Some days it feels like a real-life Bug’s Life when you live in South Florida. Amongst the beautiful, thriving Floridian ecosystem lies a world far less majestic; six-legged nuisances run amuck in the humid afternoon days. Unless you’re Ant-Man, you can’t control ants and may not be aware of how many types of ants there are in the world. That’s when you call the ant control experts in West Palm Beach.

Does it ever feel like you’re waging an infinity war against these pests? If so, contact O’Hara Pest Control; we don’t need two movies to get the job done.

What is O’Hara Pest Control?

We are comprised of an expert team that specializes in pest and rodent control. The insects and bugs we can help with are cockroaches, ants, fleas, ticks, and spiders. We take pride in ridding and preventing critters from living in people’s homes.

What is Ant Control?

Even though Ant-man made it look effortless, it takes some work to perfect the art of ant control. The O’Hara experts working on your case are prepared to tackle your insect troubles. Now let’s get into the nitty-gritty of ant control.

Of the total 12,000 species of ants globally, Americans need only be concerned with forty. In Florida, we have our fair share. Every species of ant is its own, and different things attract some while others, not so much.

The key to control is prevention; our specialists will take care of the immediate issue and ensure it doesn’t happen again. Ant control involves regularly scheduled treatments, not just extermination.

Reasons Why Ants are Dangerous

  1. Home damage
  2. Health risks
  3. Odor

Home damage is a pervasive issue associated with ants. Carpenter ants are infamous for ruining wood in the homes of unsuspecting dwellers. Ants are also known to bring harmful bacteria into the house, infecting food and humans directly—lastly, odor. Most of the time, you won’t smell them, but when you crush an odorous ant, it’ll leave you smelling rotting food.

Ants Of South Florida

Ghost Ant

Tapinoma melanocephalum (Fabricius), or a Ghost ant, was very common in the late 1980s. They became so abundant that they were considered a nuisance to homeowners and their beloved pets.

Original containment protocols failed as their populations were not successfully isolated to SE Florida. In fact, a colony managed to escape and thrive in Gainesville.

Where Do Ghost Ants Live?

Ghost ants are said to have originated in the Galapagos Islands. They are now very well established in Hawaii, Florida, Canada, Winnipeg, Puerto Rico, and the Caribbean. Those are incredibly vast climates for these ants to live in.

What Do Ghost Ants Look Like?

The worker ants in these colonies average 1.4mm in length and are monomorphic (one form). Their antennae gradually widen as you get towards the tip and are segmented into twelve ways. The head and body (thorax) are dark browns, while the legs are either opaque or milky white.

What Attracts Ghost Ants?

  1. Honeydew producing plants
  2. Improperly stored food
  3. Leaky toilets and sinks
  4. Sugar

Fun fact, ghost ants have a strong liking of sugar and are popularly nickname “sugar ants.” These four attractants shouldn’t surprise anyone; proper handling of food and mindfulness of leaky faucets can also go a long way to preventing pests outside of ants.

Fire Ants

The arch-rival of all Florida fishermen, excluding gators, snags, and bad hooksets! Fire ants are highly territorial and will protect their nests with maximum intensity if someone or something wanders too close for comfort.

Solenopsis Invicta (red fire ant) and Solenopsis richteri (black fire ant) are exciting little guys. Did you know they live in colonies of over 200,000 members? Let’s put that into perspective; Tuvalu, Nauru, Palau, Vatican City, San Marino, Monaco, Montserrat, Anguilla, Caribbean Netherlands, and Liechtenstein have a combined population 199,290. That’s a lot of fire ants.

What Fire Ants Look Like

Solenopsis Invicta

Again, this is the genus of the red variation of fire ant. Their red coloration, mandibles, and visible stinger make these ants look like they were sent from hell.

Solenopsis richteri

The only difference between Invicta and Richteri is that the latter is black. Both subspecies act in the same demeanor. However, before they were accidentally imported to North America, they came from either Argentina or Uruguay.

Unless you’ve been to those two countries or Mississippi, Alabama, or Tennessee, you won’t have to worry about black fire ants, unlike Invicta, which may require ant control.

