The Different Types of Ants You May Encounter
Nobody actually wants an ant infestation, but almost every household will experience an influx of these pests at some point or another.
These bugs have been rated as the most common nuisance pest in the United States. With over seven hundred different types of ants, it can be tough to figure out what scale, species, and size of infestation you are dealing with.
Ants can pose risks to your health and property, as well as cause serious issues such as food contamination and property damage. Luckily, there are several ways to reduce the likelihood of an ant infestation, as well as to eliminate them once they’ve entered your home. First, however, you must know exactly what kind of ants you are dealing with.
Different Types of Ants
Fire ants are red in color and about three-eighths of an inch long. They are found throughout much of the southern United States as they prefer warmer areas. These ants build their nests in mounds near landscape areas. They enter into homes through holes in structural foundations.
These are some of the worst types of ant infestations, as they are one of the few types of ants in the United States that bite. Their stings are painful and can cause raised welts with raised pustules. It is common for people to be allergic to their stings.
These ants are dark brown and usually under a quarter of an inch in length. They are usually found in the southeastern United States and love wet environments near an open food source. They do not pose health threats but can leave behind an unpleasant, musty odor when stepped on.
Pavement ants are found, as you might expect, in cracks under the pavement. They enter homes through cracks in concrete and while they do not pose a public health risk, they can contaminate your food. These ants are black in color and about an eighth of an inch long. They are found throughout much of the United States.
Carpenter ants are tremendously common and located throughout much of the continental United States. They are most common in northern states, as they prefer a cool, damp climate.
Carpenter ants build nests outdoors in wood sources–hence their names–and often enter buildings through damaged wood or cracks around doors and window. They also can enter through pre-drilled holes for electrical or telephone wires.
Carpenter ants can also enter the home through shrubs or tree limbs, which is why it’s important to keep all shrubbery and debris cleared from the home. These ants can pose severe property damage because they tunnel through wood to build nests, much like termites. The longer these ants live in your home, the more property damage they can ultimately pose.
Dark Rover Ants
These ants are found throughout the country, but mostly in the southern states. They are usually up to two millimeters in size and are brown in color. Dark rover ants are usually found under objects or in parking lots, while indoor nests are found in bathrooms and kitchens. They are attracted to sweet liquids, making them a common nuisance, but they do not sting.
These ants are usually dark brown in color and about an eighth of an inch in size. They are found everywhere in the United States and can live for several years, a long time compared to other ant species. These ants make their way into homes through exposed soil, but can also nest in wall crevices or under subfloors.
These ants pose no health or structural damage risks but give off a nasty smell akin to rotting fruit. They can also contaminate exposed food sources.
Field ants are generally found outdoors, but can also move inside. They usually form nests in soil, dead wood, or greenery. They are up to eight millimeters long and come in a rainbow of colors, ranging from black to yellow-brown and even red. These ants do sting and can spray formic acid, causing small amounts of pain. Usually, field ants don’t cause allergic reactions. They are found all over the country, most commonly in the northeastern and Midwestern United States.
Acrobat ants are about three millimeters long and have two long nodes. They are a yellowish brown in color and tend to nest outside. These ants have a fondness for damp woods and are often found inside disturbed wood or even in foam panel insulation. Acrobat ants are found in the eastern portions of the country and tend to look like scorpions when threatened. These ants will sting but usually do not make their way inside.
Their name implies fun, but these ants are anything but. They get their name from their pattern of movement, as they run around in erratic fashions while searching for food. They are black in color with a grayish hue and are up to an eighth of an inch in size. These are adaptable to dry and moist environments, and as a result, are found throughout much of the United States.
Crazy ants tend to enter your home after periods of intense rainfall. They are attracted to honeydew and can nest under floors or carpeting. Crazy ants can also be found under objects or near foundations. They do not pose a health risk and usually will not pose the threat of property damage, but can be a nuisance nonetheless.
Other Notable Types of Ants
Pay Attention to Warning Signs of Ant Infestations
Ants are social creatures and will build large colonies. What seems like a small infestation may ultimately turn out to be much more and can turn into a major problem for homeowners. Signs of ant infestations include nests, large numbers of ants moving in and out of your home, and distributed food sources.
How to Prevent Ant Problems
Before you do anything else, take a few easy-to-follow steps to eliminate the likelihood of developing an ant infestation. Remove any sources of moisture or standing water near the home. Repair leaking pipes, hoses, or other supply lines. Make sure any air conditioner condensate is dealt with, and keep all trees and other brush trimmed and away from the house.
If you notice an ant infestation has developed, close up any possible entry points. You may also need to apply a chemical removal product as you will need to remove any signs of ant infestation. Ant baits work by providing a food source. An ant will bring this back to share with the queen and other ants and effectively kill an entire population. However, these must be used with caution in the home as they can be toxic in some cases to humans and pets.
If you notice an infestation has taken hold and is not responding to natural treatment, elimination, or preventive measures, contact a pest control professional. These individuals have specific training in all kinds of ants and pest removal strategies and will work with you to get the species out of your home quickly and effectively. They know exactly what kinds of chemicals to use, and when chemicals aren’t necessary.
You aren’t alone in your battle against ant infestations. Attempt these methods today–or contact a specialist as soon as possible–to get your home back to ant-free peace.***