Reports flooded in this morning, September 5th, of swarms all over Tucson. People from many different locations throughout Southern Arizona reported seeing small winged creatures swarming about one to twenty feet off the ground above a nest where many more insects lay on the ground below. It turns out, these critters are Harvester ants, and they were swarming in hopes of finding a mate!
Reproductive members of a Harvester ant colony will leave the nest in search of a mate, typically during one or two days each year. What is truly amazing is that most Harvester ant colonies all begin this mating process at almost the same exact day! This usually happens in late summer to early fall, depending on weather, moisture and other factors. The ants exit their mound, take flight and search for a mate using chemicals called pheromones. The ants then return to the ground with their newfound partner and finish the mating process.
Harvester ants are very prevalent in the Southwest. They typically prefer desert climates and tend to stay away from homes and urban areas but as we build structures further into their territory, we are bound to run into one another. When threatened, Harvester ants will defend themselves and sting what they perceive as a threat! So use caution, and remember to contact Truly Nolen for your free inspection if you see these or any other pests near your home or business!
Earlier this month, seasonal monsoon moisture combined with the remnants of Pacific Hurricane Norbert, Odile and Polo dumped torrential rain throughout the desert southwest. Record-breaking rainfall covered Phoenix to Las Vegas and points in between. According to the National Weather Service, parts of five western states — California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and Colorado — were under flood watches or warnings as part of this storm. Phoenix set a single-day rainfall record.
|City||Rainfall (in inches)|
The National Weather Service recorded 3.29 inches of rain at the Phoenix airport, by far the most precipitation ever received in one day in the city. The previous record for Phoenix was 2.91 inches in 1939. Phoenix received 5.7 inches of rain during the summer storm season in 2008, followed by less than an inch the next summer. Average September rainfall for the Phoenix area is typically just over a half inch (0.64 inches).
The epic floodwaters led to widespread power outages, flight delays, and forced the closure of dozens of schools and roads. As the storm water subsides and the cleanup begins, be on the lookout for increased insect activity. The stagnant water left behind is causing a great concern for mosquito breeding areas. Area homeowners are seeing intensified ant presence and termite swarmers are starting to appear.
Mosquitoes breed in areas where water is present and the recent rainfall provides mosquitoes with a variety of new breeding areas. Mosquitoes prefer stagnant water, like an uncirculated pond or fountain, or other moist conditions such as flowerbeds, flowerpot saucers, unkempt gutters, sprinkler heads, or shady areas.
In addition to their annoyance, controlling and repelling mosquitoes is essential to minimizing the risk of contracting the many diseases carried by mosquitoes such as Dengue Fever, Encephalitis, Malaria, and dog-heartworm. The best protection from mosquito-transmitted diseases is to prevent exposure to mosquitoes.
- Drain any standing rainwater. Drain water from garbage cans, pool covers, coolers, toys, or other containers where water has collected.
- Inspect your yards and drains. Dispose of bottles, cans, old tires, buckets, plastic swimming pools, birdbaths, or other debris that can hold standing water.
- Stay indoors at dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active. If you must be outside when mosquitoes are active, cover up. Wear light-colored clothing, shoes, socks, long pants, and long sleeves.
- Maintain a clean yard. Repair leaky pipes and maintain and clean roof gutters.
When the wet weather arrives, ants can begin invading your homes. Although they are tiny, ants can pack a powerful punch as they can pose both health concerns and costly property risks damage. While most ants are considered harmless, an ant infestation can be a major nuisance and difficult to control. Ants will eat practically any kind of food, but are especially attracted to sweets as they supply a large amount of energy to the relatively small ants.
The main tactic to preventing an ant infestation is to create a less inviting environment for pests around your home. This includes eliminating access and removing suitable sources of food and water. If you have an ant infestation:
- Determine what the ants are attracted to and remove the food source. Keep your kitchen clean. Seal food items properly, clean counters, do the dishes, fix leaky pipes, and perform general household maintenance. Doing so will ensure you can more easily avoid persistent ant problems.
- Exclude ants by caulking or sealing cracks, holes, and any other potential entry points as well as doorways and other entrances that arent completely sealed.
