Winter is gone and the promise of longer and warmer days are ahead. Pest activity increases with the changing of the seasons, especially during Spring, Summer, and Fall. Generally speaking, ants pose no health hazard to humans and as long as the ants remain outdoors and away from your kitchen, most ants are harmless. However, ants that invade your living space are a nuisance and the top 3 nuisance ants in Nebraska are carpenter ants, odorous house ants, and pavement ants.

Carpenter Ants

  • Where they live and what they eat

Carpenter ants live in old decaying wood. Carpenter ants living in firewood stacked too close to your home is an invitation for them to chew their way inside. Unlike termites, this ant does not eat wood. Carpenter ants are like many other types of ants in that they thrive on sugary foods and meats. Piles of sawdust provide clues as to the location of the colony.

  • Signs of an infestation

Watch for piles of sawdust anywhere; the attic, basement, or anywhere along the interior perimeter of your home. Carpenter ants forage at night so consider doing a walk-about with a flashlight and observe ant behavior. Carpenter ants travel up to 100 yards from the colony in search of food. They leave behind a pheromone and touch trail that guides workers to and from their destination. A treatment plan is based on where the colony is found.

  • Types of treatment

Baits alone are ineffective. Over-the-counter (OTC) sprays are not sustainable as they have no residual power. Most of those types of sprays simply cause the ants to run away.  Comprehensive treatments would include a possible combination of dust, baits, and products that will transfer insecticide to these social insects. The ants are unable to detect the insecticide and as they pass through it the insecticide attaches to their body and infects other members of the colony as they crawl among each other.

Odorous House Ants

  • Where they live and what they eat

Odorous ant colonies live outdoors in the soil beneath the landscape. Considered the most invasive ant in Nebraska, that when one colony is removed, another one soon takes its place. Odorous ants thrive on the honeydew left over from sap-feeding insects, such as aphids. When it rains the aphids wash away eliminating a food source for the odorous house ant. It is then that they are drawn indoors to feast on whatever crumbs of food they can find.

  • Signs of an infestation

The proof is in the pudding or shall we say the ants are in the pudding? As soon as you begin to see ants freely crawling about your kitchen, it’s time to call a professional pest control company. It is inadvisable to try to control an odorous ant infestation with OTC products.

  • Types of treatment

When forced indoors, odorous ants nest in wall and floor voids. Methods of treatment may vary from using gel or granular baits combined with a residual exterior perimeter treatment.

 Pavement Ants

  • Where they live and what they eat

Pavement ants and odorous house ants are similar in size and appearance. One significant difference is where they live. Pavement ants nest beneath sidewalks, driveways, and pavers, hence the reason for their name. The biological difference is the pavement ant has two nodes separating the thorax from the abdomen whereas the odorous ant only has one. Pavement ants forage indoors and are attracted to sweets, meats, grease and just about anything humans eat.

  • Signs of an infestation

June and July are the time for reproduction and winged male and female swarmers can be seen flying about. If swarmers are seen flying about your home, you know there is a colony nearby. Pavement ants sting and bite and become a problem when huge numbers are trailing into your home.

  • Types of treatment

Treatment is determined by where the colony is located and is managed with gel or granular baits combined with an exterior perimeter treatment.

To learn how Omaha Pest Control has helped thousands of people control their pest activity, call us at 402-769-0997 or contact us at this convenient link.