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Ant Control And Allergies: Managing Reactions For A Healthy Tampa Home

Have you ever watched ants? They are amazing creatures. They can work together in complex ways to do amazingly complex tasks with tiny neurons making up their brains. But nothing is amazing about having ants in your Tampa home. When they work together to enter your house to collect food for their colony or create an indoor nest, they can cause trouble. What kind of trouble? Let's take a look.

Join us today as we tell you how to identify common ant species in Tampa quickly, examine how they impact public health, and share six simple preventative steps you can take to keep them out. We'll also discuss what you can do if you already have ants in your home.

As always, we're here if you need us. Your Haskell Termite & Pest Control team provides industry-leading pest and ant control in Tampa. We're happy to help.

Quick Identification Guide For Tampa Ants

ants drinking from a puddle of water

Tampa yards are full of ants. When you start to see ants coming into your house, it is difficult to identify the species. There is no way to cover them all, but we can quickly run down the common culprits. These descriptions should get you started.

Little Black Ants:

Many ants look black. You may see Argentine ants, acrobat ants, odorous house ants, or pavement ants in your home. They're all little and black. We also have a species of ant called the little black ant. All of these ants are tiny and black. They also do similar things in your home. You can expect them to get into your food, crawl on your counters, and drive you a bit crazy.

Big Black Ants:

While all ants are small, we have a certain kind of ant larger than the rest, and the workers range from 1/4 to 1/2 an inch long. They're called black carpenter ants. They are destructive pests that tunnel in wood and create galleries for their nests. We also have another form of carpenter ant that is dark red with a black abdomen. Both are considered a threat to properties.

Fire Ants:

Few Tampa residents are unfamiliar with these ants. Fire ants are entirely red or a mix of red and black, like the carpenter ants listed above. The difference is that they are half the size. But you don't need a description of fire ants. If you get too close to these ants, they'll sting you and let you know what kind of ants they are.

Pharaoh Ants:

These ants are yellow to amber and have abdomens with dark brown coloration. Look closely, and you'll see that the brown coloration is only on a portion of the abdomen. You can use this to tell these ants apart from fire ants.

When these ants get into your home, what can you expect? It depends on the types of ants you're dealing with in your house. In most cases, ants are a nuisance. But there are certain ants and certain circumstances that are worse than others.

Ants And Allergens

No one needs to tell you that the ants must go if they're climbing all over your walls, covering your food containers, or creating a scary blob in the corner of a room. But ants can come and go without making you nervous enough to call for help. When they do, they can put you at risk without you knowing it. Here are some examples:

  • All ants climb around on decaying organic matter. They aren't as picky as a human. Some ants are even attracted to decaying food and choose it over fresh food. When ants climb on something that is rotting, they can pick up disease-causing microorganisms and track them across cutting boards, dishes, and surfaces. Contamination like this can lead to stomach illnesses.

  • Pharaoh ants are particularly dirty ants. They are attracted to open wounds. When they get into a hospital environment, they are a serious health concern. They're less troublesome in a home, but you should remember this fact if you have a wounded pet or livestock. They can get disease-causing organisms from wounds and transfer organisms to a wound on your skin.

  • Fire ants are a unique threat. A sting from a fire ant can cause an allergic reaction. Some reactions are serious and life-threatening, though very rare. It is wise to find out if you have a stinging insect allergy if you notice fire ants. An allergy can develop later in life, even if you've had previous encounters with fire ants with no issues.

You can guard against the disease threat ants present if you take steps to keep your home as clean as possible. Ants pick up bacteria from unsanitary places. Along with sanitation, you can also take steps to keep ants out of your house in the first place. Let's look at how ant prevention works.

Six Simple Ways To Deter Ants On Your Own

Ants follow simple patterns. If you understand these patterns, you can deter them from getting into your home and creating trouble. Ant control begins outdoors. We'll start at the edge of your property and work our way to the inside of your kitchen and pantry:

  1. Ants feed on natural food sources, such as nectar and insects. If you have these in your yard, ants will slowly move across your lawn and get into your landscaping. Weed and insect control will deter them.

  2. Ants feed on honeydew and insects in landscaping. If you have unhealthy plants, you can have an aphid problem. Moisture control, fertilizer, and weed control can help prevent aphid troubles. You may also use yellow sticky traps to collect aphids. If you control aphids, you'll reduce honeydew as a sweet food source that attracts insects and ants, particularly carpenter ants.

  3. Your trash is a perfect environment for most ants. Manage your exterior trash to reduce smells. Try disposing of trash in scent bags to mask the odor of the decaying food inside. Wash your receptacles every once in a while. Make sure you get your trash to the curb, and keep your trash covered.

  4. Ants feed on insects and other food options in organic debris. If you have leaves, sticks, and plant parts on the soil in your landscaping, you'll attract bugs and the ants that eat them. Stay on top of yard work to make the perimeter next to your home more resistant.

  5. Ants need moisture to survive. Stay on top of water sources in your yard such as leaky spigots that can provide water to ants.

  6. Ants enter homes through cracks in foundations and gaps in wood. They're only doing what they do in nature. Ants climb in rocks, soil, and wood debris. Patch those cracks and fill in those holes to create a physical barrier to discourage ant entry.

If you do the hard work to stay ahead of ant problems, you shouldn't need any more control than these steps offer. When ants are persistent or when you're not able to take on these tasks, pest control is a solid solution. An ongoing pest control service plan works to control pests in your yard and remove them as a food source for ants. You also get routine liquid applications applied around the exterior of your home. These treatments keep ants and other pests out and prevent ant infestations.

Ant Prevention Tips: Keep Your Home Ant-Free

We discussed exterior ant control, but what can you do inside your house to keep it ant-free? Ants often enter homes when they find a food source. A scout ant collects a piece of food and heads back to the colony. On its way, it lays down a pheromone trail. The other workers smell the trail and follow it to the food source. Pheromone trails are why your home will suddenly become flooded with ants. You can prevent this. Here are some steps you can take:

  • Clean up liquid spills as soon as possible.

  • Refrain from setting trash bags on the floor while waiting for someone to take the trash out to the receptacle. Try hanging it on a door knob instead.

  • Sweep and vacuum your floors to remove food debris.

  • Wipe down shelves and cabinets to remove sugar and other powders.

  • Clean off honey and peanut butter jars.

  • Wash your dishes as you go or soak dishes in soapy water so ants don't have access to leftovers.

  • Keep your kitchen trash in a scented bag and your trash bin covered.

  • Store certain foods in sealed containers to prevent ants from accessing your food.

  • If you have a dog or cat, establish a mealtime. Doing so will prevent pet food from sitting on the floor.

  • Make sure no food is left in waste paper bins in your home, only in the kitchen trash.

  • If you have kids, check common hiding places where kids leave food, such as behind the couch.

  • Use a vacuum to clean up food debris under couch cushions.

  • Consider only eating in the kitchen or dining room.

Steps like this will prevent ants from mobilizing an army to enter your Tampa home. If you want an easy and stress-free solution for ant control in your house, contact Haskell Termite & Pest Control for ant pest control services or to get started with a home pest control plan.

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