An introduced, soil-nesting species of ants, is widely believed that pavement ants were transported to the U.S. in the holds of European merchant vessels during the 1700s to 1800s. The ships were filled with soil to provide weight on the overseas voyage. Once in port, the soil was removed, and replaced with goods to carry back across the Atlantic.
The diet of pavement ants includes a wide range of different food sources, as the insects are known for eating virtually anything available. Pavement ants feed on subterranean termites and other soil-dwelling insects, nuts and seeds, bread, meats, grease, and sweets like honey and sugar. The indiscriminate insects travel as far as 30 feet from the nest to forage and leave a chemical trail that leads other members of the colony to the food source.
Like many other ant species prevalent in seattle washington, pavement ants produce winged males and females that emerge in the spring to mate. Also known as swarmers, the winged ants are exclusively responsible for reproducing and creating new colonies. After mating, winged females look for a suitable place to lay eggs and establish a colony. The newly mated queens typically lay the eggs in soil protected by pavement, concrete, or rocks. Pavement ants generally take about two or three months to complete all stages of development. While reproductive swarming naturally occurs in the spring, colonies living in and around heated indoor spaces may produce swarmers and mate at any time throughout the year. The life expectancy of a typical adult worker pavement ant is several years.
While sugar ants are not known to cause structural damage or major health problems, the ease and frequency with which the insects enter homes in seattle washington can become a nuisance to area residents. Because of their willingness to eat almost anything, sugar ants can contaminate and ruin a variety of pantry staples and other food items when foraging. The chemical trails created by foraging sugar ants enable the rest of the colony to locate the food source, resulting in the emergence of unsightly hordes/trails of ants and causing further contamination. Throughout the year, indoor nests of pavement ants can produce winged reproductives that swarm by windows and other light sources, creating an unwelcome sight and potentially forming new colonies in or in areas around a structure.
The presence of foraging workers or reproductive swarmers flying around or inside is a strong indicator of a sugar ant infestation, especially during colder months. Small piles of soil particles that look like sand also indicate the existence of a sugar ant colony, as the insects push dirt and debris out the entrance of the nest as they construct or expand the underground colony. The piles are commonly found straddling cracks in the driveway or sidewalk.
Because sugar ants often live beneath the foundation of a house, homeowners need to make sure that all external cracks and other small openings are tightly sealed. Residents should also keep potential nesting sites, like piles of leaves and wood, safely away from the house. Kitchen areas within the home should remain free of crumbs, grease, and standing water. Homeowners also need to store food items in sealed canisters, rinse out food and beverage containers before throwing them away, and take the trash out on a regular basis. If an infestation problem arises, contact a with the ability to identify the ant species and implement an effective course of action.
Exclusionary measures are the best treatment for sugar ants whose nests are located outdoors. Sealing all cracks and crevices with caulk will eliminate the entrances used by foragers, keeping them outside. A vigorous application of rubbing alcohol will also remove any remnants of the ant’s pheromone trails, and further foraging can be discouraged by promptly storing or disposing of greasy and sweet foods.
Nests that are either inside the home or in other problematic locations can be treated using baiting systems. These pesticides should be used with care, away from children and pets; they deliver a slow acting poison to foraging ants, which when returned to the nest, spreads throughout the colony and will eventually
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