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Ants

Ants 2017-01-29T14:24:26+00:00

The biomass of ants on the planet outweighs that of humans, so it’s no surprise that ants account for more pest control complaints than any other insect. Landmark’s technicians can make all the difference between success and failure because they are specially trained to control ant infestations at their source.

Landmark pinpoints the colony’s food, water, and harborage, identifies structural deficiencies, and seals up access points. Our green methodology utilizes baits tailored to the way ants feed. Our methods target the colony’s queen because without her the colony cannot survive.

Problems Associated with Ants

  • Ants contaminate food and transmit diseases.
  • Ants such as the carpenter ant can weaken the integrity of structures by hollowing them out to form nests.
  • Ants gnaw holes in rubber, fabric, and the insulation on wires.
  • Some ants sting or bite
  • Ants can gnaw into plant beds, defoliate plants, and steal seeds from seed beds.
  • Ants have a symbiotic relationship with aphids allowing them to proliferate and destroy your plants.

Identification

The four most prolific species of ant in Illinois are Odorous House ants, Carpenter ants, Pharaoh ants, and Pavement ants.  Ants are a social species of insect and live in communities that consist of at least one queen, many female workers, and a few males.

Ants differ in their behavior, habits, and biology. When assessing any ant infestation, it is important to work with a Landmark professional who can assess the infestation by first properly identifying the infesting species.

Odorous House Ants

This ant species can be easily identified by its signature odor. When crushed, the Odorous House ant gives off a scent that some people think is reminiscent of turpentine, while others have described it as smelling like ammonia. These ants are very small, about 1/10th inch in length. This species can be difficult to control because its colonies generally contain multiple egg laying queens, resulting in vast numbers of ants which spread when part of the colony breaks off, or “buds” to form its own colony, or when part of the colony decides to swarm.

Carpenter Ants

Despite their name, Carpenter ants do not actually consume wood. Rather, they hollow it out to form tunnels and chambers where they can nest. Carpenter ants may be up to a half an inch in length, but typically, these insects range from 1/16th to 1/8th inches in length. The most common color of Carpenter ant is black.  They have large mandibles that can deliver a painful bite. Other distinguishing characteristics of the Carpenter ant include a single bump on their waist called a “node.” Popular Carpenter ant nesting sites include fence posts, firewood piles, decaying trees, porches, roofing, sub-flooring, doors, wall voids, insulation, and around water sources like tubs, dishwashers, showers and sinks.

Pharaoh Ants

The Pharaoh ant is orange-brown to yellow in color with a transparent or yellowish tint, about 1/16th inch long, and has two nodes on its waist. Despite their small size, Pharaoh ant colonies can contain thousands of members with multiple queens. Unlike other ant species, Pharaoh ants don’t swarm.  Instead they engage in a process known as “budding” in which a part of the colony will break off and migrate when the colony comes under stress.  Pharaoh ant colonies can also be difficult to find because colony members can range more than 150 feet from their nest. These behaviors can make Pharaoh ants particularly difficult to treat without proper experience or professional tools.

Pavement Ants

The Pavement ant is most easily identified by parallel lines visible on the top of its head and thorax. About 1/16th inch long, the Pavement ant has pale legs and antennae and ranges in color from red-brown to black. Pavement ants prefer to develop their colonies beneath rocks or in pavement cracks, excavating sand from crevices in asphalt and concrete.  This helps to control the climate and airflow in the colony. Pavement ants can infest insulation, walls, and floors and are often seen under rocks and stones. They may enter structures through small cracks and crevices.

Ants with Wings

To facilitate the establishing of new colonies, queen and male ants develop wings. They are called alates after this happens.  These queens and males fly away from the colony to reproduce and start colonies of their own.

Because they are similar in size and color, alate ants are frequently misidentified as termites.  To tell the difference between these species, one should look at the body shape.  An ant’s waist is pinched – which creates three separate body segments – its antennae are bent, and it has a set of double wings that are unequal in length.  Termite bodies are straight, their antennae are straight, and their set of double wings are equal in length.