Ants are fascinating creatures. The ant colony they form can be thought of as a society. There’s no centralized leadership, although there is a hierarchical structure and division of labor. They modify and exploit their environment to fit their food and shelter needs.
As with any other pest, identification of the species is the first step towards control. To narrow the search, the PMP must consider the number of nodes; the contours and texture of the thorax; the characteristics of the anus; the shape of the abdomen; whether there is an odor associated with the specimen; whether a stinger is present. Proper identification is critical because each ant species is unique in nesting preferences, food preferences, damage potential, foraging behavior and public health implications.
Once the species is targeted, you’ll know if they are monogynous or polygynous, polydomous, polymorphic or monomorphic, whether the bud or swarm when expanding the colony. Not familiar with these terms? LOOK IT UP! Or better yet, register for our “Pest Control and the Protection of Food and Public Health” Course which starts on January 29th. We’ll go over everything you need to know about ants, among other things.
As always, base your control strategy on solid IPM. Reduce their food sources, restrict their access and disrupt their foraging trails. The goal should be to target the nest, not the individual foragers when considering chemical options. Those options include baits, dusts, aerosols, residuals and barrier treatments. The choice will be based on what species you’re targeting.