- Prune all shrubs and trees at least 4 feet away from your home this prevents easy access for pests into your home.
Exclusion can prove difficult to the untrained eye and covering every single entry point is virtually impossible. Many times DIY efforts do not totally eliminate the ants or the nest. And since ants are not at the top of the pest food chain, they may invite other predators like roaches into your home.
Termite infestations can be a major problem, causing dangerous and expensive damage to homes and businesses. Subterranean termites nest underground and need contact with soil to meet their moisture needs. A mature nest will periodically emit a large number of swarmers to find a mate and start a new colony. Termites can cause serious structural damage to any home in a matter of months if left untreated. Common signs of termite activity include:
- Cracked or bubbling paint
- Wood that sounds hollow when tapped or is extreme soft
- Damaged wood, sagging floors or ceilings.
- Pencil-sized mud tunnels or tubes located near the foundation or on exterior walls
The main things homeowners can do to prevent a termite infestation involve eliminating excessive moisture and removing potential sources of food for the termite:
- Avoid moisture accumulation near the foundation. Divert water away with properly maintained clean downspouts, gutters, and splash blocks.
- Promptly repair leaking faucets, water pipes, and air conditioning units.
- Seal entry points around water and utility lines or pipes
- Keep all wooden portions of the house foundation at least 6 inches (and up to 18 inches) above the soil. Use concrete or steel supports when in contact with soil.
- Check decks and wooden fences regularly for damage. A minimum of 6 to 8 inches between ground level and porch steps is recommended.
- Install trellises, vines, and trim plants so that they do not contact the house. Do not build flower planters against the house.
- Remove dead trees, debris, and stacks of firewood from around your home.
Truly Nolens Four Seasons pest control and treatment program treats the both the inside and outside of your home, reducing the risk of future infestations. Having your trained Truly Nolen pest control specialists eliminate the pests in your home can save you time, money, and a huge headache. No matter what the season or disaster, Truly Nolen has you covered. Give us a call today for a free inspection or conveniently schedule online.
The sticky, sultry days of summer are here in the ATL… some call them the Dog Days of Summer. But dogs are not the only ones that enjoy the summer months. Ants in particular thrive during the summer season. Their activity increases with the availability of both sugary and natural foods. To celebrate the Ant Days of Summer, we bring you some importANT information regarding Americas most annoying household pest.
What kind of ant likes math? An accountANT!
Although we have yet to see an ant helping you with your math homework, ants are truly capable of becoming a serious pest around your home. Odorous house ants are known to contaminate food sources; fire ants attack with a painful sting to humans when disturbed; crazy ants can swarm and destroy electronics; and carpenter ants can cause severe property and structural damage as they tunnel through wood to build nests. Call Truly Nolen today to properly identify the kind of ant that is in your home, the first step in an effective removal.
What do you call an ant that likes to be left alone? IndependANT!
Although funny, ants are not truly independANT. Ants are social insects that live in colonies. They regularly work together to ensure the survival of the species. One example of this can be seen in your kitchen during the summer season when it seems like ants will go after anything. The scout ant goes in search of food, and once he finds a potential source, lays down a pheromone trail that alerts the entire colony. That is why you can see one ant in your kitchen one day, and many more the next day. Getting rid of the food source is the number one deterrANT. You may need to go searching for a single, stray Cheerio that rolled under your refrigerator and has since attracted an army of ants. Though it may seem tedious, eliminating the food source is a sure-fire way to eliminate the ants. Keep food in airtight containers. Clean common areas immediately after cooking or eating.
Where do ants go on vacation? FrANTS!
Unfortunately for Atlanta homeowners, these sneaky critters can march into your home and never leave. Since ants are tiny, they can find thousands of entry points into your home. They can infest all levels of your home and any unsealed morsel of food. Ants come inside because they’re attracted to your sources of food and water. Excluding them from entering your home is your first line of defense to keep them out of your home. Use caulk to seal any windows, doors, and any holes or cracks that the ants crawl through. Fix leaky faucets and eliminate other sources of water for ants such as around the air conditioner.
Dont let your ant infestation become permanANT. Call Truly Nolen Atlanta today for a free inspection. Our pest control professionals can help you implement an action plan to keep your home ant free.