Posts Tagged ‘Atlanta Ant Control’

City-Dwelling Ants Are Beginning To Crave Junk Food | Atlanta Ant Control

Thursday, March 9th, 2017

City-Dwelling Ants Are Beginning To Crave Junk Food | Atlanta Ant Control

We all know that littering is bad. There are very few acts of irresponsibility that are more distasteful than mindlessly throwing garbage into the great outdoors. However, if you live in a big city, such as New York or Los Angeles, there may not be any harm in throwing your discarded food onto the ground. This is because big cities have plenty of ants that have developed a taste for junk food. The easy access that city-dwelling ants have had to discarded junk food over the decades has caused city-ants to prefer junk food exclusively.

The researchers discovered that a particular ant species, which dwells within the cracks of sidewalks, has developed a taste for junk food. The pavement-dwelling ants are known in the entomological community as the Tetramorium ant species. However, other species of city ants prefer to dwell within parks and grass lawns, and they do not seem to enjoy junk food with the same degree of enthusiasm as the Tetramorium species. So why does this difference in food preference exist in such a closely related group of insects?

It turns out that the bodies of sidewalk-dwelling ants possess higher amounts of a particular isotope known as carbon thirteen. This isotope is commonly found in sugarcane, corn and pretty much every type of processed food, including meat. Due to the high amounts of carbon thirteen found within the Tetramorium species of ant, it makes sense that these types of ants would require foods that contain carbon thirteen, or junk food, to be more precise.

As you can surely guess, the species of ant that dwells within the parks and grasslands of big cities does not possess as much carbon thirteen within their bodies as their pavement pounding counterparts. Due to the relatively low amount of carbon thirteen in grass-dwelling ants, these ants cannot handle junk food as well as the Tetramorium species. This difference is a clear result of the sidewalk-dwelling ants need to locate any form of sustenance that they can find in order to survive, and in their case it was nachos and hotdogs. In the grass-dwelling on the other hand, food is far more abundant, s. So it is not bad enough that the United States has high obesity rate as a result of junk food consumption, now even some bugs in American cannot avoid this stuff.

Have you ever spotted a group of ants eating a large unhealthy food item along a big city sidewalk?



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 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?

Avoid ants and stinging insects at your Labor Day cookout!

Friday, August 8th, 2014

Avoid ants and stinging insects at your Labor Day cookout! Follow these steps:

  1. Mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn, so if you are planning a barbeque before sunset, plan on having plenty of insect repellant containing an EPA-registered active ingredient like DEET or Picaridin available for you and your guests. Adorn your deck or patio with citronella candles that can help minimize the presence of mosquitoes in the area, and wear long sleeves or pants to avoid bites.
  2. Yellowjackets and other stinging insects are attracted to fragrances from shampoo, perfume and candles — not to mention food and drink. Avoid using scented items beforehand and provide clear plastic cups for your guests as aluminum cans and plastic bottles are good hiding spots for stinging insects.
  3. Prior to the party, check screen doors and repair any holes. And with guests coming in and out of your house, make sure the doors close behind them.
  4. Keep all food and beverages in sealed coolers and containers.
  5. Keep garbage containers sealed and away from guests.
  6. Clean trash, spills and crumbs immediately from tables and other surfaces.
  7. Bring utensils and dishware indoors shortly after the meal.
  8. Rinse all beverage bottles and cans, and dispose of them in tightly closed garbage containers.
  9. Plan to serve food and beverages indoors, and reserve outdoor space for eating and entertaining.
  10. Remove or drain sources of standing water in your yard that could be a breeding ground for mosquitoes, including birdbaths, wading pools or garden ponds.

Free in-home Pest Evaluation!

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

Chikungunya Virus

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

Chikungunya Virus

 – National Pest Management Association

Information on Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention


Chikungunya, a viral infection transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes, originated in southeast Africa and was first described in Tanzania in 1952. Subsequently, it has spread throughout sub-Saharan Africa and has become well established in the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, and islands of the Indian and Pacific Ocean.

More recently, Chikungunya has been reported in at least 15 Caribbean islands, including Hispaniola (Haiti & Santo Domingo), as well as French Guiana on mainland South America.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as of June 10, a total of 39 chikungunya cases have been reported from U.S. states and territories. One locally transmitted case has been reported from Puerto Rico. All other cases occurred in travelers returning from affected areas in the Caribbean or Asia. To date, no local transmission has been identified in the continental United States.

The mosquitos that carry the Chikungunya virus (aedes egypti and aedaes albopictus) can bite during the day and at night, both indoors and outdoors, and often live around buildings in urban areas.

Symptoms and Treatment

Typical symptoms of Chikungunya infection include the rapid onset of severe joint pains (especially in the hands and feet) and fever. In fact, the name “Chikungunya” derives from a word in the Kimakonde language of south east Africa, meaning “to become contorted” and describes the stooped appearance of sufferers with joint pain. Symptoms start four to eight days after the mosquito bite (range from two to 12 days). Infected persons can also have headache, muscle pain, rash and joint swelling. Generally, symptoms resolve after one week, although some people may experience long-term joint pain. Chikungunya is generally not fatal, but the painful symptoms have led people to say “It won’t kill you, but it may make you wish you were dead!”

