South Florida is the home of many different species of ants. Ants are one of our top pests in Palm Beach County, and they enter our homes and businesses year-round. Our mild winters and warm weather allow Florida ants to thrive.
When you understand what attracts ants into your Florida home and how they get inside, it becomes less difficult to take steps to try to prevent them from infesting your house in the first place. Based on their food, water, and shelter needs, the following tips will help you prevent ants from infesting your home.
- Store all of your food in airtight containers or in the refrigerator. Don't store fruit on the counter or pantry items in packaging that prevents insects from getting inside.
- Check your cupboards and pantry regularly to make sure nothing has tipped over or spilled. Clean up any spills that you find.
- Try to clean up after each meal or snack by putting dirty dishes in the dishwasher or washing them right away, wiping down counters, and cleaning up any messes.
- Vacuum or sweep the floors often.
- Take out the trash frequently. Don't let it get over-filled.
- Regularly check under sinks and in the basement for leaky pipes. Fix any that you find.
- Keep humidity low by running the air conditioner in your house to avoid moisture buildup.
- Check for moisture issues outside your house as well.
- Reduce shaded areas where water can't evaporate as quickly.
- Be sure your gutters are working correctly, directing water away from the foundation, and are not clogged.
- Ensure proper drainage around your house by having the soil grade away from the structure.
- Check fixtures for dripping water and replace leaky hoses.
- Seal any entry points you can find around the outside of your house. Look for cracks and crevices in your foundation.
- Check your siding or stucco for holes or damage.
- Seal around vents, plumbing, and utility entry points.
- Check door and window screens for holes or tears.
- Look for gaps around windows and doors.
- Keep outdoor garbage, and recycling bins stored safely away from your house and make sure they have tight-fitting lids.
- Keep landscaping trimmed: Keep trees trimmed and make sure they do not overhang the roofline. Also, keep all bushes and vegetation trimmed at least 6 inches away from the home.
What To Do If Ants Get Into Your Florida Home
By following the preventive tips above, you can reduce the chances of your Florida home ending up with an ant infestation. However, because ants are so small and can fit through the tiniest openings, it's nearly impossible to totally seal off your house from these pests. For this reason, there is always a slight chance of ending up with ants inside the home.
If you start finding ants in your house, the best thing to do is call the ant experts at Vulcan Pest Control. Our company understands the ant problems in Florida. We know how ants enter, we know what helps them survive and spread, and we know why it can be challenging to control ants. However, based on our own experience and using the latest technology developed by pest management scientists, we know we can deal with any ant problems you may currently have. We understand that the key to eliminating an ant infestation is to identify and eliminate the colony's nest. Although homeowners often try to treat the symptoms of an ant infestation by spraying ants they see, this doesn't get to the root of the problem. Only about 10% of an ant colony is foraging at any one time, leaving 90% of the population in the nest to reproduce more foraging ants.
The professionals at Vulcan Pest Control know about ant biology and habits. This knowledge allows us to identify the nest sites where the ants are coming from to target their source. Once we address the source, Vulcan Pest Control will eliminate the ants.
In addition to locating and eliminating nesting sites, our ant control service also includes an exterior perimeter treatment to prevent other ant colonies from infesting your home, as well as areas close to the house that may appeal to ants. With this targeted and preventive approach to ant control, you can be sure that we will eliminate your ant infestation and intercept a new one before it becomes a problem. To learn more about our ant control or discuss which program is right for you, contact Vulcan Pest Control at 561-791-2400 today.
Foraging workers from ghost ant colonies are small with lightly colored bodies, making them hard to spot or "ghostlike" in appearance. Ghost ants are also known for their quick and erratic movements and highly populated colonies containing multiple queens. The existence of numerous queens per colony allows ghost ants to rapidly establish new satellite nests in addition to the existing parent nest. These satellite nests are usually within hidden voids inside homes, and the main colony nest is often located outdoors. To eliminate ghost ant infestations, all reproductive queen ants must be located from indoor and outdoor colonies, making ghost ant removal difficult.
Not only can ghost ants readily establish new colonies both indoors and outdoors, but these ants are small enough to nest within a variety of objects, including electronic equipment, potted plants, luggage, cut flowers, and laundry baskets. This nesting habit also explains how ghost ants wind up infesting different goods shipped to regions worldwide. Since ghost ant workers only grow to be between 1 and 2 millimeters in body length, large numbers can easily stay hidden within homes by nesting within cracks, crevices, between books, beneath furniture, and within wall voids.
