Did you know that August, 2017 saw more than 16.63 inches of rain descend upon Southwest Florida? Even for our “rainy season”, that’s a lot of rain! As we dry out over the coming weeks, it’s important to pay attention to our pest population. Even if your home stayed dry, you may find some extra guests paying a visit. In this special series, we’ll talk about common local pests, how they may have survived, and what to watch for now. First up: How Ants Survive Floods.
How Ants Survive Floods
Ants are disturbingly resilient creatures, especially when it comes to their ability to survive under water. If you’ve ever tried to drown out an ant colony in your front yard, you already know this. Many people are surprised to learn that ants don’t have lungs. They absorb oxygen through tiny openings in their body called spiracles.
While there are types of ants that live almost entirely under water, most ants can survive for about 24 hours submerged. This is plenty of time for them to deploy some of the most incredible water survival skills seen in the insect world.
Step 1: Run
When an ant colony begins to flood, they instinctively race to the surface. If dry ground can be found, ants will shelter in place. If the flood waters rise too high, the real magic begins.
Step 2: Float
Once the waters have risen to flood level, don’t expect to see those fire ants clinging to blades of grass. Instead they’ll cling to each other and form their own raft. This raft of ants will float on the top of the water until the current brings them to a patch of dry ground.
But Beware: Ants aren’t too picky when it comes to survival. If the “dry ground” they bump into first is your leg as you slosh through the water, they’ll climb aboard. These ant rafts can be made up of 100’s of thousands of ants, yet another great reason to keep kids, pets, and yourself out of the water.
Step 3: Swarm
August isn’t typically fire ant swarm season in Southwest Florida but when their homes are flooded, ants do what it takes to survive. Part of survival for any species is finding a new place to call home. Over the next week, don’t be surprised if you see winged ants swarming near lights, windows, and doors. They are searching for a new place to call home.
Keeping the Ants Away
Now for the important part. As ants are swarming in search of a new place to call home, how can you keep them from setting up camp in your yard? Here are 3 things you can do today:
The first step starts with a phone call. Call your pest control company and ask them if your yard is protected. If it isn’t, or if the heavy rains may have compromised your lawn treatment, schedule an appointment.
2. Be Mindful of Yard Lights
Now might be a good time to put the solar yard lights up, at least until your pest control company has a chance to pay a visit. When swarming, ants are drawn to light. You don’t want your yard lights leading them to you.
3. Walk the Lawn
Take a few minutes to check around your lawn for new pests you didn’t notice before. While you’re out there, take a peek at your foundation. While fire ants will prefer to live in your yard, other types of ants will take advantage of newly exposed cracks in the foundation to get inside.
When in Doubt, Call Us Out
If you want to be sure your home is protected, give us a call. We’re happy to come out and do a free, no obligation home inspection. We’ll let you know about any problems and tell you how to fix them. Remember: just because the recent rains and flooding weren’t enough to displace you doesn’t mean they weren’t enough to displace your neighbors’ pests. Don’t let them find a new home with you. Call All U Need.