fire ants on tree

We have a lot of ants in West Palm Beach. It isn't surprising that homeowners often look at ants crawling around outside or inside their homes and wonder what on earth they're looking at. We have pavement ants, Argentine ants, acrobat ants, ghost ants, Caribbean crazy ants, carpenter ants, fire ants, white-footed ants, and on and on and on. With so many ants, how do you tell which ants are dangerous to your health or property and which are not? Fortunately, the list is short for dangerous ants.

carpenter ant eating wood
fire ant colony

Fire Ants

If you live in West Palm Beach, we don't have to tell you that fire ants are a problem. When these ants come into your yard, they can take over. This leads to lots of irritating little stings. As they encroach upon your foundation walls, they can get into your exterior trash and climb in through entry points in your walls. It can be a nightmare to deal with these ants. If this was the extent of the threat, it would be enough. But fire ants can present a unique threat to people who are allergic to their venom. A reaction to a fire ant sting can be far more than a small, itchy welt. Symptoms include hives, itching, trouble breathing and swallowing, cramps, nausea, diarrhea, dizziness, and more. In rare cases, there can be a rapid reduction in blood pressure. This can lead to shock and a loss of consciousness. These symptoms don't happen immediately. They can take minutes to develop, or even as long as two hours.

It is important to understand the threat fire ants present to infants, the elderly, and the infirm. If fire ants bite you, you're able to brush them off and move away. Those who can't are at greater risk for multiple bites. There is nothing more frightening than to think that your child was crying for one reason and then to realize fire ants got up into their car seat which you placed momentarily on the ground. Fire ants aren't just an irritation. They can be a serious threat.

Fire Ant Identification: You can usually tell a fire ant by its reddish brown coloration and dark abdomen. If you're able to catch an ant and examine it closely with magnification, you can look at the waist of the ant for help with identification. Fire ants have two nodes between the thorax and abdomen. 

Carpenter Ants

Are you seeing big ants crawling around in your yard? They're probably carpenter ants. Carpenter ants are one of the largest types of ants we have in the state. Some can be more than an inch long. That is impressive for an ant!

These ants gravitate to yards that have stumps, logs, trees with heart rot, organic debris on the ground, and lots of moisture. When carpenter ants come in close to your home, they can decide to get inside. Some species will nest in the voids of your home. Some will tunnel through the wood of your home. These wood-damaging carpenter ants are the worst. If given enough time, these ants can be as destructive as termites. Fortunately, they're not nearly as secretive as termites. Carpenter ants are likely to let you know that they've started damaging your home. You'll see them crawling around near your home, especially in the morning and evening or at night if you take a look with a flashlight.

If you see a few ants crawling around outside of your home, try stomping on the ground or on the concrete where you're seeing them. The vibrations will cause those ants to come racing to the surface in defense of their nest. You may be startled by the numbers. If you do this, keep in mind that you're only seeing a small percentage of the population.

Carpenter Ant Identification: These ants may be entirely black or a mix of red and black. You might even mistake carpenter ants for fire ants. But keep in mind that fire ant works are between ⅛ and ⅜ of an inch long. Carpenter ants range in size from ⅜ to more than an inch long.

Are you having ant problems in West Palm Beach? Remember that Native Pest Management can assist you with all your pest control needs. We provide industry-leading pest control for homes and businesses in South Florida. Reach out to us today. We're standing by to help. 

 

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