6 things you didn't know about ants, and how to kill them
Ants are marvelous creatures.
They're organized, brave, strategic – and you may have heard about how certain ants can lift up to 50 times their body weight.
But here's where ants aren't so marvelous: In your home.
Ants are among the most-common household pests in the world, parading through the kitchens, bathrooms and living spaces of city dwellers and suburbanites alike.
Of course, it's easy to dismiss their presence as a harmless nuisance, but when you find them in your loaf of bread, swimming at the bottom of your lemonade or worse, tangled in your hair, a line has to be drawn.
The good news? Ants are fairly easy to eradicate if you take the proper measures, and according to a 2015 Raid® consumer survey, the majority of Americans (82%) say that they aren't afraid to handle the problem themselves.
However, as with any pest, the more you know about them, the smarter you can be when it comes to getting rid of them.
Here's some “ant-astic” trivia that can aid you in your next bout with those crafty, six-legged interlopers.
1. Who run the world?
Ants build sophisticated societies with a distinct and entrenched social order: The queen (or several queens, in some cases) is the colony's sole way to reproduce and most important member; the queen is guarded by a group of soldier ants, and the remaining population works to feed the colony.
Funny enough, most of the colony is female — soldiers and workers included. Male ants exist purely to mate, and then die shortly after.
Tip: Succession can be complicated. So when ridding your house of ants, your number one priority should be taking out the queen. Without reproductive resources, the colony will fold in no time.
2. Follow the leader
When you see ants marching across your kitchen counter in a straight line, it isn't because they think it looks fancy. Rather, each ant in the line is following a pheromone trail left by the first ant to ever travel that route. Pheromones are chemical signals that ants lay down to attract and guide other ants to locations, such as food sources. The more ants that use the trail, the stronger the pheromone scent becomes.
Tip: Pheromone trails make it fairly easy to predict where ants will enter and exit your home. Monitor popular ant thoroughfares and strategically deploy baits along those routes.
3. Only the good die young
You can have an ant infestation for a year and potentially never see the same ant twice. Ant colonies are built for longevity, and can survive as long as the queen continues to populate the community, but some worker ants, on the other hand, only have a life span of up to a month.
Tip: When controlling ant invasions in your home, it's important to focus on eliminating the source — not just the current wave making its way across your dinner table. Use baits to get active ingredients into the colony and kill ants where they hide.
4. Introducing the New York City of ant colonies
Each species of ant has its own unique chemical profile — kind of like a fingerprint — that allows colony members to identify their own and weed out intruders. However, that chemical profile doesn’t always end with a single "hill." Some ants, like the Argentine ant, have found their way into every continent on Earth except Antarctica. Since this species has multiple queens, it can bud off to inhabit a new geographic location, allowing a single colony to stretch across continents to establish massive populations.
Tip: Even if your baits successfully eliminate one colony, there may be others on the way. Once you've gotten ants out of your home, it's important to protect its exterior, both by shoring-up cracks and entry points as well as spraying barrier sprays.
5. They aren't just after your food
It's easy to get caught up in visions of ants escorting a full pot roast out your back door, but like most living things, ants are just as interested in your water as they are your food. Ants will both drink water they come across and transport some back to the colony to nourish the queen.
Tip: When ant-proofing your home, don’t just secure your food items — make sure the surfaces in your home, sinks included, are kept dry.
6. Creating a defense system is the best way to help control & kill ants
A sophisticated problem requires a sophisticated solution. As discussed, simply killing the ants you see will only help you in the short term. The best defense you can mount includes a variety of resources, including baits and on-contact sprays.
by mashable Australia
ACES pest control using another technique when compared to this article. There are two ways of treating ants, repellent ( imagine a red STOP sign) which sets a barrier around the house. Effectively immediately as little ants are easy to kill. But always a temporary fix as it never gets to the Queen. This is the method described in this article. ACES uses the second method, NON repellent or TRANSFER ( imagine a Green GO sign). The technique is slow and not very impressive initially, but is very harmful the nest and Queen (s). ACES uses 100% transfer products. We hope you enjoy Emilys article.
