1. Ants

What Is An Ant?

Ants are social insects belonging to the order of insects known as “Hymenoptera”. This is the same order containing bees and wasps. Ant problems are difficult for homeowners to deal with because they live in large communities.

These ants in the house depend upon each other for the survival of the entire colony. Ant colonies tend to form underground nests comprised of chambers and interconnecting tunnels.

This is where ants store food, lay eggs and maintain nurseries. There can be tens of thousands of ants in a single colony. There can also be several colonies inhabiting the soil or landscape surrounding a property. For that reason, ants can be a particularly difficult pest to eradicate.


Why Do I Have Them?

All ants share one primary task: to protect and care for the colony. This means they need food, moisture and shelter. A colony of ants may range from a few dozen to tens of thousands.

Outside ant nests are under wood piles, flagstone or brick patios and under rocks and garden stones. Ants in the house may nest in wall voids, behind insulation, or in or around wood already damaged by moisture.

You are most likely to find ants in the kitchen or invading your property elsewhere when they are foraging for food. Foraging ants account for only a small percentage (typically 10% or less) of the colony’s size.

It is important to understand that ants will travel extremely long distances in search of food or harborage. Once these foragers locate and establish a source of food, ants will produce a scent trail (by way of pheromones). The pheromone trail leads to and from the nest and provides direction for the ants to follow between the nest and food source. This is why you will often see ants like the odorous house ant, marching back and forth along one line with little or no deviation.


Are they dangerous?

In the Washington, MD and NOVA, most of the ant species dealt with fall into either one or two categories: nuisance pests or wood destroying insects (such as carpenter ants). Fire ants pose a series health threat in southern states as close as North Carolina and parts of Virginia.

Ants are really strong. They have the ability to carry between 10 and 50 times their own body weight.

Ants are really strong. They have the ability to carry between 10 and 50 times their own body weight.

Ants don't have lungs. Due to their small size, ants don’t have room for a complex respiratory system like mammals. Instead, they have their own ways of respiration to help transport oxygen around their bodies.

Ants don't have lungs. Due to their small size, ants don’t have room for a complex respiratory system like mammals. Instead, they have their own ways of respiration to help transport oxygen around their bodies.

Common Ant Questions

How do you tell ants apart from termites?

Many residents of the DC, Maryland and Northern Virginia see swarming insects on their property and are not sure whether they have a termite problem or an ant problem! Both types of insects will swarm, but if you can get a good luck at a few of the insects, there are some key differences. Ants have a distinct “pinched” waist, elbowed antennae and two pairs of wings of unequal size with visible veins. They have three distinct body segments, the head, thorax (middle) and abdomen. On the other hand, termites have two pairs of wings without visible veins that are of equal size and double the length of the body.

How do I get rid of ants?

Ants can be a particularly difficult pest to eradicate. That's due to the nature of their foraging habits and colony development. Because only a small percentage of ants within a colony are actively foraging for food, it is vitally important to inspect and locate where the ants are coming from. It is possible for ants to be foraging long distances and the nest may not be located within property boundaries. That is why it is important to call in the American Pest professionals for a thorough inspection. For optimal results, American Pest recommends our Preferred Care residential pest control services. This plan gets rid of ants and other common household invaders with regular treatment visits. It is a bi-monthly pest control service that is effective in preventing ant infestations. It is also backed by our Pest Free Pledge. If pests return between scheduled visits, American Pest returns for free! Contact us today to learn more.

Can I Control an Ant Problem by myself?

Do-it-yourself methods of ant control often fall short of success. Over-the-counter pesticide products for consumer purchase are not an adequate means to control ant colonies. They are not customized or suited to treat the particular species of ant you are having a problem with. Our trained pest control professionals seek out foraging ant trails around your property. This allows them to locate and eradicate the entire colony. Oftentimes, this may eliminate the need to use pesticides on the interior of the home.

Do ants bite or sting?

Most ants in our region do not bite or sting. Certain species do bite, like Carpenter ants or Fire ants, which can be found in Maryland. Carpenter ants are likely to be found nesting in or near your residence, but Fire ants generally do not try to come indoors and will only attack if their colony is disturbed.

Why do ants move in lines?

Ants have to work together to build and support their colony. When an ant locates a source of food or water, they give off pheromones as a signal to their colony members. Fellow ants that pick up on the scent know to follow it and give off their own pheromones, strengthening the original signal on the trail so that more ants can find it. Once the source of food or water has been diminished, the ants move on to find new resources and the pheromones from the trail gradually dissipate.

How soon can you get here?

At American Pest, we pride ourselves on our speed and delivery of service. For that reason, we make every effort to be with you the same or very next day.

Is the treatment safe?

We put your health and safety first: Every product used by American Pest has been EPA registered for pest control use. We then follow a strict set of guidelines in every application of product to ensure that no harm will come to your family or pets. Furthermore, our state-accredited training and continuing education programs set us above the rest. All our pest control professionals are registered and licensed by the state or local jurisdictions where we provide service. Many have achieved Applicator Certification under the category of Industrial, Institutional, Structural and Heath Related pest management.

What can I do about flying ants?

Flying ants are the only ants that are able to reproduce and the swarms you see every year are the only chances ants have to mate before pairing off to form colonies with the inevitable offspring. If the swarms are too close for comfort, you can vacuum up the insects and dispose of the vacuum bag promptly. (Keep in mind that flying ants are a sign of a colony nesting nearby!)

I had a treatment for ants, why do I see more?

It is not uncommon when utilizing non-repellant baits for ants to see a sudden, sometimes seemingly drastic increase in the volume of ants within days of the initial treatment. Non-repellant bait materials are targeted towards interior ant infestations and are especially effective in getting rid of ant colonies. When non-repellant baits are used, the worker ants transport the active ingredient back to the colony where it is fed to other members, including juvenile ants. It is important during the initial treatment phase to allow these ants to feed on the bait material in every effort to control colony development.

How can I prevent this in the future?

Preventing ants from invading your property can be difficult. Especially if you are dealing with structural infesting species such as the odorous house ant or the carpenter ant. Reduce the number of instances by cutting back foliage. This applies to shrubs, ornamental grasses and ivy that come in contact with exterior walls or foundation. These natural “bridges” create easy access for ants to enter homes or buildings. American Pest professionals will consult with you to provide a customized solution to your ant problem using our S.T.A.R. system of integrated pest management.





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 I called American Pest because of an ant problem but they wound up treating so much more. Great conversation with the main office and the tech who came to the house was incredibly punctual, courteous, extremely knowledgeable/excited about his work. Happy to say I no longer share the house with ants or any other insects!

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