Top 3 Causes of Ants in an Apartment, OhMyApartment

Top 3 Causes of Ants in an Apartment

Ants are a nuisance in an apartment, because they can tear up fabric and will eat food that has been left out. There are several things that cause ants to be attracted to your apartment. Limiting those causes can help prevent them from even wanting to come in. Here are the top three causes of ants in an apartment.

1. Food Residue

Food residue on the floor will attract ants. Ants are all about getting food for their colony, and they especially like sugary things. They also like starches and some like greasy foods. Even pet food can attract them. This is why you will probably find a lot of ants under your refrigerator.

2. Inadequate Garbage Disposal

Ants can find a lot of the foods they want in the garbage. Improper disposal of it can make your apartment a good place to get food. The more garbage you have on the floor, the more ants will come to get it. Garbage in a bag won’t stop ants. They can eat through the bag to get at the things inside. You’ll have to keep it outside to stop them from coming in during peak “ant season.”

3. Nest Construction in the Home

If ants find anything in your home that is favorable to build a nest in, they will. This will cause an incessant flow of ants. If you have any wet, rotten wood in the apartment, you should watch out for ants, because this is a prime spot for them to build a nest. Wet wood could come from a leak in the apartment somewhere.

Ants can be hard to deal with if you don’t know how and where they got in. Consider these three causes when trying to prevent ants from coming in your apartment. Keeping these causes minimal will help you have a more ant-free apartment.

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What Good Are Ants?

4 Reasons We Can’t Live Without Them

  • B.A., Political Science, Rutgers University

If you’re battling sugar ants in your kitchen or carpenter ants in your walls, you might not be a big fan of ants. And if you live in an area where stinging, imported red fire ants are common, you might despise them. Unfortunately, the ants you notice are usually those causing you trouble, so you might not recognize the virtues of these remarkable insects. What good are ants? Entomologists and ecologists argue that we literally can’t live without them.

Ants live in terrestrial habitats throughout the world, and scientists have described and named over 12,000 species in the family Formicidae. Some scientists estimate that another 12,000 species have yet to be discovered. A single ant colony can consist of over 20 million ants. They outnumber humans by 1.5 million to one, and the biomass of all the ants on Earth is roughly equal to the biomass of all the people on the planet. If all these ants were up to no good, we’d be in big trouble.

Ants are often described as ecosystem engineers because they perform many vital ecological services. Consider these four reasons we can’t live without ants:

Aerate Soil and Improve Drainage

Earthworms get all the credit, but ants do a better job of improving soil structure than worms do. As ants build nests and construct tunnels in the ground, they improve the soil significantly. They redistribute nutrients as they move soil particles from place to place, and the voids created by their tunnels improve air and water circulation in the soil.

Improve Soil Chemistry

Ants store large amounts of food in and near their nest sites, which adds organic matter to the soil. They also excrete waste and leave food scraps behind, all of which change the soil’s chemistry—usually for the better. Soil affected by ant activity is usually closer to a neutral pH and richer in nitrogen and phosphorus.

Disperse Seeds

Ants provide an invaluable service to plants by transporting their seeds to safer, more nutrient-rich habitats. Ants usually carry seeds to their nests, where some seeds will take root in the fertile soil. The seeds carted off by ants are also better protected from seed-eating animals and less likely to succumb to drought. Myrmecochory, the dispersal of seeds by ants, is particularly useful to plants in tough or competitive environments, such as arid deserts or habitats with frequent fires.

Prey on Pests

Ants are just looking for tasty, nutritious meals and not choosing their prey based on its status as a pest. But many of the critters that ants eat are critters we’d prefer weren’t around in large numbers. Ants will munch on creatures ranging from ticks to termites if the opportunity arises and will even gang up on larger arthropods, such as scorpions or stinkbugs. Those pesky fire ants are particularly good at pest control in farm fields.

www.thoughtco.com

What Do Ants Eat? The Answer Will Shock You

Ants eat a variety of things that most of us don’t even know about. This article lists the different items that are included in the diet of ants.

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Ants eat a variety of things that most of us don’t even know about. This article lists the different items that are included in the diet of ants.

There are around 12,000 different species of ants; some people say that there are actually 14,000 different species. Ants are present all around the world, except for Antarctica, simply because it is too cold there. So, what food attracts these ants to our kitchens and picnic baskets? And how can you prevent their infestation and keep them at bay? The following paragraphs provide the answer.

