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Leafcutter Ants – Menacing Houston Pest, Part 1 of 2

Pest Control Houston TX – Ant Control

Leafcutter Ant

Leafcutter Ants Damage Houston Area Landscapes

Leafcutter ants (leafcutting or leaf-cutter ants) are one of the more than ten thousand known ant species around the world, most of which can be found in tropical forest areas.

Ants are common insects that are found throughout the entire United States. And, of course, here the sub-tropical Houston area is home to many ant species that often require services of a professional  pest control Houston area exterminator.

Most ant species are considered to be social insects, each with their own unique capabilities. Houston pest control experts report that depending on the type of ant species, you will find structured ant nest communities in trees, in ground-level mounds, or underground.

Ants are often confused with the wood-destroying termite. Three easy ways to distinguish the difference between ant and termite is the body shape, the antennae and the wings of the flying members.

Ants have a segmented body and termites more of a straight cigar-shaped body.

Ants have straight antennae and termites have elbowed antennae.

Flying ants have flared wings and flying termites have rounded, overlapping wings.

If you’re not certain about the pest identification, call on the services of a Houston ant control professional to be on the safe side.

Anyone who has watched ants for even a short period of time could attest to their incredible ability to communicate with each other, their seemingly never ending physical strength, and their eagerness to work for the good of the colony.

Leafcutter ants are an interesting, even fascinating ant species, unless you have a massive colony sitting outside of your backdoor!

Houston pest control experts believe that leaf-cutter ants have been in existence for over fifty million years.  There are thirty nine different species of leafcutter ants. Like other types of ant species, leaf-cutter ants can be brown, black or reddish in color.

They operate an advanced social caste system in which each member of the colony has specific responsibilities according to their size.

Within the leafcutter colony there are: defenders, gardeners, leaf-cutters, foragers, and those that take care of the young. The tiniest of ants even have a job within the leafcutter colony, as they ride the backs of the worker ants and will defend those they ride from carnivorous flies.

Within the leafcutter ant community, larger worker ants spend their time cutting leaf fragments, while smaller workers guard the larger worker.

Once the leaf fragments are ready to transport to the nest, the smaller worker will carry loads of cut leaves that can weigh up to twelve times their body weight. After the leaf fragments are delivered to the nest, smaller ants slice the fragments into tiny pieces.

Leafcutter ants have proven to be a serious agricultural pest within the United States, causing billions of dollars of damages each year to crops and landscaping.

Residential and commercial properties alike under siege from these ants have suffered substantial damage with stripped foliage within just a few days.

Please check back soon for the conclusion: Leafcutter Ants – Menacing Pest, Part 2.

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