There are more than 10000 kinds of ants. Ants are able to lift a weight that is 20 times their own weight. They lack ears and hear by feeling ground vibrations through their feet. As they forage, they tend to leave a pheromone trail that helps them know where they’ve been. These insects have no lungs but have a porous body for breathing. Common types are fire ants and carpenter ants.
Fire ants or Red imported Ants: They are generally more aggressive than other species. They have a painful sting and live in telltale mounds of nests. These ants live in colonies and can adapt to many climatic conditions. They are a nuisance since they create their mounds everywhere. During attacks, they use mandibles to tightly hold the prey then through their stem, inject venom.
Carpenter ants: they build nests on wood and cause much damage to the house. Their colonies are established by the fertilized queens. These ants feed on insects, nectar and sugary foods. They build nests on dump wood.
Ants undergo a complete life cycle: eggs, larvae, pupae and adult.
Eggs: All female ants lay eggs apart from the female workers who are sterile. After the birth of queens, they are made to fly from the nest to the air where they mate with the male ants. Afterward, the queen secures a safe place for laying eggs. The eggs are tiny, almost with a diameter of 0.5mm and are oval and white in color. Their surfaces are sticky to facilitate bonding and formation of a mass which is transported by workers.
Larvae: After 7 to 14 days, larvae hatch from the laid eggs. They are transparent and white. They repeatedly molt and grow hair. These hooked hairs permit them to attach themselves hence easily carried by workers. The adult works provide the larvae with regurgitated juices and food.
Pupa: After completion of all the skin molts, larvae turns into pupae after a month. Pupae are waxy and white with folded antennae and legs.
Adult: This is the last growth stage. The pupa becomes an adult after 6 to 10 weeks. Female ants hatch from fertilized eggs while the unfertilized eggs hatch into male ants. The newborns are dark and after a few hours, their exoskeletons harden.
Fire ants are destructive pests and have economic, social and environmental impacts. Socially, the fire ants attack and repeatedly sting. The ants move fast in large groups and undetected. They attack humans and begin to stinging at once. The stings are painful and cause burning itchiness. Multiple stings make one feel as if on fire. Those stung should seek medical attention; the stinging can result into an allergic reaction and if the blisters from the stings are broken, a secondary infection may occur. The effects of the stings can be reduced by applying a cold press to provide a swelling or pain relief, wash the area affected with soap and rinse, and seek medical attention for those allergic to stings.
Fire ants affect outdoor lifestyle. In some regions in the infested areas, people have had to change their habits to be safe from the ants. People can’t walk barefoot, stand for a long time or lie on the ground since they’ll be stung.
- i) Keep the house clean keep, the kitchen, and other places with food stuff. Ants are always attracted to food sources. After meals, ensure that all food particles are swept away and all dishes washed. The food that remains should be kept well covered or in the fridge.
- ii) Regularly empty dustbins and keep trash cans away from the house.
- i) Sprinkle cayenne pepper on the ants nest or near openings that they use to enter the home.
- ii) Blend water with citrus peelings and spray in areas infested with the ants. A mixture of water and white vinegar can also be sprayed
iii) Place grits on ants’ paths. Ants will die as they eat them since they are dehydrators that will absorb water from the ant’s body.
Advantage of pest control done by a pest control company
The pest control company is qualified and knows the most appropriate methods of eliminating ants. Homeowners are likely to apply ineffective control measures.
Benefits of ants
As much as they are harmful, ants are also beneficial to humans, just as the earthworms are. Through their tunneling, the soil is well aerated. Some ant species feed on harmful pests that are detrimental to crops. When the tunnels get deep in the ground, ants make some chambers through which oxygen seeps into the ground, spreads in the tunnels and supply oxygen to the soil as well as plant roots.
They also take back organic substances to their nests which add nutrients to the soil. The large diverse diet of ants is useful since they contribute to decomposition. They also remove waste products that would have rotten and gotten infected with diseases.
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