Punxsutawney Phil may have predicted 6 more weeks of winter, but he forgot to inform the ants of this. With thousands of species of ant worldwide, there are generally only four species that are bothersome here in St. Louis; and they are definitely on the move. After spending the past few months tucked away, these pests are antsy (pardon the pun) and ready to begin their spring rituals.
In order to avoid spending your spring and summer months battling these pests on a daily basis, now is the time to act. With effective control measures, ants can be kept out of your kitchen and pantry and out in the wild where they belong. But, you must get a handle on these pests before they have grown their numbers and before they find a way inside your home. The first step in controlling ants is to properly identify them and to understand that not all ants are created equal. While all species are looking for food, water, and shelter, not all breeds have the same standards in these areas.
Carpenter ants, for example, can be active year-round if they have established their colony inside the temperature-controlled comfort of your home. These pests will tunnel through wooden structural beams causing them to weaken over time. These are the largest ants you are likely to see, growing up to an inch in length. They are black, red, yellow, or a combination of these colors. They require areas of high moisture to nest in. Carpenter ants feed on proteins and sugars and will contaminate pet food, meat, syrups, honey, and other sweets.
Small honey ants are likely to be the first species you encounter in spring. They are cold weather tolerant and become active when temperatures rise to just above freezing. These tiny ants are only about 1/8 inch in length and are a shiny shade of brown. They have a triangular shaped abdomen that is a darker shade of brown. These ants will enter your home to feed on sweets and liquids and will contaminate food sources. They are very difficult to control and eliminate.
Pharaoh ants are known for spreading diseases like salmonella and streptococcus, especially in hospital and healthcare settings. They are small ants that grow to around 1/16 of an inch and are typically pale red or yellow-brown with abdomens that appear black. They feed on sweets, oils, proteins, and dead insects and will quickly contaminate food sources. These ants live in very large colonies, sometimes numbering in the six digits. They love to nest inside behind baseboards, in wall voids, under floors, and in furniture. Because of their large numbers and their inaccessible nesting sites, these pests are all but impossible to eradicate without professional assistance.
Pavement ants are typically found nesting in the cracks of driveways or under sidewalks, concrete slabs, and foundations. They are a small species measuring only 1/8 inch in length. These pests can vary in color from dark brown to black. They feed on sweets, fruits, grease, and dead insects and are particularly drawn to garbage, crumbs, and spills. As with other ant species, these pests will easily contaminate food sources in your kitchen and pantry. It is also important to note that these ants are equipped with a stinger, but they rarely use it on people.
No matter which ant species is specific to your property, the answer to the problem lies with the trusted team of ant experts here at Rottler Pest & Lawn Solutions. Our highly trained professionals have an eye for ants and can quickly identify the species and discover their nesting sites, ensuring complete elimination. But the most effective way to avoid problems with ants in St. Louis and to keep them from returning is by choosing one of our year-round pest control programs. By partnering with Rottler for year-round protection, you can know that you are protected from ants and many other common invaders. Give us a call today to learn more about our ant control solutions, our year-round protection, or any of our other industry leading pest control options.