In the first part of our post on Houston ant prevention we talked about two common types of ants that are common to our region. Today we cover two more types that can be painful for Houston residents and destructive to our property, “Crazy” ants (AKA “Rasberry” ants) and Carpenter ants. Crazy Ants In infested areas around the Houston area, large numbers of crazy ants have caused great annoyance to residents and businesses. These pests were first noticed around 2002 by exterminator Tom Rasberry and are now synonymous with this name. In some situations, it has become uncomfortable for residents to enjoy time in their yards due to infestation from Rasberry crazy ants. Companion animals may, in some cases, avoid the outdoors as well. Crazy ants do not have stingers however they can excrete chemicals for defense or attack. They are capable of biting, and when bitten, they cause a relatively sharp pain that quickly fades. A defining characteristic of the crazy ant is it does not walk in the normal “straight line” as other ants. In areas infested by the crazy ant, large numbers of ants have accumulated in electrical equipment, causing short circuits and clogging switching mechanisms causing equipment failure. In some cases the ants have caused several thousand dollars in damage and remedial costs so keep in mind, ants are not just a nuisance pest. Pro-Active Crazy Ant Prevention:
- Team up with your neighbors to tackle the problem as a group. This is practical because surviving ants can easily move to a neighboring yard.
- Maintain a regular maintenance schedule.
- Ant material application in the fall will result in fewer ants in the spring
Carpenter Ants The most common species is black, but some have reddish or yellowish coloration and is normally larger in size from other ants. Carpenter ants can reside both outdoors and indoors in moist, decaying or hollow wood. While they do not eat the wood, they are still causing damage by hollowing out and cutting “galleries” into the wood grain to provide passageways for movement from section to section of the nest. Tell-tale clues of infestation can be the “sawdust” left behind that indicates possible nesting location. Carpenter ants can be found in dead trees, rotting logs and tree stumps and other deteriorating wood but their colonies may extend to healthy wood, as well. Decks, house porch pillars and roofs, windowsills and wood that comes in contact with soil are also know to attract carpenter ants. Proper identification and treatment are important as incorrect procedures may allow the colony to “rebound” when surviving member resume their burrowing and foraging. Left unnoticed and untreated for several years, they may cause significant structural damage. Pro-Active Carpenter Ant Prevention:
- Resist the urge to squash the carpenter ants that you see. Following them around, and noting if they are carrying may food provide information on where the nest site is located and keep in mind, may be foraging and can be found up to 300ft from the nest.
- Look for entry holes or evidence of sawdust. Activity can be minimal during the day and are most active bewteen dawn and dusk.
- Limit carpenter ant access to your home. Trim tree branches and overgrown bushes back so they don’t touch the home. Cut down diseased trees. Stack firewood piles away from your home.
- Carpenter ants are searching for a sugar or protein souce to eat. Store food in sealed containers and sweep frequently to pick up errant crumbs. If you have a pet, put away or get rid of food when your pet is done eating
- Correct sources of dampness inside and out of the home. Rotting or damp wood attracts carpenter ants.
If you don’t think you’re up to the job of dealing with an ant problem on your own and need professional help, please contact Bio Tech Pest Control for ant control in Houston, TX.