April 14, 2017
Common Springtime Pests
Spring has arrived, and it brings with it warm weather, rainy afternoons and blossoming flowers. Unfortunately, that’s not all it brings. Read More
The following types of ants have become a great concern throughout Florida.
Ghost ants are our number-one nuisance ant found in homes and structures. Ghost ants are tiny ants approximately 1/16” in length. Their head and thorax are dark and their abdomen and legs are light, almost translucent. This coloration and their small size make them hard to see and earns them their ghostly name.
In Southern Florida and other warm areas, ghost ants remain active all year.
Indoors they are attracted to sweet foods and foods high in protein. They may infest packages of these foods if accessible.
These ants move quickly in a line following their own odor trail and gain entry to interiors through crevices around doors, windows, utility pipes and wire entry areas. Foragers are often seen indoors on sinks, counters and floors of kitchens and bathrooms but they are not restricted to those areas. They often move throughout a building via wires in wall voids and under edges of carpeting. Their indoor nests can be in wall voids, between and behind cabinets and in potted plants. Nests have even been found in spaces between books, folded clothes and behind loose edges of wallpaper.
No, ghost ants are not dangerous or destructive ants. They are considered a nuisance pest.
White Footed Ants are very small, typically 1/8”. This black to brownish-black ant has yellowish-white feet and a one-segmented waist.
White-footed ants are most active during Florida’s rainy season. As the plants are growing, the piercing sucking insects on the plants are producing more honeydew. Honeydew is the sugary substance produced by some plants. This is a major food source for the white-footed ants.
This type of ant is strongly attracted to sweet foods. They will also feed on dead insects and other protein. Honeydew produced by ornamental pests is one of their favorite foods so it’s best to have a professional check your ornamentals for these pest producers.
White-footed ants are typically arboreal, which means they nest above the ground. These ants tend to gather on structures and on the edges of exterior wall panels and cables. They will eventually find a few small openings to the interior of the structure and find their way into kitchens and bathrooms where liquid and sweet substances can be found.
White-footed ants do not bite or sting, nor have they been reported to cause any structural damage. They’re considered a nuisance pest in Florida because they forage in kitchens, bathrooms, and the exterior of buildings.
Bigheaded ants are very small, roughly 1/8”. They vary in color from shades of red, brown, or light yellow. There are 2 distinctive sizes (1/8” to 1/4”) which represent the minor and major workers. The minor workers’ body regions are proportionate in size whereas the major workers’ heart-shaped head is disproportionately larger than the rest of the body.
Bigheaded ants are active 10 months out of the year. They can withstand some of the colder months better than most other ants because they nest underground. During the months of January and February they are less active because there is a limited food source. They tend to swarm during mating season in mid-summer.
Indoors, bigheaded ants will feed on fats, meats, oily foods such as peanut butter and sweet foods.
Bigheaded ants are typically pests that live on the lawn and on the plant beds of the home. You won’t typically find them inside. Bigheaded ants may be seen trailing along the edges of foundations, driveways, sidewalks and other structural guidelines. They may construct mud tubes on foundations and other structures protecting their trails and entry areas. The tubes may be mistaken for termite mud tubes but are more fragile. Indoors, these ants may be seen trailing along baseboards and under carpet edges. Often these trails are from outdoor nests.
Bigheaded ants are not a threat to your health or property. They are considered a nuisance pest.
Black crazy ants are uniformly dark brown to black and are about 1/8″ in length. Upon close inspection they have longer legs and antennae than other ants their size.
Because of Florida’s mild weather, black crazy ants remain active all year.
Crazy ants can utilize household food sources that are either greasy or sweet. These ants can completely cover food in a very short period of time.
With black crazy ants, you typically find them outside, nesting in mulch, rocks and leaf-litter. Foragers access buildings on the ground or over branches touching the structure and enter through holes or exterior cracks around windows and doors. Indoors, they may be seen foraging along baseboards and carpet edges with trails up to a hundred feet long. They have loose, unorganized trails, and when disturbed, run erratically with no apparent direction.
Black crazy ants are not dangerous or destructive ants. They are a nuisance pest.
Caribbean crazy ants are golden-brown to reddish-brown in color. Their body surface is smooth and glossy. They are named “crazy” due to their swift and erratic movements.
Caribbean crazy ants are active year-round but have not been observed outside their nests in temperatures below 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
It is assumed that Caribbean crazy ants feed on dead insects and honeydew from whiteflies and other insects.
A new ant to Florida, Caribbean crazy ants have only been observed in recent years. Researchers believe this pest entered Florida via cargo in the Port of Miami and the Port of St. Lucie where the first infestations were found. You are likely to see large numbers of Caribbean crazy ants traveling along sidewalks, in shrubs and around buildings. It’s also common to find them emerging from soffits and underground electrical conduits.
Caribbean crazy ants do not bite or sting. They are considered a nuisance pest in part because they travel in groups numbering in the thousands.
The head, thorax, and body of carpenter ants are reddish to orange. They have a black front body section. These ants are fairly large and range in size from 1/5″ to1/2″ in length. Note: Due to their similarities with termites, professional identification is highly recommended.
Carpenter ants are a year-round pest problem. Carpenter ant colonies produce male and female swarmers (ants with wings) that take flight in the spring. The timing and numbers of flights within a season varies by species.
Carpenter ants in Florida are highly attracted to damaged wood. They do not eat wood but rather are attracted to sweets such as sugary sodas and food. They also eat dead or living insects and honeydew produced by other insects.
Signs of a Carpenter ant infestation are small piles of “sawdust” which are produced from their nest excavations. Usually these piles are near a nest. They may also contain bits of dead ants and other insects. If bits of insulation foam are seen in the piles, it may be a sign of nests in structural foam elements.
Carpenter ants do not eat wood but rather excavate it to form galleries for nesting. These ants can be destructive and should be treated by a professional. Learn more about how Nozzle's home pest control services get rid of Florida carpenter ants.
Fire ant colonies contain workers of different sizes ranging from 1/8″ to 1/4″ in length. They are generally uniform in color and are dark brown to red.
In Florida, fire ants are active all year long. They swarm several times a year between spring and fall.
These ants are attracted to warm, humid environments with annual rainfall of 10” or more. They eat fruits, sugars and syrups as well as other insects and meat. Fire ants also consume grease and other lipids.
The most recognizable sign of a fire ant infestation is the dome shaped mounds they create in the ground and the protective behavior of workers who pour out of disturbed mounds to attack and sting intruders. AVOID THESE MOUNDS and call a professional immediately for treatment.
People, pets and other animals unknowingly disturb their mounds and are quickly covered with stinging ants. Significant illness and deaths have occurred from allergic reactions to their venom. Fire ant venom is unique in the insect world as it produces an immediate and painful stinging, burning sensation. Later, white pustules will form on the skin at the site of the sting.
SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION IMMEDIATELY IF SEVERE ALLERGIC REACTION OCCURS.
Learn more about Nozzle Nolen's fire ant control in West Palm Beach and South Florida.