An ant colony consists of three different castes: workers, queens, and males. The queens and males are the reproductive members. The workers are sterile females and are the members of the colony that people are most likely to see wandering around their yards and homes. Responsible for most of the work associated with a colony, the worker ants gather food, maintain the nest, defend the colony, and care for the developing larvae. Ants are social insects and live together in large colonies with multiple nesting sites. Those that are common in our region are odorous house ants, pavement ants, acrobat ants, little black ants, harvester ants, field ants, and carpenter ants.
Tips to Identify Ants:
The most common reason that people have problems with ants is that they find their way into homes while searching for food to feed their colony. Gardens, trash cans, outdoor eating areas, and pet food bowls are places where ants forage for food in our yards. Ants often place their nests in the soil close to homes and other structures, allowing them easy access indoors. Common nesting sites include the soil under landscaping ties, mulch, and fallen trees. They also place their nests in tree stumps, woodpiles, and in the dirt next to sidewalks, foundations, and driveways.
Tips to Control Ants:
Ant prevention tips: Inside your home, store leftover food in refrigerators or containers with airtight lids. Also, make sure you clean up crumbs as they happen and vacuum regularly. In your yard, remove excess debris that ants can nest in like fallen trees, tree stumps, and excess piles of wood. It would also be beneficial to rake up green leaves in your yard to reduce water from building up and attracting more ants. To keep ants from finding their way into your home, first inspect your home’s foundation and exterior walls, sealing up any cracks or openings you find. Next, repair any torn screens and place weatherstripping around windows and doors and door sweeps on all exterior doors. Last, and most importantly, remove food sources in your yard by cleaning-up garden areas, placing locking lids on trash cans and compost bins, and picking up uneaten pet food.