The most common problem ant species were carpenter ants (84 percent), odorous house ants (57 percent), pavement ants (57 percent) and little black ants (52 percent), found the 2022 PCT State of the Ant Control Market survey. Odorous house ants and carpenter ants were deemed the most difficult to control by almost 50 percent of PMPs.
That was no surprise to Ron Wikstrom, United Pest Solutions. “Odorous house ants are still our number one ant, by far. It’s just one call after the other,” and this accounts for “a significant portion of our revenue for about four months of the year,” he said. Even in fall and winter, it’s not unusual for customers to have problems with this native species.
Until 15 years ago, carpenter ants were the No. 1 pest ant in Wikstrom’s Seattle market but that changed. “It’s gotten to the point where odorous house ants have gotten very prominent and very aggressive and have started to displace other ants that would have been more prominent, even carpenter ants,” he said.
Other difficult-to-control species included carpenter ants (20 percent), Pharaoh ants (18 percent) and Argentine ants (15 percent), found the survey.
A growing challenge in Florida is the big-headed ant. Trevor Taulman, owner of Taulman Pest Control in Fort Myers, first identified this ant in 2007. “Ever since then, each year, you’re finding them in different locations, more and more abundantly,” he said. To combat the invasive pest, Taulman developed a protocol that features a bimonthly lawn treatment.
Wade Wilson of Turner Pest Control, which provides service statewide, agreed. “They’re actually kind of dominating a lot of the areas,” such as the west coast of Florida, he said of big-headed ants. As a result, his team has seen “a lot less fire ants and they’re even seeing less white-footed ants.”
Another species on Wilson’s radar is the trap jaw ant, which can deliver “quite a pinch” and is new to his area.
The frequency of infestations remained the same last year for 50 percent of PMPs, while 39 percent reported an increase.
Proper identification of ants remained essential. “We have to be ever vigilant and teach our guys to identify them properly because we are getting invasive species like the impressive fire ant and others that are not common to our area,” said Wikstrom. He urged PMPs to alert their state department of agriculture when “new” and invasive ant species are found so populations can be isolated and eliminated before they spread and case unnecessary problems.