Tag Archives: Ants

Zombie Ants? Really?

Zombies
Zombies

A staple of horror films, zombies have never been so popular. Hollywood seems fascinated by a zombie apocalypse while AMC’s The Walking Dead brings the flesh-eating undead into our living rooms. Of course, in the human world zombies don’t actually exist. But in the animal world it’s a different story.

Evil Fungi

In Thailand’s rainforest canopy a parasitic fungus turns carpenter ants into zombie ants and forces them to do its bidding. When ants walk across a fungus-coated leaf, fungal spores adhere to its body. Piercing the insect’s tough outer cuticle, spores enter the ant’s brain, causing it to act erratically.

Instead of industriously marching with its nest mates, zombie ants meander about, convulsing and falling to the forest floor. The fungus forces the ant to walk to an area ideal for fungal reproduction.

Jaws of Death

As if all this were not spooky enough, as the sun reaches high noon the fungus forces the ant to bite into the main vein of a leaf and then locks the insect’s powerful mandibles so it cannot release its grip. Hanging from its locked jaws, the ant dies.

The fungus continues to grow inside the insect’s body until a spore head erupts from the ant’s head to spew fungal spores into the air and restart the cycle. (Click to watch a Penn State video of zombie ants in action.)

Fortunately, the lives of New Jersey carpenter ants are not nearly so dramatic, but the damage these wood-destroying ants can do to your Monmouth County home can be just as disastrous. If carpenter ants attack, protect your home and call the ant extermination experts at Allison Pest Control.

Spring Heralds Beginning of NJ Ant Season

Citronella Ants
Citronella Ants

As soon as the ground warms up, New Jersey ants are on the move. Many, but not all, ant species live in underground nests below the frost line where ground temperatures remain in the 50s year-round. Unless ants nest inside your home, chilly temperatures and frozen ground make ants an infrequent winter pest in Monmouth and Ocean counties. But as soon as the ground thaws and temperatures start to climb, ants can again be seen swarming over sidewalks, crawling through gardens and trailing across kitchen floors.

What NOT to Do When Ants Invade

Ants play an important role in nature but become a problem when they invade your Monmouth County home or business. Their large numbers and secretive nesting sites can make ant infestations difficult to eliminate. The one thing you do NOT want to do when ants invade is spray them with house or garden insecticide. Spraying ants can actually make your ant problem worse. You might kill a few dozen ants, but these canny insects will simply find a new path to your kitchen trashcan or tabletop honey jar. Changing their foraging path makes it more difficult for professional ant exterminators NJ to determine nest locations and eliminate the infestation.

What You Should Do When Ants Invade

When ants invade, immediately call a professional ant exterminator NJ for fast, effective elimination of your problem. If you’re worried about invading pests, we invite you to sign up for a free pest inspection by one of Allison Pest Control’s professional pest technicians. We offer free pest inspections within our Monmouth County and Ocean County service areas in central New Jersey. If you have an immediate pest problem, call us at 800-564-4585 for fast, professional service. Our experienced techs can usually be there within 24 hours.

What Happens to Ants during the Winter?

During the cold winter months, most outdoor-dwelling New Jersey ant species hibernate. As outdoor temperatures drop, ants become sluggish and their body temperatures fall. Nest entrances close over as traffic to and from the nest ceases. While many worker ants only live one year, dying at the end of the season; others, including the queen, survive for several years.

Living off stored fat, ants spend the winter inside their nests in a state of suspended animation. As the weather warms in the spring, ant activity heats up. Nest entrances are cleared as ants become active again. Activity is most noticeable in the spring; but these tiny insects remain active throughout the summer and early fall.

Many ant species build their nests deep underground below the frost line where ground temperatures remain a constant 45 to 50 degrees F. year-round. Some ant species even produce an antifreeze-like substance that helps them weather the cold.

In recent years, there have been a few surprising reports of indoor winter ant activity in Northeastern states. In a few cases, ants have been spotted climbing interior. Because insect body clocks are tuned to air temperature, it is possible that an unseasonably warm spell could trigger a spring-like burst of ant activity.

