Ants are social creatures that live in colonies. Where there is one, there are thousands. By some estimates, there are as many as 1.5 million ants for every human on Earth.
Most pesticide sprays result in only a few foraging worker ant deaths, affecting the colony very mildly. Any ant control treatment plan should be focused around eliminating the entire colony. While ants can be mostly harmless in a yard, if left unchecked they can quickly infiltrate your home and help themselves to your pantry and counters.
At the very least, a strong barrier needs to be created around your home, so that they don’t build a habit of visiting. Ants leave a chemical trail of pheromones as they travel so that the rest of the colony can easily attack food sources in single file. Once they discover that your home is ripe for the taking, it’ll be very difficult to rid yourself of them.
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Early detection is critical to stop ants from multiplying quickly. We get to the root of the problem and target common ant nesting places in your home to ensure your home stays free of ants and other pests.
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Are Ants Dangerous?
Ants are only mildly dangerous, and are mostly annoying, gross, and uncomfortable to cohabitate with. Carpenter ants can chew tunnels through wood beams, causing structural issues in your home. Fire ants can sting you, causing mild pain and even hives in people with allergies.
All ants carry bacteria on their body, and can spread it all over your countertops and pantry – though most are harmless. Pharaoh ants often carry diseases, and many species are capable of spreading E. coli, salmonella, and shigella.
While living with ants probably won’t cause you much (if any) harm, the real question is “why would you want to live with ants?” Homes are meant for people, not insects. Take back control of your house!
Benefits of Professional Ant Control vs. Do-It-Yourself Options
Hiring a professional exterminator can be an intimidating prospect. It’s normal to be concerned about pricing and want to do it yourself. Unfortunately, many clients spend a significant amount of time and money on DIY ant-control solutions with little to no results.
There are all kinds of over-the-counter ant-control products out there, but they never measure up to professional-grade insecticides, and almost always leave you disappointed and wishing you hadn’t wasted your time.
Different ant species like different types of food during different seasons, so whatever the grocery store is selling may not be effective at all. This is why professional ant control bait placement will provide superior results.
Ant bait provides ants with a food that foragers take back to their colony, exposing the entire colony to a slow-burn poison. These are best used in places with overwhelming infestations. Commercial exterminators also use ant bait, but our products are of a much stronger potency than you can get at the grocery store, and are far more effective.
Outdoor insecticides are an effective way to target the colony itself. There are both liquid and granule pesticides that will typically kill other insects as well. First, mow your yard. Then spray the insecticide over the entire lawn, including shrubs and trees. Spraying in the early morning or late afternoon will hit the ants when they are most active. Still, over-the-counter insecticides don’t come close to the killing power of professional products, and they rarely last for long.
When you hire Integrity Pest Management for your ant control service, you’ll be getting the perfect combination of the above services based on your specific home and business needs. Our team is happy to explain our process and show you exactly what steps we take to provide Tulsa’s best ant control services.
Preventative steps for Ant Cotnrol
While you can depend on our team to deal with any ant control challenges you face, there are additional proactive steps you can take to protect your home and maximize the service you receive from Integrity.
Spraying entry points
When our team sprays your entry points with our professional grade insecticides, ants are stopped from coming in through your windows, doors, etc. Spraying entry points with the right timing and treatments will ensure that your home is protected and saves you both time and money.
Spraying an ant barrier
Spraying an ant barrier with professional grade insecticide around the outside of the house, along the foundation and under the first layer of siding, will help if spraying the entry points doesn’t stop them.
Maintaining a clean home
Maintaining a clean home will remove their desire to forage or build there. There’s nothing you can do about your pantry, except to put down a layer of insecticide, but preventing food from accumulating elsewhere in your home is a huge step towards keeping them out. Crumbs in the carpet, dead bugs along the windowsill, and spills in the kitchen are all great food prospects for foraging ants.
Stay on top of vacuuming, sweeping, mopping, and wiping down counters, and avoid leaving food out. Also make sure not to leave dirty dishes in the sink, and don’t leave pet food out for grazing. Keep your pets on a schedule and put up uneaten food in a sealable container when they’re done eating.
Caulking is a great way to seal up windows, siding, doors, and other cracks that provide ants access to your home. This won’t actually harm the ants in any way, but it’s a good way to keep them out of your home.
Remove safe places!
Remove safe places! Ants look for shelter like any other wild animal or insect. Trees, bushes, and shrubs that sit adjacent to the house offer protection to the ants and a convenient shelter right next to your home. Keep at least three to six inches between the soil around the foundation, and the siding of the home. Don’t stack firewood next to the house.
Planting herbs like rosemary, thyme, peppermint, pennyroyal, lavender, yarrow, garlic, sage, and catnip are all known to repel ants, and many can be used for cooking as well. This all-natural ant repellant is a win-win, so consider investing in a couple of herb gardens around your house! Some of these can spread like wildfire though, so consider planting them in pots.
