The number one pest problem in the United States are ANTS. There are over 20,000 different species and they can live in almost any environment. Although they seem to prefer hot, humid settings like ours here is South Florida. They are considered to be social insects of the family Formicidae that evolved from wasp like creatures millions of years ago.Ants live in colonies that range in number from a dozens to millions. There are three types of adult ants; queens, workers, and males. The most common ants are the wingless workers. The worker ants? jobs consist of defending their nest, looking after the young, and searching for food. The workers are sterile. The queens? job is to lay eggs. These ants communicate with one other with their phermones. These chemicals help to signal potential threats to their colonies and/or food sources. There are four stages that ants go through rather quickly, growing up in only a few days. The stages are egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Ants life expectancy averages between 45-60 days. They reproduce extremely quickly increasing colony population over time. White Footed Ants (Technomyrmex albipes) The white footed ant are approximately 1/10 to 1/8 inch in size. Their bodies are dark, a black to brownish coloring while their “feet” are lighter, a yellow to whitish coloring. White footed ants do not sting, bite, or cause structural damage. However, they have become a major household pest due to their extreme large colony size, rate of growth, and diffculty to get rid of. Ghost Ant (Tapinoma melanocephalum) Fabricius Ghost ants are approximately 1/16 inch in size. They have a dark head with a light colored thorax. They get their name because of their small size and light color making them dif?cult to see at times. They are highly adaptable in both indoor and outdoor habitats. Big Headed Ant (Pheidole megacephala) Big headed ants are approximately 1/16 to 1/8 inch in size. They range in color form light brown to dark reddish brown. A percentage of the workers heads appear extremely large in relation to the rest of their bodies and therefore “big headed” ants acquired their name. Tips for Getting Rid of Ants Naturally There are several ways to naturally rid your home of ants.
- One good method to prevent ants from entering your home is to plant mint near entryways and doors and anywhere you see anthills. Mint destroys an ant's ability to smell and ths inhibits their ability to enter your home. If ants are already inside you can place mint leaves in the kitchen or pantry or wherever you need.
- Cinnamon sticks and garlic are also good. Peel and slice garlic. Place the garlic or cinnamon sticks in window tracks, near doors or in corners. any place where ants may enter your home.
- Use white or apple cider vinegar in a spray bottle and spray areas where you have seen ants. Vinegar has fungicidal and insecticidal properties that help prevent ants.
- For ant hills you can pour boiling water over them. It may seem cruel but pesticides are generally just as bad or even worse.