Ants found in Ohio include Carpenter Ants, Formica Ants, 3 varieties of Fire Ants as well as 9 non-native species. It is important to determine what type of ant you are dealing with prior to any attempt to eradicate them. Ants are most active with infestation during early spring or late winter, often seen building their mounds in landscaping, bark, sidewalks, tree trunks under logs and rocks. Ants are attracted to any type of feed containing fat, meat and sugar.
Carpenter Ants are large black ants that can grow up to an inch long. The winged females swarm in the spring. This type of ant resides in the dead portion of living trees and is often found infesting damp wood in houses which can cause extensive damage. These highly destructive ants build primary colonies with a queen and worker ants as well as satellite colonies made up only of worker ants.
Formica Ants are most common throughout Ohio. They are reddish, black or a combination of the two. This type of ant is known for building mounds of dirt and creating large colonies. While they often inhabit open areas, they prefer to nest at the bases of trees and stumps. Some species of Formica ants benefit the woods by eating pests such as bark beetles, sawfly larvae and termites.
Fire Ants are highly aggressive, extremely destructive, potentially fatal and the Queen is often protected 2 feet underground and unfortunately render most treatments, including all the ones that are truly pet friendly, useless. A queen can lay hundreds of eggs a day and a mound can contain up to half a million insects! Southern Living wrote a humerous, yet informative breakdown on treatments, some of which I would have liked to have seen tested on the television show Mythbusters. Orkin created several informative pages on their website devoted to this species which offers a wealth of information about the species and treatment options available. Fire Ants release pheromones to alert other ants causing them to swarm and attack. This type of ant is omnivorous and will eat virtually any plant and will swarm and have been known to attack animals. Those who are allergic to the venom released via their sting can go into anaphylactic shock, requiring emergency treatment. Fire ants have been responsible for the deaths of numerous adults and children.
There are numerous chemical treatment options available to the public and other products that are exclusive to pest extermination companies. Here are a few pet-friendly ones that do not require an exterminator for your consideration.
Boiling water: Boil a pot of water and pour it on top of the ants, their mounds and trails. The hot water will kill the ants that are above or immediately below the surface. Repeat as needed.
Dish soap: Combine two parts water and one part liquid dish soap in a spray bottle. The soap is toxic to carpenter ants and will kill them. You can also spray it around entry points to help ward off ants from getting into your home. Another trick is to use citrus or tea tree oil as a deterrent to keep the ants from entering your home. Repeat as needed.
Baking Soda and Powdered Sugar: Make a 50/50 mix of baking soda and powdered sugar and carefully place it around a nest—the sugar will attract the ants, and the baking soda will kill them. A kitchen flour sifter works well in creating a light even spread. Repeat as needed.
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Joan Elflein, Broker / Ohio Broker Direct Ohio Broker Direct & its Brokers or Associates assumes no responsibility or liability for any errors or omissions in this blog, we advise all participants engaged in the buying or selling of Real Estate to enlist the services of a Real Estate Attorney.