Tips to Keep Little Black Ants Out of Your Kitchen

Tips to Keep Little Black Ants Out of Your Kitchen

 

If you read anything about little black ants, you’ll usually come across the phrase that they are “just a nuisance” because they can’t damage the structure of your house like a carpenter ant can. But if you’ve walked into your kitchen and seen a line of little black ants marching across your countertop, it probably didn’t feel like “just a nuisance.”

 

Nope, ants in the kitchen are a big problem when it’s your kitchen. You want them out of there as soon as possible, and you don’t want to have anything to do with any food the ants have touched.

 

If you think ants are more active in the summer, you’re right. Ants are busy eating food and storing up fat. They enter your kitchen in search of food or water, and often they are richly rewarded for their efforts.

 

Keep Ants Out

Like any homeowner, you want to keep ants out of your kitchen, so what should you do?

 

One of the most effective things you can do inside your house is to be sure any source of food or water is unavailable to ants that do get in. This includes:

  • Keeping food stored in glass or plastic containers with tight-fitting lids.

  • Keeping countertops, floors, and sinks clean of crumbs, dropped food, and spills.

  • Keeping faucets valves sealed and free of drips.

 

Before ants get in your house, they are attracted to your property by something in your yard, so you want to make your property as inhospitable to ants as possible. To keep ants away:

  • Keep your trash in sealed containers.

  • Remove any sources of food from your yard. (For example, take up the dog’s bowl after your pet has finished eating.)

  • Fix leaking spigots and any place that rain can puddle to eliminate water sources.

  • Seal up cracks and gaps where ants could enter through the foundation or exterior walls.

  • Make sure doors and windows are tight by repairing or replacing screens, door sweeps, and weather stripping.

 

While these steps will help, the best way to prevent ants from being a nuisance or worse is to partner with Russell’s Pest Control.  Our professional technicians can treat the perimeter of your property, creating a barrier to keep ants from entering.

Call us today to learn about our menu of pest control services and to set up an appointment. Don’t wait for ants to enter your kitchen, let Russell’s Pest Control keep them out.

How To Keep Fire Ants In The Yard From Getting Into The Home

How To Keep Fire Ants In The Yard From Getting Into The Home

Do you like it when fire ants show up at your backyard cookouts? How about your inside cook-ins? Outside fire ants may get inside if you don’t take measures to control these invasive insects in your yard. Red imported fire ants are like an insect army, marching across your yard. When they get to the walls of your home, they may not stop. And when they get inside, they can cause problems. For some people, fire ants can even be dangerous. Let’s take some time to look at what it takes to keep fire ants in your yard from getting into your Tennessee home.

Exclusion

An important step in ant prevention is to seal possible entry points around the home. While it may be impossible to find every hole and seal your home against these tiny invaders, you may thwart an invasion by applying silicone caulk to the right locations or by installing new door sweeps and weatherstripping. Common entry points for ants are door and window frames, holes created by rodents and other wood-damaging pests, gaps around pipes, accessible vents or weep holes, and water-damaged timbers.

Fire Ant Management

Many ant species can be reduced through the implementation of DIY methods such as moisture control, the protection of food sources, and landscape upkeep. We don’t recommend these for fire ants because they are a yard pest as well as an indoor pest. It isn’t enough to reduce the populations in your yard to reduce the risk of an indoor infestation. The goal with fire ants should be to get populations to zero or near zero. This is extremely difficult to do without an education in the entomology of fire ants and training in modern pest control methods.

The pest professionals at Russell’s Pest Control have earned the licenses and certifications required for the control of fire ants and other potentially dangerous Tennessee pests. There is no guesswork involved. Trusted strategies and products are used for the greatest level of control possible. There is no better way to prevent these little biters from getting into your Knoxville home. Reach out to us today for a free in-home pest evaluation. We’ll let you know what you’re up against and give you real solutions for your pest problems.

Fire Ant Season Returns To Knoxville – Are You Prepared?

Fire Ant Season Returns To Knoxville - Are You Prepared?

