How and Why Do Rats Get in the Attic?

a rat on a roof waiting for an opportunity to sneak into the atticThere are many things you never want to find in your home and rats are one of them. They can spread many different kinds of diseases as well as creating a multitude of hazardous property damage. In this article we’ll go over some of the many signs you’ve got rats in your attic/home, and what to do to get rid of the “rascally rodents in the attic.”

How and Why Do Rats Come into Your Attic?

Roof rats are the most common type of rat to find in your attic, and they tend to come in from trees outside. If there’s a limb near the roof they’ll make the jump and find an opening. For other species, they may access the upper levels of your home by climbing up a drain pipe or chimney, crawling through wall voids, or even tunneling through the building.

Rats have many reasons for coming into your attic. They may be searching for shelter, food, or water. That’s why eliminating crumbs and food debris and excess moisture go a long way toward rodent prevention.

Kinds of Rodents that Can Invade Your Attic

  • Deer Mouse: 5 to 8 inches long, deer mice build nests in dark quiet places, either the basement or attic for the most part. Their fur is gray to reddish brown, with a white belly and feet. More commonly found in rural environments, they’ll sneak into a house during winter for warmth. Dangerous due to their ability to spread hantavirus through their corpses and urine.
  • House Mouse: Also 5 to 8 inches long with varying shades of brown, gray, and black fur. House mice reproduce extremely quickly and are known for causing fire hazards by chewing through wires and property damage because of their tunneling. They also contaminate food with salmonella. 
  • Roof Rat: 13 to 15 inches long, their tail is longer than their body. Varying shades of gray to black coloration, with a distinctive hunched back and bulbous snout. Roof rats enjoy pet food to ours and contaminate anything they touch.
  • Norway Rat: 16 inches long, Norway rats have a hairy tail that’s shorter than their body and are typically grayish-brown, reddish-brown, or black. These rats can be aggressive and gnaw incessantly, especially on wires. Norway Rats cause considerable damage to homes, gardens, and structures. They can spread jaundice, rat-bite fever, and salmonella.

Signs You Might Have Rats:

Keeping a vigilant eye out for early signs of an infestation is the first step in preventing rodent damage or disease. Some of the most common signs of rats include:

  • Greasy Spots: Rats are creatures of habit when it comes to the paths they run, and over time they’ll leave greasy smudge marks along their trails. 
  • Chewed Items: From food to wires and furniture, rodents need to chew endlessly to prevent their teeth from growing too much. Chewed furnishings, wires, wall corners, anything. Chewing is a big sign you’re dealing with rodents.
  • Foul Odor: Rodents relieve themselves whenever the need arrives, which gives infested areas a sour musky odor. If there are areas of your home/attic that smell strongly, it may indicate the presence of rodents.
  • Droppings: Rodent droppings are small and greasy, about 3mm all the way up to 18mm depending on the species of rodent. You’ll find them scattered along the paths they run if there’s an infestation. 

How to Deal with Attic Rodents

If you’re seeing signs of any of these pests in your home don’t hesitate to call the pest experts at Southern Pest Control. As part of the Rentokil family we strive for an environmentally safe form of pest control keeping your family and home as safe as possible. With our customized pest control, we’ll make sure that once the problem’s gone it doesn’t come back.

Avoiding Roaches in the Spring in the Mississippi Gulf Coast Region

Cockroach on a countertop during springtime in Mississippi

Cockroach on a countertop during springtime in MississippiAs spring brings new life and growth, it also brings more cockroach activity and visibility. Homeowners in the Mississippi Gulf Coast region face one of the most common and persistent pest challenges from cockroaches. They can threaten your health, infect your food, and destroy your property. Avoiding roaches in the spring can help you prevent a full-blown infestation later on down the road. 

Signs of a Roach Infestation

Nobody wants to find cockroaches in their home, but it’s better to find them sooner rather than later. The longer the infestation is able to grow, the harder it will be to get rid of the pests. Stay vigilant about these common signs of a roach infestation:

  • Live or dead cockroaches in the house.
  • Roaches prefer dark and moist places: under sinks, behind appliances, in cabinets, cracks, and crevices.
  • You will also find them in basements, attics, garages, or crawl spaces.
  • Roaches seen during the day may indicate a large infestation or a lack of hiding places.
  • Cockroach droppings resembling black pepper or coffee grounds.
  • The musty or oily odor produced by roaches from their glands.
  • Finding oval-shaped cockroach eggs hidden in protected areas like behind furniture, inside walls, or under carpets.