GREENVILLE, N.C. What do you think of when a six legged, mighty, food scavenger comes to mind? Ants and lots of them.
You won’t notice them until they come home and they see hundreds of them on their countertops and their pantries and that kind of thing, said Peter Schonemann of Russ Pest Control. Then it’s a problem.
If you can get rid of them outside, then you won’ t have as many problems inside, Schonemann said.
Spending the past half hour trying to find an ant hill was difficult. It seemed the weather was just too hot.
If you get a lot of hot weather, it’s really dry they are looking for moisture, said Schonemann. And they end up sending out foragers looking for food. They find that crumb the kids left, or sugar you spilled when you made some coffee that kind of thing.
But there is one ant that is easier to spot than the others.
Fire ants are the most difficult ant to control, said Carl Little, Lowe’s garden employee. Although three species are common in our area argentine ants, odorous house ants, and fire ants fire ants are the worst.
Fire ants are one of the biggest problems we have in eastern North Carolina, said Little.
The best way to take care of them is, pre-treat the best thing to always do is pre-treat in the early spring or summer with something like a broad pesticide or broad product with something like a slower release than wait ‘til you have the problem.
And when taking care of that ant hill in your backyard on your own, go for the pesticide that targets the one that, kills the queen of the nest, and therefore eliminates the problem altogether.
adapted by ACES pest control from and aricle from By Emily Gibbs from http://wnct.com/2017/07/25/tips-to-keep-ants-out-of-your-home/
for more information on services offered by ACES pest control please click here for our services for rodents please click here for services for ants please click here and for cockroaches please click here
While ants can be pests in Auckland, they are still amazing little creatures! ACES pest control is sometimes surprised at how resourceful ants are. This article shows another way that ants are amazing!
Ants don't tend to get in traffic jams. They might butt heads (or antennae) momentarily as they go about their industrious business, but ants somehow have mastered the art of keeping things moving. They're geniuses of flow.
Another striking thing about ants is that some of them just sit around doing nothing. This has also been noticed in other social insects, such as bees. When ants build a nest, some of them just sit around, inert, lazy, seemingly useless.
Now a study out of Georgia Tech, published Thursday in the journal Science, combines these observations to deliver a lesson that could have implications for such things as how the robots of the future might be used for disaster relief. The researchers found that ants are more successful when they are selectively industrious. They use idleness to their advantage. Quitting has its virtues.
The researchers studied groups of 30 color-coded fire ants digging tunnels in glass-walled containers in a laboratory. About 30 percent of the ants did 70 percent of the work. Some ants did very little or nothing. When the researchers removed the most hard-working ants, some of the previously less-active ants stepped up their game and began working harder. It appears that industriousness is not an individual attribute but a defined role. It's like a job title: heavy lifter.
When excavating a tunnel during the frenzy of nest-building, the tunnel face the deep end of the tunnel can get crowded. That can cause traffic jams. What the researchers noted is that some ants turn around and leave the tunnel without doing any work. These reversals limit the potential for clogging up the works.
The team created computer models with simulated ants and found that this system of selective idleness enables the ants to dig deep faster. Their method reduces the chances of clogs. In effect, the ants have solved the eternal problem of too many cooks in the kitchen.
“What the ants have discovered is pretty close to the best way to do it. You need the idleness distribution and the appropriate amount of giving up, said Daniel Goldman, a Georgia Tech physicist who runs the lab and is the senior author of the new study.
“It’s a nice example of where doing less gives you more. And perhaps the most, said Ofer Feinerman, a physicist who studies ants at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel and who was not involved in the new research. It seems the ants do the best that they could have done.
The Georgia Tech team built robots to try to simulate the ant behavior and couldn't quite match it, apparently because a robot is clunkier than a segmented, limber ant. But the robot work confirmed the basic idea that simple rules, such as knowing when to quit and let other individuals do the work, can benefit the overall project.