It is one thing to have ants in your yard. It is another thing altogether to have fire ants. Their name alone is enough to raise concern. For instance, if there was a breed of wolf called a lightning wolf, our guess is that you would be more intimidated by it than a regular wolf. Unfortunately, fire ants do not just have an intimidating name, they also have a nasty bite. As you may know, around this time of year, they are out and about looking for yards to infest. Our question for you is, do you have what is needed to keep them away?

Why Fire Ant Hills Are Common This Time Of Year

Although fire ants were given their name because of their painful bites, it is also a good hint as to what kind of weather they enjoy. If you have already put two and two together, you have already discerned that fire ants enjoy the heat. In fact, the hot summer is their favorite time of year. During this time you can expect them to be the most active as well as most likely to build a nest in your yard.

How To Prepare To Keep Fire Ants At Bay

The good news is, fire ants have not reached peak activity yet. You still have time to set up defenses to keep them at bay. These defenses consist of habits that you can do on a daily basis to decrease your yard’s potential of a fire ant infestation. Here are some good places to start.

  • Seal up cracks and gaps in your home’s foundation.

  • Keep your yard clutter free as much as possible.

  • Clean up food and drinks thoroughly after outdoor gatherings.

  • Make sure your gutters are all in good working order

  • Pick up your pets’ food and water dishes after they are done using them.

  • Keep areas where you make and eat food as clean as possible.

By following these steps, you greatly reduce your risk of a fire ant infestation. However, despite how helpful the above tips can be, they are not a perfect solution.

Why Call Russell’s For Help With Fire Ants

If you want a solution that will last (and requires no work from you) we have options here at Russell’s Pest Control. With just a single phone call, we will send one of our qualified pest technicians out your way not only to deal with existing ant hills but also to deter any existing fire ants from settling down.

Don’t let your summer be ruined by painful fire ants. Call Russell’s today and get the treatment your yard needs to stay protected.

5 Tips For Knoxville Residents To Keep Spring Ants Out Of The Home

5 Tips For Knoxville Residents To Keep Spring Ants Out Of The Home

Knoxville is a beautiful place in which to live. Unfortunately, our warm temperatures can drive unwanted pests into our homes. As we enter spring, ant populations will be on the rise, busying themselves with food gathering and growing their colonies. We can expect ants to be busy from April through late fall in TN. Fortunately, there are strategies you can employ to help keep ant populations down on your property and keep them out of your home.

Here are five ant-prevention tips for Knoxville residents this summer:

  1. Remove trash from your home frequently and keep outdoor trash in containers with tight-fitting lids. Ants are always on the hunt for food and your trash is one of their favorite places for them to find it. 

  2. Seal up your home the best you can. This includes installing or fixing screens in all windows and doors, using sweeps or guards under your doors including garage doors, and making sure that all openings and vents are sealed or covered properly.

  3. Take care of your yard and landscaping. Keeping grass trimmed short, pruning landscaping, removing dead vegetation, and providing proper drainage around gardens can reduce the attractiveness of your property to pests.

  4. Store food properly. Clean up spills and crumbs quickly. Only put pet food down when pets are eating and remove leftovers promptly. Keep your pantry goods in sealed air-tight plastic containers.

  5. Reduce water around your home. This includes making sure that gutters are draining properly, hoses and spigots are not leaking, sprinkler systems are used only when needed (and have no leaks), and drainage is effective around your foundation.

Even when following these recommended steps, it is still possible to have an ant problem in or around your Knoxville home. Ants are small and resourceful and hard to contain. The best way to completely eliminate an ant problem is with a year-round pest-control service plan from Russell’s Pest Control. With over 45 years of pest service experience, we have the expertise to keep your home free from ants and other pests. We guarantee it. Contact us today to set up a home inspection and to choose a plan that is right for you and your family. We’d be happy to partner with you to keep your home pest free.

5 Tips To Keep Ants Out Of Your Kitchen

5 Tips To Keep Ants Out Of Your Kitchen

Winter is the time of year when some pests enjoy digging themselves a little deeper into the ground than normal, slowing down, and taking a nice long nap. They will reappear when the weather warms up in spring. Other pests remain active throughout the year, which means they can cause problems all year long. If you’ve noticed ants in your home even though it’s winter, you probably want to know how to prevent them.

