Ants are among the most successful insects and can be one of the most challenging pests to control. Ant colonies include a collection of workers, (the oldest workers become the foragers we see hunting outside the nest for food and are the most dispensable members of the colony. If the foragers do not return to the nest, the colony is not harmed), one or more reproductive’s (queens), eggs, larvae, and pupae.
Ant colonies build structures called “nests,” which typically require much effort by the worker ants in the colony to maintain. There are two primary types of ants. These types are referred as ground nesting ants and wall nesting ants with some ground nesting ants being able to nest in both the ground and the walls. The imported red fire ant and crazy ant are two that display this ability.
Proper procedures followed in ant control may depend greatly upon the species of ant involved, and upon the nature of the infestation and location of the nest. Proper identification of the ant species in each situation will help the professional to determine where to begin the search for the source of trouble, the nest.
The first step in ant control in or around the home is to conduct a thorough inspection which may include, but are not limited to, observing foraging ants trailing to or from feeding locations, debris acumination from ants such as carpenter ants or acrobat ants or from identifying ants with various hand held magnifying devices.
The use of baits formulated for the specific species of ant is by far the best treatment used. The baits are generally formulated to attract the foraging worker ants to collect the bait and take it back to the nest thus contaminating the nest wherever it may be located within the walls. This procedure effectively uses the ant’s biology against themselves.
When the ant nest is visible or can be found, a direct treatment may be the most optimum treatment method. This is usually the case in treating fire ants or other ground nesting ants.