Mon. Aug 12th, 2019

Environmental and Health Safety

Global Climate Change, Facts, Solutions, Home Safety

Kill Fire Ants Colony?

8 min read

Maybe the most effective way to get rid of ants 🙂

Ants in house, garden and apartment

Ants in the wild are very useful. However, we should take action in case they come close to humans in the area of the house, garden or apartment. In this article we will explore where house ants prefer to live in our own home, how to correctly interpret the first signs of ants infestation, and what tracks to look out for in the house, garden, or apartment. So we should not try firstly to find the best ant colony killer! Way kill ant colony
Let’s find the colony first. 

Who wants ants as a lodger?

Usually, an ant plague starts with scattered “scout ants” in the house and in the apartment. Such “scouts” are constantly searching for new food sources for the ant-state and usually enter the house through the garden or across the balcony and terrace.

When the invaders find what they are looking for, they mark the way to the food source in the kitchen or pantry with pheromones. That leads to long ant roads and house ants can spread throughout the house.

In addition to ant roads, there are other traces that may indicate an ant infestation in the house or in the apartment: First of all, of course, swarms of flying ants and corresponding “disoriented exemplars” indicate a problem.

That applies to visible damage to buildings caused by wood ants, which like to nest in nested wood or insulating material, too. Crumbs of materials such as e.g. silicone and wood can therefore be an indication of infestation.

An accumulation of aphids on houseplants may also indicate an infestation with ants in the home. Background: Ants breed and defend aphids to get their sweet excrement product, honeydew.

Often, therefore, whole ant nests can be found in flower pots or planters – with unpleasant consequences: due to the duct systems of ants the contact between roots and soil is lost. Water and nutrients can no longer be absorbed and the plant dries up and dies

Ants in the garden

We can recognize an ant plague in the garden on small earth cones or sand piles in the lawn, on roadsides and sidewalks. Such signs indicate an ant nest. Most ants in the garden prefer sunny and dry places underneath stones, in wall chinks or in sandy soils for nest building.

There, ants feel protected from predators and weather. Often, an ant plague in the garden can also be recognized by the fact that the joints of terrace and pavement slabs get dissolved and the remaining cavities are suddenly populated by ants. The problem:

if turf-ants or black-gray path-ants appear in large numbers, these ants are harmful in the garden because they protect plant pests such as aphids, fleas, cicadas or scale insects from predators such as ladybugs or hoverfly and lacewings to get their feed – honeydew.

In the case there are ants on a balcony or terrace we should always look for ant roads. If we discover such a caravan, it is necessary to find the source and thus the nest, in order to initiate targeted measures for the ant fight. The nest can also be further away, as ants climb over several floors of buildings to reach the balcony or terrace – as long as the food source is attractive enough.

 


What to do about ants in the garden?

Fight ants

Fight ants – why? Most ants are ultimately extremely useful to nature. An ant-fighting becomes necessary if it harmful breeds like the pharaoh-ant, the turf-ant, the black-gray way-ant or the wood-destroying ants appear. In particular, an ant fight may be necessary if they occur in the house due to the following dangers.

Dangers and damage of ant infestation

• Hygienic damage – Especially the pharaoh-ant causes danger of spreading all kinds of germs. We should not hesitate – this will require an immediate ant fight.

• Material Damage – In addition to damage to computers and power cords, particularly wood-ants cause problems if nesting in wooden beams or false ceilings. In addition, there are damages to sidewalk slabs and terraces outside. If we want to avoid costly remedial measures, rapid ant control is necessary.

• Damaged storage – Damage caused by food contamination in pantries and kitchens. Preferably, sugar or protein-containing foods are infested. Ants should be fought whenever the infestation strength takes over and there are no longer random invaders, but whole colonies.

• Plant damage – Ants breed aphids because of self-interest. They are keen on their honeydew, which is milked regularly. In a sense, in return, ants defend aphids from predators. The result: plant pests take over and destroy plants in the house and garden. Again, therefore an ant fight may be necessary.

• Harm – Ants can spray formic acid which some people react with allergic skin reactions up to life-threatening anaphylactic shock. Therefore,: In case of allergies you should fight ants as early as possible or take the best active preventive measures.

 

There are problems with ants if home remedies are no longer sufficient. A professional should be assigned. This especially is true for following situations:

• The ant nest is (in all likelihood) inside the house or apartment. In this case, the ant fight should be carried out by a specialist, who understands a professional control of ants.