This kind of investigation could lead to improved designs for robot swarms. For example, multiple autonomous robots may need to enter buildings destroyed by earthquakes to look for survivors. Such efforts could benefit from simple strategies that involve labor inequality, the new paper states.
“If you wanted to have a system of diggers dig in a confined area, you don’t want to throw them all at the same tunnel. You want to have them selectively participate and not participate based on these physics-inspired rules, said Nick Gravish, a University of California at San Diego professor who studies ant biomechanics. Gravish earned his doctorate under Goldman at Georgia Tech but was not involved in the current study.
The principle of selective idleness could aid human teams working collectively on a document or a piece of computer code, said Simon Garnier, a professor at the New Jersey Institute of Technology who studies collective behaviors in everything from slime mold to fish to mammals. "As long as all the agents in the system have a common collective goal, this principle might help them achieve it faster by reducing conflicts in accessing a common resource," Garnier said.
Fire ants are an invasive species common in the Deep South. They first arrived in the United States less than a century ago from the wetlands of South America.
They often live in low-lying, flood-prone areas. A fire ant colony functions like a superorganism. During a flood, the entire colony forms a raft, with the queen protected in the middle. This happened notably last year when Hurricane Harvey flooded the Southeast Texas coast.
The colony floats on the surface of the floodwater. When the ant-raft finally washes up somewhere, the ants build a nest rapidly. The workers (all female) can't leave the queen exposed.
No matter what kind of soil the ants dig in, they make their tunnels roughly the diameter of the length of an ant. That means their legs and antennae are always within reach of the tunnel wall, which assists the ants during moments of slippage. They can use their antennae as if they were auxiliary limbs.
Feinerman said researchers have noted that ants are sensitive to success and failure. When an individual ant tries to do something, such as obtain food or dig a tunnel, and is successful, she keeps doing it with extraordinary vigor and endurance. But when she fails, such as getting stymied while trying to enter a tunnel, she will quit and become inert. He said the new research suggests that relatively simple rules govern this behavior.
“There’s a positive feedback between how successful an ant is and her tendency to repeat the task, he said.
Gravish, who builds robots inspired by insects, said of ants: They’re far more complicated than robots. I wish we could get even close to the complexity of ants.
edited from Joel Achenbach original article https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2018/08/16/industrious-fire-ants-reveal-surprise-secret-to-success-selective-laziness/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.c784206907dc
How do I get rid of ants?
Although ants generally don’t cause harm to people — they don’t carry disease, like some other pests — an infestation can be a major nuisance.
“Ants can be extremely persistent creatures, seemingly coming from nowhere and can be difficult to entirely get rid of,” says Kelly Garvin of Greenix Pest Control in Dublin, Ohio.
Fortunately, DIY and professional pest removal options are available.
REASONS FOR ANT INFESTATION
Ants typically invade your home for one reason: food. Most feed on sugary or greasy items.
Sugar ants — also called odorous house ants — are one of the most common ant invaders and among the first pests to show up in the spring. They’re about one-eighth of an inch or smaller and are attracted to food sources.
The common pavement ant, which is brown to black and about 1/10th of an inch long, will set up colonies near driveways or patios and then send out scouts to search for food in your home. They eat meat, grease, seeds, dead or live insects, and can sting and bite if disturbed.
Argentine Ants — about 4 to 4.5 mm long ONE size. Usually come into your house for food. Loves protein and fat, often found in your dishwasher or pantry.
Coastal Brown Ants- two sizes. Dark brown, loves protein often found in dishwasher. Two sizes one has a BIG head.
Knowing what type of ant you’re dealing with can help you prevent or combat an infestation.
KEEPING ANTS OUT
The first step to prevent an ant infestation: clean house. If you see scout ants in your home, kill them immediately. Make sure you don’t leave any food out and keep all kitchen surfaces clean.
If you continue to see ants, make sure you’ve closed off possible entry points, including sealing small cracks in your walls or under windows. Start by caulking potential entry points, such as window casings.
