Why It's Important to Consult Professionals When Dealing With Ant Infestations In Houston, TX
When discussing frustrating pests in Houston, several species may come to mind. From cockroaches to rodents, homeowners in Texas must overcome dozens of pest problems to live their best lives.
One of the most frustrating pests of all includes the humble ant. Ants are six-legged insects found in almost any human environment, both inside and outside the home. Ants can survive in the cracks of driveways, around sidewalks, near home foundations, and front or back gardens. Due to their large numbers and surprising prevalence, ants are perhaps some of the most recognized pests in the United States.
There are several different kinds of ants common to Houston. Many of them are easily identified by their exterior characteristics, including their six legs, elbowed antenna, and three segmented body parts. However, some other characteristics differ by species. Here is a shortlist of the most common ant species in the Houston area, along with their assigned characteristics:
Fire Ants Are small, bright red insects, usually no more than 1/8 to 1/4 an inch in size. Despite their small bodies, these ants pack quite a punch. They are known for having one of the most painful stings in the insect kingdom.
Pavement Ants: Are 2.5 to 3 millimeter long insects that are native to England. Their petite bodies allow them to fit into almost any space, including the gaps underneath the pavement and around sidewalks. They can live for up to five years and are best identified by their large dirt piles mounded over sidewalks and driveways.
Carpenter Ants: At 13 to 17 millimeters long, carpenter ants are some of the largest ant species in the world. Carpenter ants have all-black exoskeletons and can often be found scouting near the inside and outside of the home. Keep an eye out for their ‘swarmers’ during the springtime, carpenter ants with large, functional wings.
Ants are classified in the Formicidae family and are related to stinging insects such as bees and wasps. They are known for infesting in huge colonies, sometimes hundreds of thousands of members strong. There are ant species found on every continent except Antarctica and some smaller Pacific Islands such as Polynesia.
Let’s look at each of these ant species and identify just why these ants are so difficult to remove without professional intervention.
Why Ant Colonies Are Almost Impossible To Remove Without Help
There are many reasons why you might find an ant colony around your home or business. For one thing, ants are a ubiquitous sight around the southern half of the United States. This is mostly due to warm weather and high levels of humidity that are indigenous to the area.
Large concentrations of ants are easy to spot in our sandy Texas soil. What's more, the humid weather and mild winters of our state can prevent frost and other natural population limiters from keeping ant populations low. This is one of the many reasons ant populations skyrocket out of control within a few short weeks.
Due to their formidable numbers and small bodies, ants have the potential to outlast almost any natural disaster, including flooding, fires, and deforestation. These insects will be happy to crop up almost anywhere and not deter predators and other hostilities. If they have a safe place for their queen and a steady food supply, these pests will make little effort to move on or away.
Here are a few other facts you should know about local ant infestations:
Queen ants can survive for many seasons, not just one. Some estimates suggest that these pests can give birth to millions of young within their lifetime.
Ant species hunker deep underground, sometimes in awkward or hard-to-reach places. No matter how hard you try, you will not be able to nab the entire infestation.
Many ant species have hard exoskeletons and firm exterior protections. This means that many of the ants you deal with daily are immune or strongly protected against over-the-counter sprays, baits, and traps.
Ants need minimal amounts of food to feed their colonies. Unlike humans, who need to consume large amounts of food relatively frequently, ants require only a few crumbs, drink spills, or insect finds. They can be sustained on a small number of calories each day.
Every year in the early spring, ants perform what is known as ‘budding’ or ‘hive splitting.’ Sexually mature ants known as alates will fly around and find a new mate, settling down to build their own colony. In other situations, ant colonies will completely split in half, creating two colonies out of one. After a few years, the number of ants around your property could rise exponentially.
Getting rid of ants on your own is no small feat. This is another reason why many of their dangers become so large and difficult to manage all at once.
The Many Dangers Of Houston Ant Infestations
Many of us think that ant species are frustrating yet harmless pests to find around the yard and garden. However, this is not necessarily true. Not only are ants extremely frustrating creatures, but they also have the potential to destroy your lawn, garden, and home.
Ants have the power to lift 20 times their own body weight. That’s equivalent to a second grader lifting an entire car. This strength allows them to gain access to many 'off-limits' areas in their environment. If pests like ants want to make their way into your home, all they need is an entry point and the temptation of food.
