Ants are a common insect and sight in a Lubbock backyard, but when ants jeopardize your kids play time or regularly enter the home or office, they can become a pest. The first step to defense against ants is identification.
Pharaoh ants, known as sugar ants are very small (1/12 – 1/16” long) black ants that are common home intruders in West Texas. Loyal to their name, they are attracted to sugary foods and almost always nest indoors, making them a pest.
Argentine ants aren’t native to Texas, but are commonly seen in Lubbock. The half inch long, brown ants can be attracted to sweet and protein rich foods.
More dangerous species in Lubbock are red imported fire ants, with reddish-brown bodies that vary greatly in size. The ants are aggressive when nests are disturbed, typically in large mounds outdoors.
Fourteen species of carpenter ants exist in Texas, although usually workers are all black with wings. Carpenters are one of the largest ant species in the area. They pose a serious threat to the integrity of a home, porch, deck and other outdoor wood structures and can cause destruction equal to termites.
Many other ant species do exist in West Texas, above is only a short list of the most common ant pests Lubbock homeowners, landlords and businesses face.
Behavior & Risks
Depending on the species, ants can colonize indoors or outdoors, living in self-made ant mounds, dead logs, under debris or inside the home. Colonies are ant cities with one or multiple queen ants, and can easily support hundreds of millions of worker ants. Worker ants are most involved with finding sources of food for a colony and are the typical pest. Many species are nocturnal, although once inside, ants can be active at all times of the day.
Many ants affect us seasonally, during very wet or very dry conditions or typically at the start of a Lubbock summer. Most ants can’t handle the West Texas winter and activity slows or ends during this time.
Ants aren’t categorized as vectors, although some species have been observed in hospitals to transport disease between patients. Many ants bite when provoked, although most species are too small to cause pain. Carpenter ants and Texas harvester ants are large and can have painful bites. Some people can experience allergic reactions with ant bites and stings, causing more complications.
Fire ants sting, which can be more painful than a bee or wasp. Fire ants can also swarm victims, stinging multiple times from potentially thousands of workers.
Identifying a Problem
Ants are a natural part of the ecosystem and can help eliminate other insects that are more feared and destructive: such as spiders and termites. However, certain species of ants should be controlled including pharaoh and carpenter ants, which can be chronic pests, frequently invading and colonizing the home.
Invasive species aren’t native to Texas, and often exhibit more harmful behaviors. Fire ants, can be dangerous to small children, pets and the elderly and if spotted in your home, should be promptly removed.
Most folks know they have a problem when an ant colony is near or inside the home. There is a potential for millions of worker ants to descend on your kitchen for a meal and ant swarms are likely. For a few days of the year, ants will swarm near the colony to mate and reproduce. Swarms also happen when the nest is threatened and it’s an obvious sign of an infestation.
Once our team has determined the type of ant and behavior, we can target bait for protein loving ants or sugar loving ants and implement general pest control service. The ant bait Bug Tech installs is the best on the market. A lot of ant baits tend to dry out over time, but the bait we use draws moisture from the air and is always moist. This bait will be strategically placed 12 inches apart, along ant superhighways. That way, ants eat the bait, take it back to the colony and share it, and then wipe out the colony.
For outdoor ants, Bug Tech deploys two techniques for yard treatment. We treat with a liquid residual, and also use granular bait.
For carpenter ants, Bug Tech utilizes treatment similar to termites. We observe the ants and discover the wood provoking attraction to the home or location of the colony. For example, certain type of trees in very close proximity to a home can lead to an ant infestation. Trimming back the branches or even removing the trees if necessary can aid in carpenter ant control. Other sources may be as easy as a wood pile next to the home. Once removed, Bug Tech starts integrated pest management. Our team will trench and drill small holes into the foundation and apply a dusting of chemical residuals. Regular follow up will ensure carpenters are removed long term.