What Roaches Are Looking For

Food, water, and shelter attract roaches to your home. They can eat almost any organic material, such as crumbs, spills, grease, garbage, pet food, paper, cardboard, leather, hair, or nails. Leaky pipes, faucets, drains, toilets, sinks, or dishes provide them with water sources. They also look for shelter from predators and harsh weather conditions. Gaps around doors, windows, vents, pipes, or wires allow them to enter your home.

How to Prevent Cockroaches

Eliminating roaches’ food, water, and shelter supplies is the best approach to preventing them. Roaches can only survive one week without water. Here are some tips to keep cockroaches away from your home:

  • Keep your kitchen clean and tidy. 
  • Fix leaks or moisture issues in your plumbing system. 
  • Dry up any standing water around sinks, tubs, showers, or appliances. 
  • Use a dehumidifier or fan to reduce humidity levels in your home.
  • Seal holes or cracks in your walls, floors, ceilings, or foundation. 
  • Declutter your home and remove any unnecessary items that could provide hiding places for roaches. 
  • Keep your outdoor areas clean and well-maintained. 

Types of Roaches

Call a Professional Exterminator

While you can try some DIY methods to control roaches in your home, they may not be effective enough to eliminate the entire infestation. Also, improper use of some products could damage your health or the environment.

Contacting a qualified exterminator with the knowledge and tools to deal with any roach issue effectively and securely is best. Contact Southern Pest Control for the best pest control services in the Mississippi Gulf Coast region.

Avoiding the Springtime Swarm

an ant colony transporting larvae outdoors

The Spring days on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi are ample in sunshine and warmth, especially after the cooler winter rain. The sunshine and warmth awaken swarms of spring insects in Mississippi Gulf Coast such asan ant colony transporting larvae outdoors termites, wasps, bees, and ants that can make their way into your home and yard. These swarms are unwelcome guests to any home or backyard gathering. There are, however, ways to protect your property from infestations.

Insects that come out in spring are foraging for food and seeking to mate. While this usually is taking place outdoors, keep in mind that they also could be seeking shelter and someplace to nest inside your home. Be on the lookout for:

  • WASPS – Wasps come in a variety of colors which include yellow, brown, red and metallic blue and have a narrow waist and pointed abdomen. They nest in wood fibers that they have chewed into a pulp and formed a honeycombed umbrella shape.
  • BEES – Bees that aren’t your friendly honey making variety come yellow with black stripes. They tend to nest in piles of wood or other yard debris.
  • ANTS- Including Carpenter Ants and Fire Ants.
  • TERMITES – Termites come in shades of brown, white and black and range in sizes ⅛  of an inch to 1 inch. They have antennae and wings and can be mistaken for ants.

Termites to Watch For

Some of the most common swarming insects on the Mississippi Gulf Coast are termites. There are two main types of termites known to the Mississippi Gulf Coast area:

  • Drywood termites. As their name implies they make their home in dry wood and need no contact with soil to live. They don’t go for moist, softwood, instead, they eat across the grain of dry, hardwood. Because they go for dry wood, infestations are usually found higher in structures like rafters. They often enter structures through exposed wood or wooden furniture that is brought into the home. They are common to warmer, tropical climates with mild winters. Evidence of infestation includes discarded wings, feces or frass (piles of sawdust from feeding).
  •  Subterranean termites. These termites cause homeowners the most damage and also are the most common termite in North America. Eastern and Western Subterranean termites are prone to swarm in late February or early March. The Formosan termites swarm later in spring, usually May. They make mud tubes that are used as tunnels from the ground to their food source.

Protecting your home and yard from invading pests.

Below are just a few tips to discourage pests from taking up residence in your space.

