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Fort Myers Homeowners' Guide To Total Ant Control

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It is gross when you find ants crawling on something. They are bugs after all. It only makes sense that it would disturb you to have them crawling on your counters, plates, and food! Bugs crawl in the dirt, and dirt is—well—dirty. Unfortunately, dirt isn't the only dirty thing that ants crawl on. Today, we're going to show you a link between what ants crawl on and how you can get total control of ants and protect your health. Does it surprise you that knowing what ants crawl on can help you control them? When you're done with this article, you'll likely have something fun to share at your next dinner party because these facts and ant prevention tips are not well known. If you have plenty of topics locked and loaded for your next social gathering and just want an ant control solution, navigate to our contact page or give us a call for professional ant pest control in Fort Myers. If your curiosity is peaked, read on.  

Common Types Of Ants That Invade Fort Myers Homes

Our theme today is all about what ants crawl on. As we look at common ants in Fort Myers, we'll focus on their habits and food preferences. These are what motivate them to get into dirty places.

Fire Ants: These are probably the worst of the worst when it comes to ant pests. While we usually refer to the wounds that fire ants cause as bites, these insects actually sting. The venom they inject causes irritation, swelling, redness, and a pustule at the center. Fire ant "bites" can itch for days, so it isn't great to have these ants in your yard. Why do they come into your yard? Fire ants are omnivorous. They eat sweets and meats. While they can feed on natural, sweet food sources, such as nectar, they're prone to getting into garbage receptacles and eating condiments. And, while they can feed on dead insects (and animals) for protein, they're drawn to climb in your trash or on your grill to eat remnants of meat. Fire ants typically nest in sunny areas and you'll find them in places where insects are found, such as stacked wood, leaf piles, under palm fronds, and in landscaping.

Carpenter Ants: These ants need no introduction. Most Fort Myers residents know what carpenter ants do inside homes. They carve out galleries inside wood and establish nests. When nests mature, alates are sent out to create new nests, and the cycle continues. A favorite food source of carpenter ants is honeydew, which is a sweet secretion created by scale insects, whiteflies, and aphids. Carpenter ants will also eat sugar, jelly, donuts, and other sweet food in our garbage. Like fire ants, these ants eat protein sources as well. You can expect to find them on all food sources, even if they're rotting. When these ants come near your home, they'll explore areas of rotted wood and create further damage as they create tunnels.

Big Headed Ants: The major workers of this species have big heads, which is why they're called big headed ants. They are omnivorous, like the other two ants listed so far. They are attracted to yards that have honeydew, nectar, fruit (even rotten fruit), and lots of insect activity. These ants get around in your yard. They are found from the ground to the highest tree canopy. When in the ground, they typically establish nests near walkways, foundations, sidewalks, and other hard structures. They also get into garbage receptacles.  

Ghost Ants: These ants are known for their ghost-like appearance, which is pale yellowish in portions of the body. The pale yellow coloration helps them blend in in many environments, making them appear somewhat transparent. These ants are also omnivorous and have a penchant for honeydew, nectar, fruit (even rotting), and dead insects (or wildlife). When they get into homes, they're often in kitchens where moisture and sweet food sources are found. In your kitchen, you can expect these ants to get into your garbage. 

Did you notice a theme? While all ants differ in size, coloration, and general preferences, they have similarities that bring them in contact with garbage, rotting fruit, dead animals, and other dirty things. When you consider ant pest control and how to keep ants away from your Fort Myers home, you need to understand this connection between ants and dirty things.

Why You Don't Want Ants Crawling Around Your House

Let's first look at how exposure to dirty things can make ant pests a threat to your health. We won't go into detail. Our goal is not to cause fear, but to make you aware of the potential for danger so that you are motivated to take the steps necessary to correct ant infestations quickly.

  • Ants can pick up many microorganisms and parasitic worms from garbage. When they go from your garbage to dishes and food, they can carry these organisms with them.
  • Ants can pick up germs when they climb on rotted fruit. While you don't need to concern yourself with the slightly rotted apple or banana on your kitchen island, there is a concern for fruit that falls to the ground in your yard. When fruit rots to a point where it creates a noticeably unpleasant aroma, harmful bacteria are likely present.
  • You know it is bad to touch a dead animal. Ants don't have a problem with doing this, so given the right circumstances, they can carry harmful (and invisible) pathogens into your home after exposure to a dead mouse, rat, or some other animal in your yard.

There are more connections we could make, but you get the idea. Ants can come in contact with dirty things inside and outside of your home. Now, let's look at how to get rid of an ant infestation and keep ants out of your home by applying methods that address what they eat and what they crawl on.    

Five Easy And Effective Ant Prevention Tips For Your Home

When ants enter your yard and consider entering your home, these tips will help deter them. In most cases, these five tips are all that is needed to keep all common Fort Myers ants out.

1. Sanitation: Ants are attracted to the scent of food. Rotting food provides a strong scent for ants to follow. Sanitation and trash management are key to reducing ant activity. Food management also fits into this. There is an abundance of food outside your home so when you remove food options inside, ants will prefer to live outside where food is available.

  • Keep indoor and outdoor trash receptacles free of odors.
  • Keep receptacles covered.
  • Clean recycling.
  • Deep clean your kitchen.
  • Store your food in nice, neat, sealed plastic containers.

Applying these steps, and others like them, will not only deter ants but will also help to guard against illnesses related to ant infestations.

2. Weeding: Ants love nectar. A plentiful source of nectar can start to appear at any time in the form of flowering weeds. When weeds take over your yard, ants won't be far behind.

  • Apply post-emergent and pre-emergent weed control products.
  • Pluck visible weeds.
  • Water and fertilize your lawn to give your grass strength to outcompete the weeds.
  • Trim grass the right height to steal the sunlight from the weeds.

It is nice to not have weeds—in more ways than one.

3. Plant Health And Aphid Control: The last thing you need is aphids, or other plant-damaging pests, in your landscaping. They not only harm your plants, they attract ants with their sweet honeydew.

  • Address moisture problems that can cause your landscaping to stay damp, such as clogged gutters.
  • Consider planting mustard or nasturtium. Aphids love these plants. When they get on them, you can wash them away with water.
  • Use sticky traps to collect plant-damaging insects. Yellow sticky traps are particularly good as aphids are attracted to the color. 

4. Debris And Light: Ants eat insects, both alive and dead. Insects are attracted to the habitat found under leaf and palm litter and white light emitted by exterior light fixtures. Address these to reduce insects.

  • Keep exterior lights off where it is not a security concern.
  • Replace white light bulbs with bulbs that caste yellow light.
  • Rake leaves away from your exterior and dispose of them.
  • Remove wood piles that are near your home.
  • Pick up dead branches and remove them or store them in a plastic bin. 

5. Entry Points: Ants get into your home because they can. Take steps to block entry and you'll have fewer troubles with ants inside your home.

  • Seal around utilities.
  • Address gaps around exterior doors.
  • Seal foundation cracks.
  • Trim branches and vegetation away from your exterior.

When you roll your sleeves up and manage the environments around and inside your home, you can make it unlikely for ants to live in your home.

The Most Effective Ant Control For Your Home

When you need help STAT, you know you can call Stat Pest Control for help. But we're also available to help you long before you have an emergency. Connect with us today to learn about our residential pest control plans. We provide ongoing, year-round coverage that keeps ants and other pests out of your Fort Myers home. We're here to help!