Turf Insects: Ants

There are a variety of ant species throughout Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan. Although they can be very beneficial to the environment and your lawn (the will forage for insects and their eggs - including termites! They also turn and aerate soil and some species even pollinate plants).

With all the benefits ants bring, they can also pose a problem to the lawn and even the home if they are able to establish a colony within a structure. With over 100 species of ants in Ohio, we will only look at a couple that you are likely to cross your lawn (or home) in the Greater Toledo area or Southeast Michigan.

Pavement Ant (image above)

Food Source: Outside they feed on insects and honeydew produced by aphids or scale. Inside they feed on sweets, grease, pet food, nuts and meats.

Usually found under stones, in cracks, along the curb edges, in cracks of masonry and woodwork and under concrete slabs. It is common to see their ant mounds in the cracks of driveways or sidewalks (hence the name). During the cooler months, pavements ants may make their way indoors.


ants in lawn

Image By: Clemson University - USDA Cooperative Extension Slide Series, Bugwood.org

Carpenter Ant

Food Source: Outside they feed on insects and honeydew produced by aphids or scale. Inside the home carpenter ants feed on syrup, meats, sugar and other sweets.

Damage: Carpenter ants do not feed on wood, though they do make their homes in moist or decaying wood (which may also include building structures). If you spot carpenter ants IN your home, that is an indication of a potential structural issue. If you spot them in an old tree, that may point to a an issue with that tree. Piles of saw dust can be seen as they burrow and expand their nest, drawing out the saw dust to keep their tunneling system clean and free of debris.


Interested in learning more? A fascinating site dedicated to ants: www.antweb.org

There is information online that directs homeowners to pour boiling water on ant hills to remedy the residence of these pest. While boiling water would probably kill a good number of the ants, it will also kill the root structure of the plants the boiling water is poured over. Besides that, there is risk involved with having a pot of boiling water transferred from the house to the lawn, and then poured. There are product available over the shelf at many stores designed specifically to rid a property of ants.

Grounds Services also offered surface feeding insect control to help bring the threshold of the ant population down (though they are very difficult to eliminate).

What homeowners can do:

 

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