Ants are not easy to control. There are some things you should know about ants, which cause them to be a much bigger problem than you might have originally thought.
Ants enter through tiny cracks in your home, looking for food or water. If you have a nest of ants anywhere near your home, you are open to an ant infestation. Some ant colonies can grow as large as 500,000 ants, and they have no problem moving if they feel it’s necessary. This is why DIY ant exterminations don’t typically work since they don’t account for the hundreds of thousands of ants you can’t see.
Ants are some of the smallest and most common pests, and they typically go unnoticed until you have an infestation in your home. There are plenty of DIY products and in-store remedies to help you get rid of ants. With that being said, the most effective method of elimination and prevention is hiring professionals who specialize in pest control.
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COMMON TYPES OF ANTS IN YOUR HOME
It can be difficult to distinguish one type of ant from another. Although there are over 10,000 different species of ants worldwide, you’re most likely to experience an infestation from a carpenter, pharaoh, or pavement ant.
Check out some of the characteristics of each ant to help you correctly identify your pest problem.
ODOROUS HOUSE ANTS
Odorous house ants get their name from the smell they give off once crushed, which is a rotten coconut-like smell. Attracted to moisture, these ants are found both indoors and outdoors. While they don’t pose any health risks, they can end up contaminating food and should be avoided altogether. Although odorous house ants are found throughout the United States, they are the #1 ant problem in the Northeast. Here are a few ways to identify odorous house ants:
- 1/16″ – 1/8″ in size
- Brown or black
- 6 legs
- Segmented; oval shape with antennae
Carpenter ants can cause structural and cosmetic damage to a home as they are attracted to decaying or damp wood. A carpenter ant colony may grow within the walls of your home before you notice any damage. Carpenter ants are:
- ½ to ¼ inch in size
- Black, reddish, or brown
- Worker carpenter ants have large mandibles (or jaws)
Pharaoh ants are notorious in the pest control community as being some of the most difficult ants to control due to their small size and persistent nature. Pharaoh ants can spread disease and cause a variety of health issues.
Due to their size, they can enter a structure through the smallest cracks and are attracted to sweets, dead insects, and food. Pharaoh ants are:
- Typically less than 1/16 of an inch in size
- Light yellow with black and red markings
- 12-segmented antennae
Although pavement ants prefer to live outside near sidewalks or the patio in your backyard, they do venture inside looking for food. Whether your pavement ant infestation is in your basement or your yard, it can be difficult to treat on your own, especially during mating. Pavement ants may sting if they feel threatened. Pavement ants are:
- ¼ inch in size
- Light brown or black
- Lighter colored appendages
Red imported 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. Keep reading to learn more red ant facts, including information on red ant bites and more.
- 1/8 inch in size to almost three-eighths of an inch in length
Fire ants pose a health risk to anyone venturing into areas where the ants are found. Although the vast majority of stings result only in a raised welt that may develop a white pustule, a person allergic to insect stings could experience a more serious reaction. Additionally, a person seldom receives just one sting. Rather, dozens or even hundreds of stings can be inflicted quickly on a person accidentally kneeling or standing next to or on a fire ant mound.
Crazy ants are common in all the Gulf Coast states, from Florida to Texas and can be found in parts of Arizona and commercial buildings in a few northern cities, such as Philadelphia and New York. These ants nest outdoors under items on the ground, within landscape mulch, beneath loose bark on trees, under ground cover, in potted plants, and within piles of items such as lumber, firewood or bricks. Nests may readily be established inside homes in walls, beneath carpeting, and in other suitable voids or spaces.
- 1/8 inch in size, with extremely long legs and antennae.
- May develop huge colonies containing thousands of workers and numerous queens.
WHAT ARE SUGAR ANTS?
“Sugar ant” is the universally adopted term for homeowners who experience ants in their homes. The real sugar ant actually resides in Australia and probably isn’t the true culprit for creepy-crawlies in your American kitchen. Instead, you may be experiencing the infiltration of a number of different ants, most of which seem to be attracted to sugary foods. Many of these ants look very similar in size, color, and shape, making identifying them surprisingly difficult for the average person. With over 10,000 varieties of ant, it’s no wonder homeowners have opted for a catch-all term that best describes their problem pest!
WHY DO sugar ants like kitchens?
If you’re having an ant problem in your kitchen, it’s important to know what attracts them. Sugar ants are first and foremost interested in sweet and sugary foods that are typically kept in kitchens. They often convene around unnoticed spills, sticky countertops, or dropped treats on the floor. Sugar ants will also sneak into closed cabinets or cupboards in search of hidden-away sweets, searching for any small cracks and crevices to enter through. This is why even the most vigilantly cleaned kitchens can still encounter ant infestations, despite taking proper precautions such as:
- Monitoring and cleaning pet food bowls
- Making sure there are no crumbs under the kitchen table
- Cleaning up spilled food or drinks
- Keeping lids on trash cans
- Making sure over ripe fruit is not left out on the counter
- Not leaving dirty plates stacked in the sink or left out on the counter
- Properly sealing sealed containers of food in your cabinets and pantry
- Not having dripping faucets or leaky sink pipes
- Keeping garbage cans clean from leftover residue
- Checking to ensure there are no cracks or little openings around the foundation of your home
It can be especially difficult for homeowners with children or pets to keep ants at bay. Frequent spills or small messes act as beacons to sugar ants. While routine cleaning attempts can sometimes be effective, it should be understood that ants can be an incredibly challenging pest to rid yourself of completely. They are remarkably resilient and can make themselves at home virtually anywhere.
Prevention is usually much easier and more manageable than attempting to treat an infestation. If you’ve experienced ant problems in the past or are concerned that your home may be at risk, contact EcoShield for an inspection and front-line treatment plan. Protecting yourself prior to ants becoming a problem is the single best way to avoid ants altogether. Our year-round Shield Protection Plan can also prevent and control ants before they become a problem.
SEE ANTS? TAKE THESE STEPS
If you see one ant, it’s safe to say that there are more crawling around in your walls, between the cracks, and building nests where you can’t see them. Your ant problem will not go away on its own, and some pest control methods are ineffective.
Want to get rid of your ants for good? Follow these steps:
- Step 1: Call EcoShield Pest Solutions today for a free estimate.
- Step 2: Avoid trying to treat your ant problem before our team of experts can properly identify the type of ant invading your property.
- Step 3: Schedule a time that works best for you. The pest control technicians at EcoShield always strive to accommodate your schedule.
- Step 4: Watch your pest control problem disappear and eliminate your stress and worry.
At EcoShield, we help you through every step of the pest control treatment process. Whether you have general questions about ants in your home or you need to get rid of a damaging infestation, our experts are trained to answer any questions and provide the best solution for you.
For a FREE No-Obligation Estimate, Please call our office or fill out the form on this page.
Frequently Asked Questions
Sugar Ants: Why You Have Them & How to Get Rid of Them We’ve all been there. You’re making your morning brew, breathing in the sweet aroma of freshly made coffee, when you reach for your sugar bowl and realize it’s… moving. Little ants are scurrying on the counter, on the sugar spoon, even in the sugar itself!... Read More