Here are five tips to keep ants out of your kitchen:

  • Keep your yard tidy. Ant prevention starts outside. Remove yard debris, such as lawn clippings, branches, and leaf matter. Keep your grass trimmed. Consider replacing any mulch you use in your landscaping with crushed stone instead.
  • Close off entry points. Ants are small and can fit through the tiniest of cracks. It makes sense to seal up as many as you can find to reduce the chance of them finding their way inside. Check around your foundation for cracks and seal the ones you find. Gaps around doors and windows are a favorite way for ants to get inside. Tears or holes in a screen can also allow them access to your home.
  • Clean up spills and put food away. Like most humans, most common ants are quite fond of anything sugary. If you have even a small spill that you fail to clean up, they will find it. The same goes for any food you leave out. Whether it’s fruit on the counter or sugar left in its paper bag, ants will find it. In order to dissuade ants from entering and remaining in your house, you must remove their food sources. Make sure to clean all spills immediately and don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink. Wipe down your counters after every meal. Keep food stored in the refrigerator or in air-tight containers.
  • Eliminate moisture. While most ants are simply a nuisance, there are some that are quite destructive. Carpenter ants can go undetected for months, or even years. Once they get into your home, they chew through the wood structures in your home, causing a huge amount of damage. Carpenter ants are especially attracted to your house if you have water-damaged wood structures in or around it. It’s important to reduce moisture and humidity as much as possible. Eliminate standing water outside your home, and replace any water-damaged wood. Repair leaking taps and pipes. Allow good ventilation throughout your home, and use dehumidifiers in the more humid rooms of your house.
  • Call the professionals. If you find ants in your home, the best way to get rid of them is to get professional help. Russell’s Pest Control has the experience necessary to identify the type of ant you’re dealing with, figure out how they’re getting in, and understand what the best course of action is to eliminate them.

Ants don’t have to be a winter problem. Keep them out of your kitchen this year with the help of Russell’s Pest Control.

Are Fire Ants Dangerous?

Are Fire Ants Dangerous?

Just their name makes them sound dangerous, but are fire ants really as dangerous as their name makes them out to be? The short answer to this question is yes; fire ants are much more dangerous and pose more health risks to people and pets than other species of nuisance, household-invading ants. Consequently, fire ants are a dangerous ant species to have living on your property or to have foraging for food inside your home. At Russell’s Pest Control, we want to provide you with the information you need to protect yourself, your family, and your pets from these venomous, stinging ants which, unfortunately, can become quite problematic in our area during the summer season.

Fire ants have copper colored heads and bodies that are either reddish-brown or black; they are also fairly small. What makes this species of ant so dangerous compared to other species of ants is that they use their very strong mandibles to bite and hold onto their victims; they then use a stinger on the end of their abdomen to sting and inject their venom into their victim. If you are ever stung by a fire ant, you will know it immediately due to the instant, extremely painful burning sensation that you will feel. Fire ants are aggressive and tend to swarm in large numbers. Several stings can kill a small animal and their venom is strong enough to cause an allergic response in humans, potentially causing a person to go into anaphylactic shock.

People tend to come into contact with fire ants more often during the summertime. There are a few reasons for this, including the biggest reason – the warm weather causes both people and fire ants to become more active, allowing for a greater chance for an encounter. Insects like fire ants are cold-blooded, which means that their activity levels will rise and fall with the temperatures. The warm summer temperatures cause fire ants to become very active; they are constantly out and about, foraging for food to feed their large colony. During the summer months, their population is usually at its highest point, allowing for a greater chance of people or pets to come in contact with these stinging ants.

In addition to their dangerous, venomous stings, these ants also pose other dangers to both people and properties, including:

  • Fire ants are known for causing damage to farm crops and household plants.
  • Fire ants are attracted to electrical equipment and have the potential to both enter inside of and damage air conditioners, circuit breakers, and more.
  • Fire ants, like other species of household-invading ants, find their way inside of homes to forage for food. These ants will contaminate food stored in your home’s kitchen and pantry areas.

