IDENTIFYING YOUR PESTS
The pests we love to catch, kill, and keep out.
Ants, And Why They Come to Your House.
Many types of ants have moved to Hawaii. They come into our homes because they need food (especially sweets), and water. On the dry sides of our islands, they always search for water.
What to do.
Ants need moisture, so leaky pipes and windows—and dampness in kitchens, bathrooms, and under your house—are very attractive to ants. Some love moist wood and paper, so all these attractants must be removed. In the kitchen, keep food, crumbs, and open containers off countertops. Wash dishes quickly. Empty the trash. Don’t make pet food available to them.
To keep ants out, entry points to your house such as cracks, openings around windows and roofs need to be sealed. Trees and shrubs need to be trimmed away from the house.
Important control steps are identifying the species, food cleanup inside and outside, drying up moisture, excluding them from the home, and choosing the correct methods to stop them.
Identifying Your Ants
Argentine Ants (2.2 to 2.8mm—Black, musty smell when crushed)
Colonies can appear in massive numbers, so much that when they move in, often people move out. Once in your house, they can build nests in your walls or under your house. It’s best not to use a repellent spray, which can trap them in your home. And because they appear in such large numbers they can overrun regular baits. Argentine ants vary in color but in Hawaii they are primarily black. Untrimmed trees and shrubs touching the house are their bridge from the outside to the inside of your home.
Ghost Ants (1.3 to 1.5mm—semi-translucent)
They look like tiny dark spots that move. But they can be disease carriers and can carry pathogens to your kitchen and your family. Ghost ants are hard to control, and don’t respond well to standard store-bought baits. Worse, when a homeowner uses a grocery store perimeter treatment they unwittingly can trap a whole colony inside their house. It’s important to act strategically to move them outside, and to use non-repellent materials they take back to their nests to kill the whole colony.
Whitefooted Ants (2.7mm—black with white feet)
Their territory can be very large and they can appear in large numbers. They can get into electrical boxes and short out your system. They are controlled much like Argentine ants.
Pharaoh Ants (2mm—light brown heads and darker back ends)
You’ll find them most often in your kitchen or bathrooms. The pharaoh is mostly an indoor ant that nests outside, but close to your house. This one is the worst for do-it-yourselfers: If you spray harsh chemicals (like Raid or even Windex) on them, the ants will split their colony, and they will spread. When you call us, we will use a slow-acting but very effective bait system that they will take it back to their colony and eat. And feed their offspring, so that they are all eradicated.
Carpenter Ants (5mm to 1.2cm—big, black, solitary)
They are the big black ones, probably 1/8-inch long, and wander individually. You’ll find them in your attic and walls, because they follow termite channels. The bad news is they eat wet wood, so you probably have more than one problem—ants plus a leak somewhere. When they eat it they leave little piles of sawdust. If you see them, they’ve probably built a home somewhere nearby in lava voids or rotten trees. When we come to your home, we’ll work to find their colonies and eradicate them.
Fire Ants (2 to 3mm—small, red, painful bite)
This is another invasive species, new to our islands and more problematic. Small, stout, red ants 1/8 inch long that live in trees. They’re called fire ants because when they sting they make you feel like you’ve been set on fire. It’s really painful, and your kids really will let you know when they’re a problem. When you call us, we’ll most likely use perimeter baits and repellents.