Exterminators give advice for eliminating ants

Published 11:56 am Monday, July 25, 2005

By By JULIE RUSSELL The Brewton Standard
Remember those classic cartoons where a trail of ants invades a picnic to carry away all the food, the corn on the cob and the sandwiches, one by one? They say power is in numbers, and if that's true, ants (although tiny) just may be the most powerful of insects.
Jerry O'Brien, sales representative for Terminix, said that because Brewton is "a low-lying area," ants are a big problem.
But it's not just homes that have ant problems; it's cars also. Over the past couple of weeks, many locals have been heard complaining about finding colonies of ants crawling all over their floorboards and steering wheels.
O'Brien suggests that the sudden increase in ants is a direct result of rain. In an effort to find a warm, dry environment, ants seek shelter in homes and cars. The clever insects find their way into cars via the tires.
Most of the time, it is Argentine ants – also known as sugar ants – that cause the problem. They are attracted to all kinds of sweets, and they move quickly in large groups. If a drink is spilled or a morsel of food dropped, they will find it.
Because Argentine ants run in a trail, they leave behind pheromones. According to dictionary.com, pheromones are "a chemical secreted by an animal, especially an insect, that influences the behavior or development of others of the same species." In other words, if one ant is there, thousands will follow because of the scent they all leave behind.
The first step in getting rid of the ants is to eliminate the source of food or drink that they are retreating to.
While many old-time remedies for ants include sprinkling around cinnamon, corn meal or cayenne pepper, O'Brien suggests cleaning with an ammonia-based cleaning agent for the second step. The ammonia disrupts the pheromone trail, and prevents any further ants from making their way into your car.
Jackie Free, secretary at Critter Gitter, suggested using ant bait.
She added that ant bait comes in a variety of forms-gels, liquids, and granular-and she said to steer clear of using the liquid kind in cars.
O'Brien said "it pays to have a good pest control" company. O'Brien said that, as a consumer, he would choose to have his house sprayed because if the ants are coming from the yard (and ants do often fall out of trees), the spraying will help keep the insects out of both car and home.
It is also a good idea to practice good cleanliness techniques and never leave drinks or food out in the open.

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