If you are finding fire ant mounds on your property or are finding these small ants inside of your home, contact the professionals at Russell’s Pest Control immediately. Fire ants are NOT a pest that we suggest trying to eliminate on your own. Our professionals will come to your property, identify the problem areas, and provide an effective treatment to eliminate these dangerous ants from your home and property. To learn more about our fire ant control services, including the option of employing our year-round PowerPlus+ home pest control program which includes treatment for fire ants and other household pests, give us a call today!

Homeowners Guide To Ant Prevention

Homeowners Guide To Ant Prevention

Knoxville is a fabulous place to live, combining the beauty of nature with the energy of a thriving community. Still, no matter how great a place, your enjoyment of Knoxville can be hampered by the continuous intrusion of small, creepy-crawly pests through your house. Ants are often the most annoying pests to have around simply because many ants are not overly shy about showing up where you can see them, and because ants don’t like to travel solo, meaning you’re likely to end up seeing a lot of them. There are many different kinds of ants around Knoxville, and sadly some of the most annoyingly obvious ants are usually the least harmful, while the species you don’t see as much of could cause real harm to your home. Let’s take a look at the most common ants in the Knoxville area, and then talk about how to address them.

  • Acrobat ants are named for their flexibility, but beyond that, you’ll find they behave much like any other ant. The acrobat ant grows up to 1/8th inch in length, but can be smaller, and ranges in color. Their most distinctive feature other than their flexibility is their heart-shaped abdomen, which is usually darker than the rest of their body. Acrobat ants will usually nest outdoors but may build satellite nests inside walls or insulation if a ready food source is easily accessible.

  • Fire ants don’t need much of an introduction. Anyone who’s gotten too near to a nest has likely met them firsthand and understands why the fire ant is so named. These reddish-brown ants, which can be anywhere from 1/10th to 1/4 inch long, are extremely aggressive, swarming to defend their nests and delivering painful stinging bites. Fire ants are considered somewhat dangerous to people, as some people have reactions to their bites, but even more so fire ants are a danger to pets, who could be fatally swarmed. Fire ant nests have also been known to damage machinery, as they can be fairly indiscriminate where they expand their homes.

  • Little black ants are perhaps closest to what comes into people’s minds when thinking about ants in general. They look exactly as their name suggests, with dark coloring and a body about 1/16th inch in length. Little black ants will often create scent trails to sources of food, quickly forming a continuous flow of industrious pests looking to take advantage of whatever spilled or ill-protected food they come across. Little black ants have also been known to build nests inside when convenient, which means dealing with an ever-growing population right where you’re trying to live.

  • Odorous house ants have similar habits to the little black ant but are much more recognizable. Their black or brown coloring and 1/16th to 1/8th inch body may not stand out, but you know what you’re dealing with when you crush an odorous house ant. The scent they give off has been described as rotten coconut. Odorous house ants like to build near sources of water, but will move their nests during heavy rains or flooding. This often leads them indoors, where they can set up shop inside of walls and take advantage of your kitchen and pantry at their leisure.

  • Carpenter ants are the largest ants you’re likely to encounter around Knoxville, perhaps the least likely ant you’ll come across, and by far the most hazardous ant for you to have around. Showing a range of colors, the size of the carpenter ant stands out at about 1/2 inch, but their size is not what you should worry about. Carpenter ants depend on moisture, and their prime means of staying close to moisture is to build their nests inside of water-damaged wood. In nature, this usually translates to fallen and rotting logs, but with the carpenter ant’s attraction to the many food sources that humans store, finding some water-damaged wood around or inside of your home is an ideal setup. If carpenter ants find your home a likely place to build a nest, they can cause incredible damage over time as they hollow out structural wood to create their galleries, often leaving you with massive repair bills.

Even with all this variety of ants, prevention comes mostly down to the same common sense methods. If you are looking to make your property less attractive to and unsustainable for ants, try:

  • Removing debris, old woodpiles, brush, and fallen trees

  • Sealing cracks in foundations

  • Keeping mulch and vegetation away from your home’s foundation

  • Maintaining entry barriers like screens, vent covers, and door sweeps

  • Ensuring that gutters are functioning properly and that pipes are not leaking or condensing badly

For carpenter ants especially you’ll want to keep moisture away from the inside of your home through whatever means necessary, and with all ants, the major draw to your home will be sugar and protein. Keeping food in sealed plastic or glass containers, cleaning food prep and eating areas daily, and storing trash securely are all essential to keeping ants from becoming interested in your home.

