There are over 12,000 species of ants in the world. About 270 ant species call California home. So, it isn't surprising that Ventura County residents are often perplexed by these insects. Each species can be slightly different in how it behaves and in what food sources it will go after. If you put down protein baits, you're not going to have success with sugar ants. If you lay down sweet sugary baits, protein-eating ants will turn their noses up at the "food source" you've offered. To make matters even worse, ants can learn which food sources are safe. If the bait you lay down works too quickly, the ants you're trying to eliminate will continue to be a problem. This is why we suggest professional ant control if ants are already a problem for you. But, if you don't have an infestation yet, there are many things you can do to keep it that way. Today, we're going to talk about what you can specifically do to deter and manage Argentine ants.
Identification Of Argentine Ants
First, let's figure out if the ants you're seeing around your Ventura County property are Argentine ants. While these are very common ants, they aren't necessarily the ants you're dealing with.
Argentine ants are:
Monomorphic. All of the workers are the same size.
Uniform. The coloration of these ants is uniformly brown.
Mid-sized. At ⅛ of an inch long, these ants fall into about the middle of the size range. They're not as large as ⅝-inch carpenter ants and they're not as tiny as 1/32-inch thief ants.
Numerous. An Argentine ant colony can have millions of workers in it and there can be many subcolonies in one area.
If you capture one of these ants and examine it under magnification, you may see one more helpful visual characteristic that can distinguish this ant from some other ant species. Argentine ants have one node between the thorax and the abdomen. You might think of this as the waist of the ant. While they're not the only ant species with one node, that one node can help you narrow the number of ant species significantly.
Argentine Ant Prevention
The key to preventing problems with these ants are related to food, habitat, and access. Here are some tips to prevent problems with these ants, and why they work.
Remove Leaves, Wood, and Other Debris
The reason these ants get into homes is that they first come near to homes and establish nests. Argentine ants create mega colonies, and when they get near your home, they can start getting inside. But they rarely create indoor nests, so you can keep them at bay by considering the habitat they prefer. They will create nests under wood sources, in leaf piles, and in other organic debris. Yard work can have a big impact on Argentine ant pressures around your home.
Argentine ants prefer to nest near a food source, and one source of food these ants love most is honeydew. This is a substance produced by aphids and other plant-damaging insects. They love honeydew so much that they'll tend aphids like a human might tend cattle for their milk. Addressing aphid issues can significantly reduce Argentine ant activity near your home and reduce the potential for their entry.
Argentine ants can find sweet things to eat inside your trash. Make sure exterior trash is bagged and stored in trash receptacles that are free of odors. If your receptacles begin to have an odor, sanitize them to remove the scent that attracts ants.
On the inside of your home, there are many potential food sources for Argentine ants. Keep things as clean as possible to reduce how often these ants desire to get into your home.
It doesn't take much of a hole for an Argentine ant to get into your home, and they can enter a small hole, lock-step, by the hundreds. When addressing exterior entry points, consider areas they target.
Replace weatherstripping, screens, and door sweeps.
Apply seals around plumbing and wire conduits.
Apply a seal to foundation cracks or gaps between your foundation and the sole plates of your home.
Apply a seal around pipes that enter into your home in the cabinets under your sinks.
If these ants become a problem, remember that the team at Ventura Pest Control is always standing by to assist you. We can provide one-time service or ongoing pest control for your Ventura County home. Connect with us today and talk with one of our knowledgeable pest professionals. We can walk you through the details and find the right solution for your specific needs and budget. Helping folks is what we do.