Pest: Ants

Acrobat Ant

Acrobat ants exterminator Houston

Most acrobat ants are black to light brown, but a few are multicolored with the head or abdomen darker than the rest of the body. Most species are 1/16 to 1/8 inch long. The workers in each colony are monomorphic, which means they are all similar in size. One clue for identification is that they have a 2-segmented section called a petiole that attaches to the front portion of the abdomen with a pair of spines on the thorax. The abdomen is shaped like a heart and is best viewed from above.

Inside a structure, acrobat ants can feed on sweets and high-protein foods (meats). They may nest in wall voids, baseboards, or door and window framing particularly if it has been damaged by moisture or previously infested with other insects. They may even enlarge cavities formed by other insects such as old galleries of termites, carpenter ants, and other wood-infesting insects. Rigid board insulation used to construct walls of many newer homes also is an attractive nesting site for acrobat ants. – HGIC

Carpenter Ant

Carpenter ants, Camponotus sp., are social insects that make their colonies primarily in wood. They hollow out wood or excavate insulation to build their nests. They become pests when they nest or forage for food in homes and other buildings. An infestation usually begins when part of an existing colony moves into a house. The presence of carpenter ants can indicate that a building has problems such as moisture, rotting wood, or other conditions conducive to infestations.

Carpenter ants are relatively large. Adults vary in length from about 1⁄4 inch to 5/8 inch for worker ants, and up to ¾ inch for winged. Carpenter ant colonies start out small the first 2 or 3 years, but then grow rapidly. In 4 to 6 years they can contain up to 3,000 or more ants, depending on the species. – Texas A&M

Crazy Ant

Crazy Ants exterminator houston

The tawny crazy ant (TCA) (Nylanderia fulva) has invaded Gulf Coast region in recent years.  First found in Houston in 2002 scattered infestations are now found in all Gulf coast counties extending west as far as the Hill Country.  Individual infestations can be huge, spanning kilometers in diameter.  This South American species is successful in both natural environments and areas influenced by human presence and disturbance. They develop extremely dense populations where they establish, displacing native ants, many arthropods, and interestingly the imported fire ant that invaded before them. These ants also threaten wildlife more generally. Interestingly, dense populations of invading crazy ants even displace the notoriously tough imported fire ant.  Surprisingly, crazy ants can easily kick imported fire ants off of food resources and even take over their mounds to use as their own nests.

 It turns out that crazy ants possess behavioral and chemical adaptations that allow them to fight fire ants with impunity.  Crazy ants, like all ants in this group, produce formic acid as venom and use it as a weapon when fighting other ants.  However, by applying their own venom to areas of their body exposed to the highly toxic, alkaloid venom of fire ants, crazy ants can completely detoxify the fire ant venom.  – UTAustin

Fire Ant

Fire Ant Exterminator Houston

The bodies of mature fire ants, like the bodies of all typical mature insects, are divided into three sections: the head, the thorax, and the abdomen, with three pairs of legs and a pair of antennae. Fire ants of those species invasive in the United States can be distinguished from other ants locally present by their copper brown head and thorax with a darker abdomen. The worker ants are blackish to reddish and their size varies from 2 to 6 mm (0.079 to 0.236 in). In an established nest these different sizes of ants are all present at the same time.

A typical fire ant colony produces large mounds in open areas, and feeds mostly on young plants and seeds. Fire ants often attack small animals and can kill them. Unlike many other ants, which bite and then spray acid on the wound, fire ants bite only to get a grip and then sting (from the abdomen) and inject a toxic alkaloid venom called solenopsin, a compound from the class of piperidines. For humans, this is a painful sting, a sensation similar to what one feels when burned by fire (hence the name), and the after-effects of the sting can be deadly to sensitive people.[7] Fire ants are more aggressive than most native species, so have pushed many species away from their local habitat. – Wikipedia

Leafcutter Ant

Leafcutter ant pest control Houston

Leafcutter ants, a non-generic name, are any of 47 species[1] of leaf-chewing ants belonging to the two genera Atta and Acromyrmex. These species of tropicalfungus-growing ants are all endemic to South and Central AmericaMexico, and parts of the southern United States.[2] Leafcutter ants can carry twenty times their body weight[3] and cut and process fresh vegetation (leaves, flowers, and grasses) to serve as the nutritional substrate for their fungal cultivates.