  • Cleaning up after outdoor BBQ and other cooking as wasps and bees are looking for and are attracted to protein-based foods.  Leaking faucets or hoses provide a water source that attracts not only wasps and bees but termites and ants.
  • Patching cracks or crevices in walls, repairing broken panels or siding to discourage wasps from nesting in your walls. Keep your yard clean of heavy debris. 
  • Termites swarm in early spring months, looking to establish new colonies. They are attracted to water sources, and again repair leaking faucets or pipes as they are attracted to a moist environment. Avoid storing items in wooden or cardboard boxes, try plastic storage bins instead. 
  • Clean your yard regularly of rotting wood. Make sure your porch or deck is in good repair.
  • Keep mulch away from your foundation.
  • Store all firewood above ground and away from the perimeter of your property. 
  • Ants such as odorous house ants, nest in walls and beneath carpeting. Keep organic debris such as leaves and piles of wood away from your foundation. Store leftovers in airtight containers and keep areas clean of food debris and dirty dishes. Ants are attracted to sweets as well as protein-based foods.

Spring Pest Control in Mississippi Gulf Coast

All the tips above can help you prevent a pest infestation in the Mississippi Gulf Coast area. But sometimes you can do everything right and still wind up with ants on the counter and a wasp nest under the eave. When that happens, Southern Pest Control can help. We’ve been treating spring pests since 1975, helping countless home and business owners live safer and more comfortably. We’ve helped them through active and preventative measures, and we can help you too. Contact us today to get started!

Are Kissing Bugs Harmful?

Kissing bug against a white background in Mississippi

Kissing bug against a white background in MississippiThough kissing bugs may sound cute, they’re far from it. These nocturnal insects get their charming nickname from their less-than-charming habit of biting people in the middle of the night – usually around the mouth. If it isn’t bad enough to picture bugs crawling on your face while you sleep, these pests are also capable of causing serious health issues for humans and animals. So, what exactly are kissing bugs, and how can you keep them out of your home? The experts at Southern Pest Control explain everything you need to know down below. 

What Are Kissing Bugs?

Kissing bugs, also known as assassin bugs or triatomine bugs, are small parasitic insects that feed on blood. They prey on sleeping people or animals, which is why they typically hide in bedroom furniture or pet beds. Though kissing bugs are usually solitary, females will leave eggs behind, which can cause ongoing problems for homeowners. If you discover any triatomine bugs in your house, it’s important to contact a pest control professional to screen for signs of additional insects.

How to Identify a Kissing Bug

Triatomine bugs are small insects that have thin antennae, thin legs, and a cone-shaped head. They are oval-shaped, dark in color, and usually measure between ½ to 1 inch. Their most defining feature, however, is a row of orange or yellow stripes around the edge of their body.

Why Are Kissing Bugs Dangerous?

It’s never fun to discover insects in your home, but kissing bugs are more than just bothersome. Their bites may not be particularly painful, but they can lead to infections or serious illnesses such as Chagas disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Chagas disease can be life-threatening or lead to long-term health consequences for both humans and animals. If you suspect you or a pet has been bitten by a kissing bug, watch for these early signs of Chagas disease:

  • Warmth or swelling around the bite
  • Fever, fatigue, or body aches
  • Swelling eyelids or swollen glands
  • Loss of appetite or nausea
  • Headaches

How Do Kissing Bugs Cause Chagas Disease?

Kissing bugs are known for carrying a small parasite called Trypanosoma cruzi, which lives in their digestive tract after feeding on an infected animal. The parasite isn’t spread directly through the saliva of a triatomine bug; rather, it travels through their feces. Most insects will leave behind excrement after feeding, which sleeping victims may accidentally rub into their open bite wound. 

Tips for Preventing Kissing Bugs

Triatomine bugs are unpleasant and dangerous. The best way to protect yourself and your pets from harm is to prevent these pests from getting indoors in the first place. To keep kissing bugs out of your house, follow these tips:

  • Keep your door and window screens in good condition
  • Seal any cracks or gaps that could lead into your home
  • Tidy up your landscaping and remove debris near your house
  • Keep yard lights farther away from your home entrances
  • Allow pets to sleep indoors, especially at night
  • Periodically check bedrooms and pet beds for signs of bugs

What to Do if You Discover a Kissing Bug

Kissing bugs are creepy, and they’re the last thing you want to find inside of your house. However, if you come across one of these insects, do not come into contact with the kissing bug – even to squash it. Doing so could expose you to Trypanosoma cruzi, which may put you at risk of developing Chagas disease. 

Instead of squishing the bug, place a transparent container over the bug. After sealing it in, contact a pest control professional. An expert will be able to confirm the identification and assess your home for any remaining pests. 

