Here in Houston, we have many different species of ants, including rover ants, acrobat ants, pharaoh ants and leaf-cutting ants. There are even cases where termites are mistaken for ants, and vice versa, which makes getting the help of an expert even more important.
While we can help you with any type of ant (or pest) control you may need, we most commonly get calls regarding the following types of ants.
Crazy ants (also known as Rasberry crazy ants or Tawny crazy ants) love sugar and have become a more prevalent pest issue in Houston. These ants can be identified by their hairy bodies and reddish-brown color. As their name implies, these insects don’t move in a straight line—a frantic zig-zag pattern is a better way to describe their behavior.
Because crazy ants prefer warm environments, they are more commonly found in switch boxes and near sources of electricity, which can cause short circuits and other electrical problems. To make matters worse, these pests swarm quickly once they have found an ideal place to nest, so an infestation can happen fast. No products currently available to consumers can effectively handle a crazy ant infestation, so your best bet is to contact a professional to handle the problem. Since standalone treatments aren’t effective on crazy ants, and neither are most baits, ABC uses specially-formulated products that have been found to be effective.
These ants are reddish-brown and are notorious for their painful sting. Fire ants build large mounds outdoors and are usually fairly obvious. However, it is still very common for a child, adult or a pet to unknowingly disturb a mound, leading to a very painful situation.
ABC technicians typically recommend the application of baits and treatment products applied to individual mounds to get the best results. Professional fire ant control is often the desired option for homeowners who do not want to risk getting stung by these creatures.
Carpenter ants are generally large and can be solid black, brown or a combination of black and red-orange. These insects are nocturnal and do not sting, but can bite. Carpenter ants don’t consume wood, as termites do. Instead, these destructive pests chew through wood to create large nests inside of our homes. Since the signs of a carpenter ant infestation and a termite infestation are very similar, often the best route is to contact a professional who can determine which pest is in your home, then apply effective treatments.
Your ABC technician will pinpoint the source of the infestation and may recommend baits or insecticide dust, or a combination of the two, depending on the nature of your problem.
Odorous House Ants
Odorous house ants are smooth-bodied with relatively few hairs. These insects get their name because when they are squished, they produce a distinctive, licorice-like smell. Odorous house ants prefer sweet foods and most commonly nest outdoors. However, these common ants will also nest in wall voids and other interior locations. Due to their tiny size, it can be difficult to stop these ants from getting into your food, making controlling an infestation extremely difficult.
Successfully resolving an odorous house ant problem can take a few weeks. Typically, our technicians will use specialized baits to bring these populations under control.
Our first step for treating ants is to locate the colony. Once our experienced technicians have determined the source of your infestation, we will lay bait traps. These stations contain a pesticide that the ants will unknowingly bring back to the nest. The bait contains active ingredients that cause ants to become infertile, which halts the population growth of these insects.
We ask that our customers avoid using strong cleaners near these stations, as these odors can interfere with an ant’s ability to follow pheromone trails. This is important because these pathways signal to the rest of the colony that there’s a food source nearby. Depending on the extent of your infestation, we may recommend applying a separate treatment product to the nest.
For a carpenter ant infestation, we may need to drill small holes in window and door frames, doors and wall voids to inject a treatment solution to target these nests. Our pest professionals may also recommend applying pesticide dusts to encourage ants to carry these materials further into the nest and more effectively reach a bigger percentage of the colony.
ABC has been providing reliable pest control across Texas, Oklahoma and Florida for generations. During this time, our technicians have become experts in how pest behavior changes depending on seasonality and other unique factors. We understand that it’s important to feel comfortable when a pest control professional comes to your home, which is why all job applicants are drug tested and background checked prior to joining our team. Before performing service calls, all ABC specialists go through an extensive in-house training program so they are able to provide you with effective and knowledgeable pest control services. Lastly, as a family-run business, one of our values is that we will always treat your home as if it was our own. That means we will take great care around your belongings and property during our service calls.
How soon can you get started?
At ABC, we understand that having an ant problem can be frustrating. Whether you’re tired of seeing these pests in your pantry or you’re on the receiving end of painful bites, our experts can help with your ant problem. Just give us a call or schedule an appointment online and we will put you on our schedule as soon as possible.
What happens after I contact ABC?
When you reach out to ABC, we will either schedule an inspection or provide you with a complimentary estimate over the phone. Normally, we prefer to meet you on your property to assess the problem and create the most accurate treatment plan. If you have one of these appointments scheduled, you can expect one of our pest control professionals to:
- Ask you questions about where you’ve been seeing ant activity
- Examine your home for ant nests as well as locate any entry points these pests may have used to gain access to your property
- If necessary, identify which species of ant is on your property
- Address any of your questions regarding our pest control protocols
As we finish up the inspection, you will be provided with an estimate along with our recommended next steps. Upon your approval, we will schedule your first treatment call.
Can’t I just get rid of ants on my own?
While there are sprays and other products available to control ant populations, these treatment products often just kill the ants that you see. To effectively manage ant populations, you need to target the nests, which are most commonly built outdoors with extensive underground tunnels.
Controlling ant populations can be extremely difficult, as some ant queens can lay hundreds and sometimes even thousands of eggs in a single day. Also, many of the baited products you can buy at home improvement stores are only effective with ants that like sugar. Since many species of ants prefer protein or salty foods, many of these products will not work if you have another type of ant on your property.
How can I prevent a future ant infestation?
While it can be a challenge to completely eliminate ants from your environment, the best way to make your home less attractive ants is to seal up entry points and remove readily available food sources. Your ABC pest control professional arrives can provide you with customized tips to keep ants away. In general, we recommend that homeowners:
- Promptly clean up any spills
- Store food in tightly sealed containers
- Clean out trash bins both indoors and outdoors
- Empty pet food and water bowls when not in use
- Regularly inspect potted plants for ant activity
- Caulk any gaps near windows and doors
- Move vegetation, such as mulch and compost piles, away from the exterior of your home
- Fix leaky pipes and making sure water is draining away from your home
- Keep shrubs and trees trimmed so they are not touching the exterior of your home
- Kill any scouter ants you find, then wipe down the area where they were traveling
To make preventing ant infestations easier, many of our customers sign up for ABC’s ongoing treatment program. This program includes regularly scheduled treatments to prevent many of the common household pests in Houston, and it allows us to catch any signs of pest activity before a full-blown infestation takes hold.
What impact do your products have on my family and the environment?
ABC is a family-owned business, and our top priority is our customers and their families (including your pets). When we research which products to use, we take great care to only select solutions we would use on our own property. In addition, we only select products that are specially formulated for residential use. Your ABC pest control professional will apply the lowest concentration of chemicals possible which will also be effective in treating your problem. If you have any questions regarding the products we use, your ABC technician would be happy to answer them.