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.

Rasberry Ants Spreading

Ants on raspberries

The Crazy Rasberry ant (not raspberry), also called the Tawny Crazy ant has increasingly become a harmful pest to many homeowners. Rasberry ants can be both destructive, and dangerous. Here’s what you need to know:

Rasberry Ants Spreading

Rasberry ants were first found in Houston, TX by exterminator Tom Rasberry; in which the ant was named. Since their discovery in 2002, the Rasberry ant has spread to throughout much of the Southwest; including 24 different counties in the state of Texas.

The largest Rasberry ant infestations have been found in southeast Harris County, including Houston, La Porte, San Jacinto Port, Pasadena, Deer Park, Seabrook, Friendswood, and Pearland.

Rasberry ants continue to spread at a rate of about five miles per year. Often times they are unknowingly transported by vehicles, animals, and other people. Preferring the hot, humid weather, they can now be found in Florida, Louisiana, North Carolina, and Mississippi.

Identifying Rasberry Ants

Rasberry ants are about 1/8 of an inch long, and reddish-brown in color. They are a slender looking ant with long antennae, long abdomens, and long legs. Rasberry ants are also described as being “hairy,” because they are covered with reddish-brown fuzz. They do not look glossy, like other ants, because of these body hairs.

Crazy Rasberry ants are from the Crazy ant group Paratrechina. These ants are well known for their rapid, erratic, non-linear movements. It’s almost humorous watching these ants move across the pavement. They look lost and confused. One thing that is not humorous about these ants is the destruction and danger they can cause.

Rasberry Ants Are Destructive & Dangerous

Rasberry ants are very destructive by nature. They are naturally attracted to electrical currents, causing them to fail by clogging up the switching mechanisms. These ants are frequently known to short out air conditioning units and even stop lights. There have been reports of Rasberry ants causing several thousand dollars in damage to homeowners and businesses.

Danger_Live_AntsOn top of being rather destructive, Rasberry ants are also dangerous. When a Crazy Rasberry ant is killed, a pheromone is released from its abdomen that signals other ants to respond. The other Rasberry ants respond all right, in huge numbers; attacking the threat. Just know that if you attempt to kill a few thousand Rasberry ants, millions more will show up to their funeral.

Rasberry Ant Control

Many areas in the Southwest US have some pockets of Rasberry ant infestations. These infestations make it uncomfortable for residents to enjoy time in their yards. Very aggravating!

Unfortunately, there are no effective over-the-counter products that consumers can buy to successfully treat Rasberry ants. The good news is that an ant control professional can help you with any ant problem, including Rasberry ants. Get help today!

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 Impact Of Fire Ants

Fire_Ant_SignSince their arrival in the late to the United States in 1930’s, homeowners have been battling the Red Imported Fire ant. In terms of human health, property damage, and environmental damage; very few insects can hold a candle to the Fire Ant. Quite frankly, the Red Imported Fire ant just might be the worst pest in the country… And any homeowner who has had the misfortune of dealing with them know it!

Fire Ants

Because of their aggressiveness, it’s not hard to mistake a Fire Ant. These ants are a reddish-brown, and can reach up to ¼ of an inch in length. Their mounds are huge, and identifiable.  One of these mounds can house multiple queens, and some 250,000 workers. Officials have reported as many as 200 of these mounds in a single acre. The thought of the sheer number of these malevolent ants is frightening.

Another frightening thought is that Red Imported Fire ant stings have caused some 100+ deaths. While dying from a Fire Ant sting is unlikely, it can happen if a victim suffers from insect allergies; sending the injured party into anaphylactic shock. The most common side effects of a Red Imported Fire ant sting are: pain, swelling, itching, redness, dizziness, disorientation, and vomiting.

Bulwark Pest Control technicians in Austin, TX report that Fire Ants are one of the most frequently called about pests. Their impact is significant.

The Impact Of Fire Ants

Fire_Ant_AttackOn top of their painful stings, Red imported Fire ants also cause relentless damage to property. Extending out several feet in diameter, and reaching depths of almost eight feet, Fire Ant mounds damage plants and crops. These mounds are also an eyesore. When a mound is disturbed, fire ant workers pour out of their mound and aggressively attack the offender.

