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Do I Need To Hire An Ant Exterminator?

If you find ants in your home, your first instinct is probably to take immediate action by setting bait or simply squishing them. While these are two quick and convenient solutions, home remedies never yield the results you’re looking for if you have a full-blown ant infestation on your hands.

Most colonies in South Florida set up their ant mounds near sources of food and in a safe environment. This is why not contacting a professional extermination service when you notice ants in your kitchen could lead to some major, long-term (and not to mention costly) issues.

However, sometimes it’s challenging to tell the difference between a few stray ants and a legitimate ant problem.

Can you get rid of the ants on your own? Or is it time to hire a professional ant exterminator?

This article will outline the key signs it’s time to hire a professional exterminator and what steps you should take.

Types Of Ant Infestations

Once you recognize what’s invading your home it becomes much easier to drive it out. Making an informed decision concerning your ant control plan ultimately requires basic knowledge of some common species of ants. Certain species can be addressed easier on your own than others.

Here are the most common types of ants in South Florida:

Sugar Ants

When South Florida residents report an ant infestation in their home, it’s most likely caused by sugar ants or ghost ants. While they’re harmless to humans, these smaller species of ants can be detrimental to plants, creating a whole host of other problems when handled incorrectly.

Sugar ants exclusively dwell in humid regions where they can feed off of tropical foliage. After feasting on plants like palm trees, sugar ants are behind a substance called “honeydew” which provides food sources for other insects and species of ants. Sugar ants are highly prevalent in South Florida, where the average homeowner has at least one palm tree somewhere on their property.

Letting your ant problem carry on is essentially an invitation for sugar ants to take over your home. Once these small ants find the means to get inside, sugar ants will go wherever they can find food.

Your kitchen is prime real estate for a sugar ant colony, along with the bathroom or anywhere with appliances and cabinets/cupboards to hide in. Sugar ants also love houseplants, which can quickly turn into a breeding ground for these tiny ants.

When To Hire An Exterminator

Many people don’t think they have an ant problem if the sugar ants haven’t actually entered their home. However, as with most species of ants, any sort of presence on your property means they’ll work their way in sooner or later.

Since sugar ants are so tiny, no amount of DIY ant control can keep them out once an infestation occurs. Pest control services will use preventative measures to ensure sugar ants or ghost ants don’t view your home as a target for colonization. You should call an exterminator if you have a foliage-rich yard and have found any degree of sugar and colonization (inside or outside) at any point in time.

It’s also a good idea to contact a professional if you notice ant trails on the trunks of the palm trees on your property, or if palm fronds are touching your house itself. Sugar ants can use palm leaves as an access point for the interior. Once they’re inside, your ant problem will get even more difficult to manage.

Carpenter Ants  

Carpenter ants are easy to identify given they’re one of the biggest species of ants in the state of Florida. But being easy to identify doesn’t mean they’re easy to get rid of!

Even if you don’t have a full-blown ant problem, you’ve likely seen carpenter ants in your home at one point or another. Carpenter ants thrive off of wet and/or moldy wood — which is easy for them to break down — and tend to nest near water sources, making them particularly common in areas like South Florida.

These wood-loving ants are known for excavating anything from mahogany cabinets to hickory window sills, truly living up to their name. Unlike termites, carpenter ants don’t seek out wood materials as sources of food. Instead, they chew through whatever is accessible and use the scraps to build their nests. 

When To Hire An Exterminator

Getting to the root of the problem is an essential part of ending all kinds of pest problems, and carpenter ants are no exception. They might still linger in your home if you opt for lone remedies, including bait.

Effective, long-term solutions, like destroying any carpenter and mounds on the premises of your home, are generally laborious and messy. While carpenter ants can’t bite or sting, you should contact a professional to most effectively address these ants.

But you should definitely contact a pest control company for carpenter ants when physical damage has been done to your home, or if you continue finding them after taking independent action through DIY remedies. Carpenter ants can and will wreak havoc on your home when left unchecked. If there’s sawdust along your window sills, doors, or any other wooden surfaces, it’s time to call an exterminator quickly.

The longer you wait, the more difficult and expensive it is to handle an ant invasion. You must get rid of carpenter ants before they do enough damage to tack the price of home repairs onto your bill.

Fire Ants

Once fire ants have taken over your property, good luck convincing them to leave.

Fire ants are no stranger to South Florida. These small, reddish-brown pests inhabit areas with a tropical climate and are also one of the most common species of ants capable of biting human beings.

As big fans of outdoor spaces like yards or playgrounds, fire ants seek out environments perfect for housing their sandy ant mounds. Ant mounds built by fire ants are easy to spot — especially in areas with short grass or right after it rains — since they can be as high as two feet tall. Ant mounds are typically surrounded by swarms of fire ants, too.

In addition to ant mounds, though, a fire ant infestation can be identified by the emergence of itchy, irritating bites on your skin.

Although their venom only jeopardizes the health of those allergic to it, fire ants are still dangerous! Fire ants pose a serious threat to infants, children, and pets, or anyone unaware as to what’s causing the bites. Plus, even if a fire ant bite doesn’t put you in the hospital, no one wants the stress of painful, itchy welts.

When To Hire An Exterminator 

Fire ants rarely stay in one place and are extremely difficult to get rid of.

After a fire ant infestation breaks out in your yard, they’ll quickly move onto the inside of your home via the exterior trash or through cracks in your foundation.

If you notice any signs of fire ants on your property, you should contact a professional rather than taking matters into your own hands. Putting an end to a fire ant infestation requires the use of intense ant control products and equipment more often than not. Professional pest control services can help keep fire ants out of your home and off your property altogether.

So for a fire ant problem, call an exterminator immediately. Don’t waste any time!

Professional Exterminators Vs. DIY Ant Control

Dealing with most species of ants is something that should be left to the pros no matter how bad your ant problem is. There is a massive difference in quality between professional ant extermination methods and home remedies.

One of the major pitfalls with DIY ant control is that everyone’s ant problem is unique. Generic tips and tricks rarely yield long-term results. Factors including the location of your home, the foundation upon which it was built, and even your living habits can make a difference in mapping out an ant treatment plan that will work for you. These considerations and many more are all things only a professional exterminator will know how to approach effectively.

So while you can purchase boric acid, bait, and similar products time and time again, having a professional exterminator assess your unique situation is more likely to yield lasting results.

Good pest control services will connect you with experts who know the ins and outs of all pest problems, so you don’t clear out an ant infestation only to make room for other unwanted house guests.   

Professional Ant Control From Native Pest Management

If you live in South Florida, you know that pest problems are a year-round concern. Given the area’s year-round hot and humid climate, implementing a preventative treatment plan is the only way to truly guarantee long-term ant control.

Whether or not you have a full-blown ant problem, Native Pest Management can provide you with the tools and resources to prevent a future ant infestation from compromising your family’s health and safety. We are your dedicated, local pest control company and we are here to help you protect your home or business from ants.

Our pet-friendly treatments start with an initial service where a professional exterminator inspects your property inside out and then applies long-term bait to the exterior for ant control.

We also offer follow-up treatments on a quarterly or bi-monthly basis. Monthly treatments are also an option, but they are rarely needed for residential clients and are instead recommended for commercial clients, like restaurants or HOAs.

The bottom line is that a professional exterminator will keep your ant problem from getting out of control, and Native Pest Management has the tools and expertise to help. Want to learn more about ant extermination costs in South Florida? Contact Native Pest Management today to schedule a free quote!