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Ants

Published on: 6/9/2014 4:08 PM
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An adult argentine ant near white fly larvae.(photo by Jack Kelly Clark U.C. IPM Project)

These insect pests will often take up residence in your home.  Remember -- ants are opportunists!  They are always seeking shelter, food, and water.

To discourage these pests, be sure to fix leaky faucets, enclose food items in airtight containers, enclose your kitchen garbage can, and never leave any food, including pet food, out on the counters or floors.  (A small crumb to us is a large meal to them!)

Argentine ants like a variety of foods, especially sugary substances.  Because of their taste for sweets, certain garden pests can actually lead to a surge in an ant population.  Garden insects such as whiteflies and aphids cannot digest the sugar they suck out of plants, so the sugars are excreted in a substance called honeydew.  Argentine ants harvest and consume this sugary substance, which provides a rich food source for the colony.  When you keep honeydew producing insects in your yard under control, you will not only help the plants in your yard but will also minimize your ant problems.

The use of ant baits can be effective, however, we suggest that you avoid placing baits inside or next to your home.  When ants find a food source, they lay down a pheromone trail so other members of their colony can find the food.  If the bait does not kill the entire colony, the ants will continue to follow the pheromone trail into your home.  We recommend that you place the baits away from the home and replace them regularly.  This way the ant population will be kept under control and the ants will continue to go to the bait stakes and will be less likely to enter your home.

* Remember - ant baits, like all pesticide products, must be used in accordance with their label instructions.

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