Spring has definitely sprung here in Green Country. Oklahoma is notorious for bright sunny springtime mix with lots and lots of rain showers. This season we’ve seen a little less rain and a lot more sun. With the nice weather also comes more insects. The winter is over and everything is coming out of hibernation. One of the most common insects that show up during this time of rebirth, are ants. Ants are out in places that they should not be, including our homes, kitchens and businesses. We need to talk about ants, how they work, their life cycle and what to do about ants in your home.
Ants are eusocial insects. This means that they work in a colony. They divide the labor of their colony amongst their population using a caste system. At the bottom of this caste system, you will find workers. These are the most numerous. Workers are almost always sterile females. They have an amazing sense of smell. This is because they are tasked with all the menial jobs of the colony. This includes foraging and finding food, bringing it back, feeding the larva and tending to the eggs. In order to communicate with one another they use pheromones. Pheromones are hormones that they could sense much like our sense of smell.
The next caste in the system are soldier ants. These insects are specifically tasked with protecting the colony. When a predator strikes, they go into action quickly to protect the colony from these predators. Lastly we have the reproductives. The most important reproductive is the queen. She lays all the eggs for the colony. Different species have different numbers of queens. Some species, like the thief ant, have only one queen. Other colonies have many queens. The colony of the pharaoh ant can have multiple queens. Many of these pharaoh colonies are set up in super colonies stretching thousands of miles. These super colonies have a queen for every couple thousand worker ants.
MAKING NEW COLONIES
Colonies reproduce in many different ways. Specifically three ways are used to multiply colonies. The first way see you are the use of swarmers. Swarmers are winged reproductives. These ants are both male and female and have the capability of reproducing. At a certain time of year, these swarmers will fly from the nest and find other swarmers from local nearby colonies of the same kind of ant. They will pair up king and queen and then go off to begin their own new colony.
The second method by which ants can multiply the colonies is by splintering. When a group of ants become separated from the main colony, they will begin a new colony. The queens of these kinds of ants amid a fair amount that keep the worker ants sterile. When A group of these ants are separated from the main colony, they no longer have access to the pheromone and start to become reproductive. A queen will rise to the top and start to be to produce her own pheromone causing the segregated workers to only work for her. This creates a new colony. The last way the colonies reproduce is budding. A pregnant queen will leave the colony with a group of worker ants. These ants will go and start a second branch of the original colony.
There are many different kinds of species of ants. The odorous house ant is one of the most common indoor insects that you’ll find in Oklahoma. It’s a small insect that finds its way into your home and creates a colony inside. It’s one of the few that prefer to create the colony inside a home. They are looking for food and a place to stay. Odorous house ants are named that because if you crush one of their workers, and smell the remains, there is a distinct rotten coconut smell to their remains.
These ants can multiply based on splintering. Because of this, it’s very important that you use the correct pesticide against odorous house ants. If you use a repellent pesticide, you would likely separate a group of these insects from the original colony creating a new colony. You can literally double your problem by using the wrong insecticide. It’s very important that you contact your Broken Arrow pest control company to deal with the ants.
Outside, you can find fire ants. In Oklahoma, we have two different kinds, the indigenous fire ants and the invasive species of fire ant. Fire ants have a very painful sting they can administer to predators or someone who doesn’t realize that they’re there. This sting hurts and can leave welts, but doesn’t actually hurt the individual permanently. If you find fire ant mounds in your yard, it’s important that you contact your Tulsa exterminator to come out and take care of these.
Harvester ants or another kind of insect found in Oklahoma. These ants also sting. They are most commonly found in cornfields and other farming areas. They are found predominately outdoors. Pavement ants are another kind of outdoor ant that you’ll find an Oklahoma. These insects like to create their colonies in small gaps in rocks, stone and cement. Of course this is where they get their name from. There are also carpenter ants. These ants are polymorphic, or come in different sizes. Carpenter ants build their nests in wood. These ants can find a way into your home and bore into the wood of your house creating nest there. It’s important to get them taken care of because they can compromise the structural integrity of your home much like a termite.
ELIMINATING ANTS FOR GOOD
If you’re having issues with ants or any other insects, then it’s time to call in a professional Tulsa pest control company. TermMax Pest Control is the best pest control company in the state. We service the greater Tulsa area including Owasso, Turley, Sapulpa, Sand Springs, Prattville, Bixby, Jenks, Broken Arrow, Coweta, Claremore, Catoosa and much more. Call today for a free estimate. We’re here to help!