Argentine ants are frustrating household pests, but apart from just causing aggravation, they can also cause devastating effects to the ecosystem. They do this by displacing native plant and animal species. In fact, Argentine ants spread so rapidly into new areas that they are listed among the 100 worst invasive species. Learning to identify and control these little pests can make a beneficial difference to your family and to the environment.
What do Argentine ants look like?
Argentine ants are a small species of ant that typically grows from 2-3 mm long. They range in color from light to dark brown and may sometimes appear shiny due to their hairless bodies. Argentine ants have 6 legs, 12 segmented antennae, and a well-defined waist like other ant species.
Ants can be extremely difficult to get rid of. Killing just the ants that you can see will do very little towards eliminating the colony. You may have tried every product in the store and scoured for helpful tips on the internet, but despite your best efforts, your ant problems remain. This could be because you are inadvertently attracting ants to your home. Learning what specific things attract ants will be key to keeping them away.
Like all living creatures, ants need food, water, and shelter to survive. This may seem obvious, but limiting access to these three things will do a lot to keep ants and other pests away.
Ants will eat many different kinds of foods, but they are particularly drawn to sugar, grease, and salt. It is important to maintain a clean home and keep all food crumbs away, but things that fall into these three categories will be especially appetizing for ants.
Sugary foods contain large amounts of carbohydrates that provide ants a plentiful energy source. All forms of sugar are appealing, but liquid sugar is easier for ants to eat. Things like juice, soda pop, and melted popsicles are ant magnets. Sugary liquids should be carefully disposed of and wiped up if spilled.
Another food ants love is fat, in the form of grease. Grease has a strong scent, so it can be problematic for homeowners who are dealing with ants. To prevent ants, it is important to frequently clean cooking surfaces (and nearby areas) to remove built-up grease. Taking out the trash often is also important to dispose of leftover greasy foods and packaging.
One of the less obvious food choices of ants is salt. Scientists who studied food preferences in ants found that in areas that were away from oceans, ants were actually more attracted to salty foods than sweet ones. These inland ants do not get enough of this important resource through their environment, so they will seek after it in their food sources.
Ants are very small and do not require a lot of extra water, but they do need some moisture from their environment. Excess moisture is something that will attract not only ants, but many other pests as well. This is particularly true of carpenter ants who thrive in moist environments and can wreak havoc on homes. Remove excess moisture around your home by fixing leaky pipes and faucets and using a dehumidifier, if necessary.
Ants usually have plenty of shelter options outdoors, but in extreme weather circumstances, they may be driven indoors. This can happen during times of flooding, excessive heat, or drought conditions. Preventing them from getting inside is one of the best things you can do to avoid an infestation. Do this by sealing the exterior of your home.
Toronto Ant Control
Your best prevention efforts may not work 100% of the time, so let GTA Toronto Pest Control help you solve your ant problem. Our expert technicians can identify the species of ants, exterminate them from your home and property, and apply a perimeter treatment to keep them from coming back. We use state of the art treatments that are extremely effective, while still being safe for your family and pets. For the best pest control in Toronto, trust GTA Toronto Pest
Control for all of your pest control needs.
For more information on ants, check out our article on ant control and prevention.
Tips on Keeping Ants Away
The Norway rat, also known as the brown rat, common rat, or sewer rat, is a constant problem in urban areas across the world. Although it was once thought to have originated in Norway, researchers now believe this species started in China and was able to migrate to every continent, except Antarctica.
Norway Rat Behavior
Norway rats are nocturnal creatures with very good hearing and a great sense of smell. They are also excellent swimmers, climbers, and burrowers. This species of rat generally lives underground in burrows or in cellars or sewers. Norway rats are omnivores, meaning that they eat both plants and meat. Although they usually consume a lot of grain in their diet, they will eat almost anything if needed.
One of the most difficult things about Norway rats is that they can reproduce extremely quickly. Small infestations can grow rapidly if not handled properly. One female Norway rat can have up to 14 pups per litter with upwards of 5 litters per year.
Cockroaches are notoriously hardy insects that pose major challenges for homeowners. Not only are they incredibly unsanitary, but they can also contribute to allergies and asthma. Roaches can be difficult to get rid of, but through exclusion, sanitation, and chemical methods, control can be achieved.
Seal the Exterior of Your Home
Sealing your home is an excellent way to prevent spiders and many other pests from entering. Spiders can get through very tiny openings, so even small cracks and gaps should be sealed. Use caulk on these small crevices, and expandable spray foam can be used to fill larger holes. It is also important to check that all your doors and windows have a tight seal with intact weather stripping. If the screens have holes or tears, they should be replaced or repaired.
Choose the Right Bait
Do you think mice love cheese? Think again! Although the connection between mice and cheese has been around for centuries, it is a myth. Recent scientific studies have determined that mice are not drawn to cheese, and in some cases, the smell may actually repel them. If you want your trapping experience to be successful, choose a bait that will attract them. Good choices include foods that mice eat naturally like grains, fruits, and vegetables. It has also been shown that mice love nuts and sugary sweets, so peanut butter and chocolate are also encouraged.
Termites are some of the most costly pests in the world. Each year they affect millions of homes and cost billions in property damage. While some areas are more susceptible to termites than others, homeowners everywhere should be on the lookout for them. Early intervention can greatly reduce the damage that they do to your home and the costs associated with eliminating them. Here are some signs of termites to look for.
Bed Bug Characteristics
Bed bugs are insects that have 3 main body parts, six legs, and 2 antennae. They are typically light brown or reddish-brown in color and grow up to about 7 mm long. Many people compare the size and shape of a bedbug to an apple seed. Since bed bugs feed exclusively on blood, their shape changes based on how recently they have eaten. Unfed bed bugs are flat and oval-shaped, while a full bed bug looks swollen and more balloon-shaped. Bed bugs do not have wings and will not jump or fly. They may also appear to have stripes because of the microscopic hairs that grow along their segmented abdomens. Bed bugs are most often found within a few feet of a sleeping area.