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The Invasive Robust Crazy Ant Is Expanding Its Habitat Range In Urban Areas Of Arizona

The Invasive Robust Crazy Ant Is Expanding Its Habitat Range In Urban Areas Of Arizona

While only a very small minority of all documented ant species are considered indoor pests, ants are the most commonly encountered, and the most commonly managed insect pests within homes and buildings throughout the US. A significant proportion of ant pests in the US are non-native species that have established invasive populations throughout the world. Ants that are capable of surviving all types of international travel, and can readily establish invasive populations in numerous urban environments outside of their native range are aptly referred to as “tramp ants.”

Tramp ants generally inhabit large colonies that contain multiple queens that can leave at any time to establish new colonies of their own. This makes tramp ants exceptionally difficult to eliminate from structures, as infestations require pest control professionals to locate and destroy all colony nesting sites. Tramp ant pest species found in the US include Pharaoh ants, Argentine ants, Tawny crazy ants, odorous house ants, ghost ants, and more. Nylanderia bourbonica, or the “robust crazy ant,” is a little-known tramp ant species of increasing importance in Arizona.

The robust crazy ant has long been known as a tramp ant, but they are not well documented in the US because specimens are hard to distinguish from other closely related species in the country. Also, most descriptions of robust crazy ants in the US were documented only recently, and most sources state that this species is becoming more common in the southeastern states. However, these ants are now more prevalent in Arizona than they are in Louisiana and Mississippi, and their habitat range is currently expanding throughout the southern states. Robust crazy ants are heavily dependent on moist conditions in order to thrive, and despite the arid climate in southern Arizona, these ants are expected to become more prevalent in the Sonoran Desert region in the coming years.

Have you ever struggled to control an infestation of raspberry crazy ants?





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How To Recognize Longhorn Crazy Ant Workers That Forage Within Homes, And Why These Ants Are Common And Hard To Control

Paratrechina longicornis is an ant species that has become a well established household pest in the southern US states, including the entirety of Arizona. According to a 2006 study that followed pest control service calls, P. longicornis was the 12th most commonly collected ant pest species around homes in Phoenix, and it was the 7th most commonly collected ant pest species around homes in Tucson, making it more common than Pharaoh ants in residential areas of southern Arizona. P. longicornis is more commonly known as the “longhorn crazy ant,” azy ant workers can be recognized for their grey to black bodies that measure ⅛ of an inch in length. Workers also possess long legs and relatively long body hairs.

Longhorn crazy ant workers travel long distances from their nest while searching for food sources, and they move erratically along seemingly random trails, making their nests difficult to eliminate. The longhorn crazy ant may be the most widely distributed ant species in the world, as its small size allows it to crawl into commercial goods that travel overseas. Their small size and fast movements also allow them to get into every nook and cranny within a home, from the basement to the attic. It is not uncommon for longhorn crazy ant workers to establish nesting sites within electronic devices, such as television sets, appliances and computers.

Although longhorn crazy ants invade homes in massive numbers, making them one of the most difficult ant pests to control, they do not damage property or inflict harmful bites or stings. They do possess an organ known as an acedapore that sprays formic acid, but this defense capability is not harmful or that painful to humans. These ants nest within wall voids and other inaccessible areas, and multiple methods are needed to control single infestations, including a monitoring system, bait, and minimal amounts of insecticide.

Have you ever experienced a longhorn crazy ant infestation?


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How Often Do Arizona Pest Control Professionals Address Harvester Ant Infestations That Pose A Medical Threat To The Occupants Of Infested Homes?

How Often Do Arizona Pest Control Professionals Address Harvester Ant Infestations That Pose A Medical Threat To The Occupants Of Infested Homes?

It is probably safe to say that most Arizona residents are aware that numerous venomous and medically threatening animals inhabit their home state, including snakes, spiders, scorpions, ants, wasps, bees, and even lizards. It is also common knowledge that virtually all spiders in the state, while venomous and intimidating to look at, are harmless to humans. Of course, the western black widow and a few recluse spider species are exceptions in this regard. In Arizona, bees are more deadly than snakes, and this is due to the abundance of Africanized honey bees (killer bees) in the state. The Arizona bark scorpion has the potential to inflict deadly bites, but quality medical care makes fatal scorpion stings unheard of in the southwest US. Many Arizona residents are under the impression that red-imported fire ants can be found near their homes, but these hazardous ants were actually eradicated from the state years ago. However, extremely venomous harvester ants are abundant around Arizona homes.

The stings inflicted by harvester ants are considered to be among the most painful, and the venom produced by these ants is more toxic than that of all other insect species documented. A little more than 24 harvester ant species have been documented in North America, most of which can be found in Arizona. Studies have shown that southern fire ants and multiple harvester ant species are responsible for the vast majority of medically significant ant stings that occur in Arizona. The three harvester ant species considered to be a public health threat in Arizona are commonly known as rough, red and Maricopa harvester ants. The red harvester ant has caused two documented deaths. In one case, a Tucson man went into anaphylactic shock after one single red harvester ant stung his upper thigh. Apparently, the ant crawled into the man’s shorts while he had been sitting on a sidewalk.

Harvester ants are considered medically threatening pests due to their abundance in urban and suburban areas of Arizona, particularly Phoenix and Tucson. Luckily, harvester ants are not likely to invade homes, but one study found that Arizona pest control companies address harvester ant infestations frequently. In fact, harvester ant infestations around Arizona homes are becoming increasingly common due to the rate at which new homes are being built in their desert habitat.