• There is the species of pharaoh-ants or wood-destroying ant. In these cases, the topic of fighting ants belongs to exterminators or a specialized company for pest control.

• Many people try to fight ants with funds from the hardware store such as ant sprays. Specialists urgently advise against. Sprays against ants only kill the directly sprayed ants, not the queens in the nest. Thus, the problem is not solved.

On the contrary: con-specifics are looking for new ways and therefore spread into different places in the house. In case of pharaoh-ants or wood-destroying-ant species a further spread would cause catastrophic consequences.

• Heavy infestation: The population of the ant colony is so heavy that you cannot control it yourself inside the house or apartment. If storage cabinets are flooded by ant’s infestation and even refrigerator seals are no longer an obstacle, it’s about time to commission a professional ant fighter.

• Continuously recurring infestation: If we note that ants find their way into the house or apartment every year again, a structural vulnerability analysis should be carried out. Preventing migration by ants is the first step in an effective ant fight.

Tips against ants

What can we do against ants in our house? Are there any effective tips? Once we’ve discovered the unwelcome guests, we wonder if there are any effective remedies or home remedies being capable of actively repelling ants or even preventing the invasion and nesting in the home. The answer is yes! There are a lot of home remedies providing a range of possibilities for ant defense.

What helps? Prevent ant infestation – HOME REMEDIES – Natural remedy get rid ants

A sustainable help against ants starts with some simple behavioral rules and the elimination of constructive vulnerability spots:

• The attraction of ants must be prevented. – Food trays of pets or fruit bowls with fermenting fruits should be emptied regularly. Used dishes should be rinsed, put in the dishwasher and be sealed. Also, removes any food leftovers from the barbecue.

• Food and supplies – should not be kept open in pantries and refrigerators but stored in airtight containers (like these). Even fridge seals are not an issue for ants.

• Seal. – Sealing up of joints and masonry openings by means of silicone, construction foam and acrylic is a proven remedy against ants and further prevents inflow. Window and door seals should be checked from time to time – not only for energy reasons – also for tightness.

• Garbage and Waste – should only be collected in closed rubbish bins and be disposed daily.

• Ants roads – track, identify and eliminate the source of food in the home or apartment.

• Compost containers and “brown tons” – in the garden should be closed. This not only helps against ants but also against other insect pests.

• Nesting. – It is helpful to use gravel instead of sand against ants and their nests under path plates in the garden and on the terrace.

• Climatic conditions. – Regular airing the house prevents a climate in which ants feel comfortable.

Ants, what to do? Home remedies for ants

Once ants have invaded it’s hard to know what to do. Firstly, it’s important to keep calm and to clarify the following questions: Which species of ant? What is the (current) food source in the house or in the apartment? Which way do the ants used to come into the house and where is it the ant nest?

Home remedies can help against ants. In addition to good old baking there are other remedies that provide effective help without the use of chemical poisons. The most important home remedies are:

• Basically: In case of larger ant populations in your home don’t to call a professional. This is especially true for the species pharaoh-ants and wood-ants.

• (The best-known home remedy for ants in the house certainly is baking soda. In most cases it is mixed with sugar. Ants eat the mixture and die. Supposedly, due to today’s common composition of baking soda the effect on ants has diminished.)

• Ants have a very sensitive sense of smell. Strong fragrant substances and home remedies such as garlic, cinnamon powder, lavender, cloves, juniper, chervil, thyme, marjoram, lemon, vinegar or essential oils such as the specially mixed ant-oil are helping to disturb ant’s sense of smell.

• Attracting ants with sugar solution or syrup as well as vacuuming and removing with a standard vacuum cleaner eliminates ants in the house.

• Eliminate all potential ants’ hatching opportunities. So columns, cracks and joints in the masonry should be closed. With glue-based adhesion barriers on windows, doors, etc., an effective entry barrier against ants can be created.

Chalk (you can use for drawing as well 🙂 ) is said to act as an antiviral remedy as it is said that ants do not cross this barrier.

• An ant nest in the planter can be repeatedly “soaked” with water. This measure should remove the ants by looking for a new place to stay.

• As a home remedy for ants copper coins have shown good effects. Simply place a few copper coins on the ant roads and near the nest and/or nest entrances.

• If the ant nest is in the garden, the entire state can be resettled. For this purpose, a vessel filled with wood wool and straw is placed upside down on the nest. Once the container is filled by the ant brood, it can be raised by means of spades and laid over a wide area.