Types of Ants in Oklahoma
Each ant colony is composed of four distinct groups. First is the Queen, which can live up to 15 years and lay thousands of eggs per day. After mating, she can remain fertilized for years, laying millions of eggs. However, as soon as she dies, the colony begins to as well – usually disappearing in only a few months.
There are worker ants that typically forage for food and bring it back to the colony. This group also includes infertile females who maintain a clean nest and feed the larvae.
There are drone ants, which hatch from unfertilized eggs. They often resemble wasps due to their wings. These ants don’t do any work around the colony, their only chore is to mate with princess ants and contribute to the reproduction of the colony. After mating, drone ants die.
Soldier ants are sterile females with more strength than typical female workers. These ants are tasked with carrying large pieces of food back to the colony.
Little Black Ants
Little Black Ants are common in urban areas, establishing indoor colonies inside the walls of homes and other buildings. These ants do have stingers, but they’re so small that they’re ineffective against humans. These tiny omnivores love sugar-based items, grease, vegetables, oils, and even other insects.
Red Imported Fire Ants
These fiery little pests are native to South America but have become quite prominent across the southern United States. This omnivorous species prefers meat, greasy foods, and sweets. Fire ants are, unfortunately, much larger than little black ants, and are very aggressive. Their bite is very painful, and can leave scarring or the appearance of hives, depending on severity.
Another indoor-invasive species, pavement ants can frequently be found within walls and under floors indoors. They will invade homes while foraging for food, and love greasy foods, as well as other insects. These ants can also sting you, but tend to avoid confrontation when possible.
Odorous House Ants
Odorous isn’t just a name. These ants actually stink when crushed, haunting your nose after you kill them. The scent is often described as similar to a rotten coconut. These ants hate the rain and will try to shelter in your home while also searching for meats and greasy foods.
This name isn’t just an insult, though we understand why you might be feeling frustrated enough to start slinging mean names around. These ants often carry tapeworms, so they can be a threat to your household pets if left unfettered in the yard.
One of the most common Oklahoma ants, carpenters are often mistaken for termites. They frequently nest in decaying wood due to the humidity and temperature of the rot. They do not eat wood like termites do, but they are detrimental to it. These ants love sweet, sugar-based foods, as well as pet foods and meat.
Wood ants, thatching ants, field ants, and mound ants comprise this genus, which relies on sunlight for survival. Due to their reliance on the sun, they rarely build indoors, but do build colonies on building foundations, sidewalks, and fences.
These South American immigrants are tiny, and will happily nest in homes and offices, in foundations, siding, gaps in walls, or cluttered areas of your home. They’ll even squat in an abandoned colony! Argentine ants are fairly docile and will coexist with neighboring colonies of the same species. These ants love to invade homes during hot and dry weather in their search for water and food, and also after heavy rains.
Pharaoh ants love warm, humid areas close to food and water, meaning they’ll happily move into a home during cold months. Kitchens and bathrooms are a common target. Pharaohs can be yellow, red, or brown, and are only a 16th of an inch long. Their abdomen tends to be darker than their head and thorax, making it easy to identify them. This species is particularly difficult to eliminate due to their ability to quickly split colonies and build new nests in hard-to-find places.
Pharaoh ants are important not to coexist with, because they have been known to transmit salmonella, staphylococcus, streptococcus, and clostridium.
Life Cycle and Reproduction
Ants begin their lives as tiny eggs, about half a millimeter in diameter. These transparent ovals can even be transported by the colony in the event of an emergency relocation. After 1-2 weeks as eggs, they hatch into larvae and look like little grubs. These must be fed frequently by the adult ants, who digest the food first and regurgitate it for the larvae.
The larvae will eventually molt and shed their skin, at which point they will become pupae. These look like adults, but their legs and antennae are still pressed up against their body. Some species will be in cocoons during this stage.
As adults, the ants join either the queens, workers, or males castes. Workers are females who do not reproduce, and these are what you typically see out and about. The males have wings but they typically stay in the colony and mate.
When to Call a Professional Exterminator
So you’ve educated yourself about ants, you’ve purchased all the DIY products, and you’ve spent weeks or months fighting to protect your home from these miniscule invaders – all to no avail. It’s time to call a professional Oklahoma exterminator who knows what they’re doing.
Here at Integrity Pest Management, we offer exceptional ant prevention and extermination to thousands of customers across the Tulsa metropolitan area and beyond. Ant control is our expertise, our job, and our passion.
There’s nothing we love more than helping our customers feel comfortable in their homes, and we always strive to offer our services at competitive prices. From our home base in Sand Springs, to Sapulpa, Tulsa, Owasso, and beyond, we’re here to help you.