Ghost ants are opportunistic feeders, which means that they will consume just about any edible material they encounter. These ants often gather in kitchens, cupboards, and pantries, searching for food, consuming meats, sweets, cheeses, and various other foods. Since ghost ants prefer sweet-tasting foods, baits are effective for controlling infestations.
The white-footed ants' success is in their ability to reproduce in vast numbers. The majority of the colony consists of fertile, reproductive females called intercastes.
White-footed ants are extremely tricky ants to control due to the large size of their colonies. White-footed ant extermination is best performed by an experienced professional. Vulcan Pest Control has provided ant control to West Palm Beach homes for 35 years, successfully eliminating white-footed ants since their identification in South Florida in 2002.
White-footed ants typically nest at or above ground level within the Florida home. Nests are found outside in bushes, trees, tree holes, under palm fronds, old leaf boots, under leaves on trees, in loose mulch, under debris, in leaf litter, wall voids, and attics. White-footed ants forage along branches and trunks of trees and shrubs. They are attracted to nectars and sap-sucking insects such as scale, aphids, mealybugs, thrips, and whiteflies that produce a sugary substance called honeydew.
An integrated approach combining slow-acting baits and the use of non-repellant insecticides has provided the best results for the clients of Vulcan Pest Control. According to the University of Florida, "in most cases, it is advisable to hire a professional pest control company to treat white-footed ant infestations."
Big Headed Ant
Big-headed ants usually nest outdoors. Although they will forage inside looking for food and possibly moisture. They are considered one of the most aggressive and invasive ant species anywhere, compared to other ant species. There are several species of them in the United States, including in Florida.
Big-headed ants nest underneath slabs and foundations, under patios, yard debris, and soil. Their major workers (the soldiers with the big heads) are about 1/8" in length and reddish-orange to brown. They are not as numerous as the minor workers, and their main job is to defend the nest. Their large jaws can crack seeds and puncture surfaces. Minor workers are about half the size of the major workers (~1/16") who live in the colony and feed the young and build the colony.
Because the big-headed ants feed on carcasses, there is a risk for the transmission of disease-causing organisms. Big-headed ants are not known to cause structural damage to homes, and they are not known to sting or bite unless provoked. They are omnivorous and eat just about anything, including other insects. They are attracted to areas where other insects live. At Vulcan Pest Control, we have found that fire ants have decreased on properties with big-headed ants present. Outdoors big-headed ants enjoy honeydew produced by aphids, while in your house, they will search out grease, sweets, high-protein foods, and seeds. In large enough numbers, big-headed ants can cause some damage to well-kept lawns, fruits and vegetables, houseplants, and packaged foods.
Rover ants are not native to the United States. Since its introduction in the 1970s, this ant has spread throughout the southern portion of the United States. They are a common pest problem that people living in Palm Beach County deal with regularly.
To the naked eye, these ants looking like most other ants you come across. Adult workers are tiny and grow to between 1/12th and 1/16th of an inch. They range from pale yellow to a darker blackish-brown in color.
Rover ants aren't known to cause structural damage, nor do they bite or sting people. While rover ants are not a particularly dangerous species of ant, they certainly are an annoying one. Rover ants do not hesitate to move into our indoor spaces to nest or forage for food. Once they become established inside, they are difficult to control.
Fire ants, despite their small size, are known for being very aggressive. Fire ants are quick to anger and attack when an animal or person comes in close contact with their nest. Vulcan Pest Control utilizes fire ant baiting technology to ensure the complete removal of fire ant colonies from around your home. Fire Ants are a common pest problem in West Palm Beach and the surrounding areas. These stinging pests get their name from the venom injected by a stinger that leaves a burning sensation followed by tiny, itching welts or blisters. If you find a fire ant mound on your property, do not disturb it and keep all children and pets a safe distance away from the mound. Call Vulcan Pest Control to set up a fire ant removal and control program to properly treat the existing fire ant mounds and prevent future mounds from forming.
The most common fire ant species seen in South Florida are the red imported fire ant and, to a lesser extent, the tropical or native fire ant.