If you notice army ants in your home, use these tips to help deal with these annoying insects. Army ants are extremely aggressive insects that live in temporary nests called bivouacs which they make by linking together their own bodies. Army ant colonies are always on the moves looking for new prey which could include everything from other insects to mammals. In some places in South America, huge colonies of army ants have been known to decimate entire villages. There are over 150 species of army ants. The most dangerous kinds need warmer climates than exist in the United States, however. There are a few species of less dangerous yet still annoying army ants that live in hot places in the southern US such as Florida, Arizona and Texas.
Luckily for you, army ants are nomadic. Thus, if you have a problem with army ants it's temporary as eventually the colony will move on in search of more food. While you have army ants, though, they can be destructive to your garden and irritating to you. Especially since they are likely to sting when threatened. Army ant colonies can consist of anywhere from 1,000 to two million ants. They will only stop long enough to form a bivouac for the queen to lay her eggs. Then they will move to a new nesting place every night for two weeks.
How to Avoid Army Ant Infestation
There are a few steps you can take to keep army ants from passing through your home. Keep your house very clean. Army ants will be drawn to anyplace they can hide where there is plenty of food to obtain. Make sure that your house is completely sealed. Fill cracks around doors, windows, siding, pipes and so on with silicone or silicone latex caulk. Replace or repair any torn window or door screen, even if the tear is tiny. Fix cracks and crevices in the foundation of your house. In your garden, don't put mulch right up against the side of your house and trim back any shrubs or tree branches touching the house.
How to Deal with an Infestation
If you see army ants, scoop them up with a soapy sponge and wash them down the drain or flush them down your toilet. Caulk and seal all of the holes near your doors and windows to prevent more army ants from entering. At night, plug the drains of your sinks and bathtubs. If you see lots of army ants at once, spray them with insecticide. If you suspect that the army ants are living inside of your hollow walls, drill some small holes in the walls and fill them with insecticide. In the long run, killing individual ants will not solve your problem. You need to find the bivouac and destroy it. You have to kill the queen to get rid of your army ant colony. In all likelihood, you are not going to be able to find the bivouac and kill the army ant queen yourself. You may need to hire a professional exterminator to come and handle this for you.
Using these guidelines, you will have a better chance of avoiding an army ant problem in your home.