When you were young, it probably seemed like you had all the time in the world. At five or six years old, it is unlikely you woke up thinking about how to maximize your day. However, as we mature, we realize time is not as abundant as we thought. We find ourselves running out of time to complete a project or meet a deadline, and we wish there were more hours in the day.
Most of us want more time, but one thing we don't want more of is ants! You find ants everywhere. If you lay down in the yard to enjoy the sunshine, you soon have ants crawling on you! When you sweep off the driveway or sidewalk, the ants are there. Although we think we are safe inside our houses, we soon discover that ants can get into our homes too, which is why we need ant control solutions.
If ants are inside your Brentwood, you need the best pest control in Brentwood, All-American Pest Control. We know it is a bold statement to say we are the "best" pest control, but a company does not stay in business for over 60 years without doing something right! Since 1961, our highly-trained professionals have eradicated ants from Middle Tennessee homes. We are a local, family-owned company dedicated to serving our neighbors with high-quality, professional pest control. Part of our mission is to help educate our community, and we hope this brief article will assist you in the battle of ants.
The Remarkable Self-Organization of Ants
In our heads, we have a brain that controls our body movements and thought processes. We use our brains to think through and develop complicated methodologies that enable us to create complex structures, computers, and robots. When you look at an ant, you do not think about a creature with a brain. Do ants even have a brain? Yes, they have a brain, but it is clearly much smaller than ours, but apparently, it is powerful.
Ants create complex nests which require organization, but how do ants organize themselves? Scientists have studied ants for decades to unlock the secrets of their self-organizing capabilities. Computer models, imaging, and observation supported by funding provide scientists with insight into ant organization.
One curious feature of ants is the ability to self-organize without a hierarchy. In other words, ants do not have a leader, but each ant is hard-wired to work and perform necessary actions to complete the task of nest creation or food foraging. Each insect picks up what it can carry and takes it to the nest area, where it drops it next to debris brought by other ants and eventually creates stacks and pillars. Scientists speculate that ants know where to drop the materials by a chemical pheromone deposited on objects ants drop at the nesting location.
Another example of the incredible self-organization of ants is their ability to create life rafts in the water. Ants survive floods by building rafts consisting of as many as 100,000 ants! The ants create these rafts by weaving themselves into a three-dimensional structure that forms air pockets allowing for buoyancy.
The combination of pheromones with the innate drive to constantly carry items to stack on other items laced with the pheromones enables ants to self-organize and do amazing things as a group. This ability can present a problem for homeowners because once ants find an entry point into your home, they alert other ants using pheromones, resulting in a steady stream of constantly working ants moving into your Brentwood home. Ant control is necessary if you see ants in your house to prevent an infestation.
What Do Ants Nests Look Like?
Ants create nests to protect themselves from predators, rain, and the sun; they use these areas to store food and a place to reproduce and raise offspring. You need ant control in your yard because many ants build their nests on or in the soil around your house.
They may create the nest under piles of leaves, mulch, landscaping timbers, stones, and wood piles. Ant nests may have a singular entrance to a tunnel that branches into separate tunnels below ground. These tunnels open into various chambers dedicated to specific functions; for example, one area may be for the queen to produce eggs, another compartment serves as an egg nursery, and another for food storage. These tunnels and adjoining sections may go several feet into the ground.
The size of the soil-based nest depends on the species. Some nests appear as a hole in the ground, while others may have a small mound on the ground surface, like the Argentine ant. Ants, like the imported red fire ant, create irregular, flattened nests up to four feet in diameter and over a foot high. Inside the nest is a labyrinth of tunnels that go as deep as three feet into the ground. Because fire ant tunnels go so deep into the soil, do-it-yourself (DIY) home remedies seldom work because they cannot kill the queen, protected deep in the earth. Therefore, to remove these aggressive, stinging ants, you need fire ant pest control in Brentwood from All-American Pest Control.
Another type of ant nest is a wood nest. The ant primarily responsible for these nest types are carpenter ants that create nests in softened, often water-damaged wood. These nests look like tiny holes in the wood and often have sawdust material outside the holes. Nests bored by carpenter ants can cause significant structural damage and incur financial costs to the homeowner. You need the help of pest control professionals to avoid carpenter ant damage to your home.
The location of the nest depends on the ants. Most ants build their nest outdoors on the ground near structures like foundations, sidewalks, landscaping, and driveways. Others create nests underneath logs, wood piles, stones, and mulch. Fire ants will create their homes in these areas, but they also build large nests in open, grassy fields. Wood dwelling ants, like carpenter ants, build nests in old tree stumps, rotting fence posts, and underneath in poorly drained decks.
In the house, ant nests are in the crawlspace, basement, near leaky pipes, bathroom drains, and other high moisture areas. However, ants will nest near food sources in the kitchen and pantry. Ants build indoor nests inside walls, insulation, appliances, electronics, outlets, HVAC units, and underneath trashcans.
Ant Architects: How Do Ants Construct Their Nests?
Most ant colonies have a caste system consisting of queens, males, and workers. The workers are the largest group in the nest; the largest workers serve as soldiers, medium-sized workers work as forages and diggers, and the small-sized workers break down materials brought into the nest.
The first step in nest construction is to find a suitable location. In the fall and spring, the queen produces reproductive winged females who swarm from the nest with the males to find new nesting locations. Once the ants mate, the males die, and the fertilized queen finds a nesting location and lays her eggs, which hatch into the first set of sterile female workers. As previously noted, nesting locations may be in the soil, under rocks, mulch, or inside rotting wood, depending on the species.
If they are soil-dwelling ants, the newly hatched female workers begin collecting materials around the nest area. Materials used include dirt excavated as they bore into the earth, leaves, twigs, and small rocks. Worker ants can carry an item that is more than double its weight. When the ants bring materials to the nesting location, they produce a pheromone; when the next ant comes to the nest area with its load, it senses the pheromone and lays its material next to the previously deposited items. This process continues above ground while worker ants excavate tunnels below the nest mound. Ants create mounds above the ground for protection from the sun and rain and to regulate the internal temperature of the nest.
Carpenter ants create nests in water-damaged wood. When a queen arrives in a new location, she establishes a nest in moist wood outdoors on an old wood stump, rotting fence post, and other decaying wood products. Once the queen ants produce workers, they begin boring smooth tunnels in the wood for the nest. Like soil nests, these tunnels branch out and across the wood grain. When the colony matures, a swarm of reproductive ants leaves to create satellite locations, and this is when they begin invading nearby houses.
Not all ant species produce swarmers to create new nests; some species use a process known as budding. This process occurs when the ants feel threatened. When this happens, impregnated female ants leave the nest with a group of workers to create new nests in a safer location. The nests continue to cooperate.
Ant Control For Brentwood Residents
Ants are amazing creatures but are a problem for Brentwood homeowners. Inside the house, ants contaminate food and, in the case of Pharaoh ants, spread disease. Ants in the yard, like fire ants, can inflict powerful, painful stings on people and animals.
Because ants are a nuisance and can spread disease, you need ant control in Brentwood from All-American Pest Control. Our pest control professionals will inspect your property to determine the ant species infesting your area, entry points, and attractants. Next, we will create a custom strategy to eliminate ants and their nesting areas using eco-friendly, safe products. Contact us today and schedule a free evaluation or get a quote over the phone.
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