PIEDMONT TRIAD - A local pest control company and WFMY News 2's expert handyman Tom Garcia say homeowners have been expressing concern about ant and mosquito infestations in their homes this summer.
Terminix-Triad pest control expert Cliff Scruggs explained an ant called the Odorous House Ant, the most common ant found in and around homes, feeds on sweet food and sources concentrated on outdoor plants. When it rains, sweet honeydew is washed away, and therefore ants have to look for sustenance elsewhere-like in homes.
Scruggs and Garcia said to counter more ants from coming indoors, homeowners should ensure all cracks, crevices and pipe penetrations in the foundation walls of their homes are sealed and caulked. Each summer, they also must check whether the weather strip under each door is tightly in place. If any daylight can be seen seeping through door cracks, that typically means ants have enough space in which to get inside.
Scruggs said homeowners often make mistakes in attempting to rid ants from their homes. He explained ants are social insects that live together in large colonies, and only a few ants depart from the colony to look for food. Therefore, spraying some of the worker ants will not kill the entire colony, and Scruggs recommended instead using a bait material that the ants will carry back to their nest and indirectly kill off the whole colony. Bait material can be bought at any hardware store and should be laid out around the home along a path in which ants tend to travel.
Scruggs affirmed aside from ants, people also are noticing greater-than-usual populations of mosquitoes in and around their homes. He explained some rather uncommon mosquitoes-like the largest in the U.S., the Psorophora-are showing up in the Triad this summer, having been brought out by heavy rainfall. He said that species prefers to lay eggs in low areas that soon could be flooded.
To proactively counter mosquitoes, Scruggs said to target the mosquitoes' life cycle--water. Scruggs said in a technique his company calls "tip or toss," homeowners should survey their property and empty/refill weekly any containers used to hold water-such as tin cans, flower pots, pet bowls and bird baths. Scruggs demonstrated how plant pots with holes in the bottom, instead of bowl bases, are more mosquito-resistant.
Scruggs said pest control companies, like his, typically spray against mosquitoes by spraying plant vegetation. The pesticide is applied directly to trees and shrubs and is safe for families and pets to be around, once the pesticide dries-usually within two hours.