Where Do Fire Ants Live?

They prefer to live outdoors due to their habit of making mounds that look like miniature volcanos. They have zero soil preference and are likely to nest in meadows, parks/playgrounds, pastures, lawns, golf courses, and all agricultural and wilderness lands.

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Acrobat Ants

Crematogaster ashmeadi (Emery) is the official name of the acrobat ant. There are at least ten species of these guys in Florida, so the chances are good that most Floridians have stumbled upon one at some point in their life.

Where Do Acrobat Ants Live?

In Florida, it’s easier to point out where you can’t find them. If their habit were a dartboard, it would be hard to miss. These ants are native Floridians who have found their way to most countries around the globe, making them a prevalent species.

Here’s a more localized look at where they live. These ants prefer the hollow chambers of coastal plain pine forests but live in most other trees. There is a lot of turbulence in the lives of acrobat ants; since they’re highly territorial, fights are commonly breaking out.

This has resulted in most colonies who are confined to the limits of a single tree, with only the occasional group spreading out to another nearby tree or two. The good news is that they do not harm the tree and reuse the vacated spaces left behind by former tenants.

Are Acrobat Ants Dangerous?

They certainly can be! While they usually only get as close as the backyard, they have been observed foraging in homes for proteins and sweets. As stated earlier, they prefer trees, but that doesn’t mean they won’t set up camp indoors.

In the event where you have acrobats in your home, it’s typically due to one reason: damp wood, foamboard, or insulation around windows. While the ants themselves don’t harm the home, their excrement does.

So, if you find yourself infested with acrobat ants, the best thing you can do is contact pest control specialists.

Argentine Ants

Linepithema humile or Argentine ants also inhabit Florida and are an invasive pest. Their development process is fascinating as it takes only 74 days to reach maturity after spending 28 days in its egg.

Where Do Argentine Ants Live?

These interlopers are native to Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Argentina, and southern parts of Brazil. You may also find them in Japan, South Africa, Australia, and Europe. However widespread they are, the highest concentration and total population can be found in South East Florida.

What Do Argentine Ants Look Like?

Ranging from 1/16″ – 1/4″, these shiny dark brown-black ants have a segmented, oval-shaped body. These ants are more significant than both ghost ants and fire ants. If you stumble upon a Queen, she’ll be easily recognizable due to her being up to 3x more significant than the workers.

Bigheaded Ants

Pheidole megacephala (bigheaded ants) are next on the list. Researchers back in 1793 discovered these ants on the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius. In the early 2000s, this species was elected as one of the top 100 “World’s Worst” intruders.

What Do Bigheaded Ants Look Like?

Bigheaded ants get their name from the oversized craniums of the leading worker/soldier, whereas the minor workers are much smaller and lay claim to a much more petite skull. Reddish-brown in color, and both worker builds have a two-segmented petiole, or waist.

Bigheaded Ant Invasions Across the Globe

The major issue with these ants is that they displace ants, some of which have already been or will be covered soon. The RIFA (red fire ant) is one of the species that have been displaced by bigheads, yet far from the only one. The problem is only further exacerbated by the 14 species of bigheaded ants currently dwelling in Florida.

Many speculate that from the years 2003-2005, the sheer amount of hurricanes led to their increasingly growing displacement tendencies. These years also resulted in the increased need for resources that may have been infested by bigheads, aiding their migrations.

Where Do Bigheaded Ants Live?

As mentioned earlier, 14 species currently live in Florida as natives, while others have come to Florida from elsewhere. Nations with stable populations include but aren’t limited to the USA, Puerta Rico, South Africa, Madagascar, Egypt, Malawi, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Australia.

There are many people around the world that seek ant control because of these invasive creatures.

A more localized look into their living situation entails lawns and flowerbeds under various outdoor structures, trees, and water pipes. Big yards look like paradise to all ants, especially bigheads.

Are Bigheaded Ants Dangerous?

The good news to humans is that only other species of ants should be scared of them; they pose zero risks to humans physically. While they can bite, their bites do not hurt; only by tracking bacteria and disease into the home can a bighead ant harm a person.

