Invasion of worker ants,
how to get rid of them?
In Quebec, the colonies of worker ants infest the wooden structures of our houses. digging galleries, installing their nests causing enormous and costly damage.
How do they differ from other ants? What is their life cycle? What are their habits? How do we know that they have invaded our home? How do we scratch them? Why is it better to contact a professional exterminator to get rid of it?
These are all questions that Animal Alert, an exterminator in Montreal,gives you professional answers.
What does the worker ants look like?
Worker ants are social insects forming colonies, called anthills, sometimes extremely complex, containing from a few tens to several million individuals.
Some species form “colony colonies” or supercolonies. Ants are classified in the order Hymenoptera, like wasps and bees.
There are many species of ants. The workers have a black or blackish color, with red or brown hues depending on the species. Their antennae have a bent shape and are very mobile.
Males are 9 to 10 mm long. They have two pairs of wings. Their heads are rounded and have small mandibles and globular compound eyes. They have fragile legs.
They belong to the family of formicidaes — Formicidae —
As for females, their heads are longer, wider, have strong mandibles and compound eyes. They have more powerful legs than males. They are either queens or workers; and only future queens have wings, as well as males for breeding.
The queen is much bigger than the worker. It can reach a length of 18 mm. Its well-developed abdomen contains a sperm library as well as as many ovaries.
As for the workers, they do not wear wings, the sperm library is absent, and the number of ovaries is minimal. They are 6 to 13mm long. Their chest has a uniformly rounded profile.
Reproduction and life cycle of the worker ant
The queen is fertilized only once
The sperm library, which is located in the queen’s abdomen, welcomes the male’s sperm. It produces nutrients that keep these sperm alive for several years. Thus, the queen can lay thousands of eggs without the need to mate again.
After mating, the fertilized queen rubs her wings with her paws and knocks them down. She then found a place to set up her colony: a large stump, a piece of wood, a tree trunk, decomposing stumps in nature. An element of your frame if your house is not 100% caulked.
She chooses to live there, and begins by laying small white eggs. She will take care of this first brood on her own and the workers who will come out. She will feed them from her own stocks. But soon, these workers will replace her in this and many others.
In fact, they will take care of all the work of the anthill: expansion and maintenance of the shelter, refuelling, etc.; which will allow the queen to spend the rest of her life laying eggs.
Depending on the species and environmental conditions, it takes 48 to 74 days for the ant to pass from the egg to the adult.
Four moults for larvae
The larva has the appearance of a small white worm with a soft and stocky body. She’s blind and legsless. Larvae moult 4 times. After each moult, the larva becomes larger.
Once mature, the larva weaves a cylindrical, elongated cocoon from cream to pale brown. She transforms into a pre-nymph. The latter is immobile, white and has a cylindrical body. Within a few days, she transformed into a nymph.
If the nymph already resembles the adult, it is on the other hand completely white and immobile. Its pigmentation starts inside the cocoon.
A few days later, the adult emerges from the cocoon, often helped by the workers. It has, at that time, a very pale color. It will then take its characteristic color.
After 3 years, a colony of worker ants has 2,000 or more workers. From this moment, at the end of each summer, the queen produces winged ants, males and future queens.
These winged ants accumulate reserves and overwinter in the anthill. In May, if the conditions are right. Males emit a chemical, giving the starting signal. All winged ants then fly out of the nest, mate in mid-flight; and the cycle starts again.
Worker ants have a lifespan of 7 years, queens of 17 years has about 25 years. Males die shortly after mating.
The mores of worker ants and their nuisance
In the wild, worker ants consume honeydew, plant juices, various fruits, insects and small dead or living invertebrates.
If they invade our homes, they are looking for food. The workers, in charge of the supply, will not hesitate to move up to a hundred meters from the colony. As soon as a Girl Scout worker has found food, she will leave a fragrant trail that will allow the other workers to follow her, hence the neat parade that you sometimes notice.
They then go after almost everything we eat: sugary foods, meat reserves, pet food, fat, etc.
Most of the time, they eat the food they find on the spot. Then, once in the anthill, they regurgitate it to the queen, the larvae and the other workers. But from time to time, they bring food back to the nest and store it.
In case of severe damage to the colony, the queen survives by devouring the other ants.
Worker ants are among the biggest wood destroyers. They love wet or rotting wood. But they also attack healthy wood. They eat it to build their nests. They will attack veranda columns, window sleepers, exterior woodwork, beams, hollow areas of walls and ceilings, jo spokes and other wooden structures, telephone poles, fence posts, firewood.
If you have trees in your home, worker ants will also invade them by penetrating them through decaying areas, holes, scars and cracks. This infestation is sometimes so large that it renders the wood from these trees unusable.
Appeler René Gélinas Votre exterminateur local, Expérience et intégrité dans la gestion parasitaire
Tel 514 830 2819
Hantavirus, definition and mode of transmission
Hantavirus is a severe lung syndrome caused by a virus. It is secreted in the urine, feces and saliva of infected animals. Most often these are rodents. When humans come into direct or indirect contact with these secretions, the virus is transmitted to them. Ditto when they are bitten by infected rodents.
However, the virus is not transmitted from human to human, only from animal to human. This type of disease is called zoonoses because they can only be transmitted to humans through an animal. It has been found that domestic animals (apart from the domestic rat) and livestock cannot contract hantavirus so there is every reason to believe that only rodents can carry it.