If you need help with a kissing bug – or any other type of pest – turn to Southern Pest Control, Inc! We understand how distressing an infestation can be, which is why our number one goal is to provide you with 100% peace of mind that your space is bug-free. As a trusted pest control provider for 45 years, Southern Pest Control is committed to being the leader in Mississippi Gulf Coast’s pest control industry. To get help fast, call us today and get a free quote!

TAP® Insulation: Bad for Pests, Good for Your Wallet

Ant on white background

Ant on white background

There’s a lot you can do to keep pests away from your home on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. You can de-clutter and properly store your garbage and dry goods. There are some DIY solutions that use essential oils to repel certain pests, or home renovation tactics that use screens or caulk to block others. These all can work to varying degrees, but is that all you can do? What if there was a way to always be killing pests without the need for traps or any effort on your part? And what if you could fight pests while also making your home more comfortable and efficient? TAP Insulation makes all of this possible. It’s a form of home insulation beloved by certain pest control companies, and it’s a service we offer for households on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. If you’re ready to step up your pest control strategy with only one simple installation, Southern Pest Control is here to help!

TAP® Insulation: An Overview

TAP stands for Thermal, Acoustical, Pest Control insulation. It is made up of loose-fill cellulose that’s blown into the attics of existing homes, or in the floors and walls of new builds. What separates TAP from other insulations like fiberglass or spray foam is that it’s been chemically treated with Boric acid. Boric acid is naturally occurring and is commonly used as a cleaning agent or first aid tool, but it’s also a very effective pesticide. It can kill a variety of bugs – including ants, cockroaches and termites.

The pests have easy access to the insulation – that’s how it works. It coats their bodies, and since a majority of insect pests are surprisingly hygienic, they end up ingesting the boric acid when they groom themselves or each other. These insects are unable to pass the material, so they soon after die of dehydration or malnutrition. And just like that, you’ve prevented an infestation of your home with no effort on your part.

What TAP® Pest Control Insulation Does

Are there other benefits to TAP Insulation aside from its pest-killing properties? Yes, not only is TAP a persistent pesticide for insects as small as Formosan termites to larger cockroaches and beetles, but it’s also a very good insulator. It’s made of cellulose a highly effective insulator, which slows the transfer of heat, keeping you warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. Your HVAC system will use less energy, and you’ll quickly see that reflected in your monthly utility bill. It’s also fire-retardant and mold and mildew-resistant.

Southern Pest Control for Expert TAP® Insulation

TAP Insulation is not considered toxic for children, adults, or any pets. However, you should still get the material installed by a qualified professional. At Southern Pest Control, we’re a leading installer of TAP Pest Control insulation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. We think our friends and neighbors deserve a constant defender that can put a stop to potential pest infestations without them having to lift a finger, and that’s exactly what you’ll get from TAP Insulation. We’ll still be around and able to help on the off chance you have an infestation, but when properly involved TAP can greatly reduce the risk. So if you want to work smarter instead of harder to prevent pests in your home Southern Pest Control is here to help. Contact us today to learn more or schedule an estimate!

Home Remedies to Keep Mice Away

A rodent is nestled in a gap between two chunks of cement

A rodent is nestled in a gap between two chunks of cementDuring winter on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, everyone’s just trying to keep warm. This is true for local residents as well as pests, particularly rodents. Mice can enter your home through cracks or holes that are only ¼ inch wide. At Southern Pest Control, we have a group of skilled rodent exterminators who can get rid of any size or type of infestation. But if you were able to keep rodents out in the first place, wouldn’t that be better? While DIY pest control is not as effective as professional pest control, if you’re not ready to call an exterminator yet, here are some methods you can try to help keep your holidays pest-free*. 

Non-toxic, DIY Rodent Repellents

Here are four common methods for keeping mice and rats away using items you might already have around the house:

Peppermint oil: Mice don’t generally like the strong aroma of peppermint. In order to prevent them from entering, you can put a few drops of the oil on cotton balls, and then scatter them around any potential access points. Even better, you can plant mint along the perimeter of your property to act as a barrier!

Another odor mice dislike is apple cider vinegar. To preserve the repellent effect, mix it with vinegar and spray it once a month along the perimeter of your home and around potential access points.

Steel wool: Mice can chew through many materials thanks to their strong incisors. But research has revealed that they’re unable to bite through steel wool. If you use it to cover potential access points, it will prevent them from entering your home.

