Ants

Scientific Name: Formicidae

Ants are primarily seen in and around homes during the Spring, Summer and Autumn months. Known as “social insects,” they live in nest colonies built underground, in ground level mounds, or in trees. Most ant species build their nests outdoors, but some will choose to build their nest inside your home. If they discover a good food source they will continue to come back to it and potentially build their home nearby.

Scheme of an ant worker anatomy
Diagram of a worker ant (Pachycondyla verenae)
By Mariana Ruiz (User:LadyofHats) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Facts about Ants

  • Ants colonies are divided into three different roles: workers, males, and queens.
  • You can find ants on almost any landmass on Earth except for Antarctica, Greenland, Iceland, certain parts of Polynesia and a few other remote islands.
  • There are more than 10,000 known ant species in the world.

Identifying Ants

Ants vary in color depending on the species ranging from yellow, red, brown, black or any combination of those colors. Their bodies are approximately 1/20 inch long to about 1/2 inch long with three distinctive sections consisting of a head, thorax, and abdomen. They are sometimes confused with winged termites. Three major differences between the two pests are:

  • All ant species have a pair of bent antenna on their heads.
  • Termites have a rectangular shaped body, whereas ants have a narrow constricted waist.
  • Winged ants have hind wings that are shorter than their front wings.

Types of Ants

  • Acrobat Ant
  • Argentine Ant
  • Carpenter Ant
  • Crazy Ant
  • Fire Ant
  • Harvester Ant
  • Moisture Ant
  • Pavement Ant
  • Texas Leaf Cutter Ant
  • Velvety Tree Ant
  • Allegheny Mound Ant
  • Big Headed Ant
  • Citronella Ant
  • Field Ant
  • Ghost Ant
  • Little Black Ant
  • Odorous House Ant
  • Pharaoh Ant
  • Thief Ant
  • White Footed Ant

Finding Ants In Your Home

Some of the most common ant species that build their nests indoors are acrobat ants, carpenter ants, pavement ants, pharaoh ants, odorous house ants and thief ants. Typically their nests are found near a food source, moisture, or hidden areas like wall voids, window frames, underneath appliances and floors.

Ant Control

The first step to controlling an ant problem is to identify the species of ant in your home in order to determine where their nest is located, food preference, and the best method to manage the infestation. Ensuring your food is properly stored and waste is removed regularly can help reduce the chances that ant workers will be attracted indoors. There are several chemical and non-chemical methods that can be utilized.

While there are do-it-yourself control methods, most of these only kill the ants you see. The most effective treatments actually penetrate and destroy the ant's nest preventing them from returning. If you are unsure of the type of ant or best method to control them, contact a pest control professional today to learn more about your options.

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