Why Ants Are a Year-Round Threat for DC-Area Homes

carpenter ants up close

There are many signs that demonstrate summer is here in the DC area. Flowers are everywhere. The air is warm and fresh. Fiddleheads appear briefly on restaurant menus. And ants begin to take over sidewalks and backyards once again. While most people have no problems whatsoever with flowers, fresh air, and fiddleheads, many of us do have a problem when ants begin their yearly invasion as temperatures rise. But, to make matter worse. Some ants don't just invade for a short time. They can stay all year long, even when the cold weather returns. That's why it is important to consider year-round pest control to keep damaging ants, and other household pests, at bay.

Ants That Never Really Go Away

Pavement Ants: These are one of the most common species of ant in the United States. They are tiny ants that measure between 1/8 and 1/16 of an inch in length and range in color from brown to black with legs and antennae that are paler in color. Pavement ants have a pair of spines on their back as well as 2 nodes on their petiole and a stinger in the last abdominal segment. Queens and swarmer pavement ants grow to be twice as large as worker pavement ants. These ants typically nest outdoors under stones, along curbs, and (certainly) in the cracks of the pavement. When they get inside man-made structures, they can make nests inside walls and underneath floors.

When these ants are allowed to establish themselves inside, they can become a year-round problem. If nests are established in heated areas underneath crawl spaces, they can be a nuisance even in the dead of winter, possibly contaminating foods in pantry and kitchen areas. And these ants are able to bite and sting, but they rarely bite or sting humans.

Odorous House Ants: The workers of this species measure at around 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch in length and are a uniform color ranging from brown to black. The antennae are 12-segmented and do not have a club. These ants are able to develop extremely large colonies but usually have colonies of several thousand workers and many queens. Workers are very active and move rapidly in single file while searching out foods they prefer including sweets, dead insects, and grease. But they have a wide range of foods they will eat. Outside, they nest under rocks, boards, etc., but they are known to establish nests inside structures near sources of moisture and warmth. They will also nest inside termite-damaged wood.

Not only do these ants put off a noxious odor when crushed (which some describe as the smell of rotten coconuts) they will eat a wide variety of foods and can contaminate foods inside kitchens and pantries. These stinky ants can do this all year long if they have established nests inside your structure.

Carpenter Ants: These are the largest type of ants that enter homes and businesses, and are one of the largest of all ant species. Ants within a single colony may vary in size from 6 to 12 mm in length. Male carpenter ants, or winged swarmers, may grow to 18 mm and queens to 10 mm. These ants are typically a shiny black color but also can have a reddish tint. A mature colony of carpenter ants usually contains approximately 3,000 adult ants, but there are some species of these ants whose colonies can contain upwards of 100,000 ants! And once they have established themselves in a structure, they do not leave, or slow down, when the weather outside turns cold, if they've found a nice warm spot.

If you see one, or just a few of these large black ants crawling around in your home, it is important that you take notice. Carpenter ants usually find food sources outside, and they are not generally seen crawling around in large numbers inside the house. So, if you see one, it could be an indication that there are thousands just out of sight inside your walls. Carpenter ants dig through the wood of a home to establish tunnels and galleries in which to create nests. Over time, this can cause extensive damage which can end up costing a large sum in repairs. Carpenter ants cost U.S. home and business owners hundreds of millions in repair costs annually.

What Can You Do About Rear-Round Ant Problems?

At American Pest, we offer affordable, year-round pest control programs that address a wide range of household pests, including ants. When you invest in this protection, you also get protection from mice, roaches, termites, and other invasive creatures that can cause illness, and destroy your property. Year-round pest control gives your home what it needs year-round to stay pest-free.

Ant Treatments

Ant treatments from American Pest are tailored to your individual needs. When you sign up for this service, one of our trained pest management professionals will visit your home with the necessary products to get the job done right. Your technician will discuss your ant problem with you, perform a complete inspection to identify the types of ants present, and begin treatments right away.

Your PMP will locate nests both indoors and outdoors in order to thoroughly eliminate the threat and will treat areas such as along foundations where ants tend to congregate. Also, ant trails and hills will be treated routinely to prevent recurring infestations, so you can rest easy, knowing that your property is free of destructive, harmful ants.

If you would like more information, or to schedule service, reach out to American Pest today. We look forward to serving you.



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