From Willow River to Kettle Moraine, Wisconsin offers us plenty of places for hikes and picnics. And with picnics, comes the famous ants from our youth marching 2 by 2, hoorah! Ants aren’t so bad if there are a few lines of 2 by 2, but at some point – probably 3×3 – they have to be stopped. Here are the keys to Wisconsin Ant Control.
Ants are small. Whether we are talking about a 2mm pharaoh ant or a 1 inch carpenter ant, they are all relatively small. Because of this, they require our attention and monitoring. By the time ants are crawling across the kitchen count, the wish is that they would have been caught sooner. It is important to have a plan in place to keep a watch out for ant colonies developing.
Knowing whether you are dealing with a pavement ant or a little blackout lets you know you are dealing with a single queen per colony vs 2 or more. Knowing you are dealing with a leaf cutter ant instead of an Allegheny mound ant tells you a bit about the likelihood of where you will find the colony. Each ant species may be different in:
- Colony size
- Ant size
- Number of nodes
- Antennal segments
- Hair configuration
- Thorax shape
- Preferred living space
Getting the identification right will guide the control process from the beginning. Dialing in the control process from the beginning allows for more efficient progress and long term control.
Baiting for ants
Ants have keen senses for chemicals. This allows them to follow pheromone trails amidst disturbances. It also allows them to pick up on things that may harm them. This is one of the reasons that simple contact sprays make such minimal impact on overall ant colonies. In some ants, they will even just pull all the healthy ants into the colony and split the colony in a process called budding. Because of this and the fact that not even all of the ants ever leave the colony once it is established, it helps to get a bait that ants can take into the colony to work on solving the issue from the inside out.
Since ants rotate what they are feeding on among:
- Carbohydrates & sugars
- Fats & oils
It is important to choose baits that correspond to their current eating habits. This sounds easy, but since it is difficult to interrogate ants successfully, observation is key. Choose a few different baits with different bases and simply observe which is being taken over the others. Keep in mind that what works this month may change next month especially if there is a shift in weather.
Treating for ants inside vs outside
In some cases like pharaoh ants, treating outside won’t yield any results once they are settled inside. Other ants such as a cornfield ant would be almost entirely dependent on an outside barrier if any treatment is warranted. Then many ants fall somewhere in between. Pavement ants are typically outside, but the base of their colony may be in an area like a garage that has both inside and outside elements. Carpenter ants will most likely have the main colony outside, but may have one or more satellite colonies centered within a structure.
Don’t feel like you have to wage the war against ants by yourself. Because they undergo complete metamorphosis, there can be significant delays in reinforcements coming out. This can lead to believing you have made a big difference, but then having them come back out a few months later (or even the next year) in stronger numbers. At any point, whether you just need help with identification, or if you would like to turn the entire process over; the Ant Gurus at Rove Pest Control are ready to help.