Argentine Ants: Colonies of Argentine ants are found throughout the southeastern parts of the U.S. and California usually in wet environments near a food source. Argentine ants do not pose a health threat, but they can contaminate food and give off a musty odor when crushed.
Carpenter Ants: This aggressive species of ant is found nationwide, especially in the northern region. Carpenter ants attack wood and can cause severe property damage, which is usually not covered by homeowners’ insurance.
Crazy Ants: First found in Texas in 2002, crazy ants have spread to other southern states, nesting in both dry and moist habitats. This species does not pose a health threat, but they can become a nuisance.
Odorous House Ants: This species is found in every region of the U.S. and commonly nests in basements, crawl spaces and adjacent structures. Odorous house ants do not pose a health risk, but they give off a strong, rotten coconut-like smell when crushed.
Pavement Ants: These black ants are found throughout the eastern portion of the U.S., and in California and Washington. They get their name from making nests in or under cracks in pavement. Pavement ants can contaminate food and should be avoided.
Red Imported Fire Ants: These red ants are found in the southeastern U.S., from Virginia to Texas, as well as California and New Mexico. They are commonly introduced to new areas through potted plants, shrubbery and trees. Fire ants will sting humans who disturb a nest, often causing painful welts.
What can a homeowner do to prevent termites?
- The most common types of termites love moisture, if you have any moisture around the foundation of your home, take steps to remove the moisture and eliminate the source.
- Divert water away with properly functioning downspouts, gutters and splash blocks.
- Reduce humidity in crawl spaces with proper ventilation.
- Prevent shrubs, vines and other vegetation from growing over and covering vents.
- Be sure to remove old form boards, grade stakes, etc., left in place after the building was constructed. Remove old tree stumps and roots around and beneath the building. Most importantly, eliminate any wood contact with the soil. An 18-inch gap between the soil and wood portions of the building is ideal.
- It doesn’t hurt to routinely inspect the foundation of your home for signs of termite damage.
What should a homeowner look for when selecting a PCO?
- A qualified and licensed pest management company that is a member of national, state or local pest management associations.
- Ask friends and neighbors to recommend companies they have used successfully.
- Buy value, not price.
- Before signing a contract, be sure to fully understand the nature of the pest to be controlled, the extent of the infestation, and the work necessary to solve the problem.
- Find out if the company has liability insurance to cover any damages to your house or furnishings during treatment.
- If a guarantee is given, know what it covers, how long it lasts, what you must do to keep it in force, and what kind of continuing prevention and management are necessary.
What do bedbugs look like?
They are brown, about a quarter of an inch in diameter, and look like an apple seed or a lentil.
Has there really been a resurgence in bedbugs in the U.S. and how do you know?
There HAS been an increase in bedbug infestations. Pest control companies who received 1 or 2 bedbug calls a year are now reporting 1 to 2 each week. According to 2010 research conducted by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) and the University of Kentucky, 95% of pest control companies report encountering a bed bug infestation in the past year. Prior to 2000, only 25% of pest control companies surveyed had encountered a bed bug infestation.
In addition, another survey by NPMA found that one in five Americans has had a bed bug infestation in their home or knows someone who has encountered bed bugs at home or in a hotel.
Where have you been finding the bedbugs?
These pests are not limited to any one specific type of environment. Pest control companies have been reporting infestations in both single and multi-family housing, apartments, hotels, hospitals, college dormitories, public transportation, laundry facilities and even movie theaters.
What states have been affected?
Pest control companies have reported bed bug activity on a national scale. Bedbugs are being found from the East to the West Coast; and everywhere in between. Every state has reported bedbug infestations.
Why are bedbugs so hard to treat?
Bedbugs should NOT be equated with filth or sanitation problems — in hotels or in homes, for that matter. Bedbugs are VERY elusive, transient and nocturnal pests. They are often found in other areas besides the bed, and they are hardy. They can live for a year or more without eating and can withstand a wide range of temperatures from nearly freezing to 122 degrees Fahrenheit.
Bedbugs CAN be controlled with vigilance, constant inspection and treatment by professional pest control companies.
What can a consumer do to protect themselves from bedbug infestations?
To prevent bedbug infestations, consumers need to be vigilant in assessing their surroundings. When returning from a trip, check your luggage and clothing. If you think you may have a bedbug infestation, contact a pest control professional. This is not a pest that can be controlled with do-it-yourself measures. To find a pest control professional in your area you can visit pestworld.org.
Why are bedbugs an issue for hotels, visitors, and homeowners?
Bedbugs leave itchy, bloody welts on human skin. Adult bedbugs can live for a year without eating, making them especially hard to control. Once inside a hotel or home, bedbugs spread rapidly from room to room – through pipes, in vacuum cleaners, on clothing and luggage. In a hotel, bedbugs can even spread to neighboring rooms, since guests are may end up moving to another room.
Are bedbugs just in beds?
Bedbugs are not just in beds. They can be in chair cushions, sofas, behind electrical outlets, cracks and crevices around baseboards, or even behind picture frames. In other words, they can live pretty much anywhere.
How does one control bedbugs?
Any effective bedbug control strategy should start with a careful, thorough inspection by a pest control professional of all known and suspected spots where the bugs may be harboring. This is not a pest that can be controlled effectively with do-it-yourself measures. As they are discovered, the pest control professional will develop a treatment and control strategy with the customer depending on the extent of the infestation.
So Long Sugar Ants
“Sugar Ants” can be used to describe any number of ants, but most particularly, Argentine ants or rover ants. Sugar Ants get their name because, you guessed it, they are fond of sweets. So much so that in their natural habitat they often herd honey dew producing bugs such as aphids.
In our homes, we see trails of tiny ants on our kitchen counters or floors, chances are, they are Sugar Ants. What can you do about them? Your best bet is to call in a professional to terminate the ants. Then, as said in an article on Sunherald.com, “get rid of what’s attracting them. What may seem to be a few loose granules of spilled sugar to you is a feast to foraging ants, especially ones as tiny as rover ants. The same can be said of crumbs from baked sweets—anything made with sugar.”
To sum it up, keep your sweets to yourself to keep Sugar Ants away!