Have you ever had an encounter with harvester ants?



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The Native Southern Fire Ant Is An Aggressive Species That Inflicts Painful Stings And Infests Homes, And At Least One Envenomation Incident Resulted In Death

The Native Southern Fire Ant Is An Aggressive Species That Inflicts Painful Stings And Infests Homes, And At Least One Envenomation Incident Resulted In Death

The S. xyloni ant species is one of three fire ant species found in Arizona, the others being S. aureus and S. amblychila. The red-imported fire ant is the most well known fire ant species in the United States, and while this species is invasive in the US, many people are surprised to learn that some fire ants are native to the US, one of which is the S. xyloni species. The S. xyloni fire ant species is commonly referred to as the “southern fire ant,” and this species can be recognized by their dark reddish-brown exterior that is covered in golden hairs.

Like other fire ant species, the southern fire ant often inflicts damage to lawns which can sometimes be costly for homeowners. When fire ants infest a lawn their unsightly dirt mounds become a conspicuous part of the landscape, and southern fire ant nests can also become established indoors. Much like red imported fire ants, southern fire ants will emerge out of their nests in large numbers if they become distrubed. These ants will not hesitate to climb onto a person’s body before inflicting numerous stings, which can be fatal to those with an allergy to arthropod venoms. These ants can also establish indoor infestations that can pose both a medical risk to a home’s inhabitants as well as a nuisance. The southern fire ant prefers to establish colonies within lawns where grass is stressed and dry, making them a prominent species in southern Arizona. This species can also establish nests within wall-voids, below carpeting, and in crawl spaces, and colonies can grow to contain 10,000 individual ants. While anaphylaxis does not often occur in response to southern fire ant stings, this species was believed to have caused the death of a three month old baby after the ant pests invaded a day care center.

Have you ever experienced a fire ant infestation either indoors or outdoors?

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Fire Ants Spread Around The Globe Via Spanish Galleons Over Four Hundred Years Ago

The transport of insects to regions where they are not native is a serious problem in today’s world. Not surprisingly, this problem has existed ever since mankind took to the seas. When Columbus, and early European settlers in America first traveled across the Atlantic, they probably did not anticipate upsetting the balance of the world’s ecosystems, but this is exactly what has occurred as a result of maritime travel. Although customs officials and other authorities do their best to prevent the accidental transport of insects into non-native regions today, the fact is that invasive insects are increasing. Fire ants happen to be one of the earliest known insects to be transported to regions all over the globe via maritime travel. There may have been numerous other insect species that had been transported to non-native regions before fire ants, but fire ants were the first insect species to establish a global habitat as a result of careless sea travel. Many insects likely die as a result of being ill suited to new environments, but the durable fire ant has endured in just about every non-native habitat where they have been introduced.

During the sixteenth century, Spanish ships accidentally transported fire ants from the Americas to other regions across the sea. Fire ants had always been native to the Americas, but thanks to early colonial travel, fire ants have established habitats in every location that is either tropical or subtropical. The early transport of fire ants allowed people from all over the world to experience their extremely painful bites for themselves. Researchers recently published a study in the Journal of Molecular Entomology that describes how fire ants established their invasive habitat hundreds of years ago.

The manner in which fire ants spread in the sixteenth century will amaze you, as early maritime travelers seemed to be trying to spread as many insects across the globe as they could. Back then, when a ship would dock at a port, the crew would fill the ship’s ballast with soil only to later transfer and dump the soil at another port in a foreign country. Once the soil was dumped, its weight would be replaced with cargo. Of course, early sea travelers were simply ignorant of the consequences of transporting soil to different parts of the world. However, if they had known that they were moving enormous amounts of insects within the soil, they may not have stopped, as the negative environmental consequences of this insect transport were not known to most people at the time.

Do you think that enough precautions are taken today to prevent the global spread of insects by means of maritime travel?



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Dodge Ant Infestations this Summer | Gilbert Ant Control

Dodge Ant Infestations this SummerSummer DIY Pest Control Tips

Magic Pest Control offers prevention tips for homeowners to avoid ant problems

Spotting a line for food at a summer barbeque can be exciting, but not when it’s accompanied with a line of ants. Magic Pest Control says prevention of these picnic-crashing pests is key because they can be difficult to control once they infiltrate a property in large numbers.

Summer cookouts, and the crumbs they leave behind, are the perfect targets for ants in need of food and water. There are, however, quick tips and tricks that homeowners can use to sidestep ant infestations. These simple efforts can go a long way, as ants can contaminate food and colony sizes can be quite large depending on the species.”

Homeowners can implement the following ant prevention:

  • Eliminate sources of moisture or standing water; repair leaky pipes or faucets.
  • Quickly clean up crumbs and spills as soon as possible.
  • Do the dishes, wipe down counters, tabletops, sweep up floors and remove trash regularly.
  • Don’t leave leftover dog and cat food dishes sitting out all day; pick up dishes once the animals are done eating.
  • Check under appliances and behind garbage cans where crumbs and residue can accumulate.
  • Keep tree branches and other plants cut back from the house.
  • Seal any cracks or small openings around the foundation of the home and repair ripped screens as these can serve as entry points.

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