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Ant Identification

What are ants?

Ants are an insect that, believe it or not, are closely related to bees and wasps! Like bees and wasps, ants are social insects and live together in large colonies and work together to benefit the colony; additionally, some – but not all – ants have stingers extending from their hind end. Other physical features include a three-segmented body, narrow waist, short antennae, and chewing mouthparts. Reproductive members of an ant colony have wings.

ants on the ground

One of the most common ant species to invade our properties in Ventura County is the Argentine ant. These ants are a shiny dark brown or black, and when crushed, produce an unpleasant musty odor. These ants have a generic appearance, so one of the best ways to identify them is by their enormous colony size and wide trails they form when traveling together foraging for food.

Are ants dangerous?

Before ants move into your home, they were outside, walking over the ground and traveling over decaying vegetation, and coming into contact with less than sanitary things. Having ants crawling around your home is unsanitary as they will contaminate surfaces and food with the bacteria they have on their body and legs. Despite their ability to spread bacteria, ants are largely considered nuisance pests, with their presence being mostly an annoyance for us to deal with. Those ants that we view as more than a nuisance cause structural damage, spread diseases, or bite or sting.

Why do I have an ant problem?

Ants live outside all around us, taking advantage of nesting sites they discover. If your yard has ants nesting on it or if an ant nest is nearby, you will likely have large numbers of ants foraging for food and water in and around your home. Ants are on the constant lookout for food to gather and bring back to the nest; once they discover a reliable food source, they will keep returning to it. Things like trash cans, gardens, outdoor eating areas, and pet food dishes often provide a constant food source for ants and encourage their presence.

Where will I find ants?

Argentine ants and many other types of ants nest in damp soil found along sidewalks, next to the foundations of buildings, under logs or landscaping ties, or underneath woodpiles, rocks, or tree stumps.

While foraging for food, moisture, or safe shelter, ants often exploit openings they discover in a home’s exterior. Once inside, it is common for ants to stay and create a satellite nest to expand the colony. They often place their nests near areas of moisture. Wall voids near water pipes and air conditioners, spaces behind sinks and tubs, gaps behind window or door trim, and underneath floors or above ceilings are common nesting sites for ants.

In California, because the weather is warm and sunny, ants are most likely to move indoors when the weather becomes cold or wet. They know that our structures will provide them with a respite from unfavorable weather conditions and provide food for them.

How do I get rid of ants?

Ants are a common, persistent invader of our yards and homes; the secret to keeping them at bay is partnering with a professional. With over 62 years of local pest control experience, you can count on us to eliminate ants from your property and keep them from returning. After contacting us, our professionals will come to your property, perform an inspection, and put together a specific plan of action to meet your property’s needs.

To learn more about solving your ant problems once and for all through the exceptional pest control services we offer – including Argentine ant control services – give Ventura Pest Control a call today!

How can I prevent ants in the future?

In addition to our home pest control and commercial pest control services, use the following tips to prevent ants from invading your property:

  • Things like leaky pipes, gutters, damp basements, and crawl spaces attract many types of ants.
  • Eliminate an ant’s ability to forage for food on your property by keeping lids on trash cans, keeping your kitchen clean and free of crumbs and dirty dishes, and storing food in the fridge or in airtight containers.
  • Routinely walk around your home’s exterior, inspecting it for openings that could allow ants to move in and out.
  • Make sure weatherstripping and door sweeps are intact to keep ants and other insects out of your house.
  • Create a stone barrier between any mulch or soil and your foundation.
 

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