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Getting Rid Of An Ant Infestation In Your Fort Myers House

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Most Florida residents have to deal with an ant infestation at one point or another. Most of the time, ants in your house are little more than a nuisance. They look ugly on your countertop, and they might contaminate your cookie jar, but they can't do much more harm than that. However, there are a few ant species in Florida that can do severe damage to your home and even threaten your health. This is why ants need to be a major part of your Fort Myers pest control plan.

How To Identify The Type Of Ant Infesting Your Home

Many times, identifying the type of ant that's infesting your home isn't all that necessary, considering that most ant control measures are applicable to virtually all ant species. That being said, there are several destructive ant species that you need to watch out for in your Fort Myers home, and being able to identify them is very important.

Carpenter Ants

One of the most dangerous ant species in our area is the carpenter ant. Carpenter ants are a major problem for homeowners because they tunnel through wood just like most ant species tunnel through dirt. This weakens the structural integrity of the wood and can eventually render it structurally unsound. Carpenter ant infestations can cost you thousands in repairs if allowed to continue. 

The good news is that carpenter ants are easy to identify. You'll know them by their size, as carpenter ants are some of the largest ants in Florida, growing up to half an inch in length. These ants are often solid black, though they can also be brown or a mix of brown and black. Another distinguishing feature of the carpenter ant is its large head and oversized mandibles used for cutting wood.

Pharaoh Ants

Another common dangerous ant species you'll run into in Florida is the invasive pharaoh ant. Pharaoh ants are so dangerous because of the diseases they spread. These ants carry several different strains of harmful bacteria, including staphylococcus, streptococcus, and salmonella. These ants are some of the most common and difficult to control of all the ant species that invade Florida homes. You'll know them by their distinct color pattern. These small ants are amber or yellow with dark brown or black abdomens.

Fire Ants 

The final species of ant that you have to worry about invading your property is the fire ant. The red imported fire ant is another invasive species that thrives in Florida. These ants typically don't come indoors. Instead, they nest outside in huge mounds. If you're not careful, you can wind up with hundreds of fire ant hills in your yard in just a few weeks if they decide your property is a good place to nest.

Fire ants are not all that dangerous to most people. Although they swarm like hornets and can sting as many times as it takes to neutralize anything they perceive as a threat, most people will only suffer mild burning pain and moderate itching from a fire ant attack. The exception to this is if you are allergic to insect venom. If you experience anaphylactic symptoms due to bee stings, there's a good chance that fire ant stings could trigger the same problems. This means fire ants pose a deadly threat to those with sting allergies.

The good news is that these ants are also pretty easy to identify. Their huge mounds are very distinct from virtually all other ant nests in our area, and their red and black coloring is also not shared by many other species. These ants have rusty red heads and thoraxes with black abdomens and an obvious stinger if you put them under a magnifying glass.

Ants In The Home Can Create Many Problems

Though the three species we discussed above create the most serious problems for Fort Myers homeowners, all ant infestations can cause some problems. For instance, all ants are unsanitary and will contaminate any food they happen to get into when they invade your home. A serious and stubborn ant problem can also hurt your home's value if you're trying to sell and dealing with an active infestation at the same time.

However, nothing compares to the damage that carpenter ants in Fort Myers can cause. Carpenter ants do not eat wood. They simply carve through it. This means they can't quite do termite-level damage to most homes, but they can come close and definitely cause much more serious damage than, for instance, carpenter bees. An active carpenter ant nest left to its own devices can start to harm the structural integrity of your home. If you have a carpenter ant infestation, you may start to notice signs of carpenter ants that are similar to the signs of termites, including:

  • Windows and doors that don't fit in their frames 
  • Damage to exposed wood like stairs or decking
  • Bulges in walls or bucked floorboards
  • Scratching or rustling noises inside walls

Another big sign of carpenter ants is actually seeing them. If you see one or two carpenter ants wandering around your property, don't panic. These ants must forage for food and may have come from a nest near your property. On the other hand, if you start seeing carpenter ants frequently, it's time to start looking for a nest inside or around your house.

The Hassles With Do-It-Yourself Ant Control

Most of the time, DIY ant control only works if your problem is limited to a few foraging stragglers that happen to wander into your home. If this is the case, you may be able to spray ant lines with vinegar to disrupt their pheromone trails. However, if you wind up with a full-blown ant problem in your yard or house, your ability to do something about it on your own drops to essentially zero. This is because store-bought ant control products like granules and sprays rarely do more than push ants to move their colony a few feet in any direction, if they even do that.

And this says nothing about some of our area's more popular "traditional" ant control methods. Some of these methods—such as pouring gasoline or boiling water into fire ant mounds—can be downright dangerous and harmful to the environment. What's worse is, they don't even work! All this may leave you asking if there's nothing you can do on your own to get rid of your ant problem, what are you supposed to do?

That's where the ant experts at Stat Pest Control come in. Our team is devoted to keeping our customers' homes free of both dangerous and nuisance ants all year round, and our founder's extensive background in healthcare means we only use products that are safe for you and your pets. There's no point in getting rid of ants in your home if you're just going to fill it with a bunch of noxious toxins. That's why we vet all the products we use to ensure that the only living things they can harm are the bugs bugging you!

The Best Way To Completely Get Rid Of An Ant Infestation

The best ant control method is to avoid getting ants to begin with. The good news is that this is a whole lot easier to do than getting rid of an ant infestation once it's already established on your property or in your home. With a few quick lifestyle changes, you can make your home and property much less convenient for ants to set up shop. Just follow these ant prevention tips:

  • Ensure all indoor and outdoor garbage cans are covered with tight lids at all times.
  • Never leave food items like cookie jars or fruit plates sitting out uncovered.
  • Store all pantry foods in airtight containers to mask smells.
  • Seal cracks and holes in your home's exterior to make it harder for ants to enter.
  • Take care of moisture problems like condensation, leaky pipes, and poor drainage to discourage moisture-loving ants.
  • Never leave pet foods or pet bowls sitting out. Feed your pets and put their dishes and any uneaten food away.
  • To deter carpenter ants specifically, ensure all the wood in your home is hard, dry, and doesn't have any rot or water damage.

The last item on this list is especially important for keeping out carpenter ants. Rotting and water-damaged wood is much easier to carve through than dry, well-maintained wood. This means that carpenter ants are much less likely to infest your home if it means they have to cut through wood that's hard as a rock.

Of course, if you do wind up with an infestation in your home, don't waste your time with ineffective and potentially poisonous over-the-counter ant control products. Just call the best in the ant control business here at Stat Pest Control! We offer the safest and most effective ant control solutions that can keep your home ant-free without exposing your family to any unsafe ingredients. If you're ready to get the ants out of your house and take back your life, give us a call or visit our contact page to get started today!