Ant Control

Ant Control Services in Austin, TX

Targeted Ant Extermination by YardDoc Pest Control

Given that ant populations are massive, treatment focuses on placing baits attractive to your particular species of ant. This may be sweet baits, starchy baits, or protein-rich baits. We maintain and monitor our baiting system to ensure the ants take the bait back to their nest.

 

The baits are carriers of the pesticide. Individual ants carry it into their nest, where the colony’s food supply is stored. Over time, the colony is killed off. It’s important to understand that our treatment targets a specific type of ant.

 

Some insects, including ants, are beneficial without being a nuisance, and you don’t want to eliminate them. Getting rid of ants the YardDoc way means targeting and eradicating a single ant species without causing damage to other ants or other colonies. Read what our happy customers have to say in their reviews. If you need help getting rid of ants, let a YardDoc pest technician help identify the ant species involved and implement a solution for ant control.

A group of red ants actively working and communicating in the sandy soil of a YardDoc-maintained area in Austin, TX, with some crossing over small rocks.

Fire Ants

Ants crawling through a gap between a wooden baseboard and a light-colored floor, with many ants clustered at the corner in YardDoc Austin TX.

Odorous House Ants

Close-up image of several large, dark ants crawling on a textured wooden surface in YardDoc Austin TX, showcasing detailed features of the ants and the wood grain.

Carpenter Ants

Close-up of red ants in a YardDoc Austin TX garden, collaboratively carrying a small, light green caterpillar. Prominent details show the ants' antennae and the textures of the stem.

Harmful Ants in Austin include:

Nuisance ants include:

A large anthill composed of tiny particles and twigs, located on the edge of a concrete surface with grass in the background at YardDoc Austin TX.

Identifying an Austin ant species is easier said than done, even for a trained pest technician! Here are a few clues to help you determine the types of ants you’re dealing with.

How to Get Rid of Ants in Austin

Take a look at our blog if you are going to try your hand at DIY pest control, or find a technician in our service area to do it for you.

Make Your Home Less Attractive to Ants

Ants seek food, water (such as an outdoor swimming pool), and shelter. Don’t give it to them. Examples include:

  • Store food in the refrigerator or in containers with airtight lids.
  • Keep vegetation (shrubs, tree branches, etc.) off and away from the perimeter of the house.
  • Reduce water availability. Ants find water in clogged gutters, dripping taps, and even pet dishes.
  • Don’t over-water your lawn.
  • Keep mulch away from the foundation.

Make Your Home Less Accessible to Ants

Ants forage for food, water, and shelter. Don’t let them find creature comforts at your house. Examples include:

  • Seal exterior cracks, gaps, and weep holes. Take a look at our handyman FAQs.
  • Install and maintain weather stripping.
  • Install window and door screens.

Frequently Asked Questions

Fire Ants FAQ

Fire ants have earned a fearsome reputation due to their painful stings. Most often the bites are administered by many ants aggressively attacking at the same time.

The victim then suffers from painful after-effects of fire ant venom, which includes a painful burning sensation, followed by itchy red bumps.

Though very rarely lethal, fire ant stings can elicit an allergic reaction, including anaphylactic shock, in people with suppressed immune systems, particularly from a multiple stinging incident.

You’ll want to soothe the burning and itching sensation until it subsides on its own, usually within an hour.

Put ice in a towel and place it over the bite. You may also take an antihistamine or use a hydrocortisone cream to relieve itching.

Monitor the affected area for excessive swelling, itching or redness, or other symptoms like shortness of breath, hives, nausea, cramping, sweating, etc. that could indicate a severe allergic reaction. If this occurs, seek medical attention promptly.

Otherwise treat fire ant stings as you would stings of other insects. Keep the bites clean and try not to scratch to avoid secondary infections.

Within 24 hours the bite will become a small bump filled with pus-looking fluid.

Keep in mind, once you experience an allergic reaction to a fire ant sting, you have a 60% chance of having a similar or worse reaction if you are stung again.

Fire ants are not native to the United States. They were accidentally imported to the United States in the 1930s, probably through the port of Mobile, Alabama.

Ships require ballast, or heavy weight, to maintain stability and balance on the ocean. Rocks and soil were frequently used as ballast until the modern innovation of pumping water for ballast. It’s believed the fire ants arrived in soil from South America that was used for ship’s ballasts.

By the 1950s, fire ants were spreading throughout Texas and beyond. Fire ants now infest the eastern two-thirds of Texas, and some urban areas in western Texas where they’ve replaced native ant species.

