If you are being confronted with large brownish or black ants that seem to have a fascination with your home, you may have the dreaded carpenter ant. They are attracted to moist, decaying wood which may include wooded areas around your home and worse the wood decks, porches, window frames and roof eaves that are a part of your home.
There are several ways to determine if you in fact have carpenter ants:
- Ants are visible moving along your home perimeter and often you will find a trail of ants leading to and from your home as they go searching for food.
- Around the joints or cracks of your wood structures, you will find piles of what is called frasse, which will include wood shavings, dead ants and parts of other insects that have been removed from the interior colonies. Carpenter ants do not eat the wood, but simply pile it up outside the entrance of the colonies.
- Along these same cracks and crevices of your home if you tap on the wooden area you might hear a rustling or tapping that comes from the ants being disturbed by the sound.
As invasive and damaging as carpenter ants can be to the wood structures of your home, there are ways to rid yourself of these pests. Be aware that random spraying of over the counter insecticides can actually make the infestation worse, as the ants will simply avoid those areas sprayed and further invade other wood areas of your home.
Some of the most common commercial pest control methods include dusts, foams and baits.
- Dusts and foams are invaluable as they have the ability to get into the interior of the colony and thus do the most damage to the queen and workers inside. They are injected into the crevices and other areas where the ants and frasse have been visible and the ants are infected when they pass through the paths of the insecticide.
- Baits are normally set-up around the perimeter of the area the ants have been seen and contain a poison that the ants will ingest and take back to the colony. However, baits can also be used in the interior areas as well.
Prevention is key to avoid these damaging ants by keeping wooden areas free from moisture buildup, moving wood piles and other debris away from your home and doing regularly inspections.
Ticks are more than simply a nuisance to you and your pets; they transfer any number of pathogens and skin diseases and can transfer Lyme disease and other serious illnesses. Found all over the country in warm weather months, they can jump from one animal or human to another and engage in their favorite meal – you or your pets blood.
Unfortunately, in a climate like Florida’s, people deal with this atrocious pest throughout the course of the year. These blood suckers can infect you or your pet from a simple walk in the woods, to contact with deer and other wild animals, and even in your own backyard.
Prevention is key, especially for the comfort and health of your own pets. Visit your vet annually or more often if you live in warm climates to develop and maintain a tick control system that will prevent ticks from attacking your pets. Keeping them away is easier then dealing with them after they have already started feeding on your dog, cat or other pet.
- Keep your pet protected with a veterinarian approved / prescribed medication that will discourage ticks from biting your pet. Even during the colder months and especially in warm weather climates it is usually advised to keep using the medication year around.
- Wash pet bedding regularly in hot water preferably with a product containing Borax.
- Vacuum all areas completely and regularly and especially those used by your pets. Do not forget to wash your own bed linens.
- If ticks are already suspected, treat areas in and around your home with tick adulticide and insect growth regulators. These will take up to 4 weeks for complete control and along with the other methods will help stop an infestation.
- Outdoor areas, such as lawns and shrubbery, can be treated with chemical insecticide as well. Since the most common infestation comes from your own backyard and overgrown grassy areas it is essential to also treat those areas.
- If you find a tick on yourself or your pet be careful to remove the entire body and head of the tick. Visit your vet or your primary care doctor as soon as possible for possible treatment.
Common sense and prevention can go a long way to keep you and your pets happy and healthy from the discomfort and possible health issues from a tick infestation.