Petri Specializes in Ant Solutions
Ants have been the #1 pest in the Country for several years in a row. Particularly in South Florida the wide variety of ants account for a large percentage of homeowner complaints. For this reason, Petri has placed a special emphasis on training our technicians on the different species of ants that are most commonly encountered in our area.
Ants are social insects, living in colonies that can number in the thousands, and sometimes, even millions. Identification of the species of ant is the first step in ant control. Once this is established an understanding of the particular ant’s behavior, nesting sites, and food preferences (sweets, proteins, greases etc) are the next step in determining the proper treatment strategy. Petri utilizes a variety of strategies and products to solve our customer’s ant problems understanding that the ultimate solution to all ant problems is locating and eliminating all ant colonies.
Below is a list of some of the most commonly encountered ants in South Florida.
Ant photos courtesy of University of Florida’s Institute of Food & Agricultural Sciences
Carpenter ant – Large ants that nest in the hollows of decaying wood, mulch, debri, and other areas of high moisture. They do not consume wood but hollow it out for nests. The Florida carpenter ant is red and black and can be found nesting in palm trees often. Locating and treating the nest is key in carpenter ant control.
Ghost Ant – Tiny ants with a dark head and thorax and a pale-colored abdomen. Perhaps the most common ant found indoors in South Florida with colonies that have many queens. Considered sweet-feeding ants and are treated most effectively with baits.
Pharaoh Ant – Commonly found small ant that nests inside or outside in wall voids, behind molding, in switch plates, or in the soil of potted plants. Colonies can contain many queens and workers are slow moving yellow to light red ants. Baits should be used exclusively.
Whitefooted Ant – This sweet feeding ant is a major problem in South Florida with enormous colonies containing over a million members. About average size, dark brown to black with yellowish-white coloring on bottom half of legs. Complete control is extrememly rare but large amounts of bait, perimeter sprays, and direct treatment of nests offers some control.
Imported Fire Ant – These ants live in mounds usually located on the ground surface. Sometimes they can nest inside. They have a well developed stinger and can inflict a painful sting. They like feeding on oils and baits are best method of control.
Crazy Ant – Usually found outdoors in mulch, wood, debris and soil, the crazy ant can also nest indoors. Dark brown to black ants, workers often run around very erratically. They tend aphids, feed on honeydew, and are considered sweetfeeding ants.
American Roach – Also known as the palmetto bug, it is the largest of the common species, growing to 1 1/2 inces or more in length. It is reddish brown with light markings behind the head. They can be found in moist areas such as mulch on the perimeter of homes, as well as in and around bathtubs, floor drains, clothes hampers, sewers, and pipechases.
German Roach – The most economically important urban pest and most common species found in homes, restaurants, and hotels. Adults are about 1/2 to 5/8 inches long and can be distinguished from other species by the two dark stripes behind the head. They typically are found in kitchens and bathrooms and reproduce at high rates. Adult females carry the egg capsule for an extended period and each egg capsule contains 30 to 48 eggs.
Smokybrown Roach – Closely related to the American roach but are slightly smaller and uniform mahogany in color. They have wings longer than their bodies. They live in wood piles, tree holes, and roof gutters where they feed on decaying organic matter. They will readily move in and out of structures foraging for food.
Black Widow – Glossy black with two reddish or yellowish triangles on the underside that form a hourglass marking. Webs are an irregular mass of fibers. Usually found under stones or boards in and around old buildings. Black widow venom is toxic to the nervous system and the bite produces a sharp pain like a pin prick. If bitten, a person should see a doctor for treatment immediately.
Brown Recluse – Yellow to dark brown with a distinctive violin shaped mark on the head and thorax. It has a dangerous bite that is not intense right away but can become very intense several hours later, often causing a large ulcerous sore to form that heals slowly and leaves a scar. Can be found in undisturbed areas such as garages, basements, or sheds. Not well established in Florida.