Posts Tagged ‘Ant Control’

Slave-making Ants Go After the Strong Rather Than the Weak

Friday, June 17th, 2016

Scientists used to assume that slavemaker ants would target weak colonies when sending their raiding parties to steal away pupae. However, they have recently discovered that they actually choose to go after fewer stronger colonies rather than targeting more weak ones. The ants associate strong defenses with stronger ant populations. By choosing to go after fewer strong ant colonies, the ants actually end up limiting their risk and coming away with more pupae to enslave.

Slavemaker ant colonies don’t actually have their own workforce. Instead they are made up of raider ants that go after other ants’ pupae and take to them back to their own colony to use as their workforce. In a study conducted by Sebastian Pohl and his team, researchers discovered that rather than target weak colonies to get their workforce, these ants actually choose to raid a fewer number of strong colonies. This is because losing one of these worker or raider ants can amount to losing the large number of slaves they would likely bring back to their colony. So, it makes more sense for them to target a fewer number of strong colonies, and limit the risk they take when performing a raid. The scout ants associate the strong colonies with a higher number of pupae and therefore a higher benefit when they go on a raid.

Do you think it is smarter for the slavemaker ants to go after strong colonies rather than weak ones?

Ants Don’t Tolerate Cheaters

Monday, June 6th, 2016

In the human world, especially in this modern day and age, women and men who cheat on their partners are punished pretty severely. They are often ostracized from general society, stoned in the Arab world, physically hurt by scorned partners, and even murdered in some cases. Cheating doesn’t pay. But, compared to ant cheaters, this treatment is child’s play. Ants don’t tolerate cheaters for a second. It messes with the gene pool of the colony, and, therefore, is punishable by death.

Researchers recently performed a study where they applied a synthetic chemical to ants in a colony with a queen and then compared their treatment to the ants covered in the same synthetic chemical in a colony without a queen. The chemical mimics the chemicals produced by fertile ants when they are mating. The ants covered in the chemical in the colony run by a queen were brutally attacked by the rest of the colony as soon as they were sniffed out. These deceitful ants were grabbed, held down and bitten ruthlessly by their own siblings in the colony. However, in the colony without a queen the cheating ants were left alone, free to reproduce as much as they pleased.

The scientists believe that this “reproductive policing” plays a large role in upholding harmony in the ant colony.

What do you think of this rather severe policing of reproduction? Do you know of any other insect species that uses this kind of reproductive control practice?

Ants Attempt Daring Rescue of Trapped Relatives

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

Scientists have discovered that ants will actually form rescue teams to go and save relatives that have become caught in traps. After hearing of reports about ants attempting these recue attempts, scientists put together their own study to test the theory.

Researchers took one ant from a colony and tied it up with a nylon thread and half buried it into a pile of sand. They stood by watching in amazement as other ants from the colony teamed up and worked together to free their trapped relative. The daring group slowly dug away at the sand and expose the threads of the nylon. They then bit at the threads until their comrade was free of the snare.

The researchers believe that the fellow ants know to go and rescue their relative because the struggling ant will release pheromones that call the other ants to them. When the other members of the colony smell these pheromones, they are alerted to their friend’s need and choose ants to form a team to go to the rescue.

Are you surprised by these ants’ selfless actions? Have you seen similar altruistic behavior in other insects?

Ant School Teachers

Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

Ant School Teachers

Human adults teach their young how to fend for themselves in this world through demonstration and hands on activities. Apparently, adult ants teach their young pupils in much the same way, taking them out on foraging quests and teaching them how to find food.

A new study revealed that ants teach their young how to forage for food using a “tandem running” technique that involved poking and prodding between the teacher and pupil. Female worker ants will take an inexperienced ant out with them on a foraging expedition, using tandem running to pass the knowledge onto the young ant. The experienced ant will lead the pupil through the forest to forage for food. The pupil learns by following and then stopping every so often to study landmarks along the way, while the teacher moves forward. Once the student ant is done exploring they will run to catch up to the teacher and tap her on the hind legs, letting her know he or she is ready for more.

The process is highly controlled, with the two ants constantly keeping tabs on how large the gap is between them. When the gap gets too large either the teacher will slow down to allow the student to catch up or the student will stop their exploration to run and catch up to the teacher. This instruction from a lead ant helps the students to learn how to find food much more quickly.

Can you think of similar teaching methods humans use with their young?

Georgia Ant Control Experts | Bug Busters USA

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

Most species of ants are considered ‘nuisance pests,’ meaning that they don’t pose a significant threat to health or property, but are an annoyance when found indoors. In fact, ants are the number one nuisance pest in the United States.

Some species of ants, however, can pose threats to health and property. Carpenter ants, for example, excavate wood in order to build their nests, which can cause extensive damage to a structure. Fire ants, on the other hand, sting when threatened, resulting in painful welts that can be dangerous to allergic persons. These species should always be handled by a professional.

