What types of ants are common in Texas?
It can be a mystery when you find ants inside your home or when you see them building mounds near your home. If they're climbing around in your kitchen by the hundreds, you may be scratching your head, wondering how they got in—or what lured them in. When you see them creating mounds near your walls, it can have you wondering if they are carpenter ants that are damaging your home from the inside out. Here are a few facts you should know about ants to help you solve the mysteries of why you are seeing ants, what type of ants you're seeing and, most importantly, what they might be doing that could damage your home or lead to sickness.
Red imported fire ants are small to medium sized ants originally introduced from South America. With no known predators and an aggressive nature that has them on the attack, fire ants are not an ant you want on your property. These biting, stinging ants have been known to attack people, wildlife and machinery and are very hard to get rid of.
Very small in size, rover ants are pale yellow to blackish-brown in color and have relatively large eyes compared to the size of their heads. Another introduced species, rover ants are thought to have originated from Argentina. Though they are not aggressive in nature, rover ants do have a tendency to invade properties in large numbers and are often drawn to homes and structures and specifically areas that have moisture or fungal decay issues. Most active during the spring and summer seasons, rover ants are difficult to control because they travel great distances and are known for their speed in infesting properties.
Tawny Crazy Ants
First discovered around Houston in 2002, tawny crazy ants (also known as Rasberry crazy ants) arrived in Texas from South America. Reddish-brown ants, tawny ants are often recognizable by the way they move. Rather than traveling in a straight line, these small, uniformly-sized ants follow a zig-zag like pattern. Since their arrival, tawny crazy ants have spread like wildlife and often show up on a property in huge numbers. Though these ants do not have stingers, they are capable of biting and are an annoyance to property owners trying to enjoy their yards. They also infest and damage electrical equipment and displace other ants and wildlife, and have even caused grasslands to dry out.
Though there are several species of carpenter ants, most are native to the United States. Large ants, they prefer moist, humid environments and will infest homes and structures, creating nests and searching for food. Carpenter ants do not eat wood but they do cause extensive damage while working on colony expansion. Often mistaken for termites (and vice versa), it is important to note that termites do eat wood while carpenter ants only tunnel through it to create galleries. If you discover holes with sawdust or “frass” on the floor below, you likely have carpenter ant infestations.
Are ants dangerous?
Yes and no. Really it depends on the species. As mentioned above, some types of ants are capable of biting or stinging people, pets and wildlife and may be considered a health risk. Some damage machinery, equipment and structures while others are more of annoyance.
Where do ants nest?
Ants nest in a variety of places, both inside and outside, depending on their type. Fire ants create mounds in open, sunny yards, fields, and golf courses, and avoid shady wooded areas.
Outside, rover ants usually nest underneath of stones, leaf litter, and landscaping ties, inside loose bark found at the bottom of trees, and in sandy areas like beaches. Inside, rover ants are attracted to areas where moisture is present including potted plants, bathrooms, kitchens, and behind wall voids.
Tawny crazy ants create nests outside under landscape ties, mulch, stones, bricks, and organic debris like leaf litter. These ants are also found inside nesting behind walls and in potted plants among other places.
Outside, carpenter ants nest in wooded areas, in dead trees and stumps, and other moist, humid environments. Inside, they nest in wall voids, in crawl spaces, window and door frames, and other places where there is wood damaged by water.
Does modern pest control offer ant control?
Yes, we do! When you contact Modern for ant control in Houston, Katy or elsewhere in our service area, a licensed pest control technician will inspect your property to identify what type of ant problem you have, what conditions are attracting them and then develop a plan of action that results in an ant-free home or business! Visit our ant control page to learn more about our five-step process for getting rid of ants or simply contact us for more information.
How can I prevent ant infestations?
Preventing ants starts with making your property unappealing to these pests. This may include modifications to the exterior of your structure and yard as well as changes on the inside. Here are few ant prevention tips our Greater Houston pest control team has put together.
Exterior Ant Prevention
- Reduce areas of moisture around your home by ensuring that gutters are debris-free and working properly to direct water away from your home.
- Seal any cracks or gaps on the outside of the structure.
- Fix any leaky outdoor faucets and fixtures.
- Remove piles of organic debris, fallen trees, downed tree limbs, and like items.
- Make sure that outdoor trash cans have tight fitting or locking lids on them; place the trash cans up off of the ground.
- Trim back trees, bushes, and other landscaping back so that they don’t touch the exterior of the house or building.
- Install a barrier between lawn and the foundation.
- Before bringing potted plants inside from the outside, inspect them for signs of ants and other insect activity.
Indoor Ant Prevention
- Check screens that are in doors and window making sure that they are completely intact, replacing any that are not.
- Fix leaking pipes, fixtures and appliances.
- Replace any wood damaged by water.
- Clean up food crumbs and spills as soon as they occur.
- Routinely clean-out behind and under the oven, fridge and other appliances.
- Take trash out regularly.
- Store food in sealed containers or in the fridge.