Next, you can lay down barriers like salt or talc under doors to turn ants away, or apply scents such as vinegar, peppermint oil or cinnamon. Bear in mind, however, that anything you put down will also be of interest to pets and children, so be careful what you use.
DIY METHODS FOR ANT REMOVAL
If ant explorers have morphed into a full-on colony, then you need a plan.
Start with soap and water. This will not only kill chemical trails, but any ants it touches. Add citrus to the water to increase its effectiveness.
You can also purchase pest sprays and baited ant traps from local grocery and hardware stores. These use a mixture of sugars and ant poison, such as boric acid to attract, trap and kill ants. Proceed with caution when using poison.
Bear in mind, too, that these traps won’t work on protein-feeders like Coastal Brown or Argentine Ants, since the sweetness won’t interest them.
In addition to trapping ants inside, you can also spray around the exterior of the home where the house meets the pavement or ground to prevent more ants from infiltrating, says David Anderson of Eastside Exterminators in Woodinville, Wash.
Garvin recommends spraying problem areas with a mixture of Windex, vinegar and water. She says spreading Diatomaceous Earth in carpeted areas around the bathroom is a safe and natural way to kill ants because it’s a food source.
“The Windex or vinegar is really a quick fix and not really that effective, but it will remove the immediate ants and wipe away their pheromone scent they use to follow trails,” Garvin says.
Dan Miles, owner of Total Exterminating in Indianapolis, suggests spraying all cracks around the baseboards and the base of the toilet if the infestation is in the bathroom.
HIRE A PEST CONTROL PROFESSIONAL
Large-scale infestations require assistance from a pest control professional.
Pros address ant problems by locating the colony itself; typically this starts by laying bait traps, which contain poisoned food taken back to the nest. Once found, exterminators can use a variety of techniques including chemical sprays to totally eliminate the ants in your home.
Modified from Tom Moor Article
ACES customers often remark that ants seem really smart. They will mention that no matter what they do they seem be out smarted by these little pests.
Here is an article by Kata, which seems to suggest ants are smarter than we think.
SMART ANTS- crafting tiny sponges as tools.
Ants may be smarter than we give them credit for. Tool use is seen as something brainy primates and birds do, but even the humble ant can choose the right tool for the job.
István Maák at the University of Szeged in Hungary and his team offered two species of funnel ants liquids containing water and honey along with a range of tools that might help them carry this food to their nests.
The ants experimented with the tools and chose those that were easiest to handle and could soak up plenty of liquid, such as bits of sponge or paper, despite them not being found in the insects’ natural environment.
This suggests that ants can take into account the properties of both the tool and the liquid they are transporting. It also indicates they can learn to use new tools even without big brains.
Some ant species are known to use tools, such as mud or sand grains, to collect and transport liquid to their nests. But this is the first time they are shown to select the most suitable ones, says team member Patrizia d’Ettorre from the University of Paris-North, France.
To investigate this behaviour, the team offered Aphaenogaster subterranea and A. senilis ants various possible tools, both natural, such as twigs, pine needles and soil grains, and artificial.
The ants experimented with the tools and eventually showed preference for certain tools even unfamiliar ones. The ants would drop the tool into the liquid, pick it up and then carry it to the workers back in the nest to drink from.
Subterranea workers preferred small soil grains to transfer diluted honey, and sponge for pure honey. Most of them even tore the sponge into smaller bits, presumably for better handling.
Senilis started off using all the tools equally, but then focused on pieces of paper and sponge, which could soak up most of the diluted honey they were offered. This indicates that they can learn as they go along.
Factors such as the weight of the tools could also have influenced the ants’ choice, but the researchers believe the tools’ absorbency and ease of handling mattered the most.
Stuck for space
Aphaenogaster ants possibly developed such tool use because, unlike many other ants, they can’t expand their stomach, says d’Ettorre. They had to find a way to exploit the valuable resource of liquid food.
