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Ants: America's No. 1 nuisance pest

Published On: Aug 27 2013 03:41:32 PM CDT
Updated On: Sep 09 2013 11:28:52 AM CDT
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(NewsUSA) - Imagine an earless creature that can carry 20 times its body weight living with thousands of seemingly identical clones that will fight to the death when challenged. While this image could be taken right from a science-fiction thriller, it also depicts America's number one nuisance pest -- the ant!

According to a recent survey conducted by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) and Dr. Lauren Hansen of Spokane Falls Community College and Washington State University, ant infestations are on the rise across the country. The survey found carpenter ants, odorous house ants and pavement ants to be the most prevalent species invading American homes.

Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NPMA, noted, "Many ants are nuisance pests that can contaminate food sources, but others are known to damage property. Carpenter ants, for instance, tunnel through wood, which can compromise a property's structural stability, and crazy ants can infest and destroy electronic devices. It is important homeowners take precautions to prevent against these troublesome pests."

There are approximately 700 species of ants in the United States and nearly as many ways to control them. To prevent against most of the common invaders, the best strategy is to 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 and water dishes clean. Eliminate sources of moisture in and around the home, such as leaky pipes or damp and humid basements. Finally, seal cracks and holes around the home to close entry points, trim tree branches away from the home, and make sure wood and wood products are not stored adjacent to the house.

As many homeowners can attest, when you see one ant, lots more are soon to follow. While some ant colonies house thousands of members, some super colonies have been known to be home to millions of ants. Anyone who suspects they have an ant problem should contact a pest management professional to identify the species and recommend a course of action.

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