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Ant Control Basics

Ants have antennas and three body parts (head, thorax, and abdomen).  Ants are divided into two groups, wall nesting and ground nesting. The most common wall-nesting ants include carpenter ants, crazy ants, odorous house ants, Pharaoh ants, and thief ants. Common ground nesting ants include Argentine ants, pavement ants, little black ants, harvester ants, and fire ants.

Ants feed on sugar or protein substances depending on the species. Some eat both. Examples include plant parts (seeds, pollen), insects, pet food, or our food.  The red harvester ant is often mistaken for the Imported Red Fire Ant. Harvester ants are large and are not as aggressive as fire ants.

To control ants, first identify the type of ant you want to treat. Some ant problems may worsen if treated incorrectly. For optimum control of most ants, the Queen must be eliminated.  Most ants in the lawn may not need to be treated. Carpenter ants do not feed on wood, but excavate galleries for the colony. They need to be treated when found in the home or business.

Ants in the house may indicate a sanitation problem. Clean up liquid or food spills to eliminate food sources. Baits, traps, dusts, granules, and sprays are available.

There are two types of ants. Ants that prefer food that is sweet, and Ants that prefer protein based foods. The most common small ant is the sweet type. The best way I've found to rid my kitchen of them is to use a poison bait type product, either a gel, bait station or bait liquid. After observing where the ants are traveling, place the bait so they will quickly discover it. It usually takes from a few minutes to several hours for the ants to find the bait. Usually just one ant will find it first and begin feeding. Then that ant will communicate to the other ants where to find the bait, and they will begin feeding from the bait. Eventually, most of the ants present will be feeding on the bait. After feeding, the ants will take the poison bait back to their colony, and share it with all the ants in that colony, and they will all be eliminated. Usually they will be gone within a day or two. Be sure not to spray the area with an insecticide, or in anyway disturb the ants because you want them to discover the poison bait as quickly as possible. Be sure to follow the directions on the label for any product you decide to use.

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