Ant & Termite Extermination in Chicago
Ants are social insects that live in colonies and work together for the good of the colony, which makes them a difficult pest to eliminate. The majority of ant colonies survive out of sight, which means that every ant you see represents many other ants living and working below the surface. This means that killing only the foraging ants, the ones that are visible to you, will serve just as a temporary solution to your problem. Without working to defeat the colony itself, surface treatments will do little to help you manage these pests. Your results will be very short-lived and the foraging ants that you worked so hard to get rid of will be replaced quickly. Within a matter of days or weeks you will be left where you started, frustrated, as ants forage in your home or business.
In order to eliminate these pests, you will need the help of a trained professional. At A-Alert, we work to diagnose, treat, and cure your pest control issues. We can assure you that we are looking at treating more than just the symptoms of the problem; instead we are dedicated to providing a long term solution that will work for you.
There are many issues that need to be considered before treating for these pests. For instance, proper species identification is a very important part of gaining control of the situation. Additionally, there are several other factors that must be examined before determining the most effective treatment options for your situation. As an example, is the ant problem an invasionary one or a colony that is located inside the structure? Does the species of ant, such as Pharaoh Ants, require a specific control choice? Are there special circumstances, such as children or pets, which could impact your control strategy choices? Can the nesting site be identified? Over the years, we have created a number of programs that look at the strategy for control differently than most other pest control companies and we are able to solve problems others cannot.
There are thousands of ant species in the world, in fact they are the most prolific group of creatures on the face of the earth, but only a few species are truly pests in the Greater Chicago Area. While we have dealt with a number of ant species that do not normally occur in Chicago (such as Ghost Ants and Thief Ants) the likely ant issues are Carpenter Ants, Odorous House Ants, Little Black Ants, Pharaoh Ants, and Pavement Ants.
Below you will find some information on some of the ants that are prevalent in the Chicago area.
Carpenter Ant Control Chicago
Carpenter Ants are large, black ants that can be found all across the Midwest. Workers are polymorphic (they come in a number of sizes) and unlike other species, have no stinger. Instead, they can inject formic acid into prey or as a defensive action through biting Development time from egg to adult ant is approximately 60 days. A colony usually contains approximately 3,000 members but can include 10,000 to 15,000 in extreme cases. Each Carpenter Ant colony is ruled by a single queen. Here main purpose is to lay eggs that become the future members of her colony. Once the colony is established she will not leave the colony under normal circumstances. New reproductive ants are produced for first time 3½ to 4½ years after colony inception. These are the winged ants that are seen at certain times of the year. These new queens and kings leave their original birthplace to look for new places to start their own colonies. Carpenter Ants forage up to 300 yards from their nests. Although they do forage during the day in much lower numbers, they are mostly nocturnally active; their peak periods of activity are usually from 10:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m.
Carpenter Ant colonies are located in wood, chiseling out galleries and connecting passageways as they invade your home or place of business. Carpenter Ants also take advantage of satellite colonies that are located away from the main colony area but continue to interact with the main colony members. In most instances if there are Carpenter Ants living in your home, it is one or more of the colony’s satellite colonies. A main colony gallery in your home could present structural issues in instances where the wood chosen is a load bearing beam.
Pavement Ant workers are black to brown in color and are 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch long. Unlike Carpenter Ants, Pavement Ants have stingers that are used to deliver formic acid to prey and as a defensive measure. Their bodies are marked with groves that run parallel along their head and thorax. They nest under slabs, stones, and cracks in pavement and when foraging for food, they will usually travel about 30 feet from the nesting area. They are omnivorous, but they especially like meats and grease. When found outside, this species of ant will make its nest under a crack in the sidewalk and deposit the excavated soil in a circle around the crack. Inside, they will nest in walls, insulation, and under floors. They are especially fond of ground level masonry walls that are located near a heat source.
Little Black Ant
This is a small, dark colored ant that can live outside of your home, but feels just as comfortable moving into your building. Outside, these Little Black Ants will choose many types of areas to locate their nests. They take advantage of debris and nest below it. They seek out hollow areas of logs, under stones or piles of building materials. Inside the Little Black Ant chooses to nest in voids. They are an especially persistent species because each colony is ruled by a number of queens. Having multiple queens allows for rapid population growth and can make the treatment of this pest rather difficult. Additionally, these ants often relocate for no apparent reason. This can negatively affect control strategies if these factors are not taken into consideration.
Odorous House Ant
Because this is an opportunistic ant, its food sources and nesting locations vary. These ants can exist outside where they create shallow nests in soil, under debris and stones. Inside, they take advantage of voids, usually near a moisture or heat source. Like the Little Black Ant, this species also relies on multiple queen ants whose sole purpose is to reproduce, which can lead to rapid increases in colony growth. Odorous House Ant colonies can contain as few as 2,000 and as many as 10,000 members. Unlike most species of ants, when separate colonies of this species come together, they show no aggression with one another. Again, this can result in colony expansion, a problem which is extremely difficult for an untrained professional to manage.
Although this ant is becoming more common in the Chicago area, these small, lighter colored ants are originally from Northern Africa, hence their name. In places where this ant is or has become indigenous, they will nest in soil or in natural voids and invade our buildings. Because this species cannot survive Chicago’s winter climate, they are always found in voids in our buildings here in the upper Midwest. Special techniques are needed to offset this species’ natural defense mechanism of splitting colonies when there is an alarm in the colony. Because this is a high protein foraging species, they have been known to enter open wounds and even invade blood supplies in hospitals. This very small ant can be much more than just a nuisance.