Mice hate the scent of fabric softener sheets. Put one of the sheets inside any openings you find that you think could be entry points. 

Ways to Keep Rodents Out

The attractant that drives a mouse infestation is whether or not your home makes an appealing habitat for nearby rodents. Mice want what any mammal wants when it’s cold out: food, shelter, and warmth. If you have them, they’ll try to get in any way they can. Let’s look at the methods you can use to keep rodents from getting in to your property:

  • Check your home’s inside frequently for evidence of mice, especially dark corners like attics, basements, and crawl spaces.
  • Locate every potential point of access on the exterior of your house and seal or close it.
  • Keep food covered, sealed, and stored.
  • Remove as much clutter as possible from your home, both inside and outside.

Mice won’t want to stay for very long if there isn’t easy access to food or a quiet, dark location to nest. Plus, taking these actions will also make your home tidier and more comfortable to live in.

If DIY Approaches Fail

Even if you follow all these steps, rodents might find their way into your home. If they do, all of us at Southern Pest Control have your back. Since 1975, we’ve provided reliable, effective extermination services to homes and businesses on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. You don’t have to live with bothersome ants, unsettling spiders, or scurrying rats and mice. We can help rid your home of rodents or any other pests. Just give us a call!  

Wolf Spiders: A True Halloween Horror

A wolf spider sits on a stepping stone near some grass

You may enjoy the sweets and scares of Halloween, but things get all too real as soon as you see an actual spider in your home. For most the instinct is to grab the nearest and heaviest object and use it to squish the eight-legged invader. The urge will probably be even stronger if it’s a particularly big spider. But what if we told you that stomping that spider without looking may result in a rippling onslaught of baby spiders by the hundreds?

This isn’t the plot of a cheesy horror movie – it’s a very real possibility when dealing with the wolf spider. So how can you identify this particular arachnid, and what can you do to keep it from getting into your home?

Wolf Spider Habits and Appearance

Wolf spiders range in size, from 1.5″ to 4″ depending on the climate they’re found in. Their bodies are made up of two parts, the cephalothorax and the abdomen, along with a set of fang-like mouthparts called the chelicerae. Because of their appearance, they’re often mistaken for other, more dangerous species like the black widow or the brown recluse. Wolf spiders are unique in that unlike these sister spiders, they’re free roaming and don’t make webs.

While being far from the fastest runners in the world, the wolf spider can skitter to capture prey at two feet a second. They eat larger insects like roaches and grasshoppers, and other smaller, less fortunate spiders. And since they don’t have a web, the mother wolf spider chooses instead to carry her young on her back. From eggs in a sac to a cluster of spiderlings, this hardworking single mother keeps her hundreds of children close at all times. So, if you kill or attempt to disturb the mother, these babies will scatter in every direction.

You can avoid turning your home into a daycare of scared spider children. All you need to do is take a few simple precautions.

Getting Spider-Free

Spiders, wolf spiders included, like to hide in a place where they won’t be disturbed. When out in the wild, wolf spiders love to nest under tree roots or in the cover of fallen leaves. If they were to get inside, they’ll prefer to stay amongst the cluttered, quiet corners of the house. That’s why we suggest vacuuming on a regular basis, along with keeping your closets, basement and attic clear of clutter. Doing that will make it so spiders have fewer places to hide and set up shop.

Outside the home, you can create a similar effect by moving piles of firewood and debris away, if they’re against the side of your home. You can also trim shrubs and any tree branches touching the roof. Spiders do not choose to come into your house by chance. If you make it inconvenient for them to get in, they usually won’t. But if all that doesn’t work, you can count on Southern Pest Control to solve your spider problem in no time.

Southern Pest Spider Control

We provide long-term spider control for homes on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. We can send an expert to your home that will find entry points that spiders can take advantage of and seal them up.  Once we finish, you’ll be able to enjoy your scares through the safety of a television screen – and have a happy, and spider-free, Halloween. To get started, contact us today!

Is DIY Pest Control Worth It?

cockroaches inside on a windowsill

cockroaches inside on a windowsillAt first glance, it’s easy to think that DIY pest control is a great way to save time, money, and unneeded hassle. Why wait for a professional exterminator when you can solve an infestation on your own with a quick trip to the hardware store? It seems so simple – and that right there might be the problem. Do-it-yourself pest control can, in fact, result in significant downsides if done by someone without the right training. If you don’t know what you’re doing you can actually hurt yourself, those who live with you, and your home. So if you’re considering this approach, you need to make sure you understand the risks involved.


