Ants have been on this planet for over 100 million years, colonising almost every part of it, with the exception of Antarctica and some remote inhospitable islands. There is estimated to be over 20,000 ant species on earth living in colonies that range in size from a few dozen members to millions of individual ants. Many of these species perform beneficial roles to humans such as keeping other pest populations low and aerating soil; however, they are more commonly seen as pests in Mississauga because of their tendency to infest our homes in search of food.
Household ant infestations in Mississauga are quite common, with the majority of infestations being from one of 4 ant species; carpenter ants, pavement ants, fire ants and pharaoh ants. Luckily these species do not pose any health risks to humans, with the biggest risk being structural damage created from a large carpenter ant infestation. Nonetheless, ants creeping around your home is not a pretty sight to see, and if they are not controlled at an early stage the infestation can become very large in no time.
In this article you will learn how to identify, understand and combat the most common household ants in Mississauga. Keep in mind that for every ant you notice in your home, there could be 100’s more hiding in the colony, so if you are dealing with an infestation we recommend to hire a company like Pestend Pest Control Mississauga who has years of experience with ant control in Mississauga to ensure that the entire colony is exterminated.
How to Identify Carpenter Ants
The easiest way to identify a carpenter ant in Mississauga is by noticing its large body size and dark colour. Carpenter ants are the largest house ant that you will find in Mississauga measuring up to 1 inch in length with a large thorax. They are usually all black, but there are also less common rusty red coloured carpenter ants.
Carpenter ants are regarded as a very important insect to the natural environment. Since they chew on wood to create tunnels and habitats, the resulting sawdust that is produced eventually rots on the forest floor providing great compost for new growth.
The problem for humans is when carpenter ants decide to dig tunnels in man made wooden structures like homes. If the colony becomes large enough, it could mean that there is significant structural damage which can be very costly to repair.
To avoid the high cost of hiring an ant exterminator and possibly making repairs to your home, follow some of these preventative measures to reduce the likelihood of carpenter ants infesting your home:
- Repair moisture sources around the home
Carpenter ants prefer moist environments with damp wood for them to carve out living spaces. By making sure water is being properly diverted away from the home and any leaky pipes are fixed you will minimize these attractive environments.
- Keep trees and shrubs away from the house
Maintain any tree or shrub that you have near the house to ensure that the branches are not touching your house. By doing this you reduce a major pathway that carpenter ants, and other pests for that matter, can use to enter your home. Keeping firewood and other wood objects away from the house also applies for the same reason.
Carpenter Ant Signs & Treatment
If you believe that carpenter ants have invaded your home you should work on getting rid of them as soon as possible to reduce the amount of structural damage they will inflict on your home. Some common signs of a carpenter ant infestation include:
- wood debris around your home left behind when they dig tunnels in wooden parts of the home
- visually noticing carpenter ants in your home foraging for food. If you notice some ants with wings as these ants only emerge when it is time to expand the colony, meaning that you have an advanced carpenter ant infestation
To get rid of a carpenter ant infestation in Mississauga it is highly recommended to call a professional ant exterminator in Mississauga as they have the necessary tools and experience to properly identify the extent of infestation and deal with it accordingly. This is especially important for carpenter ants who can cause significant damage to the structural integrity of your home.
How to Identify Pavement Ants
Pavement ants are much smaller than carpenter ants, ranging in size from 2 to 3 mm in length. They have a light brown to black body colour with an appendage that is lighter than the rest of their body.
Found most commonly outdoors under stones, patios and mulch, pavement ants, similar to most pests, like to build their nests near a consistent food source. As a result, they often times build nests inside homes as well, most commonly under floors and within wall voids. Their favourite type of food is any greasy food remains from humans, making it common to find them congregating somewhere in or near your kitchen.
Similar to other pests, the best way to avoid pavement ants is to eliminate anything in your home that may be attractive to them. Keeping your home clean of food scraps, especially sweet and greasy scraps, is the number one thing you can do to avoid an infestation. Also, if you notice a pavement ant colony on your patio, or somewhere else near your home, chances are that they will eventually get into your home so spraying them with an ant repellant will deter them from continuing their colony so close to you.
Pavement Ants Signs & Treatment
The most common sign of having pavement ants present in your home is to actually see worker ants and swarmers present, most likely somewhere in your kitchen looking for food. You can also find small amounts of excavated material such as drywall or insulation which they often use to build their nests.
If you find these signs of a pavement ant infestation, you should act quickly to stop the problem before the colony becomes too large. It is difficult to find a pavement ant nest in your home so instead of trying to eradicate the whole nest at once, the best solution for pavement ant control is a slow approach using baits. By using sweet and greasy based, slow acting baits, you can rest assured that worker ants will bring back these delicious slow acting poisons to the colony which will eventually kill off all the members.
Even if you do find the colony it is still recommended to use some sort of bait instead of a repellent. Repellents can cause the surviving ants to split apart from the colony and form several sub colonies, making your pavement ant problem even worse.
How to Identify Pharaoh Ants
Pharaoh ants are difficult to see, but not so difficult to identify once you do notice them. They are tiny ants measuring up to 2 mm in length and have a yellow to light brown translucent body colour. The abdomen of pharaoh ants is darker than the rest of the body.
Known to be a major indoor pest in Mississauga, pharaoh ants can form very large colonies in a short amount of time. They are attracted to foods high in sugar, fats and oils, usually building their nests in areas of the home near one of these food sources, but also near a water source. Unlike most other ant species, pharaoh ants can have several queens per colony making it much easier for them to form bud colonies, spreading through your home much quicker.
To prevent pharaoh ants from colonizing in your home, it is best to keep potential nesting areas clean from any attractive food sources. The most common place to find pharaoh ants is in or nears your kitchen which usually provides them with both water and all the delicious foods they love. By keeping your kitchen spotless, including cleaning beneath and behind appliances, you should significantly reduce your chance of a pharaoh ant infestation.
Pharaoh Ants Signs & Treatment
Although they are difficult to see, the best way to know that you have a pharaoh ant infestation is to actually see them foraging for food around your home. When they find a food source, they release pheromones to let other colony members know where the food source is. As a result, you should be able to see a trail of ants leading from the food source back to their colony.
If you do determine that you have a pharaoh ant infestation, it is best to leave any extermination efforts to a professional. Pharaoh ants typically live in very large colonies, often times with several neighbouring colonies nearby. If you do not know the true extent of your infestation and try to get rid of only one colony, you may be creating a worse problem for yourself. A professional ant control company has the necessary experience and tools to get rid of all pharaoh ants in your home, with tips on how to keep them out in the future.