This way, when ants come across a fallen fruit or a dead insect in the wild, their fluids can be transferred to the nest for the rest of the colony.
As ants live in a highly competitive environment, natural selection may favour using such tools to help feed the colony, says Valerie S. Banschbach at Roanoke College, Virginia.
And these ants may have been happy to try novel materials because which particular tools are available in their natural habitat varies according to the season.
Many other accomplishments of these small-brained creatures rival those of humans or even surpass them, such as farming fungi species or using ‘dead reckoning’, a sophisticated navigation to find their way back to the nest,” says Banschbach. “The size of brain needed for specific cognitive tasks is not clear.”
Tool use in insects is largely genetically controlled and evolved from selection of advantageous genetic mutations, says Gavin R. Hunt at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. This is unlike most tool use in birds or primates, which begins as novel behaviour and can sometimes be enhanced through genetic changes, he says.
By Kata Karáth
ACES experience is that ants do remarkable things too. We always tailor our treatments for your type or species of ant in your home! Which explains why our customers are very happy with our results on www.nocowboys.co.nz with a rating of 97% with more than 190 reviews
Finding new species may call to mind images of scientists tracking mysterious footprints in the mud or cutting paths through the dense jungle.
But sometimes, a discovery is as easy as getting a frog to open its mouth and say, “Ah.”
Such is the case for Lenomyrmex hoelldobleri, a new tropical ant species found in the belly of a diablito, or little devil frog (Oophaga sylvatica), in Ecuador.
The diablito, a kind of bright orange poison frog, is known for its love of ants, says Christian Rabeling, a myrmecologist at the University of Rochester, New York. The new ant species is named after Bert Hölldobler, a German evolutionary biologist and ant expert, for his 80th birthday.
Because ant-eating frogs go hunting for bugs in tiny and hard-to-access places, scientists use them as a tool to go where they can’t go. By capturing a wild frog and flushing their stomachs, the amphibians vomit whatever is in their bellies—revealing potential treasures, like the new ant.
“Sometimes people think that our world is very well explored. Nothing could be farther from the truth,” says Rabeling, who led a new study on the ant, published September 19 by the journal ZooKeys.
Because the only known specimen of L. hoelldobleri is a dead one from a frog's stomach, scientists know almost nothing about it.
A glimpse through a high-powered stereomicroscope at that ill-fated ant, however, has offered a few clues. (See "Watch: Ants Use Giant Jaws to Catapult Out of Death Trap.")
“The shape of the mandibles reminds me of forceps,” says Rabeling. This may mean that the ant, which is less than a quarter of an inch long, uses its mouthparts to pry even smaller prey animals, such as termites, out of tight crevices. “But I am just speculating,” he admits.
If the scientists could find living L. hoelldobleri in the Ecuadoran rain forest, the team they could submit the little guys to a “cafeteria test," which means offering an animal multiple prey items to see what it prefers. (See "Surprising Ant 'Mixing Bowl' Found in Manhattan.")
“The difficulty is finding the ants!” says Rabeling.
The little devil frog, obviously, has figured out how to locate them—and for good reason.
Poison frogs get their namesake chemical defenses from alkaloids found in the ants and other critters they consume, says Jonathan Kolby, a National Geographic grantee and director of the Honduras Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Center.
"Physiologists regard ants as mini chemical factories," adds Rabeling. The insects likely use the chemicals as signals to communicate with other ants in their complex societies.
As for where the ants get their alkaloids, Kolby says some species may acquire it from the plants they eat. But what role, if any, L. hoelldobleri may play in the poison game is anyone’s guess.
Belly of the Beast
Because many amphibians are endangered—the International Union for Conservation of Nature lists O. sylvatica as near threatened—any research with wild frogs must be done carefully, and only by trained experts, Rabeling notes. (Read more about why amphibians are vanishing.)
To flush the stomach, scientists insert a soft tube into the amphibian’s mouth and gently fill it with water, prompting whatever the frog has eaten recently to flow out of its mouth and onto a tray. The frog can then be safely returned to its natural habitat.
