in structural wood (carpenter ants). Some species like to build nests behind large appliances and heating systems.

How do I get rid of ants?

The best way to solve your property’s ant problem is to partner with a local pest control company. When you partner with Cantu Pest & Termite, our knowledgeable and friendly professionals will provide the comprehensive services needed to eliminate ants and prevent their return. With over 30 years in the pest control industry, we are proud to offer all our customers with dependable, affordable, and eco-friendly residential and commercial pest control solutions. To learn more about eliminating ants and other household pests from your Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, or surrounding area home, reach out to Cantu!

How can I prevent ants in the future?

In addition to our professional pest control services, the following tips can help to prevent problems with ants on your Texas property:

  • Limit food sources by making sure trashcans and compost bins have tight-fitting lids on them.

  • Reduce moisture levels by making sure gutters are directing water away from your home.

  • Place gardens away from the outside of your home.

  • Make sure all door and window screens are intact.

  • Pick-up uneaten pet food, and maintain outdoor eating areas.

  • Repair leaky pipes and use dehumidifiers inside your home.

  • Place woodpiles a distance away from the outside of your home.

  • Place weather stripping around windows and doors, and place door sweeps on all exterior doors.

  • Seal as many entry points as possible. Caulk cracks and crevices in the foundation and exterior walls.

  • Create a stone barrier of at least 12 to 18 inches between your home's foundation and any grass or mulch.

 

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