Red Imported Fire ants are also fascinated with electrical equipment and electrical wiring. In fact, the leading cause of traffic light malfunctions in many Southern states happens to be shortages caused by Fire Ants. In addition, these ants are also drawn to air conditioners, water meter boxes, and gas boxes.

Officials in the state of Texas alone, report that Red Imported Fire ants cause more than $140 million in damage annually.

In the U.S., the FDA estimates more than $5 billion is spent each year on medical treatment, damage, and control of Fire Ant infested areas.

How To Best Eliminate Fire Ants

Ant_Mounds_In_Grass_FieldOne of the most challenging property pests to completely exterminate is the Fire Ant. If a homeowner opts for a single ant treatment; many of the ants will die off, but the problem will not be solved. The same can be said with using aerosol pesticides you can buy at a local hardware store. The reason these attempts are not effective is because the Fire Ants will divide themselves after a treatment. They simply wait out the pesticide, the return to their mounds when its potency dissipates.

Instead, homeowners who are experiencing Fire Ants need continual treatments and ant control strategies to control these malevolent pests. A two-step strategy of applying baits, and following up with direct mound pesticide treatments, has proven to be effective if the treatments are consistent.

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.

Fire Ant Exterminator

fire ants

Fire ants have been taking over ever since they arrived in America. Fire ants have been able to boom in the states, because queen Fire ants can generate millions of Fire ant workers during her life span.

What Does The Fire Ant Look Like & What Does It Eat? 

Fire Ant

The Fire ant is a red color, and will have hairs coming off its body. They will vary in sizes; for 1.6mm to 5mm. The Fire ant will eat anything that gets in its way. It will eat other insects, small mammals, earthworms, frogs, and even lizards. When the Fire ant bites, it will also sting the prey and place some venom inside the prey. The venom will paralyze the pray.

What Does The Fire Ant Do? 

The Fire ant will create huge mounds, growing to be 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide.

fire ant mound

In the ground, the mound of the Fire ant will have hundreds of tunnels leading through the colony, sometimes reaching 8 feet in depth. The colony of a Fire ant can house 250,000 workers. The queen Fire ant can average about 1,600 eggs per day. These colonies can be found in wall voids, rain gutters, bath traps, and under carpets, as well as in electrical equipment.

Fire Ant attack

How Can I Take Care Of Fire Ants? 

Danger Ants

The best way to get these Fire ants out of your life, and your home, is to call an exterminator.  Fire ant exterminators will come to your home and examine the problem. The Fire ant exterminator will place baits out, and then the fire ant workers will take the baits back to their colony; killing the members. Bulwark Exterminating are Fire ant specialist, and will come to your home and rid you of the Fire ants. Bulwark Exterminators are all state certified and in-house trained. They will take care of your Fire ant problem.

Keeping Pests Out: 5 Tips to Ensure Your Home is Bug Free

Dirty Cockroach KitchenWhen it comes to pests, mice, cockroaches and ants top the list as the most irritating (and unwelcome) household “guests.” How, then, do you keep these little creatures from invading your space? These five tips should cut back on the frequency of your pest sightings.

Eat in the Kitchen

This tip sounds almost too simple, but keep in mind that many families snack throughout the house or enjoy dinners in front of the television every once in a while. To limit your pest sightings, keep food in the kitchen and dining room only. You’ll have an easier time cleaning up after meals, and establishing this habit ensures that crumbs don’t spread throughout the house.

Look for Holes

Walk around the exterior of your home, looking for any holes or openings where bugs can get in. Fill these spaces with either caulk, steel wood or spray foam, whichever you prefer. While you may not be able to find every little crack, your efforts will make a difference in the number of pests you see inside the house.

