Odds & Ends
Ants in Your Pants
Recently I got a call to help a homeowner with some ants. She had three pest control companies come by and none of them were able to identify the ants, yet they all treated her house. The problem persisted. I identified the ants for her as Liometopum apiculatum, which are not common household ants in New Mexico, but they do occur. If you don't recognize them, it is impossible to control them. They make nests hundreds of feet from where they are seen and in her case, it wasn't even on her property. The ants were climbing a tree on her property and getting on the roof from branches that were touching the house. The ants feed on the honeydew secretion of various homopteran insects such as aphids, scales and mealy bugs, so they do like sweets. I suggested she make a sweet bait with two tablespoons of honey, mixed with a teaspoon of boric acid, and place it in areas in the house where she sees the ants foraging. I also recommended she pest proof her house, including trimming all the branches on the tree so they don't touch the house. She followed both my recommendations, and her problem was solved.