In some parts of their range, leafcutter ants can be a serious agricultural pest, defoliating crops and damaging roads and farmland with their nest-making activities.[7] For example, some Atta species are capable of defoliating an entire citrus tree in less than 24 hours. A promising approach to deterring attacks of the leafcutter ant Acromyrmex lobicornis on crops has been demonstrated. Collecting the refuse from the nest and placing it over seedlings or around crops resulted in a deterrent effect over a period of 30 days. – Wikipedia

Odorous House Ant

Odorous House Ant Pest Control Houston

The odorous house ant is native to most of the entire United States ranging from Canada into Mexico. These ants feed on many different items including most items found in homes but apparently prefer to feed on those high in sugars. Outside, Tapinoma sessile will feed on honeydew excreted by aphids and on nectar from flowers and buds.

Workers are 1/16 to 1/8 inch (2.4-3.3 mm) long and monomorphic (all members are about the same size). The body is uniform in color from brown to black, antenna is 12-segmented without a club, thorax is uneven, and pedicel has one hidden node. There is no circle of hairs at the anal pore. A distinctive characteristic of this species is the rotten odor when crushed.

Control of foraging odorous house ant workers can be accomplished through the use of baits. The workers carry the baited material back to the nest, eliminating the colony. Many different types of bait are available to the homeowner in this regard. However, baits containing hydramethylnon, fipronil or boric acid are slower acting and do not kill the workers before they have had a chance to share the baits with the queen and developing immature ants. Choose baits designated for sweet-loving ants. –  Penn State

Pharaoh Ant

The ant Monomorium pharaonis (Linnaeus) is commonly known as the Pharaoh ant. This common household ant is distributed worldwide and carries the dubious distinction of being the most difficult household ant to control. 

The Pharaoh ant colony consists of queens, males, workers, and immature stages (eggs, larvae, pre-pupae, and pupae). Nesting occurs in inaccessible, warm (80 to 86°F), humid (80%) areas near sources of food and/or water, such as in wall voids. This ant infests almost all areas of a building where food is available and infests many areas where food is not commonly found. Pharaoh ants have a wide preference in the types of food consumed. In infested areas, if sweet, fatty, or oily foods are left uncovered for only a short period of time, one can likely find a trail of Pharaoh ants to the food. As a consequence, they cause much food to be discarded due to contamination. – Ufl

Rover Ant

Rover Ant pest control Houston

Rover worker ants are small (about 1/16″), uniform in size (monomorphic), and vary in color from black, dark brown, to pale blonde. They have 9-segmented antennae without a club, a 1-segmented petiole which is hidden under the abdomen and they do not possess a stinger. The thorax is uneven in shape and the front portion is humped.

However, since 2015 in Texas, this ant has become more and more prevalent throughout the state. Pest Management Professionals are reporting increased incidents of rover ants inside of structures. These ants are of little economic and medical importance because they do not bite or sting. However, they can be a nuisance in areas where ants are not tolerable, particularly indoors, and can be hard to eliminate.

Infestations are often associated with moisture and or fungal decay. Correction of moisture problems will help with control. Any wood that is severely damaged due to water should be replaced. Around the home, remove or treat nesting areas under landscape timbers or rocks. – Tamu

If you notice any of the above signs, don’t wait. Contact us at Quality Pest & Wildlife to help you. We offer green pest control services to clients in the Houston and surrounding areas that consists of Harris and Montgomery County. We will ensure your pest problem is solved.

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