This is not the first time a new species has been found inside another animal’s stomach, by the way. Kolby points to the example of Dunn’s earth snake (Geophis dunni), which was found in the stomach of a coral snake (Micrurus nigrocinctus) in Nicaragua in 1932.
Furthermore, it seems L. hoelldobleri had some company in the little devil frog’s stomach. The research project that first identified the new ant also found several other as-of-yet undescribed insects.
It seems the little devil’s frog's belly might be the gift that keeps on giving.
By Jason Bittel
Could ants be the solution to antibiotic crisis?
Bacterial defences of fungus-farming ants could help in medical battle against superbugs
Scientists have pinpointed a promising new source of antibiotics: ants. They have found that some species – including leaf-cutter ants from the Amazon – use bacteria to defend their nests against invading fungi and microbes.
Chemicals excreted by the bacteria as part of this fight have been shown to have particularly powerful antibiotic effects and researchers are now preparing to test them in animals to determine their potential as medicines for humans.
Doctors say new antibiotics are urgently needed as superbug resistance to standard antimicrobial agents spreads. More than 700,000 people globally now die of drug-resistant infections each year, it is estimated – and some health officials say this figure could be even higher.
Last week, UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon, speaking at the first general assembly meeting on drug-resistant bacteria, said antimicrobial resistance was now a fundamental threat to global health.
This was reiterated by Professor Cameron Currie of the University of Wisconsin–Madison, one of the scientists involved in the ant research.
“Antibiotic resistance is a growing problem,” he said last week. “However, pinpointing new antibiotics using the standard technique of sampling soil for bacteria is tricky. On average, only one in a million strains proves promising. By contrast, we have uncovered a promising strain of bacteria for every 15 strains we have sampled from an ant’s nest.”
Only a very specific group of ants are proving useful in this work, however. These are species that farm fungi in tropical regions in North and South America.
“These ants forage for plant material, which they bring back to their nests and feed to a fungus,” said Professor Jon Clardy of Harvard Medical School. “The fungus breaks down the plant material and the ants feed on the fungus.”
The strategy evolved around 15 million years ago, and has proved highly successful. There are now more than 200 ant species that farm fungi. Most fungus-farming ants simply forage for bits of old leaf or grass on the ground, however. A few, like leaf-cutter ants, cut leaves from trees and bring them back in pieces to their nest. “Plants are hard to digest, but fungi are good decomposers and break down plant material so ants can feed easily,” said Ethan Van Arnam, also of Harvard Medical School.
However, scientists have recently discovered that these nests are sometimes attacked by hostile fungi. “They kill off both the nest and its farmed fungus,” said Clardy. “In turn, ants have developed defences revealed as white patches on their bodies. They look as if they had been dipped in powdered sugar. These patches are made of bacteria which the ant stores on its body. Crucially, these bacteria produce powerful antibiotic and antifungal agents.”
In this way, ants nurture bacteria which in turn make antifungal and antibacterial agents that defend nests. More to the point, these bacteria are similar to the ones used by pharmaceutical companies to make antibiotics. A typical example is Apterostigma ants, whose bacterial strains have been isolated in Panama and brought back to Harvard by Van Arnam. Many show promising antibiotic activity, he told the Observer.
“The ants don’t always win,” added Clardy. “You occasionally come across nests that have been overcome by invading fungi. But it is clear ants and their bacteria put up a very good fight, one that has been going on for millions of years. The result has been the production of some very interesting antibiotics.”
Clardy said foreign bacteria also attacked the ant’s microbe defences. “The bacteria in the nests get a really good deal. They are protected and fed by ants. Other strains of bacteria want to take over that comfortable niche. It is the bacterial equivalent of Game of Thrones. Everyone is trying to kill off everyone else and get to the top. The result has been the development of some very powerful antibiotic weapons. These are the end products of an arms race that has been going on for 15 million years. Our trick is to isolate the best of these weapons and use them to make new antibiotics for humans.”