Are Fire Ants an Issue in Virginia?

fire ant controlFire ants are an invasive species of ant that are spreading throughout the United States. They do better in warmer climates, so they tend to be found in the southern parts of the United States more than the northern parts.  They can be found from California to Florida and are pushing a bit more north every year.

Fire Ants in Virginia Beach

Fire ants have been reported around Roanoke and Richmond and in areas near Virginia Beach. They are growing more each year and may be an issue in your yard. Fire ant colonies can be quite extensive with large tunneling systems. They have been an issue in Virginia Beach and the Hampton Roads area. It is important to understand the threats that fire ants can pose.

Dangers of Fire Ants

The biggest danger of fire ants is there bite, which stings. When fire ants bite, it will leave a large welt. Often people are bitten by several fire ants at nearly the same time, and when they are disturbed, many fire ants will attack at once. Fire ant bites can cause a serious allergic reaction in some people. They will also attack and eat small animals.  People who have been bitten by a fire ant never forget how strong the sting is. It can take a while for the stinging to go away and then bite can be painful for a while.

Spotting Fire Ants

Usually you will see the fire ant mounds before you see the ants themselves. The mounds can be quite large almost, a foot hide and about eighteen inches in diameter. They will start out smaller and look like sandy piles. Fire ant mounds do not have holes in the top of them. Fire ants are reddish brown and larger than most ants. If you see fire ants, you should steer clear. Be careful of stepping on the mounds. If find the mounds, you should keep your family members clear of the area until you can treat the area.

Treating Fire Ants

Fire ants can be difficult to treat because they will flee the mound you are treating through their extensive tunneling system. They will then build a new colony and mounds somewhere else in your yard. A professional can be sure to completely eliminate the fire ants for you. In order to eliminate the colony, you need to be sure to kill the queen and be sure that you treat all the possible mounds and tunnels that they have created.

Facts About Carpenter Ants

ant controlCarpenter ants are different from the typical household ants in a few different ways. If you have carpenter ants, you will need to take steps now to deal with them because they can cause damage to your home that is similar to the damage that termites cause. Here are interesting facts about carpenter ants.

1. Carpenter Ants Size

Carpenter ants are bigger than the ants you may normally see around your home. They are between a quarter and a half inch in length. Many of the other household ants do not get longer than one sixteenth inch in length. The size difference makes the carpenter ants appear gigantic in comparison.

2. Carpenter Ants Homes

Carpenter ants get their name because they build their homes inside of wood. They do not eat wood the way that termites do, but they will build their nests inside dead wood, and when they do this they can weaken the structure of your home. They can be difficult to find because the damage is done behind the drywall or in areas that you may not see. They will also build nests inside the wood a termite colony already ate through.

3. Carpenter Ants Strength

Carpenter ants can lift more than seven times their own weight. Some people estimate that it can be up to fifty times their own weight. Either way that is a massive amount of weight to carry. The ants can also work together to help move objects.

4. Carpenter Ants Have a Long Life

The queens can live up to twenty-five years. The longer the queen leaves, the bigger the colony. They will even create satellite colonies that can stretch over large areas. This means that they can overtake your entire home.

5. Carpenter Ants Can Bite

Some species of carpenter ants have venom and the bite can sting similar to that of fire ants. Even if the carpenter ants in your home do not have venom, the bites can still hurt and cause welts. They may offer spray a sort of glue if they feel threatened. The glue is toxic and can hurt other insects and may even bother you.Learn the difference between carpenter ants and termites

5 Ways to Prevent Ants

antsAnts are a common household pest. If you see just one, many more are sure to follow until you see a steady stream of ants moving in and out of your home all day long. It is important to prevent ants from coming into your home. Here are five steps you can take to stop ants from invading your home.

1. Seal Windows and Other Cracks

Ants can come in your home through the smallest cracks around your windows or under your door. You can use caulk to seal the areas around your windows. You can add a plastic weather seal to your doors to make sure they are closing tightly. This has the bonus of stopping drafts too. It is important to remember that even the smallest space can allow ants in. Trace the ants back to the source to figure out where you need to apply additional caulking for deal with cracks.

2. Keep It Clean

Ants are coming in to your home in search of food. If the ants do not find anything to eat they will not come back. Be sure to store your food securely so that they do not get into it. Additionally, make sure you keep your kitchen and other areas clean. Wiping down your counters after you prepare food and doing the dishes right away will mean that the ants will not find anything to eat and will not come into your home. Sweeping in your kitchen and limiting the areas where you allow food in your home can also help, as well as taking out your trash each night.

3. Fix Your Plumbing

Ants are also looking for a steady source of water. A dripping faucet or leaking pipes may be just what they are looking for. If you find any area with a small, slow leak, be sure to address it before it becomes a serious problem. It may be as simple as changing out a washer in your faucet. If you think there may be more serious leaks, you can call a plumber to complete an inspection for you.

4. Put Up Barriers

You can put up barriers to keep ants out of your home. This can be as simply as applying a desiccant powder around your home or in front of doors or other areas where ants may be coming into the home. You can place animal safe ant traps around the exterior of your home to prevent them from coming into your home.  Salt is another option that will not harm your pets or children. It is not quite as effective as desiccant powder, but it also dries out the ants.

5. Stop the Problem Before It Becomes Serious

If you do see ants, the best way to get rid of them for good is to kill the queen. There are a variety of traps and sprays that can do this, but if you have pets or small children, you may be worried about leaving these out. The best solution is to call the professionals at EcoTek to come in and deal with the issue for you. EcoTek offers free inspections and estimates to help you deal with any unwelcome pests in and around your home.Learn more about ant extermination