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Ants: Risks, Allergies and Prevention

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Detecting Ants in the House

Unlike most other pests, ants can be easily discovered. They do not hide from people and will come out during the day, which makes it easy to spot a live insects. A one off specimen may not be an indication of an infestation but regular appearance of more than one ant might indicate a problem. Some species, like the Pharaoh ant, leaves a pheromones transparent trail on their way. Those trails smell unusually and shine under bright light. Ant nests are harder to spot. They can look as innocent as piles of dirt, waste or debris on the ground.

Risks and Hazards

While ants are not known to carry any diseases, they still spread waste, unhygienic matter and allergens in your property.They can also cause huge damage to electricity, phone and computer networks in your premises.At least one mass blackout in the UK has been originated by out-of-control ant nests near electrical wires. Such incidents could easily start a fire.Though they are very small, their mandibles are strong enough to cut wires and damage your appliances. Ant bites are often painful, especially for young babies and children.

Allergies

Unlike cockroaches, a few people are allergic to ants. However, ants could be much easily ingested than cockroaches. Their tiny size allows them to remain unnoticed in your food. some people are allergic to the pheromone trail they leave behind. Ant bites can result in inflammation and swelling. They usually do not need special treatment.

Ants Prevention

Ants prevention is similar to roach prevention. If you’re wondering why are ants come in the house or business, tightly seal and store away all the food.Ants are even better than cockroaches at accessing hard-to-reach areas. Thus, an open box of oatmeal in the cupboard can result in an infestation. Make sure you sweep all surfaces after cooking, and clear up any debris. Block off any access points, especially those at ground level. If you see ant mounds in your garden, slowly pour boiling hot water over them. This will not cause their complete extermination, but will keep their population at bay.

Cultural Significance of Ants

A typical British breakfast consists of ham, eggs and beans. A typical breakfast in Central Asia can consist of fried ants. They are highly nutritious and different species taste differently. For example, the Lemon ant gets its name from its citrus, bitter flavor, while the Sugar ant tastes like mint. Recently this tradition has seen some acceptance in Europe. Renowned Chief Rene Redzepi has included them in the menu of his two Michelin star restaurant Noma. Noma was subsequently named the Best Restaurant in the World in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014.

Contributions to the Ecosystem

Ants are not welcome guests to our homes and offices but they are extremely important to the ecosystem. They feed primarily on dead plants, other insects, animals and waste. This recycles the materials and fertilises the soil. A study conducted estimated that ants add 1,5cm of topsoil every 200 years. Ants also serve as the primary food source to a vast number of species . Birds, Spiders, reptiles other insects and even mammals such as the anteater prey on them. Some animals exist in a symbiosis with ants. For example, the Macrocheles rettenmeyeri is a mite that lives on the foot of army ants. It serves as an extension to their claws in exchange for feeding on ant blood. A more general example is the relation between ants and fungi. Many ants cultivate crops of different fungi to serve as a food source Much like human farmers.

What to Do in Case of an Ant Infestation

If your premises are infested by ants, make sure there is no food source that attracts them.Keep all edibles in sealed containers or inside your fridge.Swipe the floors—not only will this take care of any food particles on the ground but it will destroy the pheromones trails ants leave behind.There is little you can do to exterminate their hives without professional help. Still DYI products such as killer gel are efficient against small garden ants infestations.

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