Favorite

Ask the Times: Ants! 

thebigpicture1-1.jpg

Q: My house, even my roof, is crawling in ants, and our exterminator has not been able to control them. He says they are odorous house ants, but I call them obnoxious. Has there been a jump in ant populations this year? I'm not the only one having this trouble.

A: Dr. John Hopkins is an associate professor at the University of Arkansas and an Extension Entomologist for urban pests. He says, no, there are no more ants this year than any year. Ant populations remain pretty stable. Your problem, he says, is you are "in the wrong place at the wrong time."

And no, you are not living atop a giant ant colony like the one in Japan inhabited by 306 million worker ants and a million queen ants, though it may seem like it. Probably your problem is honeydew — which is the sugary substance that insects with piercing mouth parts like aphids and white flies excrete after they suck the juices from your flowers, plants and trees. So if you live in a yard with flowers, plants and trees, and they are close to your house, you are feeding your ants. Hopkins is optimistic your pest person will get the odorous ants under control eventually.

They are called odorous ants (Tapinoma sessile), by the way, because of the way they smell when you crush them. Some describe the smell as like rotting coconut or a blue cheese. The ants are also called "stink ants" and "coconut ants."

Just be glad you don't live along the Texas gulf coast and have crazy ants, an invasive ant that will cover you up if you stand still in your yard in, say, Galveston. Crazy ants don't like our climate, Hopkins says, so while these ants may be driving you crazy, they are not crazy ants. Crazy ants, armed with the ability to spray formic acid on their enemies, including fire ants, are bad news for animals, like birds, who rely on the insects they kill for food.

Favorite

Comments (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • Inquizator: Holt Condren

    Holt Condren is an explorer and entrepreneur based in Maumelle, the founder of Ink Custom Tees and the author of "Surf the Woods: The Ordinary Man's Trail Map to the Extraordinary Life." He's also featured in a new documentary, "Finding Noah," which follows a team of archeologists and theologians to Mount Ararat, in Turkey, on a search for Noah's Ark. The film will premiere with a multicity one-night-only screening at 7 p.m. Oct. 8.
    • Oct 1, 2015
  • The devil is in the details at the Arkansas state Capitol

    The proposed Ten Commandments monument vs. the Satanic Temple's proposed Baphomet statue.
    • Aug 17, 2016

Most Shared

  • UPDATE: Retired Arkansas Arts Center director Townsend Wolfe dies at 81

    Townsend Durant Wolfe, III, retired director and chief curator of the Arkansas Arts Center, has died at 81.
  • Legislation filed for $10 million school voucher program

    The legislation to vastly expand transfer of state tax dollars to private schools came before the school choice day event I mentioned earlier.
  • Pork and more

    Some notes on disparate topics before I take a vacation break.
  • Trumpeting

    When President-elect Trump announced he would, in a few days, force Congress to enact comprehensive health insurance for everyone, poor or rich, that would provide better and cheaper care than they've ever gotten, you had to wonder whether this guy is a miracle worker or a fool.
  • Putin and Trump

    Here's a thought exercise: What do you suppose would happen if Russian strongman Vladimir Putin decided to clarify remarks he reportedly made about Donald Trump during the election campaign?

Latest in The Big Picture

Visit Arkansas

1.73-carat diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park

1.73-carat diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park

Jack Pearadin and Doug Nelsen found a 1.73-carat diamond after nearly a year of searching the park's field.

Event Calendar

« »

January

S M T W T F S
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31  

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Profile of a plant

    • There is plenty of studies out there, which fill in the holes in this story…

    • on January 19, 2017
  • Re: Plant of the year

    • The only dope I see in this is that Kleiman, talking about things he is…

    • on January 19, 2017
  • Re: Robocalls are illegal

    • Big Dawg Telemarketing & Robocalls Hot Springs AR Get Rich Robocall Business Schemes Does Not…

    • on January 19, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation