Saturday, June 23, 2012

Carpenter Ant Awareness Week


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By Diane Forrest

A friend of mine recently sent me the following video about the world's biggest ant hill.  It's a very interesting video, and only lasts about 3 minutes, but it shows how intelligent these tiny little insects are.  Not only are they strong and hard workers, but they also have a very complicated colony life.
http://www.dump.com/2011/08/30/worlds-biggest-ant-hill-video/

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This week is Carpenter Ant Awareness Week.  Carpenter ants are not termites, but they are just as destructive when it comes to damaging your property.  Carpenter ants can damage wood used in the construction of buildings. They can leave behind a sawdust-like material called frass that provides clues to their nesting location. Carpenter ant galleries are smooth and very different from termite-damaged areas, which have mud packed into the hollowed-out areas.  Carpenter ant species reside both outdoors and indoors in moist, decaying or hollow wood. They cut "galleries" into the wood grain to provide passageways for movement from section to section of the nest. Certain parts of a house, such as around and under windows, roof eaves, decks and porches, are more likely to be infested by Carpenter Ants because these areas are most vulnerable to moisture.

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If you notice these little critters around your property, I would suggest calling your local pest control company to take care of them so they don't destroy your property.

In Mississippi, where I live, we have a little ant called a fire ant.  These are vicious little critters that will jump on you and bite!  There is a picture of what a fire ant bite looks like.  When my son was a baby, well I would say about 3 years old, he took off his shoes and walked outside at my parent's home.  He stepped right in a fire ant bed, and they swarmed all over him in no time.  He had several bites on both feet, and not only was it extremely painful for him, he had to be carried everywhere for about a week.

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There are several poisens available to treat these beds, however I would hate to do the experiment that was done in the video to see how many are actually underground. Every time one bed is treated, another one will soon pop up, especially after a rain.

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If you are bitten by a fire ant, it can be treated with hydrocortisone cream and a Bendery, however some people are allergic to the bites, and can have the same reaction as wasp or bee stings.  Signs to watch for include:  severe chest pain, nausea, severe sweating, loss of breath, serious swelling, and slurred speech.  Should these symptoms occur, take immediately to the hospital for treatment.  They will be required to carry an epi pen with them to prevent future life threatening reactions.
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So, during Carpenter Ant Awareness Week, just remember not all ants just invade your picnic.  Some are dangerous to your health and property too.  Take special precautions to prevent them from bothering you.

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