Why Ants Are A Constant Problem For Houston Residents

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carpenter ant on leaf

Do the ants go marching one by one into your Houston property? Or do they invade by the hundreds and thousands? Whether you are seeing a few ants here and there outside or, worse, inside your Houston property, there may be a reason for concern. Today, we're going to discuss the more common ants in our area, the problems they bring with them, and what you as a home or business owner can do about this issue.

Rover Ants

These ants grow to be around 2.5 mm, vary in color from pale yellow to blackish-brown, and have relatively large eyes compared to their head size. They have an uneven thorax (with the front having a hump-like appearance) and unusual antennae which have only 9 segments rather than the 12 or more of most ant species.

Outdoors, these ants live in mulch, leaf litter, and trash piles, anywhere where there is lots of moisture. Rover ants are difficult to control because of the great speed they infest properties. Homeowners typically find them in bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms during the dry, hot summer months.

Although these ants do not damage wood, they can be a headache as they readily infest homes, businesses, and hospitals by constructing nests inside wall voids, containing hundreds and perhaps a few thousand individuals.

Tawny Crazy Ants

These ants made their appearance in Houston in 2002. Also known as Rasberry crazy ants, these are reddish-brown ants that grow to be around 3 mm long. The name "crazy" likely comes from the way they move, which is in a zig-zag pattern rather than in a straight line.

Since arriving in this area they have spread like wildfire and are common in outdoor urban areas, but they often move inside, looking for food, moisture, and shelter when the weather gets too hot and dry. They do not have stingers, but they are capable of biting. They sometimes infest and damage electrical equipment and can be a major annoyance in yards and in homes.

Fire Ants

Named for their color and painful stings, these ants are a reddish color and grow to be between 1.5 to 5 mm in length. They prefer to build colonies in warm, sunny, dry fields, and avoid shady areas. Often found in yards, fire ant colonies can grow large enough to extend across several properties.

Fire ants bite and sting. They use their mandibles to grip their prey and then inject venom through a stinger. These stings are painful for most people and can be fatal to those who have an allergy to the venom. Alkaloid venom is highly irritating to humans and causes red bumps and white pustules which can lead to scarring. Stings can cause intense burning and, since a colony may contain up to 500,000 insects, multiple stings are likely.

Carpenter Ants

These large black ants are among the largest in the U.S. ranging from 3.5 to 13 mm in length. Usually black, some species have reddish or yellowish coloration. Carpenter ants usually build nests in damp, decaying wood, and homes with moisture issues are prime targets for these ants.

These destructive ants will carve out tunnels and galleries inside the wood of a structure, possibly causing long-term damage if left unchecked. Carpenter ants cost U.S. property owners hundreds of millions of dollars annually.

Houston Perfect For Ants Year-Round

Since these ants prefer warm, moist weather, Houston is hospitable to them year-round with its hot summers and mild winters. But there are a few things homeowners can do in each season that will help keep them at bay.

  • Spring: Dry things up outside. This is a good time to clean up the yard of all leaf litter and other moist debris where ants can hide and thrive.
  • Summer: Seal things up outside. Summer is a good time to examine the outside of your structure and seal up all gaps, holes, and cracks you find.
  • Fall: Dry things up inside. Fixing leaky pipes or fixtures and using fans and/or dehumidifiers can help keep all moisture-loving pests at bay.
  • Winter: Seal things up inside. Keeping all foods inside refrigerators, freezers, or in sealed containers can help keep smells in and pests from entering into common areas and food storage locations.

Year-Round Protection From Ants And Other Household Pests

When it comes to ants inside Houston homes, especially wood-destroying ants that can cause costly structural and cosmetic damage over time, the best course of action is year-round pest control from a professional pest control company. With over 65 years of experience, you can trust that Modern Pest Control will take care of your ant problem, and any other pest issue you may be facing. Give us a call to get started.

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