How is an ant hill made?

Ant hills are some of the most intricate nests in the animal kingdom, yet hardly anyone knows their inner workings, or much about them at all.  I know I always thought that ants just, pile some dirt wherever they want and then live in that hill, but it’s actually far more sophisticated. Here’s the real intricacy behind how ant colonies build their homes. First, they search for the most adequate spot, which needs to be most ground, close to water, but not too close for obvious reasons. Once they have found the perfect spot, the ants will begin to dig their home.

A nest is separated into chambers, with the bottom holding the Queen Ant and her eggs. As the ants carve this out they will bring the dirt to the surface and stack it around the entrance which makes the hill we see above ground. They create a system of chambers and tunnels underground which aids in the organization of the hierarchies of the colony. The chambers stack in a sort of staggering fashion to avoid multiple cave-ins, and each chamber is separated by ant type. There is a chamber for worker ants, a chamber for soldier ants, etc.  This helps the ants be able to work together in a more productive way and helps them do what they need to do to continue their circle of life.

How do ants work together?

Whether you see them walking in a straight line, carrying their food as a team, or building a colony together, it’s no secret that ants are very organized and have a secret way of communicating that we can’t see.  Surprisingly this “secret” communication they use has nothing to do with speaking. One way ants communicate is by releasing pheromones that are universally understood by one another to signal different things, such as calling attention to food and alerting others of enemies.  Like the story of Hansel and Gretel they leave a trail of breadcrumbs, or, in this case, if an ant finds food, they leave a trail pheromones for the other ants to follow. They do this by using their antennae as sensors and continuing the succession of pheromones as they continue on their path to alert others. Ants also communicate through touch, and will lightly touch one another with their antennae to signal something important is happening. Although ants may not speak to each other, that doesn’t mean they never communicate by sound. When ants aren’t in a good position to send pheromones, like being trapped for example, ants with make a sound by rubbing their leg against a part of their body to make a scraping noise, usually as a distress call. Ants can work together because they, like humans, are among the few animals that can communicate in a way that allows them to be connected, sometimes in a way far beyond what humans do.

4 Home Remedy Recipes For Ant Control

Ant_PileDealing with unwanted pests is one of the biggest challenges you may face as a homeowner. The challenge is even more daunting if you’re trying to deal with ants inside your home and around your yard. They can be tough to get rid of!

If you are seeing ants of any kind, including little black ants, piss ants, fire ants, pavement ants, or pharaoh ants; try these easy do-it-yourself home ant control remedies:

1. Ant Dust Repellent

Ingredients

  • 1/4 Cup Dried Mint Flakes
  • ¼ Cup Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 Cup Rock Dust (From Nursery)
  • 1 Cup Garlic Powder
  • 1 Package Dry Enchilada Sauce Mix
  • 1 Cup Organic Alfalfa Meal
  • 1/2 Cup Cayenne Pepper

Directions 

Mix all seven ingredients together in large paper bag. Sprinkle the mixture wherever you are seeing ants on your property. This mixture will not exterminate the ants, but instead will create a protective barrier that will keep the ants away. Be careful to not get the mixture in your eyes.

2. Homemade Ant Bait

Ingredients

  • 4 Tablespoons Peanut Butter
  • 6 Tablespoons Honey
  • 3/4 Teaspoon Boric Acid.

Directions

Mix all three ingredients together. Place small spoonfuls of ant bait near foraging ants. They will not only eat the deadly poison, but will also bring some back for the Queen ant to munch on. If baited successfully, the ants in the nest should be exterminated within a couple days.

Cat_Food3. Ant Bait 

Ingredients

  • ¼ Cup Grape Jelly
  • 1 Small Can Wet Cat Food
  • 1 Teaspoon Boric Acid

Directions

Mix all three ingredients together. Place small spoonfuls of ant bait near foraging ants. They will not only eat the deadly poison, but will also bring some back for the Queen ant to munch on. If baited successfully, the ants in the nest should be exterminated within a couple days.

4. Simple Ant Spray

Bouquet_Of_AntsIngredients

  • 2 Liters Warm Water
  • 2 Tablespoons Soap Flakes
  • 1 Tablespoon Hot Sauce
  • 1 Teaspoon Sesame Oil
  • 1 Teaspoon natural castile soap (citrus oil and vegetable oils)

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a large spray bottle. Shake. Spray ants and outdoor areas that have been affected by the ants.

Ant Control

If you a being plagued by troublesome ants, try these homemade ant control recipes. If they don’t work, or for more serious ant infestations, it’s time to enlist the services of a qualified ant control professional.

