Home Ants

identifying and exterminating carpenter ants as early as possible can help prevent serious damage, which can be quite costly to repair

Ants

There are more than 700 ant species found in the U.S., although only about 25 species commonly infest homes. Ants are social insects that typically live in underground colonies, made up of workers and a queen.

Ants will eat practically any kind of food, but are especially attracted to sweets. Ant identification is relatively simple due to their three distinct body regions: head, thorax and abdomen, as well as antennae. Despite similar construction, ants vary in overall appearance. Small or large ants and brown or black ants are common nicknames for different species.


What You Should Know

About Ants


Red fire ants (RIFAs, for short) get their common name from their ability to inflict painful bites and stings. These dark reddish-brown ants are an invasive species found throughout the southern part of the U.S.

Fire ants will sting humans who disturb a nest. The sting of a red imported fire ant is painful and often results in a raised welt that becomes a white pustule. Often, a person stung by red imported fire ants will receive multiple stings from more than one of the ants. Persons allergic to insect stings will react more severely to red ant stings.

Argentine ant colonies can grow to monumental size. A single colony can contain several hundred thousand workers with the colony borders sometimes cover entire habitats. These dark brown to black ants give off a musty odor when crushed.  Argentine ants deposit trails of food continuously, instead of just from nest to food source. This habit ensures they do not waste time revisiting the same area for food. Argentine ants prefer to eat sweets, but they will eat almost anything including meats, eggs, oils and fats.

Argentine ant colonies are located in wet environments near a food source. Outdoors, they usually build shallow nests under boards or stones, beneath plants or alongside sidewalks. Argentine ants may seek shelter indoors when it becomes too wet or too dry outside.

Acrobat ants get their common name from their ability to acrobatically raise their abdomen over their thorax and head, especially when disturbed. There are various species of this light brown to black ant found throughout the United States, even at altitudes of up to 8,000 feet.ts

Acrobat ants typically feed on honeydew, a sugary waste excreted by aphids and mealybugs, but they also eat live and dead insects including termite swarmers.

Outside, most species of acrobat ants nest under rocks or in logs, firewood and trees where wood decay allows them to create tunnels. They also build their nests in abandoned cavities carved out by other insects like termites and carpenter ants.

The workers often find a way inside homes by trailing along tree limbs and utility lines, and entering through cracks or holes around window frames, soffits, door thresholds, and other vulnerable spots. Once inside, acrobat ants typically nest in wall voids or wood that has been subjected to high moisture and fungal decay - the same conditions favored by carpenter ants. They have also been known to nest in Styrofoam insulation panels behind siding.

Carpenter ants get their name because they excavate wood in order to build their nests. Their excavation results in smooth tunnels inside the wood. These are large ants ranging in size from one-quarter inch for a worker ant to up to three-quarters inch for a queen.

All species of carpenter ants mainly attack wood that is or has been wet and damaged by mold. Even though these black carpenter ants first invade wet, decayed wood, they may soon begin building paths through dry, undamaged wood. They usually come into buildings through cracks around doors, windows, or through holes for

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wires. They will also crawl along overhead wires, shrubs, or tree limbs that touch the building far above the ground. Carpenter ants build their nests outdoors in various wood sources, including tree stumps, firewood or landscaping. They need a constant water source to survive. Carpenter ants will enter the house through wet, damaged wood. Carpenter ants damage wood through their nest building. If they gain entry to a structure, they pose a property threat.



With more than 700 types of ant species in the United States, it's not surprising that ants can quickly become a source of disgust, frustration and concern for homeowners. Unfortunately, most people don't realize that these pests can also pose health and property risks - from food contamination to costly property damage.

If you do find signs of an ant infestation in your home, contact an A&S Pest Control Professional promptly. They will be able to inspect your home, perform proper ant species identification, and recommend a course of ant control treatment.

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