Because there is no specific antiviral drug treatment for Chikungunya, physicians direct patients to use over the counter analgesics and medication to control fever, and to get plenty of rest and fluids.

Several methods can be used for diagnosis.  If you develop the symptoms of Chikungunya and have recently traveled, see your doctor. Your doctor may order blood tests to look for Chikungunya or other similar diseases.


Since a vaccine to prevent Chikungunya does not exist, it is best to try and avoid infection in the first place.

As the Caribbean is a popular vacation spot for many Americans, avoiding travel may not be a realistic or desirable option. Rather, travelers are advised to take a number of precautions when staying in countries where Chikungunya is endemic.

Travelers should don protective clothing (long-sleeved shirts, long pants, hats) that is treated with insect repellent. When spending time outdoors, travelers should use insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535, on exposed skin.

When choosing a hotel, ensure the rooms are equipped with fully functioning air conditioning systems, as well as door and window screens. Insecticide-treated mosquito nets afford good protection, as do mosquito coils or other insecticide vaporizers to reduce contact with mosquitoes indoors, especially in high risk areas.

During outbreaks of Chikungunya – or if mosquito populations surge – community-wide insect/vector control programs may be activated and travelers should heed these warnings.

Finally, patients who are diagnosed with Chikungunya should avoid additional exposure to mosquitoes to help prevent the further spread of the virus to other mosquitoes and subsequently to other people.

Tips for Pest Prevention in Atlanta

Monday, June 16th, 2014
  • Seal cracks and holes along the foundation of the home including entry points for utilities and pipes.
  • Screen windows and doors.
  • Eliminate sources of moisture or standing water around the house, including birdbaths and in clogged gutters.
  • Keep tree branches and other plants cut back from the house.
  • Store firewood at least 20 feet from the home on a raised structure such as concrete blocks or poles.
  • Inspect the outside of a home for nests built by stinging insects, which are typically found in the eaves under roofs.
  • Keep kitchens clean by wiping down counters and other food surfaces after meal prep.
  • Take out the trash frequently and store it in a sealed receptacle outdoors.
  • Avoid leaving pets’ food dishes out for long periods of time.

Ant groups ‘more efficient than Google’ in processing data, new study finds

Thursday, June 5th, 2014

While individual ‘scout’ ants may seem chaotic in their movements, they are leaving a pheromone trails to allow other ants to follow them to food sources

The dedication and stamina of the worker ant, toiling through the summer months and preparing for winter, were celebrated in Aesop’s Fables – in contrast to the lazy, singing grasshopper, unready for the hardships ahead.

Now research shows that ants don’t just flourish because they work hard and will slavishly sacrifice themselves for the collective. Their success is also due to their group ability to process information “far more efficiently than Google” in the daily search for food, according to scientists.

A major behavioural mathematics study, which could also have ramifications for how we understand human behaviour on the internet, used complex computer modelling to reveal how ants bring order to chaos by creating “highly complex networks” to govern their actions.

It found that not only are ants “surprisingly efficient”, but they are able to deploy ingenious navigation strategies to divide themselves between “scout” and “gathering” ants during “complex feed-search movements”.

The joint Chinese-German study, which is published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that while individual “scout” ants may seem “chaotic” in their movements, they are leaving a trail of pheromones to allow following “gathering” ants to refine and shorten their journeys to food sources in the vicinity of the colony.

As this journey is repeated again and again by worker ants carrying their loads, a “self-reinforcing effect of efficiency” creates a shorter trail, saving the colony the time and energy of “continued chaotic foraging”. “While single ants can appear chaotic and random-like, they very quickly become an ordered line of ants crossing the woodland floor in the search for food,” co-author of the study Professor Jurgen Kurths told The Independent.

He added: “That transition between chaos and order is an important mechanism and I’d go so far as to say that the learning strategy involved in that, is more accurate and complex than a Google search. These insects are, without doubt, more efficient than Google in processing information about their surroundings.”

Previous studies had shown that worker ants assigned the most dangerous food-gathering tasks tended to be older, less valuable insects. This suggested that ant colonies were reluctant to risk their younger, more productive members.

However, the new study reveals that older ants are valued for their increased knowledge of their nest’s surroundings.

According to Professor Kurths, the mathematical model used in the study – which converted well-known ant behaviour patterns into equations and algorithms – is equally applicable to other animals that share homing instincts, such as albatrosses.

It could even be used to provide a “new perspective” on behavioural patterns  of humans in areas as diverse as transportation systems and  how we browse the internet.

The study comes a week after a team from the Georgia Institute of Technology revealed that ants’ skills at building stable tunnels in loose sand could aid in the design of a new generation of search-and-rescue robots.

The team used high-speed cameras to observe how fire ants can use their antennae as extra limbs to catch themselves when they fall, in a development that can be reproduced in the development of fledgling rescue technologies.

May News from Bug Busters USA

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

May News from Bug Busters USA