3 Wild Movies About Killer Ants

Ants are bad enough to have to deal with when they’re normal sized; blow them up to giants and they’re downright horrifying. Ants have long been the subject for giant insect horror flicks, possibly because they’re already creepy and crawly in their own right. Ants are hard to kill and they just seem to keep coming back in droves. Below are some giant insect B-flicks that are a must-see, featuring your all-time creepy, crawly nemesis: The Ant.

1. THEM! (1954)

Cover of "Them! (Snap Case)"

This is the movie that started it all – THEM! This giant ant flick takes place in the New Mexico desert, where we learn that earlier atomic testing caused the ants in the area to mutate into ginormous, killer ants. The characters in this film must stop the ants in the desert – but they soon learn that two queen ants have flown to Los Angeles and are setting up a colony right under the city! When two children go missing, the protagonists instill the help of the U.S. Army to help them destroy the colony – but will they reach the children in time? Hokey special effects, character acting and dialogue that is typical to the film’s time period create an enduring experience. You can’t beat the experience of children being kidnapped by giant ants. THEM! Is a must-see for anyone who enjoys giant mutant bug flicks.

2. Empire of the Ants (1977)

Empire of the Ants (film)

In this sci-fi horror flick starring Joan Collins and Robert Lansing, Collins plays a sleazy scam artist attempting to sell phony real estate deals in the Florida everglades. What she – and the schmucks who fall for her scam – don’t realize is that the area has been taken over… by giant ants! This campy flick features poor special effects, schlocky characters, and ridiculous dialogue. Be prepared for a laugh when you watch Empire of the Ants!

3. Glass Trap (2005)

Cover of "Glass Trap"

Starring former ’80s child heartthrob C. Thomas Howell, Glass Trap tells the story of an army of radioactive ants that get unwittingly carted into a skyscraper. A group of people, led by C. Thomas Howell, must find a way to escape the horror of being trapped in a skyscraper with giant mutant ants, lest they be eaten one by one. The ants in this flick are so horribly fake looking that it’s pretty much impossible to get scared, even when they are devouring the characters.

Ants are creepy enough as it is without imagining them at a mutant size. While these ants flicks are hokey – as most giant mutant bug movies are – they also have a charm to them that makes them enduring. If you’re feeling like a laugh along with your evening thrill, definitely check out these ant flicks – you’ll find it interesting how the killer mutant ant transforms over time… or you’ll be surprised to see how little they’ve changed.

About the author: Chris is a blogger for a New Jersey pest control company. He used to enjoy horror flicks, including cheesy B films, when he was young but no longer has a stomach for them.

The Ant Watch- Our Favorite April Fool’s Joke

Ant Watch
Image courtesy of Analog Watch Co

Honor nature. Love nature. Keep it close at hand.

Imagine being able to carry insect life around with you wherever you go… And no I’m not talking about having a nasty lice infestation.

I’m talking about an entirely new take on time—The Ant Watch!

Inspired by nature and child like curiosity, The Analog Watch Company is offering a living conversation piece featuring three to five harvester ants in a portable enclosure that you wear on your wrist.

Those sporting the watch can be in awe as these wonderful ants create their own little world. Marvel at their ingenuity, all day long, as you go about your day watch as they go about theirs.

The Ant Watch runs $59.00, and you can choose from two classic colors; classic ant farm green and black leather.

See for yourself:


Once you receive the Ant Watch, and the 3-5 harvester ants; the trick is getting them into the watch. By placing the ants in the refrigerator for 10 minutes they become less lively. You then use the included tweezers to gently place them in the watch with the sand.

To keep them alive, you have to feed them sugar water a couple times a month with the included dropper. Every purchase comes with replacement ants for a year.

The Ant Watch- Our Favorite April Fool’s Joke

As a bug guy, I was so excited to pick up one of these watches for myself. I was all set to even do a promotional contest on Blog Pest Control’s Facebook page where a lucky follower could win a watch. That was until I clicked the pre-order button on Analog Watch Company’s site, only to discover it was only a cruel hoax.

Got me! April Fool’s!

This April Fool’s joke was actually on of my favorites. Make sure you check out our 10 April Fools Pranks Involving Bugs article!

Western Ant Invaders

Of the 2500 different ant species about 250 will reside in the Western U.S. Among the large variety of ants to be found in the Western United States, there are three species of ants that commonly invade, causing homeowners major headaches. These ants include the Odorous House Ant, the Carpenter Ant and the Pharaoh Ant.