Regardless of the species all ants can contaminate food sources and small infestations can grow quickly, so any sign of an infestation should be dealt with promptly.

A trained and licensed pest professional is the best person to make a recommendation based on the proper identification of a particular ant species and the threats they could pose to health and property. Also, homeowners may have a preference as to which treatment is used, so it is important that they have a detailed conversation with their pest control company.  The cost of the treatments can vary depending on the size of the infestation and the property being treated.

There are as many ways to control ants as there are species of ants! Different species eat different things – making it almost impossible to inspect a single area and control the ant population.  The best strategy homeowners can employ when attempting to control ants is to clean, clean, clean. Wipe down counters, regularly remove garbage, clean up grease spills, rinse and remove empty soda cans or other recyclables and mop/sweep the floors. Homeowners should also keep food in sealed containers and keep pet food/water dishes clean. Outside the home, eliminate sources of moisture or standing water such as birdbaths or kiddie pools. Finally, seal cracks and holes around the home to close entry points.

Crank It Up A kickoff party celebrating Camp Twin Lakes’ 8th Annual Spin For Kids!

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

Crank It Up A kickoff party celebrating Camp Twin Lakes’ 8th Annual Spin For Kids!

Join Camp Twin Lakes, SweetWater Brewing Company and Yacht Rock Revue at Crank It Up
A kickoff party celebrating Camp Twin Lakes’
8th Annual Spin For Kids!
Friday, October 4 from 7:30-11:00 PM
Greystone at Piedmont Park
$35 in Advance or $45 at the Door
Get your smooth on with a live concert from Yacht Rock Revue at the Greystone venue inside of Atlanta’s scenic Piedmont Park. Enjoy brews from the good folks at SweetWater, wine and on-site food trucks, along with a raffle full prizes from Spin For Kids’ sponsors.Tickets include admission to the show and unlimited beer and wine. All proceeds from the event benefit Camp Twin Lakes’ Spin For Kids and our efforts to help provide life changing experiences to children facing serious illnesses, disabilities and other life challenges.
Check this out: If you’ve already signed up for the 2013 Spin For Kidsride and have raised $500 in donations by October 4, you will receive free admission to the event as a thank you!For more info or to register for Spin For Kids, visit Special thanks to our sponsors SweetWater Brewery, Yacht Rock Revue, The Piedmont Park Conservancy, and Nelson Mullins, LLP.

Aggressive Ant Species Marches Through South

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

Aggressive Ant Species Marches Through South

Fire ants have long been a threat in the southern United States, but another aggressive ant species known as the tawny crazy ant is taking over in many areas of the region. These ants can invade structures in extraordinary numbers and, Bug Busters USA, a pest management company servicing the Southeast,  is advising homeowners to take preventative steps to protect their properties from infestations.

Crazy ants enter homes in the autumn or after rainfall because both conditions reduce their supply of honeydew. Once inside, crazy ants usually nest underneath floors or in wall voids. Outdoors, their nests are commonly found in soil under objects or next to foundations.

To prevent crazy ants from gaining access to a structure utilize these tips:

  • Trim vegetation away from the home to prevent pathways inside.
  • Seal all cracks and crevices on the outside of the home, including around doors and windows.
  • Clean up food spills and other potential attractants as soon as possible.
  • If an infestation is suspected, contact a licensed pest professional to treat the problem.

For more information on crazy ants, please visit

Bug Busters USA encourages public awareness of household pests in April

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

Bug Busters USA encourages public awareness of household pests in April

This April, Bug Busters USA is proud to celebrate National Pest Management Month, which is formally recognized each year by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA). The observance acknowledges the pest management industry’s commitment to the protection of public health and property from common household pests such as rodents, ants, termites, bed bugs and cockroaches.

During National Pest Management Month, Bug Busters encourages public awareness of pests and reminds homeowners to pest-proof the home this spring.

“As the weather continues to warm, pests will begin to emerge from their overwintering sites and look for food indoors. To prevent an infestation, homeowners should take some time to pest-proof their home in the coming weeks,” said Court Parker, COO at Bug Busters USA. “From sealing openings and removing debris around the foundation of the home to eliminating sources of moisture indoors, a few simple home maintenance projects can keep pests from causing problems this spring.”

NPMA experts also recommend the following tips to add to the spring cleaning check list:

  • Repair fascia and rotted roof shingles.
  • Replace weather-stripping and repair loose mortar around the foundation and windows.
  • Keep tree branches and shrubbery well trimmed and away from the house.
  • Store fire wood at least 20 feet away from the house and five inches off the ground.
  • Eliminate sources of standing water around the house, including birdbaths and in clogged gutters.
  • Keep basements, attics, and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry.
  • Store garbage in sealed containers and dispose of it regularly.’
  • Avoid leaving pet’s food dishes out for long periods of time.