Of course, sometimes your best efforts are for nothing. Ants are persistent and pervasive, getting into everything they can. Fire ants especially spread as aggressively as they attack, and all your best prevention tricks could be ignored. Speaking pragmatically, once they’ve arrived, you don’t want to be trying to deal with ants yourself. Over the counter solutions may kill some ants, but can often be as much of a hassle as the ants themselves, and are sometimes more hazardous. For guaranteed elimination and prevention of ants on your Knoxville property, look instead to a year-round pest prevention plan from Russell’s Pest Control. We have the knowledge and experience to know where to look for ants, where and how to treat in order to effectively eliminate them, and how to set your home up to deter them in the future. Our year-round programs provide continued coverage and service for your property, meaning that once they’re gone, pests will have to get through us to return. Let Russell’s Pest Control do the work, so you can enjoy the benefits of a life without ants or other pests intruding upon your property.

Most Common Ants In Knoxville

Most Common Ants In Knoxville

We don’t usually spend too much time thinking about ants–until it is hard to not think about them. When you walk into your kitchen and see your trash can covered from top to bottom in ants, that is a problem that is hard to ignore. When you go into your pantry and find a few hundred ants crawling all over your shelves, those ants will be all you think about, until they’re gone. When you feel a burning sensation on your foot, followed by another, and another and another–well, you get the point. Ants can be a pain, quite literally. Here are five ants you are most likely to see on your Knoxville property.

Pharaoh Ants

These ants crawl in the garbage, on dead animals in the yard, and on other dirty things then they crawl around on counters, food prep surfaces, plates and other items. They’ll also crawl around on exterior grills. When they do, they can spread illness. Studies link these ants to over 12 infectious organisms.

Odorous House Ants

Having these ants around stinks. These ants love to get into homes and when they do, they can cause a nasty odor. But, most of the time, it isn’t the odor that makes these ants a problem. Like most ants, they are a nuisance when they appear in large numbers.

Carpenter Ants

These little homewreckers are surprisingly sneaky. They can establish themselves in a home, and chew away at it for months, without being detected. This is because carpenter ants often feed on outside food sources, rather than the food in cabinets and pantries.

Little Black Ants

You may mistake these ants for carpenter ants because of their black coloring, but you shouldn’t. Little black ants are quite a bit smaller compared to carpenter ants. A little black ant measures in at about 1/16 of an inch–compared to the 1/4 – 1/2 inch size of a typical carpenter ant worker. It is important to tell the difference because little black ants are just a nuisance. Unlike the carpenter ant, they do not have the capability to destroy your home.

Fire Ants

If you use your backyard for anything, fire ants can ruin your fun. They build their mounds all over the place and inflict irritating stings to anyone who accidentally steps in the wrong place. This can be a serious threat to those who cannot get away quickly from their stings, like babies in carriers, the infirm and the elderly.

If you live in Knoxville and you’re having trouble with ants, don’t worry. Russell’s Pest Control has industry-leading solutions for all of the ant problems we have here in Tennessee. Contact us today for a free in-home pest evaluation and let’s get that ant problem fixed. Ant issues may be common in Knoxville, but they’re not inevitable. Get immediate assistance today.

Tips To Keep Ants Out Of Your Knoxville Home This Spring

Tips To Keep Ants Out Of Your Knoxville Home This Spring

Springtime in Tennessee is a beautiful time of year. Everyone is able to get out and about, and everyone is ready for a new season of fun in the sun. Your yard has been cleaned up, and all your spring cleaning is done for another year. Now it is time to play, right? Unfortunately, no! Homeowners across Knoxville are noticing a common occurrence in their kitchens this spring – the ants have come out of hiding, and they may be headed straight for your pantry.

