As an industry, we have some good messages to tell. When we experience a wet summer, we see an explosion of mosquitoes and other health threatening pests. When it is dry, we see an explosion of pests trying to get to water, even if the moisture is in our houses.
One pest that thrives in any situation is ants. Sometimes, reporters chuckle when they piece together that we said during a dry summer that ants are doing well in that situation. Then the next year, we say that ants can bother us in wet weather. It almost sounds like we are exploiting the news media that ants do well anytime.But it is true. Ants like mostly warmer weather, but after that, they do very well anywhere.
From odorous house ants (OHA) to acrobat ants to pavement ants, customers will see ants.In dry weather, they scurry for suitable environments, food, and water.In wet weather, customers will see some types of ants come up into their homes, driven from the saturated soil. There are many species of ants, which technicians must understand. Technicians also quickly learn that it is very difficult to identify ants without at least hand lenses in the field. Most will agree that there are two common types of ants to keep in mind and make sure that technicians know the facts.
First, OHA are found throughout much of the U.S. It is a particularly bad pest ant mostly in the eastern half of the country. The OHA gets its name from the “rotten coconut” smell exuded when the ant is crushed. Since most people don’t know what rotten coconut smells like, it is a pungent floral odor. Technicians should be versed in identification of this pest by sight as well as by its characteristic odor. These ants are small, up to 1/8″ and are typically dark brown to blackish with one segmented pedicel. They feed on sweets and proteins.
Pavement ants are sometimes confused with OHA, but have a two-segment pedicel, which is the connection between the thorax and the abdomen. Pavement ants are named such because they can be found in or under cracks in the pavement. They are found in eastern U.S. as well as coastal states of the west coast. They also feed on proteins and sugars and locating the nest is vital for ease of control. This can be done by trailing the ants to the source.