What Are the Risks of DIY Pest Control?

There’s a lot that can go wrong if you try to handle a pest infestation on your own. You might overuse toxic pesticide, kill beneficial insects, get bitten or stung or simply waste money on products that don’t work. Every home pest control tactic comes with risks, whether you misuse toxic pesticides or get shocked by poorly installed bug zappers. It’s important to make sure that anything you use comes with instructions. and that you follow these guides to the letter in order to prevent any of the risks listed below.


If you use pesticides without taking the proper level of care and it goes poorly, you may be held liable for any damage caused. This could look like spraying pesticides in an unventilated room and leaving toxic fumes in the air. Or the problem might be as simple as eradicating a species of pest that’s considered endangered and protected by law. These are only two examples that may result in civil, and even criminal liability. As stated above, there’s no such thing as too much research when it comes to poison and the safety of yourself and others.

Pesticide Exposure

It isn’t difficult to imagine that pesticide exposure can be bad for your health, regardless of whether or not it’s used correctly. But these chemicals can do more than hurt you. If you misuse pesticides during a DIY pest control treatment, you run the risk of leaking toxic chemicals into the soil of your property. It can render food poisonous, water toxic, and any animals or people that depend on either fatally ill. That’s why ventilation is so important when applying pesticides indoors. And. if working on spraying the exterior of your home, it’s especially crucial to make sure every window is closed to prevent from poisoning anyone inside.

When not in use, pesticides should be kept out of reach of children or animals, and the space where they were applied vacated until the chemical has had a chance to dissipate.

Health and Safety Issues   

Do-it-yourself pest control is especially risky if done by or done around sensitive individuals. Pregnant women and young children are among the kinds of people that should avoid areas where pesticides have recently been used. And if you are working with pesticides, you should always make sure that you’re wearing the right protective equipment – including a mask and eye goggles in areas where there might still be pests or rodents. Doing all this will not only limit the risk of pesticide exposure but also protect you from potential bites or stings from the swarm that you might encounter. You’ll also be protected from pest droppings, which may contain harmful bacteria or roundworms. And once you apply the pesticide, you should carefully research into the proper methods to sanitize the space to prevent any insects or rodents from returning.

Leave it to the Pros

By now you’ve probably gathered that home pest control isn’t as clear-cut as you might have assumed. With all the precautions needed to keep things safe, it becomes clear why many choose to leave extermination to the professionals. At Southern Pest Control, our team has the ongoing training and experience to clear any home or business on the Mississippi Gulf Coast of pests and keep them from returning. We know how to tackle an infestation at its source. Every property is different, though, which is why we come to everyone we serve with an innovative strategy that’s personalized for their needs. That’s why we suggest you skip the hardware store and contact us today.


America’s Most Dangerous Ants

Velvet ant
Velvet ant
Velvet ant

If you’ve encountered ants on your property, it stands to reason. Ants are one of the most prolific types of insect in the world. There are over 12,000 different ant species and they inhabit almost every corner of the globe except for Greenland, Iceland and a few other islands. 

Since ants live almost everywhere, sooner or later you’ll cross paths with them. Most species aren’t a threat to humans but some are dangerous because they’re especially venomous or aggressive. You can reduce your risk of being bitten or stung if you know which types of ants to avoid. The experts at Southern Pest Control show you which ants to steer clear of.  

What are America’s Most Dangerous Ants?

In the eastern US, the field ant is a very common species. They usually build nests underground although sometimes they make nests in rotten wood. They’re not venomous or aggressive. They made this list because they’re common in a large portion of the country and will bite you if you mess with their nest. 

The velvet ant isn’t actually an ant. It’s a type of wasp, but the females of the species lack wings so they’re often mistaken for ants. While they may not be able to fly, they do have a venomous and extremely painful sting. That’s given this insect the nickname “cow-killer” where it lives in the eastern US.

