Ants are the #1 pest in the country. They can be seen on counter tops and near pet feeding dishes and throughout the home. Ants may build nests in wall voids and some can cause considerable damage. Ants may contaminate foods in the pantry. These little invaders should be dealt with as soon as they are detected.
There are many different kinds of ants: Crazy Ants, Pharaoh Ants, Red Imported Fire Ants, Ghost Ants, Carpenter Ants, Big Headed Ants, just to name a few.
Finding ants in your home can be a huge hassle. You may think that you can solve your ant problem on your own, but the best way to ensure that they’re all gone is to hire our professional crew for ant control services. We’ll use a combination of insecticides and other products on the ant’s nesting sites and places where they are active. We may also use ant bait mixed with insecticides as an ant control method.
Ant control is easy for us. Call us at 813-703-4673 for more information about our ant control services.
Odorous house ants are small ants about 1/8th inch long and dark brown in color. They are found throughout the U.S. and in spite of their name, are only an occasional pest in the house. Their name comes from the disagreeable odor similar to the smell of rotten coconuts that is given off when the worker ants are crushed.
Odorous house ants commonly nest outdoors in the soil under stones, logs, mulch, debris and other items. They will also nest indoors in wall and floor voids, particularly in moist or warm areas. If only a few workers (wingless ants) are observed in the house it is an indication that they are nesting outdoors and entering the house in search of food. If winged swarmers are found indoors, or if workers are consistently seen in great abundance, it likely indicates they are nesting within the house
The Ghost Ant also known as the Black Headed Ant is very tiny, usually less than 1/16 of an inch in length. The Ghost Ant has a grayish white thorax and a black head. It can be hard to see on some surfaces in the home because of their pale, almost opaque abdomen.
The Ghost Ant prefers a warm climate, so Florida is a suitable place for these ants to thrive. Places in the home you may find the Ghost Ants are in wall voids, cabinets, the soil of potted plants and running along the baseboards. The Ghost Ant typically nests outside in plant soil, under rocks, in and around firewood, logs, and tree cavities.
The Red Imported Fire Ants get their name from their ability to inflict painful stings. These reddish brown ants are an invasive species found everywhere in the southern U.S.
The Red Imported Fire Ant builds large mound nests that are flattened and irregular in shape. They are between 2 and 4 square feet in size and are often introduced into new areas through potted plants, tees, shrubs, and sod. They usually nest in soil near structural foundations or in landscaping. Although these ants are most often found outdoors they can gain access to buildings through foundation cracks, windows, and improperly sealed doors.
The Fire Ant will sting humans who disturb it’s nest.The sting can be very painful and often results in a raised welt that becomes a white pustule. Most often when a person disturbs a Fire Ant mound the person will experience several stings from more than one ant. Some people have severe allergies to the sting of a Fire Ant and will require medical attention and / or antibiotics.
Inspections around the home to prevent the ant from entering is the first step to prevention of an infestation. Sealing any and all ways they might enter the home is paramount. Granular baits can be broadcast around the home’s exterior. Keep wood debris piles away from the house along with keeping the lawn mowed and trimmed around the home. In severe infestations you may employ the help of a pest control professional who may also recommend chemical treatments in conjunction with the above mentioned methods.
Tawny “Raspberry” Crazy Ants:
Tawny Crazy Ants, an invasive ant native to South America, are a recent addition to the list of pest ants here in the states. First discovered in Texas in 2002. They are now in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and FLORIDA. These ants will annihilate honey bee hives, by consuming brood and colonizing the hive. They can cause electrical damage and mechanical failure such as HVAC systems, pump switches, motors and when large numbers accumulate in electrical equipment they cause short circuits and equipment failure. They will trail considerable distances up and down bushes and trees irritating nesting birds and small animals, causing them to relocate. Worker ants commonly ‘tend’ sucking insects, scale insects and others that excrete a sugary substance called ‘honeydew’ when stimulated by the ants.
They are considered super colony ants. The local population of TCA can reach extraordinary densities in a single season. They get so dense they often out compete populations of red imported fire ants for resources which can lead to extinction of local colonies of fire ants. Residents experiencing the tawny crazy ant, prefer the fire ant. Research groups have been involved in many lab and field experiments trying to understand more effective ways to manage these TCA super colonies. Trying just about every bait, granular and contact insecticide as well as liquid contact insecticides. The good news is: almost all these treatments are effective in killing the TCA. The bad news is: within about 2 weeks Crazy Ants reinvade the treated area and reach densities the same or greater than before being treated. The best results in the field trials involved the use of liquid contact insecticides containing the AI Fipronil followed by an application of another contact insecticide containing the AI Dinotefuran. Using the Fipronil on the perimeter of the house and an application of the Dinotefuran to the lawn and landscape adjoining the house. This treatment prevents the reinvasion for about 3 months and is quite expensive. No species of invasive ants in the US has ever been completely eradicated.
Many universities and county extension scientists and entomology labs work every day trying to help understand and control these pests. One side effect of the vast numbers of ants killed by pesticide are drifts of dead ants that may accumulate next to walls. These drifts contain massive numbers of ants. To put this into perspective, one could easily fill numerous trash bags full of dead ants in just minutes from these drifts. When casually observing these huge piles of ants, your first intuition is that you are viewing piles of dirt. Although these enormous quantities of ants are clearly being killed, it can be demoralizing to watch as new foraging workers simply crawl over the top of these drifts. This gives a notion of just how abundant this species can be.
