Ants have become a prevalent problem in structures and homes around the Greater Toronto Area. There are several types of ants that are common invaders including carpenter ants, pavement ants, odorous ants, pharaoh ants, just to name a few. Ants can cause damage to lawns, plants, wood and food. Some can bite and sting causing health complications. They are very resourceful and can adapt to changing environments. Their populations can explode in short periods of time in and around your home. They can be very difficult to control without knowledge of the biology of the particular ant being dealt with. It is common to have problems with several different types of ants at one time.
Ants can enter through the smallest crevices, seeking food, water and other substances from a kitchen, pantry or storeroom area. Once this tiny pest gains entry into a home, they can nest almost anywhere in and around your home. Most do-it-yourself ant control products only kill ants visible to the human eye, which means there could be thousands more unseen. Each species of ants require different treatment and therefore, an expert pest control technician should be contacted to determine the correct course of action. If ants are seen inside your home during the winter months, a pest control professional should be contacted right away.
Common Types of Ants
Carpenter ants get their reputation because they excavate wood in order to build their nests. Their excavation produces smooth tunnels inside the wood. These are large ants ranging in size from one-quarter inch for a worker ant to up to three-quarters inch for a queen.
Pavement ants are known to make nests in or under cracks in pavement. These tiny pests can also infest structures such as ground-level masonry walls, but they also nest in walls, insulation and under floors. Outside, these black ants typically nest under stones, pavement cracks and next to buildings.
Odorous ants gain their name from the strong, rotten smell they emit when crushed. These foul smelling pests favour sweets and are particularly fond of honeydew, but will also feed on meats and grease.
If your home, grocery store, hospital or building is infested with ants, the Pharaoh Ant is very likely the culprit. It is abundant in every province in the country and is the number one nuisance of all ants. It is a very tiny ant of about 1/16″ long. It prefers to nest indoors and is such a prolific breeder, it can split into multiple colonies making it difficult to eliminate.
Pharaoh Ants have a wide color range from light yellow and tan to reddish-brown that can almost appear to be black. Its hind-side is frequently darker and appears to be banded. Pharaoh Ants are often called “Sugar Ants” or “Piss Ants”.
Why Pharaoh Ants Are Difficult To Control
The best way to stop an infestation of Pharaoh Ants is not letting them inside. Once they get a foothold internally, so many nesting colonies will be created that it may take the services of an expert pest control company to get rid of them. But even that route will take time, patience, and good diligent, preventive practices by a homeowner or business owner.
How To Naturally Control Pharaoh Ants
Pharaoh Ants have intuitive instincts and characteristics. What makes them difficult to eliminate is that unlike most ant species, its nests have multiple queens resulting in a rapid reproduction rate. Some nests have many queens that can lay 10 to 12 eggs in every batch and it only takes less than 45 days from hatch to reaching sexually mature adulthood.
Pharaoh queen ants breed continuously throughout their 4-12 month lifespan. The Pharaoh male usually only lives 3-5 weeks after mating but there is always a male willing to continue the exponential growth of both new males and queens.
Here’s why Pharaoh Ants are really difficult to eliminate. A Pharaoh queen will leave an existing nest taking adult workers, juniors and even eggs with her to establish a new colony. This characteristic can lead to a briskly multiplying number of nests over a very short period.
Their natural instincts are very intuitive. When they detect a repelling odor, they communicate that to other ants. If a toxic substance disturbs it, they will scatter which often leads them to fracture and create new colonies.
Habitat of The Pharaoh Ant
The favorite food of Pharaoh Ants is primarily sweet and oily foods but will eat anything edible including other insects. Although they prefer to nest indoors, they will establish colonies outside but will build nests near homes, restaurants, stores, hospitals and other establishments making it easier to penetrate when searching for water and food sources.
Their favorite targets are kitchen areas but will nest in places where food is not commonly found. Ant colonies will be found in wall voids, cabinet voids, refrigerator insulation and behind baseboards. They prefer dark secluded areas that are nearby hot water pipes. They communicate with emitted pheromones alerting others of danger and where food is located which is why they establish trail patterns.