Ants in Southern California: Should You Worry About A Potential Infestation?
If you are a resident living in Southern California, you may have recently noticed an increase in the number of ants crawling around. This is because these insects have become one of the most common pests in all of California. While for some people, this may not be a cause for concern, for others it can be quite alarming. So should you worry about an infestation? In this blog post, we'll take a look at the types of ants that are commonly found in Southern California, as well as what you can do if you think you might have an infestation.
What Can Ants Do To Your Home?
One of the most common questions we get asked is, what sort of damage can ants actually do to your home? The answer is simply: quite a lot.
First and foremost, ants are capable of damaging your property. This is because they have the ability to chew through wood, plastic, and even metal. So if you have any wooden structures on your property, such as a fence or a deck, then you could find yourself with some serious damage depending on the species. In addition, ants can also contaminate your food. This is because they often travel through garbage and other dirty areas before coming into your home. As a result, they can transfer bacteria and diseases onto your food, which can make you sick. Finally, ants can just be a general nuisance. Surprisingly, these pests have a strong sense of smell so if any crumbs are left behind, they have the ability to find them. Other pests, such as cockroaches, spiders, rodents, and others can feast off of ants, so if you have an infestation, chances are you'll be welcomed by other visitors.
Types of Ants in Southern California
With the climate and desirable weather conditions in California, many different types of ants can thrive comfortably here. With this being true, it also leads to having problems with ants trying to enter your home to look for food, water, and shelter. Some of the most common ants you can expect to see trying to enter your home include:
- Argentine Ant
- Carpenter Ant
- Thief Ants
The Argentine ant is one of the most common species found in Southern California. These ants are small, only about ⅛ of an inch long. They are light brown or reddish-brown in color and have a smooth body. Argentine ants typically live in large colonies with many workers. They build their nests outdoors under rocks, logs, or other objects on the ground. Indoors, they nest in wall voids, crawl spaces, or other hidden areas. One common way to know if you have these pests in your home is the musty odor they give off once being crushed. Argentine ants are attracted to sweet foods, meat, and other insects, so for any type of food crumb that has fallen, chances are these insects will enjoy it. If you want to get rid of Argentine ants, seal up all entry points in your home with caulk, get rid of brush and vegetation close to your home, and keep foods, especially sweet foods, hidden away in sealed containers.
Carpenter ants are considered the most destructive species in Southern California. These pests are black or dark brown and range from ⅜ to ½ an inch long. Carpenter ants get their name because they build their nests by hollowing out wood, which can cause serious damage to your home if left unchecked. Carpenter ants typically nest outdoors in dead trees or stumps, but they will also nest in live trees if they find a way inside. Once they’ve found a way into your home, they will set up shop in any number of places, including:
- Wall voids
- Crawl spaces
- Behind cabinets
- Under floors
If you have a carpenter ant infestation and do not plan to treat it quickly, they can do amounts of damage to your internal structure that is similar to the termite. Ways to stop an infestation can include removing scent trails by cleaning your home with essential oils and dish soap, destroying their nests with boric acid, and sealing any entry points for them to enter your home.
Thief ants, or grease ants, are tiny—about one-sixteenth of an inch long. They get their name from their habit of stealing other ants’ food and taking it back to their own nests. Thief ants are light brown or yellowish in color and have a narrow waist. Their abdomens are slightly darker than the rest of their bodies. If you look closely, you might see a small stinger on the end of their abdomens. Thief ants live in large colonies that can contain up to 300,000 individuals. A single colony can have multiple queens, which lay up to 40 eggs per day. The eggs hatch into larvae within two weeks. The larvae go through several molts before they become adults and begin foraging for food. This species can often be mistaken for pharaoh ants because of their size and tendency to scout for any sign of food. If you want to stop a thief ant infestation, first inspect all areas where ant activity is common (even near other ant nests) and plant bait stations to figure out where the infestation is coming from. Once you locate the nest, you'll be able to take action accordingly.
Still Can't Get Rid Of Ants? Trust The Bugman!
If you have tried all of the countless DIY options, but are still struggling to get rid of these pests, look for professional ant control accommodated by the bugman. Our exterminators have been servicing the Southern California area for over 60 years now, so any infestation you may have, chances are, we've seen something similar and can help out.