5 Tips to Keep Ants Out This Summer

Tips to keep ants out this summer in Knoxville TN - Russell's Pest Control

Ants are any property owner’s worst nightmare. Not only are they simply a nuisance, they’re infamously difficult to get rid of. Infestations in the summertime spike as ants make their way indoors for food and shelter. To avoid the frustration of an ant problem this summer, there are a few things you can do to limit their access indoors. The experts at Russell’s Pest Control have years of experience controlling these pests and is here to share expert tips to keep ants out this summer.

Types of Ants in the Summer

Did you know there are more than 700 species of ants in the United States alone? For that reason, it is crucial to know which one you’re dealing with in order to properly prevent and control them. An infestation from any of these can be a major pain to deal with, making it important to know what you’re coming up against. The most common ants you will come across include:

How to Keep Summertime Ants Out

If you have had ants before, you know that they can suddenly appear seemingly out of nowhere! To avoid letting ants indoors, there are 5 things you can do to make your property less attractive and accessible to them. Our tips to keep ants out this summer include:

  1. Clean your home regularly. Sweep your floors regularly to get rid of crumbs. Ants are attracted to sugary food sources and a few crumbs will keep them coming back for more.
  2. Store all food items properly. Avoid leaving food out uncovered. Keep food in airtight containers or store them safely in cupboards and fridges.
  3. Seal gaps, cracks, and entry holes. Ants can crawl through the tiniest of cracks. Inspect your property and use caulk to seal any gaps, holes, or potential entry ways.
  4. Avoid excess moisture or water. Areas with standing water or leaks will attract ants quickly. Attend to broken pipes and clean up spills quickly.
  5. Trim back trees and vegetation. Plants close to your home can encourage ants to come in. Make sure tree branches, shrubs, and bushes are trimmed away from the perimeter!

Summertime Ants in Knoxville

Pest problems are common in our area during the summer ants. The last thing you have time to deal with is an ant infestation. If you’ve done everything you can to keep ants out and still are noticing the signs of an infestation, it’s time to call the experts at Russell’s. We are committed to providing you with ant-free living all year round.

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.

Red Imported Fire Ants: The Insect Army

Good pest control professionals should view their titles literally. We believe in “pest control,” meaning that we control the populations of pests when they get into places where they don’t belong. Our job is not to exterminate every insect or rodent. If we did, the whole food chain would fall to pieces. That being said, there are some pests that are really hard to like. Right now, the word “mosquito” probably just flashed through your brain, and we understand that feeling. But today, we want to discuss another unpopular pest that is quite new to the Knoxville area. Get ready for an introduction to the fire ant.

The red imported fire ant came to the United States from South America in ships in the early 1900s. They have grown their populations since then and adapted to the cooler climate. They are verified in at least eleven states, now including Tennessee. These ants are extremely dangerous and hard to control. An average fire ant mound can have 200,000 occupants, and you can find dozens of colonies per acre in rural areas. The mounds will be noticeable because they have a large pile of dirt at their main entrance. In urban areas, this dirt pile could pretty easily be up to six inches across; in agricultural areas, they have been known to be up to two feet high. This knowledge leads us to lesson number one for those sharing a county with fire ants: Don’t stomp an ant mound! You never know what species of ant could come out, and you may regret the decision!

So, what makes red imported fire ants so much worse than other ants? Well, there is only one way to describe these colonies: militarized. A fire ant army is a war machine. If a person accidentally wanders into a fire ant mound, the workers will immediately begin swarming up to exposed skin. But, they won’t attack right away. They actually wait until a larger number of soldiers gain access to the prey. Then, they release a chemical as a signal, and all the ants attack at once to inflict the most damage.

Most people say they have been “bitten” by an ant, but serious ant encounters have nothing to do with bites. Some species of ants (though not all) are equipped with stingers, just like a wasp, and these stingers do the damage. However, fire ants are quite smart. While they are waiting for the attack signal, the ants use their powerful jaws to latch onto a hair or the skin of their victims. Then, when they begin to sting, they are very difficult to brush off and are more likely to be able to deliver multiple stings per ant.

In addition, fire ant stings are more dangerous than the stings of other ants. Most ants inject a type of acid when they sting, which can cause painful skin irritation. Fire ants inject a certain protein that is foreign to other creatures. The immediate result is a wicked-looking blister that often scars. However, some people (and other animals) are violently allergic to this protein. When you hear about fire-ant-related deaths, they are almost never associated simply with the painful stings. The worst danger is from these extreme allergic reactions, which can cause victims to go into shock and, in extreme cases, die.

This is a hard article to write and a hard article to read because we generally don’t like to make people frightened of pests (grossed out, maybe, but not frightened). However, red imported fire ants are a menace in East Tennessee, and they don’t belong here. Our native plants and animals are not equipped to withstand their aggressive attacks, and they are doing damage to our ecosystem.

With many pests, like odorous house ants, there are things we can recommend for homeowners to try if they want to spend time managing their own pest control to save money. We do not recommend that with red imported fire ants. If you suspect that you have fire ants near your house, either because you’ve received stings or because you’ve seen their large mounds, please give Russell’s a call or visit our contact page. We can do a free inspection to determine if fire ants really are a problem near you, and we have the equipment needed to treat for these pests safely.