Here’s what you need to know about these three common ants: 

What does an Odorous House Ant look like and what do they eat? 

The Odorous House Ant will be a dark brown or a shiny black color, and will be 1/16 to 1/8 –inch long. The Odorous House Ant will eat just about kind of sweet tasting foods like, fruits, grains, natural sugars, and milk.

What does the Odorous House Ant do? 

When the Odorous House Ant is crushed it will leave a very strong odor behind. Inside a Odorous Ant colony there can be found about 10,000 work ants. During the day they will be found in long trails looking for food. These trails can be found inside the home crawling over and under many different surfaces. Indoors they will build their nests in wall voids, under insulation, in crawl spaces, and within cavities in wood. Outdoors the Odorous House Ant will make a shallow soil nests under any material on the ground, and within hollow trees.

Upclose_Carpeter_AntWhat does the Carpenter Ant look like and what do they eat? 

The Carpenter ant can be a variety of colors, but most are tan to black color. Some can be reddish or orange. Carpenter ants are usually ¼ inch to ½ inch long with the queen being about ¾ of an inch long.  Carpenter ants will eat a range of different foods like plant juices, honeydew produced by aphids, and other insects.

What does the Carpenter Ant do with its time during the day? 

The colony of a Carpenter ant can house up to 100,000 workers.  Carpenter ants can be found within buried or partially buried moist wood such as dead trees, rotting logs, and stumps. Carpenter ants found by the home will be around the porch, pool decks, and any other structures that are made of wood and touch the soil.  During the day they will keep in contact with other Carpenter ants, and will be looking for food. 

What does the Pharaoh Ant look like and what do they eat? 

The Pharaoh ant is a very tiny ant; it will only be about 1/16 of an inch long.  Their body is a light reddish orange color, with black on the abdomen. Pharaoh ants will eat a variety of sweet food like honey, shortening, peanut butter, corn syrup, and fruit juices.

English: Compared size of a pharaoh ant

What does the Pharaoh Ant do? 

The Pharaoh ant, though very tiny, is a very big problem.  Once the colony is in the structure of the home they can grow in number to the hundreds of thousands. Worker Pharaoh Ants will forage for food much further than any ant. They will travel hundreds of feet from the colony and find their way back using trails, recognized by pheromones left behind by other Pharaoh ants.

How to get rid of these ants? 

Most ants can be killed using baits. The ant will take the bait back to the colony and kill the whole colony. Place the bait in an area where the ants are leaving a trail. With a major ant problem, it would be best to call a professional. A professional will be able to see the whole problem, and have more than baits to take care of your problem.

Texas Ants

Kissing_AntsTexas is home to a variety of many different ant species. The main reason why there are so many ants in Texas is the weather. The weather in Texas never really drops down past a freezing temperature for a long period of time. This will allow the ants to live out of their colony or nest year round, and infest yards and homes.

What ants live in Texas? 

Some of the ants that live in Texas include: Carpenter ants, Crazy ants, Fire ants, Ghost ants, Little Black ants, Pharaoh ants, and Thief ants. All of theses ants have different habitats, but can pose a huge problem on you and your family if they infest your home.

Where do these ants live? 

Most ants will live on the outside of your home, but some will be found inside your home as well. On the outside of your home, ants will be found around concrete slabs, under rocks, walking stones, and piles of wood. On the inside of your home, ants can be found in almost every room. The way ants can do this is by living inside the walls of the home. The walls will provide protection for the ants year round. If the ants are in the walls of your home it will only get worse if they are not exterminated.

camponotus japonicusWho does Ant Control in Texas? 

There are many companies that will take care of ants in Texas, but Bulwark Exterminating technicians are specialized in ant control. They have been taking care of ants in homes for 20 years. Bulwark Exterminating will come check your whole property for ants. They will then place baits down and treat around the whole home. On the inside they will also bait, and place a product in to the walls that will ensure an ant free home.

6 Ways To Kill Black Ants

Black ant infestations are very common both outside and inside a home. Black ants can populate any area, and eat just about anything. Killing black ants can be done very easily, if you can find the colony; and the trail they are walking in. Here are a few ways that will help you be black ant free:

1) Baits

Baits are very easy to use and very effective. Simply buy some ant baits at your local hardware store, and place them around the Black ant colony. The baits will attract the Black ants to the bait station. When the ants take the bait back to the colony it will kill the whole colony. Make sure to place the baits out of reach of pets and children.

