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Ants in Lake Worth, Not Just a Spring Problem

February 28, 2018


fire ants up close

While ants are mostly known as spring and summer pests, the truth is that ants can cause headaches all year-round for Lake Worth homeowners.

Part of the problem is the Florida weather. Ants are cold-blooded, going dormant during the colder months, but Florida’s coastal climate and moderate temperatures mean that ants can stay active for longer periods of the year than in other areas of the country. And the longer they’re active the more damage they’ll cause.

If you’re a Lake Worth resident, your home is always at risk of ant infestation - but we’re here to help. In this blog, we’ll take a look at why ants in your home now could cause problems for you later into the year - and what you can do to stop them.

The Damage Ants Cause

Ants can cause problems in a number of ways. Some of the most common include:

Bites and Stings

Most people know ants (and avoid them) for the painful bites they inflict on anyone unfortunate enough to come within close proximity of their colony. While every breed of ant has powerful mandibles allowing it to bite down on enemies or prey, Florida is home to a number of the worst (and most painful) offenders, namely carpenter ants, crazy ants, bigheaded ants, and fire ants.

However, among all the biting ant species that call Florida home, the most notorious is undoubtedly the fire ant. Rather than simply biting to attack, fire ants instead use their jaws to hold down their prey before using their stingers to inject the victim. Fire ant venom causes an intense and painful burning sensation to the sting area, and while one sting alone might be bearable, enough fire ants stinging at once can kill small animals and even humans.

Allergens

For many Americans, the immediate pain of an ant bite or sting is only the tip of the iceberg. While ant bites generally won’t cause any lasting problems once the immediate pain has subsided, ant stings on the other hand can result in dangerous and even life-threatening conditions in people with allergies.

Common symptoms of ant sting allergy include redness, swelling, itching, and intense pain at the sting area, as well as flushing and hives. Fire ant stings can also lead to more intense symptoms including dizziness, nausea, abdominal cramping, vomiting, diarrhea, tightness in the chest, and difficulty breathing or swallowing. In rare cases, an allergic person that suffers enough stings can even enter anaphylaxis or go into cardiac arrest.

Disease and Food Contamination

In addition to allergies, ants can also spread disease, albeit indirectly. While they don’t transmit diseases the same way other insects like mosquitoes or fleas do, they can nevertheless serve as hosts vectors for harmful bacteria and fungi that can lead to diseases such as E.coli or salmonella, in addition to a number of other serious conditions.

Most of the diseases ants spread are a result of food contamination. Pharaoh ants and ghost ants are two of the worst offenders: small even by ant standards, their size allows them to get into and contaminate food items that few other insects could reach. If you haven’t taken the proper precautions to keep your food protected, it could cost you more than just your appetite.

Property Damage

If harming you directly wasn’t enough, certain ants will also wreak havoc on your home itself. Similar to termites, carpenter ants make their homes by tunnelling into wooden structures; if they find their way into your home, especially if they get into the attic or the foundations, extensive (and costly) repairs could be in your near future.

To make matters worse, carpenter ants prefer damp or rotten wood to tunnel inside. This means that, if new damages weren’t enough, a carpenter ant infestation can easily aggravate an already existing condition within your home. And because of the pheromone trails they leave behind, you can rest assured that the first carpenter ant to find your home will signal the whole colony that your home is ripe for the picking.

Why Ants Are More Than Just a Spring Problem

Between the bites, stings, allergies, diseases, and property damage that ants bring, it can be tempting to breathe a sigh of relief once they become dormant in the fall and winter months. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple: left untreated, an ant problem this summer can lead to even bigger headaches later in the year.

Keep in mind that while the carpenter ants inside your home may have gone away, the tunnels they dug and holes they used to get inside still remain. Depending on the size of the colony and the scope of the damage, carpenter ant tunneling can leave you with damaged walls, floors, and foundations that will only become more costly to repair the longer they go untreated. If they tunnel into the attic and roof, you might also have to add water damages to the list of repairs.

On the other hand, your ant infestation might not really end when winter rolls around. Because ants are cold-blooded, they look for warm areas to overwinter; in warm enough temperatures, however, they can even spring back into activity. Unfortunately, your home provides heat, food, and shelter enough to last them the entire winter. If they build a nest within the walls and floors of your home, food contamination and allergic reactions could shortly follow.

Worse, ants might not be the only ones trying to get inside. Rodents like squirrels and rats have keen senses of smell; in the winter months when food is scarce, if they can smell food through the holes those carpenter ants left, don’t be surprised if they gnaw at it until they can squeeze themselves in. And once they’re inside, rest assured that they’ll bring their family, friends, and any diseases or parasites they might be carrying along with for the ride.

Suddenly, your summer ant problem has snowballed into a winter nightmare.

Finding a Year-Round Ant Solution

Ants are a year-round problem requiring a year-round solution. For the good of your home and the people inside it, you can’t afford to leave your home to chance. Unfortunately, an ant infestation can be difficult if not impossible to treat on your own. If you want lasting security for your home and family, the best solution is always to bring a pest control professional on board.

No one knows Florida ants better than Nozzle Nolen. Our team of pest control professionals have the tools and training to deal with any pest problem, and we’ll help you take back your home and yard from ant invaders - and keep it that way all year.

Want to learn more? Head over to our residential pest control page for more information about what solutions might be right for your Lake Worth home, and don’t hesitate to contact us directly if you have any questions or concerns!




 

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