• If the ant nest is inside the building, e.g. within the masonry, walls, stairs or similar do not hesitate to contact a pest expert. In this case home-remedy-tips against ants no longer help. The nest should be eliminated professionally and in the case of wood-destroying ant genera a construction expert to be consulted as well.

==> Ultransonic devices can be very effective against ants – click here if you want to try <==

Recognize ant species

Ants are basically a very important element of the ecosystem in the wild.

Dangers of pharaoh ants

However, ants invade buildings and homes of humans, they are annoying and sometimes dangerous. Highly infectious protein eaters and hygiene pests such as the pharaoh-ant genus or even species such as grass-ants, black-gray path-ants or wood ants should be banned from human buildings. Here are the some important harmful ant specie.

Argentinian Ant
(Linepithema humile)
Argentinian ant

Appearance

• Argentine ant workers are about 2 mm, queens 4.5 mm and males 3 mm long.

• Her slender body is light to dark brown in color.

• The Argentine ant does not enthuse.

• She bites and does not sting.

Procreation

• Argentine ant workers multiply in Spring. They are increasingly found in autumn.

• The winged ants (reproducible kings and queens) multiply at the beginning of Spring (earlier than their workers) and reach full sexual maturity after 3 months.

• Argentine ants evolve in their nests, so no swarms of army swarms are visible.

Way of life

• Argentine ant workers track food marks over long distances. It’s therefore difficult to find their nests.

• They prefer sweet foods but also feed on live or dead insects, meat, cereal products or fruits.

• The Argentine ant ousts other ant species from their habitat.

 

 

Fire Ant
(Solenopsis spp)

Fire Ant
Appearance

• The queens of the fire ant reach a size of 15 mm. The workers are 3 to 6 mm tall.

• Their head and body are coppery, the abdomen a little darker.

• The fire ants feelers have very characteristic bipartite club ends. These are most clearly recognizable in the front view of the queens.

Procreation

• After swarming and mating, the queen looks for a suitable place for oviposition. Then she lays up to 125 eggs in late spring.

• The larvae hatch after 8 to 10 days. The pupation occurs after 9 to 16 days.

• The larvae feed on elimination of the queen’s salivary gland and discarded wing muscles. After first larvae have turned into workers, the queen lays more eggs (up to 1,500 per day!). The workers take care of the larvae, nest building and foraging.

• Sexually mature males hatch later in the year.

Way of life

• Workers of the fire ant look for dead insects, earthworms and vertebrates. They also collect honeydew and sugary substances, proteins and fats.

• Swarm behavior: The queens and males mate in high and late Summer months during a flight. After that males die.

• The ant-building is a single hill up to 40 cm high or leans against existing objects, e.g. lying tree trunks.

• Fire ants react aggressively to disturbances. After a painful bite a pustule forms 48 hours later.

• It is one of the worst pests in agriculture and urban areas, destroying crops and infesting buildings and outdoor areas.

Common Turf Ant
(Tetramorium caespitum)

Turf Ant

Appearance

• The common turf-ant is about 3 mm long and has got 6 legs. In addition, it has got a double spine.

• It is dark brown to black in color and has got two short spikes on the front of the chest and grooves on head and chest.

• The chest area is uneven and has got a spinal pair.

• The common turf-ants has got 12-segment antennas with three-piece antlers.

• Flying ants are often confused with termites.

Procreation

• The common turf-ants swarm in spring and summer. At high outside temperatures it also can be present year-round.

• Queens throw off their wings after the wedding flight and build their nests under stones or in the soil.

• The states of the turf-ant reach populations of up to 80,000 workers.

Way of life

• The common turf-ant is omnivorous and can feed on all foods (including pet food).

• It enters buildings mostly at night – looking for food. It can pass through pipes and electrical cables into the interiors e.g.

• The nests of the turf-ant are mostly in the lawn, under stones and wood or near foundations. Colonies likely settle near water.

 

Pharaoh Ant
(Monomorium pharaonis)

Pharaoh Ant
Appearance

• The pharaoh ant workers are 2 to 3.2 mm tall, yellow-brown in color and have got a brown abdomen. Males reach a size of 2.9 to 3.4 mm. They are black and have got wings.

• Queens are 3.9 to 4.9 mm tall, dark red and also have got wings.

• The pharaoh ant has black eyes and a bipartite stalk between breast and abdomen.

Procreation

• Pharaoh ants form colonies with several queens.

• New colonies often arise after the destruction of old nests, for example through the use of insect sprays.