2) Spray 

Black ants will die very fast with a spray. There are many different types of spray you can buy. One is concentrated; were you take it and mix it yourself. Just add water. The other is in an aerosol can. Read the label and make sure the spray has Black ants under what it will kill. To use the spray, find where the ants are coming from. Spray the colony down with the pesticide. Spray around the whole area; the cracks, crevices, around the footing of the home, under sinks, and bathroom areas.

3) Black Ant Poison 

Black ant poison will come in a small tube. It will be a gel or powder form. You can place the poison in cracks and voids. This will kill the Black ants on contact, as they try to enter your home.

cornstarch4) Cornstarch 

Sprinkle some cornstarch around your home and property. Black ants love to eat the stuff, and will suffocate after ingesting it. After this, all you have to do is vacuum the ants up, and throw the bag away.

5) Water 

If you have plants that are potted and infested with Black ants, take the plants outside and flood the whole plant. This will push the ants out and also drown the Black ants. If you have a colony outside, you can do the same thing. Place the hose in the colony hole and let it fell up with water. It will drown the Black ants. 

 6) Ant Exterminator 

The most effective way to kill Black ants is to call a pro. An ant exterminator will have all the right training, baits and sprays to kill all of the Black ants that are infesting your property and home.

Homeowners Insurance Doesn’t Cover Termite Damage

Homeowners Insurance Doesn’t Cover Termite Damage– Are You Protected?

A typical homeowners insurance policy generally doesn’t include coverage for termite damage. Most likely you’re not protected.

Are You Protected From Termites?

termites

Termites will travel over a football field looking for food.

Termites have been in the forest for thousands of years before you built your house. The trees in this forest have been around for a long time and the cycle of life with termites recycling the wood is a constant thing. You have roots under the ground everywhere and populations of termite colonies eating those roots. That’s why it’s really important that you set up a barrier around your home. We set up the bating system that creates a shield, or a Bulwark around your home so that if they do hit the wood on your home they’ll hit our baits first and wipe out the colony.

Protection Against Termites

In areas where trees have lived for many years, termites may become a problem. However, with Adam on site explaining what the termites will do and how Bulwark can protect you, you needn’t fear.

To protect your home from termites call:

1-888-997-7080

Wood Destroying Ants: What You Need to Know

carpenter antA carpenter ant infestation can come out of nowhere, and unlike regular ants, they often cause significant damage to your home’s structure. Carpenter ants do not eat wood. However, they do like to nest in it. Damage occurs as they build their nest or add to their colony. If you are concerned about these little pests, the following tips will help you ward off an infestation.

Carpenter Ants and Termites

Carpenter ants and termites can both have wings. They look a lot alike, so it is often hard to determine what type of pest you are dealing with. Examine the body to figure out what you have. Carpenter ants are darker, with shorter wings, and are much more likely to be seen during the daytime. They also have a narrow waist, unlike termites.

Getting Rid of Carpenter Ants

Clean well. Carpenter ants are looking for a food source; if they can’t find one, they may simply move on. Soap and hot water is the best method for cleaning messes. Take out the trash regularly and always put food away so it is not left sitting out.

Carpenter antsFigure out what type of food the ants like so you can set traps for them. Leave out both protein and sugar and see what the carpenter ants prefer. Your traps will be more effective as a result.

Look for the nest. Many people assume that the nest will be outside, but that is not always the case. Therefore, it is important to search both inside and out to find the colony’s base. Also, keep in mind that carpenter ants like to wander. This behavior is different from regular ants, which often follow a straight line as they walk back and forth from the nest. Therefore, you may not be able to simply follow their path to figure out where the nest is located.

Instead, search around windowsills and baseboards. Look for little holes where the ants may be getting in and out. If your search is focused on the outside, remember that carpenter ants nest in wood. Therefore, look for logs or trees that may be housing the little creatures. If you have trouble, try baiting the ants. Doing so may help you find the nest, and it is also a good way to get rid of the ants. However, remember that baiting may not work forever. Ants are smart, and they may start avoiding a particular bait once they realize that it is hurting the colony. Still, if you are able to locate the nest, you can then use other methods to destroy it.

The process of finding the nest may be frustrating, but remember that it is necessary for best results. If the ants are attacked at the nest, you are much more likely to get rid of them for good.

Carpenter ants are a problem that most homeowners would rather avoid. However, if you are suffering from an infestation, there are things you can do to help the situation. Use the tips above to try and get things under control. You can always call in a licensed pest control company if it becomes necessary.