You may be having queries like what do red ants eat, what do black ants eat, do leaf-cutter ant cut leaves and then eat these leaves, and so on. You should know that different species of ants eat different kinds of foods. However, the most favorite food item that most ants eat and like is anything ‘sweet’. Here are the food sources which provide ants with their nourishment.

Sweet Foodstuffs

Most types of ants are attracted to anything that is sweet, so even if there is a drop of honey or a little jam on the floor, ants will get attracted towards it. They love sweet things so much that they experience an almost magnetic pull towards jam in the sandwich, honey, sugar, lemonade, etc. When the ants don’t get any sweets, which we leave around, they will go out looking for a sweet substance called honeydew, which other insects leave behind. Honeydew is secreted by aphids (plant sucking insects) as these bugs ingest the juice of plants. There are species of ants which even ‘farm’ these aphids; they will carry the aphids back to their colonies and look after them to obtain the honeydew.

See also:  Couch bugs?

Fungus

The species called leaf-cutter ants are found in the tropical and semi-tropical regions, and can also be found in the South and Central regions of America. As the name suggests, the leaf-cutter ants cut leaves, but they don’t eat these leaves, they carry them back to their underground nests, chew the leaves to a pulp, and store it with the ant feces. Fungus grows on the decaying plant matter, and this is what they eat.

Other Foods

Some species of ants eat the dead bodies of insects which are much larger than their own bodies, especially bugs like caterpillars and grasshoppers. Harvester ants are known to collect seeds, store them, and then eat them. Argentine ants which are natives of Argentina, Brazil, and are found sometimes in the US, eat eggs, oil, meat, and almost anything which humans leave around. Ants are the number one enemies of termites, and in fact a species of the family, carpenter ants, eat termites.

Ant Infestation Prevention Tips

If you are looking for solutions to figure out how to prevent ants from attacking your food or creating mess in the kitchen, then try these ideas.

  • One of the natural remedies that can work against ants is cloves. Just put some whole cloves in sugar jars, under counters, along baseboards, and you will have less sugar-seeking ants in your house.
  • Another spicy natural remedy is to keep bay leaves in your home to control the attack of the ants. You can keep them on countertops, or any place where the food which attracts ants is present. You can also carry these two spices in your picnic baskets to keep them away.
  • For pest control and to minimize the number of ants, keep your kitchen sink clean and dry, and wipe the countertops with bleach every night.
  • Vacuuming the floor spaces regularly, especially those places where the food gets stuck, will also minimize their numbers.
  • Dispose off the garbage bags regularly to prevent ants.

It is not advisable to use powerful chemical pesticides in the kitchen to get rid of the ants, as there is a possibility that the pesticides might contaminate the food.

Now that you know what ants eat and how to avoid the attack by ants on your food using some natural methods, controlling them will become easier for you. So use the above prevention tips to minimize ant attacks, and maintain an ant-free house.

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What Do Ants Eat?

Remember those childhood cartoons where ants would raid a picnic spot and carry off an entire sandwich, salami roll, or even an entire picnic basket on their backs? Do you think ants can actually do that? Well, although they can’t carry a big morsel of food, say a chicken leg piece, in one go, if you leave even a smidgen of tasty food outside, chances are good that some hungry troop of ants will catch a whiff of it and come to repossess your food!

Most ants are opportunistic feeders and can eat just about anything, but there are 10,000+ types of ants, and not all species eat the same stuff. Pest control experts, for simplicity, classify ants into two categories according to their diet: sugary and greasy. Sugar ants devour sugar, honey and all things ‘sweet’, while grease ants love oils and foods that are greasy or fatty. That’s a good distinction to keep in mind as far as North American ants are considered, but if you go down to South and Central America, you will find a more ravenous group of ants who often dine on rodents, chickens, pigs and even goats!

Anatomy and Diet of Ants

Just like us, ants need food for fuel, and thus require a rich diet of proteins, carbohydrates and lipids in varying compositions. They’re tantamount to mammals in that regard. Consider your pets, for instance; your dog generally needs 30% protein in its diet, but your pet cat may require a protein intake of as high as 90%. Sugar ants are after a sugar rush, whereas big-headed ants are usually in search of protein- and fat-rich food sources.

