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.