There’s a reason why ants show up unannounced into a house. You won’t find a single homeowner in the country that would be happy to see ants barging into their home but every day, these little biters march their way into homes via the smallest of cracks and crevices whether we like it or not. Here are the 7 most common ant invaders.
Ants sneak their way onto our properties either foraging for the smallest of crumbs, to get some water or to find a cozy new place to set up some real estate. Often you’ll discover them trekking in a single file line up your walls or across your counter with a clear goal in mind while you have a problem on your hands–a full blown ant takeover.
You may be wondering what kind of ants take over homes? Or on the other hand, you may not even care about the species of the invading ant–you just see that you have ants and want them gone. However, it is important to know what kind of ant you are encountering in your home because that knowledge will help you in removing them from your home and discouraging them from coming back.
The Importance Of Knowing The Ant Species
There are nearly 16,000 identified ant species and subspecies found all over the world, and the number continues to grow because of scientists discovering new species. In the United States alone, there are over 1,000 ant types. As alarming as that sounds, you may be relieved to know that most ant species are just fine not interacting with us humans or intruding upon our homes, preferring to live in the wilderness.
In fact, there are only a small number of ants species that like to live near households or even go indoors to hunt for food. They may all be tiny and like to live in nests but not all ants behave the same, look the same nor like the same foods even. These differences are crucial to take note of because if you want to carry out ant control, not all ant control products can be effective against all ant types.
To effectively control ants, the insecticides used on them must be attractive to them and be in line with their food preferences and even how they should be applied should be done while keeping in mind their behaviors and tendencies.
Below we will take a look at the 7 most common ants you might find crawling around your home.
Acrobat ants are medium-sized ants that are often misidentified as carpenter ants due to having similar colored bodies and nesting tendencies. Acrobat ants, though, are very different from carpenter ants in that they don’t damage wood. They get their name due to their ability to lift their unique heart-shaped abdomen into the air over their head and thorax like a contortionist.
They commonly nest in trees and shrubs as well as contained areas like inside water boxes. If you find these ants in your home, it may be a sign that you have moisture issues that need to be addressed since they are very attracted to dampness and decaying organic matter.
Carpenter ants stand out among other ants because of their larger size (they can be between 1/4-1/2 inch long) and their concerning ability to burrow into wood and potentially damage it. As worrying as that may be to homeowners, carpenter ants don’t usually take residence in homes, preferring to nest in rotting wood.
Carpenter ants don’t consume wood but will excavate through it and leave behind wood shavings as a results which is one of the main warning signs of a carpenter ant infestation. Carpenter ants mainly consume honeydew and will go through any length to find it. They are most commonly found in structures under insulation, in voids, in crawl spaces, or in attics.
Odorous House Ant
This small dark brown or black ant is found in homes so often that “house” is in its name. The “odorous” part? Oh, that’s because of the unpleasant smell they give off when are squished. The odor has been described as smelling of licorice to rotten coconut. They are mainly found living outside under mulch, rocks or other objects but when foraging for food they can find their way into a home and run along your countertops to search for sweet foods.
Pavement ants, as their name makes it pretty obvious, like to live in or around pavement. You may have seen these pests crawling out of a crack in the sidewalk or under a rock. When they trek on indoors it’s because they’re on the hunt for food, usually something that is sugary or greasy like sweets and meats. Because of their pavement dwelling habits, it can be quite tricky to control them because they are usually living underground or in areas where they are hard to reach and take out the nest.
Little Black Ants
They’re little (1/16th of an inch), they’re black, they’re ants, and they love invading homes! Little black ants are especially a problem in the summertime where they will be actively looking for food wherever they can find it. If it happens to be your home, they will travel in large numbers to feed on sweets, grease spills, meats, fruits and vegetables.
Indoors they like to hang around wooded areas, primarily where there is old, decaying wood. Since they are so tiny, they can fit through the smallest of gaps and holes so it would be wise to cut off as many points of entry as possible with the help of caulk or pest control foam.
Argentine ants are native to Argentina as their name implies but now they are found in the southeastern and southwestern United States and have been noted for their ability to for super huge colonies. Argentine ants are medium-sized and dark brown colored and usually nest outside but what makes them decide to migrate indoors is their insatiable appetite for sugar. If you’re leaving sweets lingering behind in your kitchen, this is an ant that will come marching. Other reasons they may be moving on indoors is to avoid rainy weather or when they are searching for water.
Pharaoh ants are 1/32 of an inch long and are frequent found nesting or living in indoor structures. They earn their name because they are native to Africa and were first discovered in ancient Egyptian tombs. They have a golden yellow color as well with a dark tip which can be another reason the name fits. Their origin of being found in ancient tombs carries over to today because they tend to be found shacking up in dark, secluded areas like wall voids, storage areas and inside cardboard boxes. This ant species can be especially tough to treat because they can grow their colony very large in a short amount of time via the process of budding, which is when a queen and workers leaves an existing colony to form a new colony.
Kick The Ants Out
We don’t mean to alarm you with all these different ants but it’s important to keep in mind that ant control requires a little more thought than just buying a random spray from a store and hoping for the best.
Based on what we’ve shared about these ant species habits and tendencies, some things you can do universally to discourage any of these ants is to keep your home clean (particularly your kitchen and bathroom) by wiping counters and floors and making sure there aren’t crumbs left behind. Also don’t keep pet food out and clean dishes after your pet has eaten.
Sealing up cracks, crevices, gaps and holes around your home with caulk to reduce the amount of ways that an ant colony can travel their way indoors. Trim back trees that hang over your home or come into contact with your home’s exterior to limit ant access points.
Most of all, use the pesticides that we carry like our sprays and baits which won’t just kill the ants you see but the entire colony where ever they are nesting.