The best way to learn about ants is to build a
control efforts coincide with this period, it is often
collection and keep it for comparison. Elements
difficult to tell whether the pest management
important to consider when identifying an ant species
procedures are effective, or whether the ants
and its control plan are:
abandoned the structure due to natural habit.
Size. Ant species have fairly consistent size.
Nodes. Nodes are swollen segments of the petiole
Attend to the following general considerations in
(the narrow connection between the thorax and
developing an ant control plan:
abdomen). Most species have one; others have two.
Color. Color may vary within the same species
Talk to the client. Get all information
of ant, but it also can be a useful eliminating factor.
possible from the resident.
Be sure to note the surface appearance of the
Observe ant worker movement and plot
on diagram if need be. Look for the
Range. Most ant species are known to occur in
focus of the infestation.
a specific region.
To confirm observations, use traps
baited with a grease and a sugar or
An important first consideration in the control of
syrup or other ingredients suggested in
ants is to determine whether:
pest control references (e.g., peanut
the colony is located inside the
butter and cookies).
Inside: Inspect holes and cracks where workers
the colony is located outside the
enter, old or new moisture stains, food accumulations
(e.g., dry pet food), activity near appliances (e.g.,
Indications that a colony is inside are when:
dishwasher and washing machines), under bath tubs,
ant workers are consistently found
showers, in drawers, corresponding areas in adjoining
inside over a long uninterrupted period
room or rooms above and below activity.
nest building is observed inside [Look
Outside: Inspect for workers behind vines,
for wood shavings of carpenter ants,
shrubs, other plants near house, expansion joints,
"dumping" materials of pavement ants,
slabs, patio blocks, bricks, boards, plant pots, under
and inside wooden columns and pillars, outside door
the infestation is located in a highrise
and window frames, window wells, penetrations of
inside swarming is observed.
house wall by telephone wires, air conditioning
Indications that a colony is outside are when:
refrigerant pipes, trees that harbor colonies and
ants inside can be "trailed" outside
provide access to houses by overhanging limbs that
ants outside can be seen coming inside
touch or even scratch shingles; water meters and storm
nesting sites outside are near the
drain inspection manholes. Inspect plants for ants
structure with an inside infestation
tending aphids, mealybugs, etc.
[Look for mounds next to the
foundation, or trees with large carpenter
ant colonies touching an infested portion
Caulk wall penetrations and mortar
of the house.]
masonry cracks. Wall penetrations
ants nest under slabs or swarm inside,
include utility lines, air conditioning,
but workers do not forage inside.
refrigerant pipes, phone lines, etc.
Whether the colony is in- or outdoors, ants that
Tighten door and window frames.
are known to tend honeydew-producing insects often
Repair water leaks.
forage inside before plant insect populations can build-
Trim shrubbery away from house.
up outside. After populations of aphids, mealybugs,
Remove firewood that is stacked close
scale insects, white flies and planthoppers become
to house; boards, stones, etc. that
numerous (in late spring), ant colonies nearby put a
encourage nesting; screen openings in
great deal of energy into tending and protecting these
hollow pillars, columns, and ventilators
plant-sucking insects. Worker ants foraging inside
Control ant-tended aphids and
kitchens and basements often leave houses at this time.
They may return in dry weather seeking moisture, but
mealybugs with horticultural pesticides,
often will not be seen until the next spring. When pest
such as oils or soaps.
Module One, Chapter 3, Pg 3