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By: Jasna Aleksandrova

Ants! Everyone knows them, everyone dislikes them, and everyone is trying to get rid of them. The fact is that they are the most common pest found inside of homes. They are a nuisance, can contaminate food, and can even cause damage to the structure of a house. They are social insects that inhabit almost every landmass on planet Earth. Biologists have found that the only places on Earth that are free of ants are a few inhospitable islands and Antarctica. Ants can adapt to and live in almost any ecosystem on the planet, and according estimates they form between 15 and 25 percent of the whole terrestrial animal biomass. The obvious success of ants being able to live almost anywhere on the Earth is their social organization and their ability to adapt and defend. So, we can freely say: ants are everywhere. They form colonies that are usually very difficult to get rid of. Sometimes it is impossible to terminate them without the help of a professional.

Appearance, habits and reproduction

It is important to know about the different, common ant species, their appearance, habits and reproduction so that we can understand them and learn how to control their colonies. Ants have three distinctive body parts: a head with eyes and two antennae which form sensory organs, a thorax with three pair of legs and an abdomen. There are also ants that have wings. The wings appear at certain times of the year on some individuals from the colony. The purpose of the winged ants is to fly and to mate in order to establish new colonies. The social structure of each colony is very defined. There is a queen, males and worker ants. Many times a colony will have more than one queen. The queen and males are the reproductive members of the colony and they are the individuals that have wings in order to spread the ant population by establishing new colonies. The males live short lives while the queen usually lives for several years. Although the worker ants cannot reproduce, they are the ones that we frequently encounter in our homes.

Where to find and how to deal with ants

Even though ants are a common nuisance in homes and yards the damage cause by them can be very little. It is important to know that ants don’t carry diseases, although the first thing they infest is our food. Different species of ants are attracted to different kinds of foods. Some species like carpenter ants will attack wood and can damage the wooden structure of our homes. They nest in rotten wood and accelerate the breakdown of wooden structures. Other ants nest in the soil and form recognizable mounds, in the house behind the walls, in cabinets, and in pantries. This is important to know when implementing a proper solution for exterminating them. Simply dealing with the ants found around the house or yard is not a permanent solution. The best method to get rid of them is to find their nest, kill the queen and stop their reproduction. This is typically done by invasive chemical methods and by organic methods that are available in stores. The nest is usually easy to find by following a path of ants which is established with by their pheromone trail. If the nest cannot be found or is not easy to access, then keeping ants out of the house can be done by constant application of insecticide to form a barrier around the home. If these suggestions do not work for you then you will need to call a professional for help.

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