Did you know that Houston ants have the ability to transmit disease and illness just by walking around? It’s true! In fact, some ant species in our area are classified as dangerous animals by professional etymologists.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the dangers and damages caused by local ant species:
Adults, pets, and children who are allergic to ant stings could wind up needing serious medical care. Pain, swelling, and difficulty breathing are some of the symptoms associated with anaphylactic shock, many of which will require a doctor's attention in your area. If you think or know that you have been attacked by an ant and have a history of allergic reactions, please seek treatment immediately.
Certain ant species, including the Pharaoh ant, have been known to spread disease and illness simply by walking across a surface. These ants can damage or severely injure people, pets, and properties by carrying secondhand illnesses from place to place. Hospitals and other inpatient facilities are extremely concerned about the possibility of staph infections, food contamination, and bacterial spread from ant species.
Carpenter ants may not necessarily consume the wood in which they live, but they certainly make short work of the grains inside. This ant species has the ability to tear into dozens of different types of wood, from firewood to paneling to family heirlooms. If this ant species gets inside your home, you will need to find a solution right away.
Houston ants are present everywhere, from our homes and businesses to our own backyards. This makes avoiding their activity and many dangers even harder to do. It only takes a single ant to lead a whole colony inside your business. With such a long growing season, ants can continue to wreak havoc across lawns and gardens for almost 12 months out of the year.
Most over-the-counter ant sprays or do-it-yourself (DIY) traps don’t have the strength to eradicate entire infestations. In this case, their dangers only continue to rise with time. If you are concerned about the presence of ant activity in or around your Houston home, you may want to start with these helpful prevention steps.
Ant Prevention Tips In Houston, TX
The best way to keep rampaging ants from gaining access to your home is by creating a set of prevention and protection steps. There is a wide range of techniques available, from hands-on methods to set-and-forget. However, the best possible forms of ant control stem from creating a lawn that is hostile to pest species and their pest prey.
Check out these helpful and prevention tips for Houston, TX homeowners:
Start by ridding your home of food sources that may be attracting ants. Store all food items and their ingredients inside strong glass or plastic containers. If you have the opportunity to wash food prep counters at least twice per day, do so immediately.
Mop, sweep and vacuum the floors regularly. Frequent cleaning and sanitation will make it easier to keep ants out and prevent any future infestations from dropping by.
All water sources near the home must be addressed as soon as possible. For this list, we are considering both indoor and outdoor sources. Dips, potholes, or ditches in the yard should be filled with topsoil right away. Address any leaky drains or clogged pipes with regular household maintenance. If you are still concerned about the moisture inside your home, invest in a dehumidifier.
Caulk seal all cracks and gaps around the premises, particularly those near entry points such as doors and windows. Waterproof sealants are best for long-lasting results and ongoing solutions. If you feel that you do not have the skill or time necessary for this task, consider hiring a professional as soon as possible.
If any problems continue to get in the way, or if they become too difficult to manage alone, the team at Modern Pest Control may be able to help.
How The Modern Pest Control Ant Program Keeps Houston Safe
Since our company’s founding, the award-winning crew at Modern Pest Control has been a strong provider of ant treatment and management services for homeowners all over Houston, TX. We have been helping thousands of homeowners approach, get, and stay ant-free with just a few initial treatment services. We help service both homes and businesses within the Houston area, making it easier than ever to identify infestations before they occur.
Modern Pest Control offers an ant control program that keeps Houston safe in many ways. Each of our adaptable programs is pillared with three unique treatment steps:
We begin by inspecting your entire property for signs of ants or ant colonization. This includes the interior and exterior of your home, as well as the property perimeter. We leave no stone unturned and no item unchecked on our ant treatment checklist!
Next, one of our qualified representatives will speak with you about your ant control options and add-ons. We offer several treatment approaches, from cultural controls and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to affordable sprays and baiting traps.
Once you decide on the program that’s right for you, Modern Pest Control will visit your property to apply all treatment methods and options. If this first visit weren’t enough to manage your entire pest concern, our Houston representatives would return to treat your home again – absolutely free!
It’s certainly no secret that ant prevention can be one of the most difficult tasks for home and business owners. But armed with the above prevention tips, as well as Modern Pest Control's ongoing assistance, you can keep them away for years to come.
Learn more about the future of ant control in Houston by contacting the crew at Modern Pest Control. We are committed to developing treatments, services, and solutions you can count on. Submit an online contact form to get a free quote right away!