Mandibles

If you closely look at ants, especially large-size species like carpenter ants, you’ll notice that they definitely have a mouth—technically called a mandible. They feed by lifting crumbs of food particles into their mandibles and masticating them around to mix with saliva. Most ants have a restricted ability to deal with solid food and many never get into foraging and devouring solid food.

Ant’s mandible (Photo Credit: Pixabay)

Worker ants, one of the common ant varieties you see around, has two stomachs. The first stomach is called a mesosoma and it functions as a storage space for regurgitated food to feed the colony. The second stomach is called the rostrum and is the place where liquid (salivated) food goes to provide nourishment to the ant.

Now that we know the anatomy and diet of ants, let’s look at the specific food that ants generally eat.

Sugar and Honeydew

Ants simply love sugar! Ants often seek out sugary nectar or the liquid that plants make. They also devour honeydew—a substance made by insects called aphids. If you see ants flocking beneath the leaves of your garden, they aren’t after the plant’s leaves, but are instead probably feeding on the honeydew produced by colonies of aphids on the leaves. The ants are so fond of honeydew that they’re often observed to take the aphids back to their nests. I will leave it up to you to decide if this is compassion for the diminutive aphids or just a wily way of persuading these insects into producing more honeydew!

Aphid—an insect that produces honeydew (Photo Credit : Kent Loeffler/Wikimedia Commons)

Seeds and Fungus

Other ants go out in search of vegan options, such as seeds, corns, grains, leaves etc. Interestingly, some ants not only eat grass from the garden, but also become gardeners themselves! The leaf-cutter ant is a quirky variety of ant that has a propensity for cutting leaves into small pieces. However, they don’t eat these leaves for nourishment. After cutting leaves into small parts, they take them to their burrows, chew them into a pulp and store the pulp with their excrement. This mixture stimulates the growth of fungus, which is what the leaf-cutter ants ultimately eat for nourishment!

See also:  11 amazing Dates nutrition facts and health benefits

Leaf-cutter ants (Photo Credit : Arpingstone/Wikimedia Commons)

Termites and Insects

Carpenter ants have a reputation for eating wood, but they don’t really consume the cellulose. Carpenter ants burrow into wood and make their nests. As they nest inside the wood, they make it increasingly hollow. You can identify this ant’s nest if you see piles of undigested wood dust nearby. Although carpenter ants—just like usual sugar-loving ants—devour honeydew, they are also known to eat termites and the flesh of other dead insects.

Fire ants are another insect-eating variety of ants. Oils in insects and worms attract them to their prey. This is why oils are often used as bait for pest control measures targeted at fire ants or other similar ant species. Fire ants are a carnivorous variety of ants that sting their prey and cut them up into small pieces, which they can easily carry back to their colony.

Fire ants (Photo Credit: Pexel)

Ant-Eating Ants

Some ant varieties are even cannibalistic. For instance, army ants often invade the nests of other ant colonies and dine on the eggs or even the youngest of the colony. When things get truly dire, such as in the case of famine or the non-availability of food, queen ants have even been observed to feed on their own offspring!

References:

About the Author :

Hussain Kanchwala is an Electronic Engineer from University of Mumbai. He is a tech aficionado who loves to explicate on wide range of subjects from applied and interdisciplinary sciences like Engineering, Technology, FinTech, Pharmacy, Psychology and Economics.

www.scienceabc.com

Ants have big impact on environment as ‘ecosystem engineers’

Research by the University of Exeter has revealed that ants have a big impact on their local environment as a result of their activity as ‘ecosystem engineers’ and predators.

The study, published in the Journal of Animal Ecology, found that ants have two distinct effects on their local environment.

Firstly, through moving of soil by nest building activity and by collecting food they affect the level of nutrients in the soil. This can indirectly impact the local populations of many animal groups, from decomposers such as Collembola, to species much higher up the food chain.

Secondly, they prey on a wide range of other animals, including larger prey which can be attacked by vast numbers of ant workers.

Dirk Sanders, an author of the study from the university’s Centre for Ecology and Conservation, said: «Ants are very effective predators which thrive in huge numbers. They’re also very territorial and very aggressive, defending their resources and territory against other predators. All of this means they have a strong influence on their surrounding area.