There are many species of harvester ants in the US. Most of these species aren’t much of a hazard to humans. However, two species, the Maricopa harvester ant and Florida harvester ant pose a real threat. The Maricopa harvester ant is one of the most common ant species in Arizona and lives throughout the southwestern US as well as in Mexico. It’s believed to have the most toxic insect venom on earth. The Florida harvester ant is common from Florida to North Carolina and its venom is also extremely powerful. In fact, it’s more toxic than the venom of a cobra.

The red imported fire ant originated in South America but was accidentally introduced to the US, Australia and some Caribbean nations in the 1930s. It’s the most dangerous species of ant in the US. Their stings are extremely unpleasant. They don’t just cause burning and swelling. They also create itchy pus-filled blisters that can last for over a week. Some people stung by these ants even go into anaphylactic shock. More than 14 million people per year are stung by these insects, according to research from Texas A&M University. Over 80 deaths have been reported in the US  due to red imported fire ant stings.

Why are Ant Bites so Painful?

So, what makes ant bites and stings so unpleasant? Ants use their mandibles (jaws) to bite the skin of their target and then release formic acid – an irritating chemical – on the skin of the target. You might think the swelling, redness and irritation were caused by the bite itself, but the formic acid is a larger factor. People who are allergic to formic acid may experience more serious symptoms, like those that accompany an ant sting. 

Why are Ant Stings so Painful?

Almost all ants have jaws or pinchers to bite with, but not all of them have stingers and venom. Even fewer have venom that’s strong enough to be hazardous to humans.

An ant sting starts off like an ant bite. They lock their mandibles (jaws) in the skin of their target and release formic acid. Then they pivot their rear end, poke their stinger into the target’s skin and inject venom.  The longer it takes to get the ant off of you, the more times you can be stung, the more venom will be injected and the more painful the sting will be. Ant venom – fire ant venom in particular – can also cause an allergic reaction which may include: itchiness, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, hives, and tightness in the chest, or difficulty breathing.

Ant Exterminators in the Mississippi Gulf Coast 

Southern Pest Control has been eliminating ants from homes and businesses throughout the Mississippi Gulf Coast since 1975. If you have ants on your property, especially if you suspect they may be fire ants, don’t wait until after you, your family, or your pet is bitten or stung. Contact us today

Why Do Ants Keep Coming Back In?

Ants inside a house

Ants inside a houseAnts are incredibly difficult to get rid of entirely if you approach them the wrong way. If you’ve dealt with an ant infestation in your home before, you know that they seem to keep on coming back no matter what you do. They’ll pop up in new areas in your home every day, becoming a total headache to deal with. Why are ants are so persistent?

In order to conduct the best ant control possible, you have to learn about the ways ants work and avoid the strategies that so commonly fail. If you need expert advice on ant control on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, read on for insight from Southern Pest Control!

Why Is My DIY Ant Control Failing?

The problem with the most commonly chosen ant control strategies is that they ignore the source of the problem in favor of addressing its symptoms. When ants show up in your house, your first inclination might be to squash them or spray them with a store-bought pest control product. This will only delay or worsen your problem.

“How could it possibly worsen it?” you might wonder. It helps to know that when you kill ants, they release a pheromone signal that warns nearby ants to avoid the area. Other ants will sense this signal and change their method of approach. Given that they’re so small and sneaky, ants should have no problem finding a new way into your home.

Ant Control Strategies That Really Work

What can you do if you can’t squash or spray ants to get rid of them? We believe that these three steps lead to the most exhaustive and long-lasting ant control solution:

  • Find where they’re coming from: If you can determine where the ants in your home came from, you can seal their entryway with caulk, block it with a screen, or spray it with a citrus-based cleaning product to discourage activity.
  • Take away their food and water: Ants are probably living in your house because they have access to food or water. Cleaning up spills, storing your food in airtight containers, and keeping your kitchen and bathroom well-ventilated will prevent easy food and water access.
  • Call your local experts: Professional ant exterminators are trained to follow ant trails all the way back to their source in a nest or ant hill. Getting rid of the ant colony on your property is the only way to ensure that ants never bother you in your home again.

Expert Home Ant Extermination on the Mississippi Gulf Coast

If you’re ready to live an ant-free life in your home on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, it’s time to team up with your local ant exterminators. The licensed and certified technicians at Southern Pest Control are trained to conduct full-service ant removal. We can visit your property to determine where your ants are coming from, eliminate the colony, and show you how to prevent future problems on your own. Reach out today for a free quote!