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Pavement Ants

Tetramorium caespitum (Linnaeus) or pavement ants are labeled as the most commonly encountered ants in America. Like many others species, they are not native and have been brought from elsewhere. Pavement ants arrived in the United States in the 1800s from Europe and have been a common pest-controlled ant.

How to Identify a Pavement Ant

As mentioned earlier, you probably have already encountered one (probably hundreds if not thousands). Of all the ants so far, under a microscope, this one is by far the ugliest. Dark-brown in color with light-brown legs, pavement ants are sprinkled with very short blond hairs. Lastly, they measure .5 mm long.

Where Do Pavement Ants Live?

Sand and loam are the preferred soil types for these ants when it comes time to nest, but they prefer as little vegetation as possible and gravitate towards roadways. An interesting fact about these ants is they prefer to live in human-modified environments.

Like many other ants, these ants are also prevalent. Europe is their original stomping ground as they span from Spain to Turkey and from Germany to Greece! When you come knocking on their door, you can expect to say hello to at least three thousand of them as they live in colonies of up to ten thousand.

Are Pavement Ants Dangerous?

Yes, pavement ants are very dangerous as they can spread many diseases and bacteria to humans. As far as the physical danger they possess, have no fear; pavement ants are incapable of physically harming people.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Get Rid of Ants in Your House?

Every war is won by knowing your enemy, no matter how big or small they are. Ants are no different. With such a wide array of ants, there is no one-size-fits-all solution that a homeowner can do independently. However, there are some things that homeowners can do to help rid ants and aid in keeping them at bay.

A helpful place to start eliminating ants is with ant bait. Ants are attracted to sugar and protein, so these types of baits work best. Another strong tactic is spraying around the house. Remember that with ants, it’s best to play the long game. Choose a non-repellent spray. This will go undetectable by the ants, so they track it back to their nests with a chance to devastate the colony.

Suppose you choose to spray; you should know where to apply it. We recommend spraying inside every crack and crevice of all baseboards in your home. In addition to that, spray around every entry point, such as windows, doors, and the perimeter of your lanai.

Lastly, an easy mixture of 50-50 water and vinegar will kill ants and help keep them away. If you happen to have an abundance, straight vinegar will work even better.

What Is the Most Effective Ant Killer?

There is no one-size-fits-all solution for this question. The most effective ant killers are non-repellent by-name brands. As mentioned before, they have a higher likelihood of eliminating the entire colony. However, if you need an on-the-spot killer, try Terro Ant Dust. In the end, trust name brand ant killers or contact O’Hara Ant Control.

How Do You Control an Ant Infestation?

The best way to control an infestation is by setting ant bait traps everywhere an ant has been seen. If the problem persists, try another bait as there may be an improvement. Again, vinegar can also help in conjunction with any option mentioned.

How Do I Get Rid of an Ant Colony in my Yard?

There are many remedies to ants on the lawn. The first method involves raking across the top of the nest and dumping boiling water into it. To add to the killing effectiveness, feel free to add liquid soap. This method is just as effective on vegetation as with ants, so be warned.

Another option is drowning them. Ants can survive underwater for roughly a day, so this method is a rinse, wash repeat tactic. Drench the nest until the ground is thoroughly soaked, wait a day, then repeat; this should ensure the colony is drowned.

The final option is using chemicals; it doesn’t matter if it’s powder, liquid, or granulated. Apply the product according to the instructions and the ants will be history.

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Here’s What Our Clients Say About Us…

“I was very impressed with the promptness and efficiency that O’Hara pest control helped get rid of my ant problem.  He checked both inside and outside and found the problems.
I definitely would use them again.
Thank you O’Hara Pest Control”

-D. Atkins

The owner is so professional and courteous. He took the time to explain what they did, what will happen, and what to expect over the coming days. He answers every time I call and is very patient and friendly. He even came to assist his worker with the job. Definitely recommend this company!” 

-D. Greenberg

For assistance with pest control for your home, contact the experts here at O’Hara.

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Our team is standing by to help you find customized pest and lawn solutions. Call or email us today if you have any questions or if you would like a quote.