Symptoms of hantavirus
Being a lung disease, one of the characteristic symptoms of hantavirus is difficulty breathing. At the beginning of the disease, the infected person begins to feel fever, chills, headache and muscle pain.
It is about two weeks after the appearance of the first symptoms that they are usually accompanied by a feeling of shortness of breath. Nevertheless, this last manifestation of the disease can be observed after two days as after six weeks; it depends on the organism of the individual.
Hantavirus can also lead to kidney disease or infection. And although they are rare and very few people are prone to them, there is currently no treatment to combat these ailments. It is therefore better to be careful not to contract them.
12 Tips to Avoid Worker Ants in Your Home
- Get rid of the rotten woods around your home,
- Don’t accumulate wood near the foundations,
- Place firewood far enough away from your building, raise stacks of logs relative to the ground,
- Before you bring firewood into your house, hit it to bring down all the insects,
- Once this wood has entered, inspect the warmed logs to remove the remaining ants,
- Be sure to cut down the branches of trees that touch or dominate the structure of your homes, prune injured trees, and remove stumps,
- Repair pipes and roofs that allow water to pass through, ventilate the damp parts of the house,
- Repair the gutters before the rains arrive,
- Repair or eliminate any other source of moisture that may affect the wood,
- Seal all cracks and the perimeters of the doors and windows,
- Place mosquito nets on the different openings,
- Keep the rest of your food in tightly sealed containers. Avoid leaving them lying on the floor.
Beware, finding worker ants in your home does not necessarily mean that their colony has already invaded you. Because in the spring or summer, the workers, in charge of the supply, can enter your home in search of food, without settling there.
Beware of winged ants
If during this same period, you see winged adults coming out of the cracks in the walls or ceiling, it is because a colony has already settled your house; ditto if you see ants activating at home in the middle of winter.
Moreover, when these insects are in large numbers, you will hear a slight rattling noise or a rustle created by the movement of their legs between the 2×4 of your structure / frame.
Another sign ofinfestation is the presence of sawdust piles often in the same place. This indicates that there is a nest of worker ants nearby check for cracks, small holes or cracks above the sawdust
In these cases, it is better to contact an exterminator on the island of Montreal to ensure their complete and definitive elimination.
Professional exterminator solutions
A complete and definitive extermination of worker ants takes place in two phases:
- The location of the nests of worker ants.
To completely and definitively destroy a colony of worker ants, the professional exterminator will first have to identify all their nests. Because if the queen lives in the main nest, satellite nests containing many other ants are distributed throughout the framework. Be aware that if the colony is large, you can find up to ten nests.
The main nest is that of the queen
This is the main nest that needs to be eliminated as a priority. It is from him that the ants send the workers to install satellite nests. To find it, the exterminator will examine your home: wooden frames, gutters, leaky roofs, bathroom, leaky pipes, attic, basement, electrical and telephone wires or tree branches that touch your home, interior walls, ceiling, roofing, etc.
Sometimes the main nest is not in the house. It can be located outside: in a pile of firewood, parts of rotten trees, stumps, etc.
Locate the ants in the ear
To locate the nests of worker ants faster, the exterminator can use a stethoscope and listen to the noise their paws make in the structures. It will also hit the surfaces it suspects: the ants being sensitive to vibrations, their activity will increase; which will help locate them faster.
The exterminator can trap worker ants by offering them sweet foods: honey diluted with a little water, fruit jelly or jams, etc.; which will allow him to follow them from feeding to nests.
- The destruction of the nests of worker ants
As soon as the exterminator has located the main nest and satellite nests, he will destroy them and kill all the ants that live there. To do so, it can:
- Sprinkle all the nests of worker ants outside the house with boiling water,
- Use a powerful vacuum cleaner to suck up the worker ants inside the house before getting rid of the vacuum bag
- Use borax-based insecticides for hard-to-reach nests.
- Prepare a lethal bait made from icing sugars and borax powder that it introduces into the cracks through which we see the ants coming and going. In this case, the workers will consume this bait and then regurgitate it to the queen, the larvae and the other workers who will die in turn.
- Make their scented trails disappear with a cleanser.
A professional exterminator of worker ants will carefully observe their behaviour to ensure that the main nest and satellite nests are all destroyed. Because the destruction of satellite nests alone often only displaces the problem.
When the ants do not see the Girl Workers return, they move the nest and relocate elsewhere.
Who is a specialist in parasitic management?
- He has a permit from the Quebec Ministry of Sustainable Development with the words CD5: Extermination,
- Certified certified technicians in extermination,
- His method of work: first, he quickly arrives at the scene of the massive attack. Then he finds the main nest and satellite nests, measures the importance of the epidemic, and offers you the appropriate treatment.
After the treatment, it informs you about the precautions to be taken to avoid infestation of colonies of worker antsin the future.
- It uses unidentified vehicles and remains discreet in all interventions.
- He offers you a written guarantee on the effectiveness of his treatment against theinvasion of the colonies of worker ants.
- It knows how to choose insecticides suitable for your infestation and makes it a safe use. Rest assured: if he has a permit from the Quebec Ministry of Sustainable Development, he pays attention to this point.
And you, have colonies of worker ants ever taken possession of your house? How did you react? Share your experience with us in the comments below.