“Taking preventative measures is the best defense against pests, but occasionally an unwanted critter can sneak by unnoticed,” added Parker. “If an infestation is suspected, contact a licensed pest professional to treat the problem.”

For more information on common household pest or pest-proofing tips, please visit

Many Allergic to Fire Ant’s Sting Don’t Get Preventive Shots

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013 Many Allergic To Fire Ant’s Sting Don’t Get Preventive Shots

For some people, a sting from the ubiquitous fire ant can provoke potentially severe reactions, but a new study finds that only one-third of people with such allergies get shots that can ease the danger.

“Patients are fearful of the injections, and often feel that the time investment will never pay off in the long run,” said one expert, Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency medicine physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

Allergy shots to protect against fire ant stings are typically given monthly to provide the best protection. This treatment has been shown to prevent allergy progression and to reduce the risk of anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction that can be deadly.

However, “the time commitment is significant and typically involves monthly injections over a 3- to 5-year period,” said Glatter, who was not involved in the new study.

So, despite the potential benefit, the new study found that only 35 percent of patients with fire ant allergies continued to get allergy shots after one year. Inconvenience and fear were among the reasons why they stopped getting the treatment.

The findings were published in the March issue of the journalAnnals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

“Immunotherapy is proven to be safe and efficient at treating allergic diseases,” study lead author Dr. Shayne Stokes, chief of allergy and immunology at Luke AFB in Arizona, said in a news release from the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI). “It can also result in health care savings of 33 to 41 percent.”

Fire ants are common throughout the southeastern United States. People who have had an allergic reaction to a fire ant sting in the past have a 60 percent chance of experiencing a similar or more severe reaction if stung again, according to the ACAAI.

Symptoms of a fire ant allergy can include: hives, itching and swelling in areas other than the sting site; abdominal cramping, intense nausea, vomiting or diarrhea; tightness in the chest and difficulty breathing; hoarse voice or swelling of the tongue or throat, or difficulty swallowing; anaphylaxis, which can include dizziness, a sharp drop in blood pressure or cardiac arrest.

“The reality is that if allergy shots for fire ant stings were utilized more often, patients would have milder reactions if a sting occurred — and thus a lower chance or need for a visit to an emergency department,” Glatter said. “The subsequent risk for anaphylaxis would also be significantly reduced. Overall, the need for other ‘rescue medications’ to treat the allergic reactions from the fire ants — including steroids and epinephrine — may potentially be reduced as well.”

People who have an allergic reaction should seek immediate medical help and follow up with an allergist, the ACAAI said.

Glatter said that “patients with asthma, sleep apnea, COPD [chronic obstructive pulmonary disease] and other chronic lung diseases may be at added risk for airway compromise should a subsequent reaction occur, and should be considered for [the allergy shots].”

Two million Americans are allergic to insect stings, an allergy that sends more than 500,000 people to hospital emergency rooms each year.

Eruption of New Fire Ant Mounds is Just Tip of Iceberg

Thursday, June 7th, 2012 Eruption of New Fire Ant Mounds is Just Tip of Iceberg

In Biblical times, they might have called it a plague.

But the sudden eruption of new fire ant mounds after a day of soaking rain is normal behavior for one of nature’s most opportunistic pests.

“The typical mature imported fire ant colony has about 80,000 ants in it, but nests of up to 240,000 have been reported,” said University of Georgia professor and entomologist Nancy Hinkle.

Although the insects are on the move when rainfall softens hard, dry soil and accelerates mound building, they are active all the time.

“The majority of what goes on is underground,” Hinkle said. “While the above-ground mound may be up to 15 inches high, a mature colony can extend to a depth of five feet.”

Ants use mounds for thermoregulation and often move the larvae to the side of the mound that is warmest. When temperatures get too hot, the nursery ants carry the larvae deeper to keep them from getting overheated.

“You’ve no doubt observed these ants frantically carrying the larvae to safety after you’ve kicked open a fire ant mound,” she said.

Although new mounds sprout like mushrooms after a rain, it is the colonies – and not just the mounds – that should be targeted with control efforts.

“This is why we recommend using fire ant baits for control. No matter how carefully one searches an area, it is easy to miss these hidden (often called ‘incipient’) colonies. So individual mound treatment will miss a large portion of the fire ant population in a given area,” Hinkle said.

Spreading the commercially available bait throughout an area will encourage roaming worker fire ants to carry the material back to their deep nests, where it can poison their nestmates.

“Not only do the ants do the work for us, they also clean up all the toxic bait and carry it underground, removing it from the environment within 24 hours so that we don’t have to worry about it remaining on the ground and affecting other animals,” she said.

Fire ant baits, she added, contain a very low rate of insecticide because it is formulated for direct consumption by the ants.

“Each particle requires only a minuscule dose, meaning that we have to apply much less chemical than if we were using a dust or spray,” she said.

Imported fire ants, native to South America, arrived in the U.S. in the 1930s and began infesting Georgia in the 1950s.