Citronella Ants – Fall ant swarms

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On nice sunny fall days we get calls for flying ants, often suspected as termites, inside homes or adjacent to them. Inside they are often in the basement near a furnace.  Usually the culprit is:  Citronella Ants.  Crushing the ant between your fingers will release the characteristic odor of citronella that gives this ant its name.  Not a structure infesting ant this ant lives in the ground and is usually only a pest when they swarm in the fall and are confused with termites which normally only swarm in the spring in eastern Massachusetts.
-Lauren Greenhow, General Manager, GreenHow, Inc.
www.GreenHow.com. Effective Organic & Low Impact Solutions, Lawn Care, Pest Control & Termite Control in Newton and Metro Boston.

Ants of New England-Booksigning

At the Harvard Museum of Natural History on Thursday, November 29th at 6 pm, ecologist and author  Aaron Ellison will give a lecture and have a booksigning for the new regional ant guide, Ants of New England.  This event is free with free parking at the 52 Oxford St Garage. 

-Lauren Greenhow, General Manager, GreenHow, Inc.

GreenHow.com. Effective Organic and Low Impact Solutions, Lawn Care, Pest Control and Termite Control in Newton and Metro Boston.

Winter Ants

If you are noticing ants this time of year in the Boston area, then you probably have a nest on the inside of your insulation. Sometimes ants or ants with wings (swarmers) will show up in the coldest months, like now. It is a good sign that a nest exists on the interior side of the insulation, probably near a heating source. These ants will still be trailing in the usual places, looking for food and water. Water or wet food is especially important since in heated home, the relative humidity may be 28 to 32 percent.

-Lauren Greenhow, General Manager, GreenHow, Inc.
GreenHow.com. Effective Organic & Low Impact Solutions, Lawn Care, Pest Control & Termite Control in Newton and Metro Boston.

Little Black Ants

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This time of year, customers start to report sightings of little black ants inside their homes. The foraging ants are very small, and follow edges foraging for sweet and greasy food sources. Try to use baits that the ants will consume leading to colony elimination. Treating foraging trails is rarely successful. A good IPM technique is to clean up foraging trails by wiping trails with a light vinegar cleaning solution or plain warm water.

-Lauren Greenhow, General Manager, GreenHow, Inc.
http://www.greenhow.com/. Effective Organic & Low Impact Solutions, Lawn Care, Pest Control & Termite Control in Newton and Metro Boston.

Carpenter Ant Frass

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To the left you will see conical piles of sawdust and carpenter ant body parts (carpenter ants are cannibals) that piled on folding tables below a pair of skylights. This sawdust and ant parts is called “frass” and when falling continuously from the same spot forms conical piles. This is a sure sign of a structural carpenter ant nest and should not be ignored. An integrated or green pest management program should be implemented to eradicate the nest and a plan put in place to protect the structure from further attack.
-Lauren Greenhow, General Manager, GreenHow, Inc.
www.GreenHow.com. Effective Organic & Low Impact Solutions, Lawn Care, Pest Control & Termite Control in Newton and Metro Boston.

Ants

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Pavement or little black ants follow lines and forage randomly for food. Once a source is found, other ants follow a pheromone trail left to the food source by a returning ant wiping or dragging the abodomen on the surface. That is why regular cleaning, or wiping down surfaces (integrated or green pest management), can disrupt the pheromone trail and make it more difficult for these ants to locate and establish paths to food sources. Take the time to wipe off your counters after cleaning up the dishes, even if they look clean. Regular maintenance, cleaning, will reduce the amount of pheromone trails if ants are trailing in your home. And clean to the edges and backsplash, ants love to follow edges.
-Lauren Greenhow, General Manager, GreenHow, Inc.
www.GreenHow.com. Effective Organic & Low Impact Solutions, Lawn Care, Pest Control & Termite Control in Newton and Metro Boston.

Pesky ants & simple steps to reduce them.

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As it warms up into spring, remember these simple tips about ants.
1) They are primarily nocturnal, but driven by food and other factors in the spring, so you will see them active throughout the day.
2) They leave a pheromone (scent is closest definition) to tell other ants that this path leads to food. This is left by the ant rubbing or dragging its’ abdomen on the surface. Cleaning and wiping down a surface will remove any pheromone trails, forcing the ants to forage for new feeding site and find the food resource again.
3) Ants love edges. They will follow line and edges, which can also be “soft spots” on the cleaning list, so spend some time during spring cleaning focusing on edges of counters, backsplashes, trim boards, etc.
4) Prune off brush and limbs. As ants follow lines, such as branches and limbs, don’t let a destination be the soffit or worse, the window box outside your kitchen window. Prune vegetation off the structure and up to 18″ from the structure.
This will help reduce the ants you see this spring.
-Lauren Greenhow, General Manager, GreenHow, Inc.
www.GreenHow.com. Effective Organic & Low Impact Solutions, Lawn Care, Pest Control & Termite Control in Newton and Metro Boston.