Just because you don’t see them crawling around during the winter doesn’t mean your Monmouth County NJ home is ant-free. Allison Pest Control’s home protection plan is the best way to keep ant populations in check year round.

Hitchhiking Insects Do Not Spread Holiday Cheer

For many Americans, the passing of the Thanksgiving holiday means that it is time to head to the local hardware store or roadside stand and pick out the perfect evergreen to welcome in the Christmas holiday season.  Entranced with the smell of delightfully smelling needles, not many American’s will give a second thought to the possibility of insects living inside of a newly cut or live tree report Monmouth Country NJ exterminators.

Home and business owners are often surprised to learn that there are many different types of insects that can be joining their holiday festivities once that beautiful symbol of Christmas has been brought indoors.

Once insects are brought indoors on a Christmas tree, the warmth of the interior of a home will signal to any hitchhikers or hidden insect eggs that it is the start of spring.  The development of many types of insects will then spread throughout the building, allowing the critters to be creeping around into cracks and crevices, walls, or on window sills as they look for a way to escape outdoors.

Here are some hitchhiking insect pests, and their typical hiding places within a Christmas tree…

  • Spiders
  • Ticks
  • Aphids
  • Ants
  • Mites (from bird nests)
  • Scale Insects

It is not recommended that Christmas trees be treated with any type of pesticide as it will make the plant extremely flammable once the Christmas lights are attached and operating.  If insects have found their way into your home or business on your Christmas tree, its time contact a Monmouth County NJ exterminator who will be able to eradicate any sneaky incoming pests.

New Jersey Ants Won’t Stop Bugging You

When you see ants in your home, is your first pest control impulse to reach for the bug spray?

Bad idea

You might kill a few of the bugs with the spray, but you’re missing the bigger problem of infestation. When threatened by even the most powerful bug spray, ant colonies will split up.

Each little group will then breed to form a big new colony. This is known as budding, and it can multiply the number of ants in your home exponentially!

So how do you get rid of the little pests?

 Put away the bug spray and call in New Jersey’s pest control experts at Allison Pest Control. You’ll find a range of services designed to get ants out of your life for good:

  • A site visit to identify areas – like scattered debris, cracked foundation or leaking pipes – where ants might get access.
  • A poison-bait distribution that is harmless to you and your dog or cat, but deadly to ants that bring the bait back to the colony to feed.
  • And the comprehensive Home Pest Protection Plan to ensure your ongoing satisfaction.

What can you expect?

 After just one visit from Allison Pest Control, you will notice something missing from your home: ants. That means much more than just getting rid of unsightly pests – you’re also free from the germs they carry into your home that can affect your food and air quality.

Remember, ants don’t travel alone. Even if you see just one, it’s time to call in the eradication experts.

There’s Nothing Sweet About New Jersey ‘Sweet’ Ants

They’re called “sweet” ants because they emit a nauseatingly sweet rotten coconut odor when they’re crushed; but if odorous house ants  invade your New Jersey home, experienced Monmouth County NJ ant extermination professionals warn that you’ll find the experience more sour than sweet.

Odorous house ants have become the most common and most difficult to control ant species in New Jersey. About 1/16 inch long, or about the size of a single letter on this webpage, they live in massive multiple colonies that can number in the hundreds of thousands. Their minute size, prolific numbers and swarming behavior make odorous house ants a formidable foe when they invade Ocean County NJ homes.

To get an idea of the invasive force of these small insects, imagine every letter on this webpage suddenly turning into a tiny dark brown ant and swarming en masse over your kitchen counters and into your cupboards! Odorous house ants are so tiny that they can easily slip into sealed food boxes and plastic containers, fouling the contents; although you’re more likely to see them swarming in a writhing mass over dropped food or plates of food left on kitchen counters.

Should you discover a trail of odorous house ants snaking across your kitchen floor and into the trash can, your first instinct may be to reach for the insect spray. Don’t! While household sprays will kill a few dozen ants, you’ll force the colony to relocate, making it even harder to eliminate. Expert Monmouth County NJ ant exterminators  have the knowledge and tools to get rid of odorous house ants and keep them from coming back.