• Each queen lays up to 3,500 eggs during her lifetime.

• Pharaoh ants can swarm in any season.

• Mature individuals rarely fly, so they are almost never seen.

Way of life

• Pharaoh ants are predominantly found in buildings.

• They prefer a warm, humid climate and form precise trails, mainly along heating pipes, e.g. in toilets, hospitals, indoor pools and commercial kitchens.

• Pharaoh ants seek for proteinaceous food, such as meat, fats, blood or dead insects. The strength of the colonies varies between a few dozen and 300,000 individuals.

 

Black-gray Garden Ant
(Lasius niger)

Black_gray Garden Ant

Appearance

• Workers of the black-gray garden-ant reach a size of 3 to 5 mm.

• Queens grow up to 9 mm.

• The black-gray garden-ant is colored dark brown to black.

• She doesn’t have a sting.

• There is a stalk limb between the chest and the abdomen.

Procreation

• Queens of the black-gray garden-ant hibernate in the ground.

• In mid to late summer, they mate with the fertile males in the air. Males die after reproduction.

• Oviposition takes place in late spring. The larvae hatch 3 to 4 weeks later.

The larvae feed on secretions from the queen’s salivary glands until the first workers hatch.

• These take care of larvae, nest building and food procurement.

• Sexually mature males hatch later in the season.

Way of life

• Workers move in search of food on clearly defined paths.

• They prefer sugary substances but can also handle high-protein foods.

• The black-gray garden-ant usually builds its nest in the ground or under pavement on the sunny side of buildings. The position of the earth-nests can be seen on the finely atomized soil around the exit holes.

 

Black-headed Ant
(Tapinoma melanocephalum)

Black Headed Ant

Appearance

• The black-headed ant is pretty small with its size of about 1.6 mm.

• It’s abdomen is pale with transparent legs.

• The black-headed ant has a dark brown head and a dark middle body section.

• There is a stalk limb between it’s chest and the abdomen.

Procreation

• The black-headed ant is in an uninterrupted breeding phase.

Way of life

• Within buildings, the black-headed ant takes sweet foods and fats. In open air it feeds on honeydew or the sweet excrement of the butterfly caterpillars.

• For nest building the black-headed ant searches for corners and wall cavities. In open air, nesting takes place in flowerpots, under plates or under loose tree bark.

• Black-headed ants are attracted to moisture and are therefore often found under kitchen furniture and in bathrooms.

 

Fragrant House Ant
(Tapinoma sessile)

Frangrant House Ant

Appearance

• The fragrant house ant reaches a size of approx. 1.5 to 3 mm.

• It is colored brown or black.

• It has 12-segment antennas without antlers.

• The fragrant house ant has got 6 legs.

Procreation

• The development phase of the fragrant house ant is 34 to 38 days.

• In a colony there live between 100 and 10,000 ants.

• The fragrant house ant usually lives for several years.

Way of life

• The fragrant house ant eats almost all foods, but prefers sweet foods and fruits, such as Melons. It also feeds on animal feed.

• The fragrant house ant is attracted to moisture and loves humid, warm climates. It is often found in indoors plants, but under toilet lids as well.

• It develops a coconut odor when crushed.

If you do have any questions or suggestions (maybe about some tricks you know) please don’t hesitate to write a comment about! Let me know it!
I love to hear about “special tricks” how to fix something or so… sometimes they are really helpful but in any case mostly funny!

Yours, 
George

 

2 thoughts on “Kill Fire Ants Colony?

  1. Hi George, Great article! So much information. There are so many different ants! In the tropics I’ve seen some interesting colonies of leaf cutting ants marching. They are like an army! In Africa we had huge amounts of electrical ants in our power sockets every now and then (amazing! but no fun!) And in Australia I’ve even eaten “green ants”, that according to Aboriginal bush doctors contain high numbers of Vitamin C!

    With regards to ants in the house, that we really not want!: Here in Hungary I’ve see people using corn flour as a home remedy. According to them ants love to eat it but cannot digest the corn flour and so the eat themselves to dead. I personally haven’t tried that yet, but will let you know when I do!
    Good luck with your next articles!

    1. Hello Angelique,
      thank you so much for your comment!
      Yes – ants can be very annoying 🙂 On the other hand they are important for an intact environment as well – just not in our houses 🙂
      I know some home remedy methods – but because they killing the ants I didn’t mention it in the article.
      I’d rather get them away alive.. if possible.
      All the best,
      George

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