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Georgia has its fair share of pests, but perhaps the most alarming is the infestation of ants that proliferates between late spring and early fall. While most ant species are completely harmless to humans and in fact contribute to a healthy ecosystem, there are a couple of species that you should be on the lookout for.
The culprit behind many of the ant infestations reported in Georgia is the sugar-loving Argentine ant. These creatures are very difficult to control due to the size of their colonies, which can contain a million or more workers and hundreds of queens.
Argentine ants are light to dark brown in color, and they’re about 1/8-inch long. They infiltrate homes through tiny cracks and gaps in foundations and windows, and typically forage for food in the kitchen. Unfortunately, these tiny pests like to bite, and they typically do it while you’re sleeping.
Finding and destroying the colony is the only effective way to get rid of Argentine ants. The originating colony may be found near the house in shrubs, trees, and other vegetation, which retain moisture and attract these pests. Trim the vegetation around the house, and seal the ants’ entrance with caulk to help keep them out.
Trying to control Argentine ant populations with conventional store-bought pesticides is usually a losing battle. Household ant sprays do little to eradicate them indoors, and the chemicals marketed to consumers for controlling them outdoors won’t work on these colonies. Pest control companies have the tools for eradication that aren’t available to consumers, and when it comes to Argentine ants, calling in a pro will be your best bet.
There are two common types of carpenter ants, and both have the capacity to damage your home and alarm your family with their large size. The black carpenter ant is most commonly found in central and northern Georgia. These ants are dull black in color, and they have yellowish hairs on their abdomen. Florida carpenter ants have a red-colored head and thorax and a shiny black abdomen, and they’re mostly a problem in southern and southeastern parts of the state.
Carpenter ants chew wood to build their nests, which are usually located in trees. Unfortunately, they sometimes see your home as prime real estate, and may build a nest behind your walls, under the tub, or in a window sill. If they’re nesting in your home, they’re using wood from your building materials, which can cause mild damage.
Eradicating carpenter ants requires finding their nest, and the best way to do this is to follow the ants. They’re most active at night, starting about 15 minutes after the sun sets, so wait until just after dark, grab a flashlight, and start looking. Inspect the trees near your home, which is probably where they’re nesting, if you’re lucky. Look for little piles of sawdust around the trees, and shine the flashlight up and down the trunks, since this is the time the ants will likely be heading out to forage for food.
Once you find the nest, lay out a few quarter-sized dollops of gel ant bait near the colony. Indoors, use bait stations where you suspect the ants are entering your home. If that doesn’t take care of the problem, you’ll need to call for backup.