What are Ants?
Ants are eusocial insects of the family Formicidae.They are easily identified by their elbowed antennae and the distinctive node-like structure that forms their slender waists.
Ants form colonies that range in size from a few dozen predatory individuals living in small natural cavities to highly organised colonies that may occupy large territories and consist of millions of individuals. Larger colonies consist mostly of sterile, wingless females forming castes of "workers", "soldiers", or other specialised groups. Nearly all ant colonies also have some fertile males called "drones" and one or more fertile females called "queens".
Some ant species are considered as pests. The presence of ants can be undesirable in places meant to be sterile. They can also come in the way of humans by their habit of raiding stored food, damaging indoor structures, causing damage to agricultural crops either directly or by aiding sucking pests or because of their stings and bites. The adaptive nature of ant colonies make it nearly impossible to eliminate entire colonies and most pest management practices aim to control local populations and tend to be temporary solutions.
Some of the ants classified as pests include the pavement ant, yellow crazy ant, banded sugar ants, the Pharaoh ant, carpenter ants, Argentine ant, odorous house ants, red imported fire ant, and European fire ant. Ant populations are managed by a combination of approaches that make use of chemical, biological and physical methods. Chemical methods include the use of insecticidal bait which is gathered by ants as food and brought back to the nest where the poison is inadvertently spread to other colony members through trophallaxis. Management is based on the species and techniques can vary according to the location and circumstance.
Prevention of Ants
1. Trim back trees and shrubs so that the branches and foliage do not touch your home to prevent ants from using them to avoid pesticide applications.
2. Trim up bushes and shrubs so that you can see beneath them to eliminate moist shady areas where ants like to nest.
3. Rake back mulch, pine straw or other landscape bedding at least 6 inches from structure to create a "dry zone" that ants are likely to avoid.
4. Turn mulch or other bedding material every couple of weeks to keep moisture retention low and discourage nest building.
5. Clean out gutters and downspouts frequently as insects and other pests are known to harbor in these areas.
6. Mow lawn as needed to keep growth low.
7. Remove grass clippings, leaf piles and stacked wood to eliminate harborages.
8. Remove ripe fruit from trees and off of the ground around trees.
9. Store outdoor trash cans and dumpsters as far away from structure as possible and be sure they have tight fitting lids.
10. Thoroughly wash out trash cans and dumpsters with an ammonia solution when needed.