Small and industrious, it's not uncommon for ants to go largely unnoticed until an infestation is impossible to ignore. Since they can travel through even the tiniest cracks and crevices, it's almost inevitable that you'll see ants in or around your business, especially if you have an outdoor space.
Types of ants
There are over 12,000 different types of ants in the world, and while a few ants might not seem like a big deal, colonies can grow quickly. Some species of ants have queens that can can live for decades and have millions of young, laying up to 800 eggs every single day. Satellite colonies that may branch out from the parent colony can make it difficult to get an ant infestation under control, but with professional ant control treatments, it can be done. Here are some of the most common ants that might affect your business.
Odorous house ants
Despite the name, odorous house ants can infest all types of businesses. They are active and forage for food both during the day and at night, and they are primarily visible when temperatures range between 70- and 86-degrees Fahrenheit.
Indoors, these ants build nests near sources of moisture and warmth. They typically gravitate toward cracks and voids in walls or moist spaces such as under dishwashers and sinks. When crushed, odorous house ants release a chemical compound that smells like rotten coconut.
They don't bite and are generally considered more of a nuisance, but like any pest, odorous house ant colonies can get very large and grow out of control if left alone.
Some of the largest ants out there, carpenter ants can grow up to 5/8th of an inch and may be black, brown and black, red and black, or light brown in color. Since they usually nest in damp or water-damaged wood, their presence could be a sign of a leak in the vicinity that needs to be remedied.
The damage done by carpenter ants is usually hidden behind walls so they can go unnoticed for a long period of time. They get in through baseboards, door casings or cracks in the wall. Most active late at night, they may be foraging inside your business and taking it back to an outdoor nest.
Beyond the possible structural damage to your business, a carpenter ant infestation can also hurt your reputation. Carpenter ant treatment requires tracking down and destroying parent and satellite colonies, so calling a pest control technician is recommended.
Ranging from 1/8th to 3/8th of an inch and usually a reddish-brown color, fire ants are common in the Gulf Coast states but also found in Texas, Tennessee, and North Carolina.
There are many species of fire ants that live in various parts of the country, however the most notorious and commonly referenced is the red imported fire ant (RIFA).
Fire ants live in mounds of mud and are often attracted to litter and debris left behind by people. As foragers, they are always looking for a food source and will nest around the base of a building or near an outdoor patio area. Their colonies can grow to dozens of queens and hundreds of thousands of workers.
Fire ants are aggressive when they feel threatened, and their painful sting can produce an allergic reaction in some people. If a nearby nest is threatening your business, skip the DIY solutions and call a professional with experience in fire ant control.
Light to dark brown in color and often smaller than 1/8th of an inch, Argentine ants are considered an invasive species because of their tendency to displace other species of ants. They are attracted to moist areas like mulch or soil around the foundation of buildings. They can easily enter through tiny cracks and nest inside structures when temperatures start to drop.
Nests usually contain multiple queens, so colonies can rapidly grow into the hundreds of thousands. Over time, multiple colonies can even connect and become an infestation as big as a city block.
Foraging ants travel in trails that can be visible on the side of buildings, tree trunks and other structures. Argentine ants are omnivorous, so they will eat almost anything, but they prefer sweets, honeydew produced by other insects and oily substances.
The impact ants can have on your business
When it comes to the pests that can affect your business, it's easy to overlook ants and the damage they can do. From restaurants, hotels and event spaces to offices and apartment buildings, businesses of all kinds can experience the negative effects of an ant infestation, including:
- A damaged reputation from negative word-of-mouth
- Lost stock when ants get into food storage areas
- Property damage from ants nesting in wood structures
Don't wait for things to escalate. Call us at 877.837.6464 to schedule service or request a free quote.