Ants and Ant Control in Iowa Argentine Ant Control and Prevention
Argentine ants are not as common in Iowa as southern states. Workers are usually about 1/8 inch long. Nests are found in moist areas of the soil, under concrete, along foundations, or under houses. Argentine ants prefer sweet foods like sugars and syrups. Numbers are usually in the thousands and they can be extremely difficult to get rid of. Some homeowners will find it impossible to control with over the counter products. Regular spraying by exterminators as well as dusting is usually necessary. Homeowners can help prevent out of control infestations of argentine ants by treating nests as soon as they are discovered. High levels of sandy soil in the yard can contribute to the problem
General Ants and Ant Control in Iowa
Ants are the most successful pests in the world. Ants live in colonies and have social behaviors. Most ants prefer to nest in the ground but some species also use wood or logs. There are virtually no materials that exist that will not at some point be food to ants. Many ant species will feed on numerous varieties of food. Ants have four stages of life cycles, egg, larva, pupa and adult.
These ants produce a rotten odor when crushed which is how they get the name. They become a nuisance because of the enormous numbers that can arise, up to 100,000 can live in a single colony. Usually, nests have about 2000 to 10000. Odorous ants prefer areas with constant moisture and usually feed on protein based products such as meats and cheeses. Grease is another preferred food source and many homeowners refer to the ants as grease ants.
Odorous house ants will not cause damage like carpenter ants but are a nuisance by getting into food. Homeowners can try to control them by keeping food, grease and crumbs cleaned up and eliminating food sources. Sealing cracks and crevices will make it more difficult for the ants to enter homes. If these tactics don’t work exterminators have to use insecticide and also bait with protein based poison. The ants eat the bait and take it back to the nests. Getting rid of all the ants can be extremely difficult at times.
Carpenter ants can have established nests up to 300 yards away from homes and homeowners may not always be able to locate the main nest. Smaller nests around houses and other areas are called “satellite nests”, which will eventually establish big enough numbers to branch out themselves.
Homeowners can help themselves by keeping tree limbs trimmed back away the home and not letting branches reach out over the roof. Getting rid of decaying and rotting wood eliminates potential nesting areas. Caulk and seal cracks and other openings that enter the home. If these tactics don’t get rid of ants inside the home it becomes necessary to have a licensed pest control operator treat with a non repellent insecticide.
In the state of Iowa there are a handful of ants that can become household troublemakers. The most famous are probably carpenter ants.
Carpenter ants will damage wood by chewing and excavating holes to make nests. Many times people will notice piles of “sawdust” which looks like someone just cut a board in the area. This is the wood they are getting rid of to make a nest.
Carpenters will swarm two or three times a year just like termites. When swarming, they fly and then drop their wings in an area they like. Hopefully, homeowners get them treated before they do damage to a wall or other areas of the home. The ants can reach large sizes even up to an inch long. They prefer to make the nests in softer, water damaged wood but this is not always the case.