«In this research, we studied for the first time how big this impact is and the subtleties of it. What we found is that despite being predators, their presence can also lead to an increase in density and diversity of other animal groups. They genuinely play a key role in the local environment, having a big influence on the grassland food web.»

The study, carried out in Germany, studied the impact of the presence of different combinations and densities of black garden ants (Lasius niger) and common red ants (Myrmica rubra), both species which can be found across Europe, including in the UK.

It found that a low density of ants in an area increased the diversity and density of other animals in the local area, particularly the density of herbivores and decomposers. At higher densities ants had no or the opposite effect, showing that predation is counteracting the positive influence.

Dr Frank van Veen, another author on the study, said: «What we find is that the impact of ants on soil nutrient levels has a positive effect on animal groups at low levels, but as the number of ants increases, their predatory impacts have the bigger effect — thereby counteracting the positive influence via ecosystem engineering.»

This research was financially supported by the German Research Council.

www.sciencedaily.com

What Do Ants Eat?

Well, that depends on the types of ant. There are around 12,000 species of ants worldwide and there are a huge variety of things each kind of ant eats. Some eat sweets, some eat protein (like dead bugs), some even make a farm to grow their own fungus to eat.

The ants for ant farms are called Western Harvester ants. Knowing what your ants eat is a good idea; because of course you want to take the best possible care of your new little friends. It is rather easy to maintain an ant farm, but there are a few essential things that you definitely need to know. After all, maintenance and up-keep is only part of the equation. You want your ants to be healthy and happy; you want them to thrive in their new environment.

Western Harvester ants enjoy small pieces of fruits and vegetables, the fresher the better. So, apples, lettuce, carrot, granola and celery will really please your ants. Don’t overfeed the ants. They only need 1 or 2 small pieces every three days. Remove any uneaten food with tweezers to keep mold from growing in the ant farm that could harm your ants.

Now, just as important as the question, “What do ants eat?” is the question, “What do ants drink?” Just like pretty much every other creature – mammal, insect, reptile, amphibian, etc – on earth, ants need water to survive. However, they do not need very much. To give your ants water, you simply need to give them a few drops each day. The sand in the ant farm should not be saturated. In fact, you need to make sure that the water does not pool on top of the surface, otherwise your ants may drown. If you mix in a little sugar with their water once a week, your ants will love you. It will make them busy little beavers, so to speak – you have not seen energy until you have seen some ants with a sugar buzz!

www.learnaboutnature.com

Do Ants Eat Termites?

What Eats Termites?

Termites face many predators in nature, and one of the most notable is the ant. Ants eat termites for a variety of reasons. Termites make great meals for ants because the they provide plenty of protein. Some of the more important motives have to do with reducing competition for resources.

Ants vs. Termites

Ants and termites require similar living habitats, making them natural competitors. Many species of both pests build nests underground. Like termites, carpenter ants also excavate wood. When ants eat termites, they benefit since they’re removing potential rivals for prime nesting sites.

How Do Ants Eat Termites?

Predator ants raid termite colonies and return home with their prey. Ants can’t digest termites on their own, so they feed them to their larvae first. Once the ant larvae break down a termite’s carcass, workers and queens are able to consume the insects.

See also:  Manual of fumigation for insect control - Chemicals used as fumigants (cont

Infestation Problems

Activity from either species in a home can result in costly damages. Termites harm houses by eating wood, while carpenter ants burrow into wood to create space for their colonies. The best way to take care of termite or ant infestations is through regular inspection, exclusion and control procedures.

Getting Rid of Termites or Ants

Homeowners experiencing problems should seal foundation cracks and holes to keep either pest from coming inside. Make sure wood supports on decks or porches don’t contact soil, and check that there is no excess moisture in the house. Since termite and ant control often depends upon the use of insecticides, pest control services from Orkin may be necessary to combat an infestation.

www.orkin.com

Have Tiny Ants in the Bathroom? Here’s How to Get Rid of Them

Ants can show up almost anywhere in your home, but one of the most frustrating places to find these little creatures is in your bathroom. Although you may not realize it, your bathroom provides the perfect breeding ground for several different types of ants, and once ants are in your bathroom, it can take a great deal of effort to get them out again.