Springtime for ants, as with many other pests, is the time when they emerge from their nests after a long winter. Food to feed the thousands of their nest mates waiting for them is their first order of business, and second is to find a new nesting spot for their overcrowded kin to move into. Ant colonies can number in the thousands! When the number grows to an unmanageable level, the queen will produce swarmers, which are winged ants, who then go out to establish a brand new colony. After they find their new home, the swarmers lose the wings and will breed to populate their new home.

It is not unusual for swarming ants to be attracted to homes that may be nearby. The average human habitat can provide a large colony of ants with everything that they need to help their new family grow. Food is always readily accessible, whether it is sugar from the bowl on the table or that loaf of bread left on the counter; and shelter is not a problem either with plenty of room in the walls of your home to fit even the largest colony.

Luckily, there are a few things that you can do to help keep ants out. While you are out working on projects around your house, pay close attention to the foundation, doorways, and window areas. Are there cracks in the foundation? Screens or weather stripping around doors and windows ripped? Those are all key entry points for ants. Make sure that you take the time to seal the cracks in your foundation all the way around your home, repair screens, and add weather stripping where it is needed. Also, make it a habit to keep the grass and shrubbery trimmed away from your home to discourage ants from wandering too close. Inside, it is essential that anything that can attract ants, namely staples in the pantry, fruits, and bread that is stored in bags and boxes, be sealed tightly in plastic containers. Make sure that any spills are immediately cleaned up. Keep dishes done every day and make sure that crumbs and grease on floors, the refrigerator, counters, and stove are all cleaned regularly.

It is still possible that ants might find their way in. If that is the case, it isn’t likely that relying on over-the-counter traps and sprays will have any effect on an ant colony that has moved in. Because of the sheer size of the nest and its inaccessible location, DIY products probably will not completely eradicate the entire colony. You might get rid of some, but there can be thousands more deep within the colony to replace those ones each and every day. Working with a professional pest control company can not only help get rid of any infestation that might already be present, but it will also ensure that your home is protected throughout each season. Give Russell’s Pest Control a call today and find out why we should be your partner in keeping ants and other pests out all year long.

What Is Up With All These Ants?

What Is Up With All These Ants?

What is it with ants? The weather turns cold and they disappear. But then when things start to warm up a bit, there they are again! As if by magic. Where were they all this time? And why don’t they stay away? Why do they come back every spring to torment us in our homes and our businesses? Is there anything you can do to make them stay away? Actually, there is, and we are going to explore that possibility in just a moment. But first, let’s look a little bit at why having ants come back year after year is not a good thing.

Problems Ants Bring To Home Or Business

Ants Bite

All ants can bite, but there are two that are particularly troublesome in this respect, the fire ant and the carpenter ant. Fire ants can quickly swarm and bite repeatedly, which is not only painful but can be deadly if the victim is a person who is not able to escape the biting insects, persons such as infants or the infirm. If you have fire ants plaguing your property, it is wise to have them eradicated.

Contrary to what their name suggests, carpenter ants do not build or repair anything. In fact, they destroy. And they do this by chewing galleries inside the wooden structures of a home or business. And while they are not normally inclined to bite humans, they are able to use their wood-cutting mandibles to give a painful bite. They may also spray a defensive chemical (formic acid) into the wound, increasing the pain.

Ants Crawl

All ants crawl, but pharaoh ants are some of the worst. These ants are known to invade kitchens and pantries, crawling all over stoves, countertops, refrigerators, food, plates, cups and silverware. Perhaps this wouldn’t be too bad except for the fact that they also crawl around in garbage cans and inside toilet bowls, and then carry all sorts of bacteria back to your kitchen. Studies show that pharaoh ants are able to carry more than 12 infection organisms.

Ants Stink

All ants put off a scent, but odorous house ants take the cake. Not only do they have the pheromones that all ants use, but if they are threatened, or stepped on, they put off an awful smell that is comparable to rotten coconuts.

If you are encountering these ants, or perhaps Argentine, acrobat, or little black ants in your Tennessee home or business, consider help from the pest professionals here at Russell’s. It stinks having biting, crawling, annoying and potentially dangerous ants around. Reach out to us today and become ant-free.