Beneficial in their natural habitat, ants are one of Earth’s most successful species, playing an important role in plant cultivation and the recycling of organic waste. When ants invade human habitats, their small size and prodigious numbers can cause significant problems and contaminate food supplies. Ant species common to New York and New Jersey are considered nuisance pests with the exception of disease-spreading pharaoh ants and wood-destroying carpenter ants.
Ant Colonies And Ant Life
Evolved from prehistoric wasps, ants have tri-segmented bodies with nipped in waists and elbowed antennae. These insects live in highly-organized social societies, their roles defined by a strict caste system. Attracted by food and moisture, ants frequently invade human habitats, crawling under doors, through minute cracks and over landscape bridges. Populated by a single egg-bearing queen, colonies can number in the tens of thousands and spread either by budding, in which colony segments break away to establish nearby satellites, or by swarming, in which winged reproductives fly off to begin new colonies. Effective ant extermination can only be accomplished by killing the entire colony and any satellites. Application of home and garden pesticides will only cause ant colonies to split, making extermination more difficult. Successful ant elimination requires the expertise of pest control professionals like the experts at Titan Environmental.
Of the 12,500 ant species discovered, only a handful are active in New York and New Jersey with pavement ants, sweet ants, sugar ants and carpenter ants the most likely to invade human habitats.
The largest ant species in America, 5/8-inch black carpenter ants chew tunnels and galleries into wood to house their nests. Attacking 1 in 4 buildings in New York and New Jersey every year, carpenter ants cause significant damage that can result in structural collapse. Generally nesting outdoors in damaged trees or rotting logs, carpenter ants frequently forage and nest inside buildings, tunneling into wooden window frames, porch pillars, structural beams and roofing timbers. Unlike termites, carpenter ants do not ingest wood but feed on insects and plant matter. Colonies expand by swarming in late spring.
Odorous House Ants
Odorous house ants, or sweet ants, are named for the foul odor they release when crushed. Despite their name, these 1/10-inch long brown ants prefer outdoor life, nesting near the soil surface under rocks or garden mulch. Sweet feeders, odorous house ants often forage in kitchens where long lines of ants may be seen trailing across floors to swarm in garbage cans, pet dishes and over counters. Indoors, ants nest under carpets, behind paneling and inside walls. Colonies expand by budding, forming multiple nearby satellites.
The swarming behavior of tiny pavement antsmakes them a considerable nuisance in buildings constructed on concrete slabs. Barely 1/8 inch long, these dark brown ants are often observed swarming over sidewalks or discarded food. The inaccessibility of their nests under building slabs, sidewalks and patios makes pavement ants difficult to eliminate.
Sugar Or Pharaoh Ants
Also called sugar ants because of their appetite for sweet foods, pharaoh ants carry and spread more than a dozen dangerous pathogens and bacteria, including Salmonella, Staphylococcus and Streptococcus pyogenes. A persistent problem in hospitals, nursing homes, hotels, apartment buildings, groceries and restaurants, in medical settings pharaoh ants forage in open wounds, spreading infection. A miniscule 1/16 inch long, their translucent reddish-yellow color makes this tropical transplant difficult to detect. Indoor dwellers, pharaoh ants nest under kitchen sinks, in wall voids, cabinets, furniture, appliance motor casings and light fixtures, expanding into massive colonies with many satellites via budding.
Ant Extermination Services
Application of home and garden pesticides will only cause ant colonies to split, making extermination more difficult. Successful ant elimination requires the expertise of pest control professionals like the ant experts at Titan Environmental.