Which a Subterranean Termite and which is a Carpenter Ant?
At Tanner Pest Control we are constantly looking to add value to our customers through innovation and better servicing methods. To offer an effective Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program we involve all methods: exclusion (sealing openings), mechanical (placing traps), preventative control (residual pest control products) and performing a thorough inspection during each treatment. The exclusion treatment is key during the winter service (December 1st through February 28th ).
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A common question customers ask is- "What are these ants with wings?" or they refer to them as "flying ants". These ants are commonly known as Carpenter Ants. They get the name not because they eat wood as termites do, but rather they dig through wood and kick it out behind them. More often than not customers discover a Carpenter Ant problem when they see small piles of sawdust. There's a term for this, it's called "frass". Frass is any evidence left from an unwanted pest, it could be mice droppings under the stove, it could be gopher mounds of dirt in your back yard, or silver dollar sized vole holes.
The best way to completely treat an entire colony of Carpenter Ants is to apply bait or use a termiticide. Commercial grade products are the only option to completely eradicate the colony. Inexpensive products that you find at the local hardware store only offer a surface treatment. They are often very weak with the low percentage of active ingredients, meaning they are highly diluted. Commercial grade products are the only effective means because they get to the "core" of the colony. Ants bring food to the colony where the queen resides. This food sharing is called Trophallaxis. When we bait an ant mound or the targeted area, the ants carry the products back into the nesting area and effectively eliminate the colony under the surface.
Another issue with attempting to treat for ants yourself is that the products that are most effective against ants need to be non-repellent. Over the counter products such as Home Defense Max or Spectracide Pro are repellents, they are much lower grade pyrethrin, thus only interrupting the colony and pushing ants into different unwanted locations. Baits attract, they haul it back to the nest. Termiticides have no odor,color, or taste. This is beneficial because it doesn't interrupt the trail of pheromones allowing the ants to come into contact with the product without realizing it.
This video shows how Optiguard Ant gel bait works. It's one of our many ant baits that we can use outdoor as well as indoor. This non-repellent bait is highly attractive to any type of ants. Watch and see how it's done.
The Utah State University Plant Pest Diagnostic Lab conducted some amazing research about the top 20 insect families found inside homes and around structures. Here are the results of their findings:
To view the full images of the listed pest please visit The Utah State Extension Plant and Pest Lab.
If homeowners complain about seeing ants inside the kitchen, you know these are Sugar Ants. They get the name because they are attracted to sweet foods. ...Well, not just sweet foods they are also heavily attracted to starch and grease. More often than not, they are found around your sink. There are two reasons ants invade homes- for shelter and food.
A few tips on minimizing the amount of ants inside the home include:
The Pavement Ant is a soil-nesting species that was brought from England hundreds of years ago. Ants are common in the springtime, when the weather heats up. The ants emerge to the surface and hunt for food. Thus the colonization process begins. During the winter months ants are still reproducing and they are able to remain active below the frost line in your yard and even inside homes.
The best control method for ants is to eliminate the entire colony by having a commercial grade bait. We put these small granules in their path, in doing so, they mistake this for food and bring it back to the center of the colony. They feed it to the queen (without the queen, the colony can't reproduce) and a ripple effect comes into play.
In the image below, we placed a granulated bait their path Can you find and one of the workers is caring it back to the colony. Can you find him?
Carpenter Ants are actually classified with bees, wasps, sawflies, and other ants. Mostly because they have wings, but rarely fly. You know if you have carpenter ants if there are little piles of saw dust in random areas of your home. Usually, they are found in forest areas where there is a lot of wood. Most families that encounter carpenter ants will get them from bringing wood in from a forest or having wood piles by the side of the home. Unlike termites, they do not eat the wood, but rather feed on tiny insects, dead animals, honey dew, plant fluids, and other household food items. Unfortunately only 12 species of carpenter ants reside in Utah- YIKES! (sarcastic undertone)