Fire ants range from small (1/16 inch) to large (almost ¼ inch) in length. The color is described as dull reddish brown to reddish black. They are most quickly identified by their aggressive attitude and ferocious biting!

Fire ants feed mostly on young plants, all sorts of insects and seeds. They can attack small animals such as lizards and baby birds.

Fire ant workers are only able to consume liquid although they can cut and chew foods using their mandibles.

They regurgitate food for the other ants of the colony to feed on. This regurgitation and then sharing of food is one of the reasons baits work well against fire ants.

Fire ants build mounds, primarily in sunny, dry and open spaces. You’re more likely to find a mound in a field or your yard than in a forest.

Fire ants are renowned for their ability to survive extreme heat and also cold, even though they do not hibernate.

Fire ants can become really concentrated in favorable areas with up to 100 mounds per acre!

Fire ant colonies start with a single female laying her first batch of eggs and tending to them for up to a month.

The eggs hatch into workers that will then start feeding the queen and assisting with maintaining and growing the colony.

The queen then gets on with the process of egg laying – producing up to 2000 eggs in a day! A fire ant colony will typically have 10 to 100 queens – all mass producing eggs! The queens can live several years whereas workers typically live weeks or possibly a few months.

A mature colony will start producing its own reproductive pairs to start new colonies and can have up to 100 000 individuals, sometimes even multiples of that.

Non-chemical Fire Ant Control
  • Open the top of the mound to expose the chambers, and pour 2 to 4 gallons of boiling water into each mound. This works around 60% of the time.
  • Biological controls include fungi, viruses, nematodes and bacteria. Like most biological controls these are only moderately effective although certain nematodes can achieve 80% effectiveness.
  • Interestingly enough, another imported ant species, the crazy ant, has developed an antidote to the fire ant sting, rendering the fire ants attack ineffective. As a result the crazy ant is actually moving into territories previously occupied by fire ants.

 

Chemical Control Fire Ants
Mound or Targeted Treatments
  • Mound drench or mound injection is when a chemical is applied into the chambers of the mound and into the soil that the mound is made of.
  • Baiting around the mounds.
Broadcast Treatments
  • This is a non-targeted approach that treats an entire area, using baits or insecticides.

Carpenter Ants FAQ

Texas is host to eighteen carpenter ant species, though not all of them destroy property. There’s confusion between winged reproductive carpenter ants and winged termites, without professional identification. Both cause expensive structural damage, though in different ways.

The winged black carpenter ant is a reproductive swarmer. Both male and female flying carpenter ants mate during the swarming season between May and late July in order to form new colonies. Swarms near or inside your home are a strong sign that the colony is causing structural damage to your property.

DIY Method
It won’t be easy to kill carpenter ants, and may not work after purchasing many retail baiting products and spending months trying to get rid of them. But, here are some tips if you prefer the Do-it-yourself pest control method.

  • Carpenter ants are notoriously challenging to lure with bait traps, though plenty of retail products try to convince you otherwise. Container baits, in particular, have little effect on our Texas species.
  • Find outdoor foraging trails when the ants are active at night, in warmer weather, using a flashlight. Likewise, the best way to find ants indoors is spotting one at night and following it back toward the colony.
  • If you know where the colony is located, you can attempt to drill into the wall and inject a pesticide safe for wall voids of homes. But please use extreme caution. This method is best left for the experts.
  • Carpenter ant control is not once-and-done. It requires multiple treatments and proactive management.

Professional Services
YardDoc knows exactly how to identify and get rid of carpenter ants. We’ll tailor an ant control process for you that includes both prevention and elimination. Take a look at our happy customer reviews to see for yourself.

First, we will identify the species infesting your property and then try to locate the colony nest itself. Next, we will determine the most effective pest control method. It may include a variety of commercial-grade baiting, safe pesticide injection directly into the colony, and exclusion techniques.

Last, we’ll monitor, manage, and adjust your carpenter ant treatment program to ensure thorough extermination. And, if your home sustained damage because of the ant invasion, our talented handyman team can assist with repairs.

Carpenter ants are sneaky in that they inflict damage slowly over a period of years. They don’t eat wood like termites do. Instead, they infest existing hollow spaces such as wall voids and window frames, or tunnel out trails between insulation and wood structures in a crawl space or attic.

They’ll often use cracks or gaps in windows and doors to gain entry inside your home. They need moisture, and so rotted or damp wood (such as window frames), attracts them. As they build and expand their nest and tunnels, the wood splinters and breaks off, causing property damage. A carpenter ant’s excavation activity creates galleries for nesting and travel, and extensive damage to your property over time.

