There are more than 12,000 different species of ants in the world from whom homeowners request services from pest control professionals. However, there are 3 types of ants that are the most bothersome: the carpenter ant, the odorous house ant, and the pavement ant.
Though this type of ant does not build anything, they will excavate wood and damage buildings to make space for their nests. Carpenter ants typically invade homes, chew through wood, causing decorative and structural damages. They will forage outside arenas and find avenues to nest within structures such as in voids, in crawlspaces, those under insulation, or in attics. For food they’ll eat other insects like aphids or plant nectars, sweet foods and even salt, meat, grease and fat.
Carpenter ants are typically black in color but can range from a red to a yellow hue. They are usually 25mm in length, which is 5 times, yes, 5 times larger than the typical pavement ant. These ants look like any other ant, having a head, a thorax and an abdomen; the only difference is the variety of sizes within one colony. There are winged carpenter ants as well—they have strong jaws for loosening and removing wood when creating tunnels and/or nests. Though not known to bite humans, when they do the bite it is considered minor and will not harm a person.
To prevent an infestation of carpenter ants, the key is to remove all wood, food debris and crumbs from outside. Move away wood piles from around the home and make sure all trees are properly trimmed and the trimmings disposed of. Gutters and downspouts should be free and clean of all debris. If you suspect carpenter ants infestation, contact a professional pest control company for help.
Odorous House Ants
Like the name suggests, odorous house ants like to live in houses. They have dark brown or black bodies that are between 2.4-3.3mm in length. They nest inside empty walls, close to heat sources and tend to invade homes during rainy weather. Odorous House Ants got the “odorous” part of their name from the smell they emit when crushed, that of a rotten coconut smell.
These ant typically feeds on sweet foods but will and has been known to eat meats and grease. They also feed on aphids and other sweeter insects when living outside. Though odorous house ants do not cause structural damages to properties, they can be very annoying pests. However, they do not bite or sting humans.
If you have an infestation of odorous house ants, baits can help get rid of them. Slow-acting baits will make its way back into the colony and kill the queen, the nest workers and everything else in the nest, while quick-kill bait will only kill the foraging ants. Of course, removing all food sources help as well. Seeking the help of an exterminator is still the optimal choice—such one will be able to infiltrate the colony properly to get rid of the ants.
Pavement ants are found outside on pavements, hence the name. They build their nests under stones, cracks in the pavement, soil and sand. They will nest wherever they can and need to, and have even been known to nest indoors.
The pavement ant is a light brown to black in color, with lighter colored appendages than the body and a typical body length of 2.5-3mm. They feed on a wide variety of foods, such as meats, grease, insects, seeds and sweets. However, they are foragers and create trails to get large quantities of food back to their colony. Normally, this ant does not bite, though they do have a stinger but only becomes aggressive when absolutely needed.
Eradication of the pavement ant is hard as they have multiple colonies in small areas and live under the pavement. That being said, it is not impossible to get rid of them—there are many home remedies to deter and to kill these insects, but gettingthe help of a pest control company is always best.
Among the many problem ant groups, these are only three. Many more are found in various locations and can be even more bothersome. They first step is to identify the type. Knowing the behavior and biology is vital to controlling the population.