Crazy Ant gets its name from the way it runs around erratically, seemingly with no purpose. (like it lost its mind) This is very different from other ants that usually trail uniformly. The Crazy Ant is opportunistic in its nesting habits. They will use virtually any crack or crevice to build a satellite nest, moist or dry, they don’t care. They can be found outside in the landscape under mulch or timbers, in logs or rocks, just about everywhere. Inside they will nest in wall voids, items stored or left alone for long periods.
Although the Crazy Ant seems to be wandering aimlessly they really do have set trails for foraging. They are omnivores and feed on many foods like grease and sweets. A Crazy Ant pest management program must include correcting conducive conditions. Locating and treating colonies and targeted treatments with a residual. In many cases the home owner will need to call in a pest control professional, like Safari Pest Control, who will inspect, devise a pest management plan, and educate the home owner of their role in controlling the Crazy Ant.
Pharaoh Ants are also known as “sugar ants.” You will find them during the day. They cease activity at night and begin each day of work at around 8 am.
Pharaoh ants are tiny, honey colored ants with black and red markings on the abdomen. They have multiple queens and sub-colonies. New colonies spring up by budding. Budding is when a group of reproductive and worker ants leave the original colony to start their own. The budding process is why this particular species are so hard to control and eliminate.
Pharaoh Ants, being extremely small, can be found in various places. They will nest in places such as buildings, homes, green houses, hospitals or nursing homes, nesting in recessed areas like cracks, crevices, wall voids, under appliances, in outlets, and under carpets. You may also find them in and around your pet food dishes. These ants carry and can transfer pathogens and more than a dozen dangerous bacteria.
This ant is found almost worldwide. It is found in the southern parts of Florida but may inhabit the whole of Florida. The Pharaoh Ant can only subsist outside in the subtropical areas such as Florida and Hawaii. That means that if you have them, they are probably in your home. Pharaoh ants do not build mounds or carve out galleries in wood. In the home, you will find the Pharaoh Ant trailing in and out of cabinets and on countertops in the kitchen or around toilets, drains, and sinks in the bathroom. They can chew their way into packaged foods, contaminating them. The Pharaoh Ant will search for sweets, fats, and proteins which is why sanitation is a key part of the extermination process. These petite little pests will also eat other insects.
Combined with sanitation, the best method of Pharaoh Ant pest control is a thorough inspection and the placement of dual-type baits. (sweet and protein) Spraying chemicals indoors should only be done strategically in cracks and crevices and voids. A good perimeter spray may help some, or the use of granular baits will work also. If you try to do it yourself you may create a larger problem for yourself. (A colony of pharaoh ants will scatter if a toxic substance disturbs it, creating multiple problems where there had been only one. In controlling pharaoh ants, it is often advisable to seek a specialized pest control professional.)
Acrobat Ants are similar to carpenter ants but much smaller. When viewed from above, the abdomen is heart shaped. When viewed from the side, the abdomen is raised above the main part of the body. These ants vary in color, from yellowish brown to dark brown. The abdomen is darker than the rest of the body. They have a stinger, but are not a health concern, as they hardly ever sting or attempt to sting.
Then name ‘acrobat ant’ comes from the way they sometimes hold their abdomens up in the air when threatened or running. It appears as if they are performing an acrobatic stunt. They also emit a strong odor when disturbed.
Acrobat ants do not build typical ant mounds in yards like other ant species. Outside they prefer to live in decaying logs, stumps, and hollow tree cavities. Indoors they look for voids, including abandoned carpenter ant nests, termite galleries, and insulation. Acrobat ants are the most dominant arboreal ant species in the forests of Northern Florida.
The common types include:
So, who becomes responsible?
Determining who is responsible for the extermination is not always straightforward. The first step to finding out is by reading any relevant clauses in the lease or rental agreement. If it indeed has some clauses on pest control, then that will take any precedence over any other law.
But if the lease doesn’t have any clauses in it, then fall back on what the state laws say.
That is why, as a landlord, it is imperative to make sure that the lease is detailed. Doing so can help save you a great deal of trouble down the road. Plus, if you are found liable, it can end up costing you a pretty good sum of money to fix.
As the landlord, the Warranty of Habitability law requires you to provide a property that is safe and habitable. And this includes putting some measures in place to prevent pest infestations.
The following are some of the preventative measures you can put in place.
When does your tenant become responsible?
Your tenant becomes liable for the pest problem if it was their actions that caused it. Such actions may include fleas from their pets, roaches, ants, or rats due to their poor cleaning standards, and bedbugs that they may have brought with them when they moved in.
However, if the entire neighborhood is infested, then the liability will shift back to you.
Your tenant may also become responsible if they have a health condition that requires them to live in a sterile environment. In this case, since this is an additional precaution, the responsibility will be theirs to take. Because, as a landlord, the law only requires you to provide a safe and habitable property.
What’s more, your tenant has a responsibility to let you know when they have a reason to believe their home is infested.
So, back to the original question – who is responsible for pest control, landlords or tenants? Clearly, there is no straightforward answer. Both parties have a responsibility to ensure the property is free from any pest infestation.