If you’ve walked into your bathroom and noticed tiny ants scurrying around, it’s time to jump into action so that you can return your bathroom to its once pristine condition. Here’s how to get rid of tiny ants in your bathroom so that you won’t have to worry about these pests interfering with your routine.

Types of Ants In Your Bathroom

Like most pest problems, the most important thing you can do to get rid of ants in your bathroom is deciding exactly which species is currently in your home. Identifying the ants in your bathroom will help you choose the most effective treatment.

Although there are several types of ants that you can see in your bathroom, the most common are Pharaoh ants, Carpenter ants, and Argentine ants. Moisture is usually what attracts these ants into your bathroom, so if you’re not doing a good enough job of cleaning up standing water, you can easily have an ant infestation on your hand.

Find the Ants

Image via Flickr by bellemarematt

If you only see one or two ants on occasion in your bathroom, then you might not have reason to worry. On the other hand, if you’re noticing large groups of ants every time you go into your bathroom, then you have an infestation on your hands.

Once you’ve decided you’re dealing with an infestation, you need to find their nest or entry point. Look around your bathroom and see if you can find an ant colony. If you’re having trouble locating the colony, you can observe the movements of the ants in your bathroom. Usually, the ants will lead you back to their nest.

Prevent Further Ants

After you’ve identified the ants in your bathroom and found where they enter and exit the room, you should take a few basic steps. Although these steps won’t eliminate your current infestation, they can prevent more ants from making their way into your bathroom.

First, you need to get rid of any freestanding water in your bathroom. This will remove the moisture that attracted the ants to your room in the first place. Second, you should go around your bathroom and caulk any areas where ants can gain access. Look for cracks and other small openings along your floors and walls. Finally, go outside your home, find the ants’ point of entry, and then seal that as well.

Fully sealing your bathroom and eliminating excessive moisture will go a long way toward preventing future infestations.

Getting Rid of Ants

Now that you’ve made sure that no further ants can get into your bathroom, you can get rid of the ants that are still in your room. Luckily, several effective ways to get ants out of your home are available, many of which are safe and non-toxic.

For example, using essential oils can be a great way to kill ants in your bathroom without the need of potentially harmful pesticides. In particular, you can use tea tree and peppermint oil to both get rid of ants and add a very pleasant aroma to your bathroom.

To use peppermint and tea tree oil, you should add about twenty drops of each into a spray bottle. Then add water to the bottle. For particularly troublesome infestations, you can give this mixture an extra kick by adding cayenne pepper.

Once you’ve mixed your essential oils, you should spray the solution directly along the ants, as well as the trails they use to move around your bathroom. For even fuller protection, you can add a little bit of your solution to a cotton ball and then wipe down your baseboards. Spreading your essential oil mixture around your bathroom should help you keep ants out of your home long-term.

Baiting the Ants

If you don’t have children or pests that would be harmed by chemical pest control solutions, you can make your own ant bait with just a few basic ingredients. Three different baits can be used, all of which use borax to kill the ants.

The first type of any bait requires three quarters of a cup of maple syrup and a quarter cup of borax. Heat the syrup in your microwave for a few seconds and then stir in the borax. For the second bait, you will substitute the maple syrup for a powdered sugar and use the same amount of borax. No heating is required. Just mix the borax and the powdered sugar together. Finally, you can make a bait by mixing one part borax with three parts peanut butter.

The best way to get rid of ants is to make all three of these baits and then leave them out in your bathroom. Having all three baits means you’ll be able to target different ant species, as well as ants in different stages of growth.

Make Adjustments Out of Your Bathroom

After you’ve completely removed ants from your bathroom, a few adjustments can be made to guarantee that you won’t see tiny ants in your home anytime soon.

Regularly cleaning your toilet, for example, can go a long way toward preventing infestations, particularly if you’re making sure to spray a disinfectant. Because ants are attracted to moisture, you should also make sure that your sinks, bathtubs, and showers are draining properly. Lastly, you can replace broken tiles in your bathroom so that there will be nowhere for ants or other pests to gain access to your bathroom.

A little regular maintenance in your bathroom can be key for preventing infestations.

Get Rid of Tiny Ants

While carefully following these steps should keep tiny ants out of your bathroom, some infestations are so serious that they’ll need professional attention. With an ant expert on your side, you should easily be able to keep the bathrooms in your home free from these common pests.

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