Big-headed ants are so named because of the appearance of their main colony workers. They are easy to distinguish, because they have notably large heads in relation to the rest of their bodies. Conroe home owners often find these ants underneath the slabs of their homes, or near to the foundation. Sometimes these ants find their way inside through foundational cracks or through other entry ways indoors around doors and windows. Most species of ants are can be difficult to get rid of once they're indoors, so it's a good idea to know what type of ants you're dealing with to help you in managing them.
Big-headed Ants (Pheidole)
Big-headed ants don't often nest indoors, though they may come inside looking for food and possibly moisture. They are considered one of the most aggressive and invasive ant species anywhere, at least to other ant species. There are several species of them in the United States, including in Texas.
Big-headed ants, in addition to nesting underneath slabs/foundations, can also nest under patios, in yard debris, and in soil that has been broken up. Their major workers (the soldiers with the big heads) are about 1/8" in length and reddish orange to brown in color. They are not as numerous as the minor workers, and their main job is to defend the nest. Their large jaws can crack seeds and puncture surfaces. Minor workers are about half the size of the major workers (~1/16") live in the colony and feed the young, as well as build the colony itself.
Some species can transmit tapeworms and bacteria, making them a contamination threat to humans. Big-headed ants have never been known to cause structural damage to homes, and they are not known to sting or bite unless they are provoked. They eat just about anything, including other insects, and are, in fact, attracted to areas where other insects abound. Outdoors, enjoy honeydew produced by aphids, while in your house they will search out grease, sweets, high-protein foods, and seeds. In large enough numbers, Big-headed ants can cause some damage to well-kept lawns, fruits and vegetables, houseplants, and packaged foods. They have been known to destroy and contaminate entire pantries.
How Do You Get Rid of Big-headed Ants?
Try the following tips to help you keep Big-headed ants out of your home.
- It is critical to ensure that all of your food products (including pet food) is well-sealed and stored to prevent these ants from showing up in search of it to begin with.
- Clean up spills, keep the sink free of empty dishes, and sweep and mop regularly in your kitchen. Make sure all leaks indoors and outdoors are repaired.
- If you find ants entering your home through a crack in the baseboards, doors, or windows, seal it up with caulk or spackling. Screen off pipe and utility entry points. Do everything you can to keep Big-headed ants out.
- Mow your lawn regularly, keep firewood and mulch at least 20 feet away from your home, and clear your yard of debris. Trim your shrubs and trees at least an inch or two away from the side of your home.
- You can spot treat for ants indoors with a good home bug spray, and you can also treat around the outside of your home regularly with a yard bug spray LINK to perimeter treatment aticle.
Doing the above steps will do a lot to keep Big-headed ants and other pests from coming into your house. Because of the invasive nature of this species of ant, they have been known to create “super colonies," increasing their ability to invade your home in large numbers. Despite your best efforts, sometimes Big-headed ants will still invade your home, but you can save yourself all sorts of stress, money, and time by calling our Conroe, TX pest control experts today! Let us help you get your yard and home ant and pest free so you can enjoy the summer with your family and friends!