Cut Back on Clutter

Clutter attracts pests, because it gives them shelter and allows them to hide from homeowners. Taking a few simple steps to reduce the clutter in your home can make a world of difference. For example, if you have pets, make sure you store their food in either a lidded, metal trash can (because mice are unable to scale the sides) or a sealed plastic container. Recycle cardboard boxes, or, at the very least, make sure you break them down and periodically move them to make sure nothing is hiding in them.

The storage area under the kitchen sink often attracts bugs because it is dark and moist. Rather than just throwing your supplies in a heap down there, try organizing them in containers or totes, so you can take them out every so often and make sure there’s not an infestation brewing. While they are out, you can also look to make sure the pipes aren’t leaking.

Screen Your Windows

Some homeowners resist installing window screens because they cut back on the amount of natural light flowing into the home. However, screens are a great pest barrier and allow you to enjoy fresh air without worrying about what will find its way into your living space.

Get Rid of Moisture Spots

Bugs love moisture. Therefore, the drier you can keep your property, the better off you will be. Make sure your downspouts point away from your house, and keep mulch from settling around your foundation and windows. Keep bushes and trees trimmed back from the house, and remember to check your crawlspace for leaks periodically.

No one wants to head into the kitchen late at night, only to find a cockroach scurrying across the floor. Keeping pests like ants, mice and roaches at bay is actually easier than you might suspect. Follow the tips above, and you won’t have to call in your pest control technician for an emergency service any time soon.

Spring Bugs Getting You Down? Give These Unusual Treatment Methods a Try!

After a bitterly cold winter, many people are looking forward to spring and the promise of warmer weather. However, along with the change in temperature comes an increase in the bug population. Roaches, stink bugs, ants and bees seem to come out of the woodwork in the spring and summer. Homeowners have two options: call in the professionals or try and get rid of the infestation themselves. There are a number of unusual home treatment methods circulating the web; the following creative remedies are certainly worth a try in the battle against the bugs!

Roaches

Dead Roaches Dustpan

There are very few bugs that upset homeowners more than roaches. If you’ve seen a few of these creatures lurking around, grab a bottle of hot sauce! Simply create a solution consisting of hot sauce and water, and spray the areas where you’ve seen the bugs. If that doesn’t work, use borax and sugar. Mix one part sugar with three parts borax. The sugar draws the bugs to the mixture, while the borax scratches at their exoskeleton.

Stink Bugs

stink bug

Getting rid of stink bugs is particularly difficult because of the odor they emit when crushed; most homeowners want to avoid the smell at all costs. Therefore, it is best to try and keep these pests out of the house to start with. If you notice the bugs are coming in from the windows or doors, take dryer sheets and rub them against the screens. This should discourage the bugs from coming into the house. You can use any dryer sheets you have available, but those with a strong scent are usually best.

Catnip is an herbal plant found in many stores, and it is another product that may be effective in warding off stink bugs. Simply sprinkle catnip around the exterior of your home, paying particular attention to areas where you’ve seen the pests in the past.

Ants

ants

Ants are a very common problem in the spring, and therefore, homeowners have come up with a number of ways of treating them. Chalk is one such method; try scribbling a bit in the areas in front of your doors. No one really knows exactly how this works, but it is thought that the little creatures don’t like the calcium carbonate in the chalk.

Do you have any baby powder on hand? Ants don’t like cornstarch, which is found in baby powder. Sprinkle a bit in the areas where you have a problem, and monitor the situation from there. Cayenne pepper works in a similar manner. Capsaicin, one of its ingredients, is also irritating to ants. If the baby powder does not work, give cayenne pepper a try instead.

Bees

Bee swarm

There are several things you can do outside to help ward off bees. First, try planting marigolds. These beautiful flowers are some of the best at repelling those pesky flying insects. Plant a few around the entrances to your home to keep the walkway clear. Also, keep your grass as short as possible. The longer your lawn, the more likely it is that bees will come buzzing.

Many homeowners are already seeing signs of bugs at their properties. You don’t have to let these little pests invade your space! Try getting rid of them with one of the treatment methods above. Some may sound a little silly, but they are certainly worth a try. If you continue to have a problem, give a knowledgeable pest control company a call. They can help you decide what to do next.