Texas carpenter ants live in smaller colonies and are not as destructive as those found in the Northwest and Northeastern regions of the United States. But they should not be dismissed.

Carpenter ants are classified as wood-destroying insects. Therefore, their presence must be noted on real estate transactions and can seriously affect the value of your home, even after you’ve completed expensive repairs.

It usually takes an expert, like a YardDoc pest control technician, to identify whether you have carpenter ants or termites. Carpenter Ants are one of the larger species of ants found in Texas (1/4 to 3/8 inches). They have a reddish-brown head and thorax with a black abdomen.

The workers of the species may range in color from yellow to black. The winged reproductive males and females are black, and larger (1/4 to 1/2 inch) than others within the colony. All ants have bent or elbowed antennae. This is one way you can distinguish them from Drywood termites or Subterranean termites, which have straight antennae.

They are not dangerous to humans or pets and do not sting. But they will bite, usually in defense of their nest. Powerful mandibles, designed for chewing through wood, exert a lot of pressure. And they may inject a chemical form of formic acid. Therefore, sometimes the area around a bite will become red, inflamed, and itchy.

Outdoors, they nest in the dead wood of trees, stumps, fences, and piles of firewood. Carpenter Ants eat other insects and honeydew (not the fruit; the sweet liquid produced by plant-loving aphids).

Inside your home, this pest will consume anything we eat. They are attracted to sugar, honey, wet and dry pet food, and crumbs of any kind that we’ve left on the floor or countertops. It’s rare to spot a carpenter ant indoors as they only forage for food at night.

Tawny Crazy Ants FAQ

The crazy ant is an invasive species, originating from South America, and first spotted in Houston, Texas in 2002.

The crazy ant has displaced other ant species in its path, including the also invasive fire ant. While this initially may sound like a good thing, crazy ants reproduce quickly.

Unlike other species of ants, crazy ants typically host numerous queens in one colony. The result is that you end up having a lot of ants!

Individual infestations can be enormous, even by ant standards, with colonies covering areas miles across. There is some discussion about the potential that the entire population in Texas may be one single super colony!

Crazy ants are small ants, around 3 mm long (smaller than fire ants) and they are typically tawny brown to dark honey in color. They are marked with distinctive lighter stripes across their abdomens.

Like most ants, crazy ants tend aphids who provide them with honeydew. They also eat small insects, seeds, plants, fruit and kitchen scraps.

Crazy ants can nest in dry or moist areas; the most important criteria being a warm place. They typically nest under a pile of rocks, logs, and under paving or concrete structures. They’re attracted to electricity, and are often found in a control panel, breaker box, electrical outlet, A / C unit, water softener, sewage pump, etc., causing shorts and other damage.

Crazy ants bite, but they don’t sting. The effects of the bite are minimal to humans.

However, the crazy ant produces formic acid which it uses as a venom in battles with other ants. This formic acid is also an antidote that detoxifies fire ant venom, enabling crazy ants to take over territory from fire ants.

They even chase fire ants out of their own nest and take it over for themselves!

Treating crazy ants is more complicated than most other ant species due to a number of reasons:

  1. It is difficult to find a nest as they walk in crazy patterns. Other ant species easily can be followed back to a nest.
  2. Having multiple queens means that reproduction is taking place in many areas. Bait taken back to a single queen will not necessarily eliminate other sub-colonies.
  3. Crazy ants colonize a large territory that may cover many individually-owned properties. There needs to be a coordinated neighborhood effort to effectively eradicate tawny crazy ants.

Crazy ants can be managed, even if your home is a part of a super colony. Without a coordinated effort, crazy ant management is more about creating a buffer zone, and being vigilant at keeping the ants away, as opposed to eradicating them completely.

The best way to manage ants is a combination of making your spaces less attractive and less accessible to ants.

 

Ways to make your property less attractive:

  • Storing food in the refrigerator or containers with air tight lids
  • Keeping vegetation from growing on the perimeter of the building
  • Reducing water availability to ants by unclogging gutters and fixing dripping taps
  • Not overwatering your landscape
  • Keeping mulch away from the structure

 

Ways to make the location less accessible to ants:

  • Sealing cracks and weep holes
  • Installing and maintaining weather strips
  • Installing window and door screens

Treatment for ants consists of placing baits that are attractive to that particular species. Depending on the type of ants, it may be sweet baits, starchy baits or protein-rich baits. The baits are carriers for the pesticide that the individual ants will carry into their nests which ultimately exterminates the colony. At YardDoc we typically combine exclusion, baiting and targeted spraying to manage crazy ant populations.

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