Oklahoma residents know all too well the problems of having an ant infestation. Given the weather patterns and climate the state faces, Oklahoma can be a breeding ground for these tiny pests. Controlling ant populations indoors can be a daunting task for any homeowner as countless sprays and powders may temporarily alleviate the problem or completely fail. It's estimated that there are nearly 1.5 to 1.6 million ants per person in the world, making ant control a necessity.
Ant populations have flourished in Oklahoma in recent years. Though ants may seem harmless foraging on the sidewalk or within a garden, these pests tend to invade homes and businesses. Without prevention or proper treatment, a visit from ants can lead to a long-term co-existence within a home.
Given the small size of ants, the pest can easily find its way through the smallest of cracks as it forages for water and food substances. Ants most often are seen traveling in a line formation. This can be attributed to the ant's unique characteristic of leaving a chemical trail of pheromones leading to and from a food source.
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Colonies can be as large as one-half million ants at any given time, making DIY ant control incredibly ineffective. With a nest capable of being concealed anywhere in the house, pinpointing their exact location can be tricky for the homeowner. The queen of the ant colony can live up to 15 years and worker ants, constantly being born, have a lifespan of nearly 7 years. Over time these populations can wreak havoc on whatever material they choose to use for nesting, including wood structures.
The best offense in defending a home from an ant invasion is ensuring that steps have been taken to create a barrier between the home and the outside world through preventative ant control. For over 40 years, Emtec Pest Control has perfected the process of locating and safely removing ants from homes and establishments. If you are experiencing ant problems, we are available to give you a free inspection to assess your ant control needs. Fill out our online contact form today to schedule your no-obligation inspection today!
Ant Colony Castes
Within ant colonies, there are three to four particular castes that inhabitants fall into depending on the species. The jobs assigned can be based on factors such as gender and fertility. In the colony system of ants, each caste serves a very particular purpose. By functioning as a colony, these ant populations have developed an efficient population system.
Depending on age and size, worker ants can be assigned a variety of jobs. The most numerous population within an ant colony, worker ants are primarily tasked with foraging for food and bringing it back to the colony for distribution. Female ants that are unable to reproduce are within the worker caste to maintain a clean nest and feed larvae. Worker ants are always wingless and are the typical pest seen foraging.
Hatched from unfertilized eggs, drones aren't responsible for work within the colony and function solely for reproduction. In appearance, the drone more closely resembles a wasp, due to its addition of wings. The function of a drone is to mate with a princess ant during the nuptial flight. Once the drone ant has mated, it dies.
Soldier ants are characterized by their large heads and protruding mandible. Only present among polymorphic ant species. These sterile female ants possess more strength than the typical female workers and can carry larger objects back to the colony.
Functioning as the founder of a colony, the queen ant can lay thousands of eggs each day. After successfully mating, the queen may stay fertilized for many years. When the queen ant establishes a new nest, she will shed her wings. During its lifespan, the queen can potentially lay millions of eggs. With a lifespan of up to 15 years, the queen ant is one of the longest living insects in the world. Upon the death of a colonies queen, the colony will only survive a few months.
When dealing with an infestation, it's important to know that do-it-yourself treatments may give the appearance that your ant problem is normalizing. In reality, without properly removing the nest, the ant problem is still present and can be potentially deteriorating the quality of a home. With over 12,000 species of ants all over the world, the likelihood of running into an ant infestation is likely.
There are several prevention methods available to ensure that a home has a decreased risk of ant infestation.
Ants create established routes to and from the colony when foraging food. This is done by the secretion of semiochemicals secreted by the ant to "signal" to others where food can easily be found. By watching the paths taken by the ant's food sources and entry points can be easily identified.
Due to their small size, ants are very successful at penetrating even the smallest opening to your home. To make a home less accessible, it is recommended that cracks are sealed with caulk and crevices are eradicated to deter entry.
If entry points have been located, cleaning the entry point with a detergent will help remove the semiochemical trail created by the ants. In some cases, using a non-repellent insecticide may be a better option. Non-repellent dusts allow the ants to track the insecticide back the nest, potentially eradicating the problem over time. When working with insecticides it is important to take all necessary safety precautions.
Homes become a viable source of food and water for ants, and other insects, when kept unclean or contain leaky pipes and faucets. Ants have the unique ability to survive on the smallest of food sources given the size and dietary need of the pest. Vacuuming areas typically otherwise overlooked (e.g., under couches and along the baseboards) and adequately wiping down counters can help remove the food sources found by ants.
Airtight containers help remove the scents and entry points commonly found with factory direct food boxes. It is important to clean any residue left from the food on the container to ensure they don't continue to come back. Keeping food stored in a refrigerator, freezer, sealable jars or other inaccessible areas will help cut off the food supply of an established colony.
Leaving dirty dishes in the sink can lead to a whole host of pest problems. Washing the dishes after each meal or separating them into the dishwasher ensures that these pests don't have easy access to food sources.
Though no home can be completely entry proof, these methods can help ensure that a home isn't a buffet for any unwanted pests that make their way inside. The key to successful pest management lies in dedication to preventative care. In Oklahoma, ant control can seem like a never-ending process, but it doesn't have to be with the help of professionals.