When it comes to irritating insect pests, ants rank near the top of the list. At some point, most people will have to deal with ants in their home or yard (or both). The first step is to confirm that the insects that have invaded are indeed ants. The second step is to identify what kind of ant you’re dealing with. Then, of course, you need to fight back. Let this ant control guide help you.
This carpenter ants are one of the larger ants that invade homes and are usually ¼ to ½ inch in size. Despite what their name may imply, they do not actually eat wood. These non-stinging ants tunnel through wood to create their homes and can do considerable damage. They will infest dead trees, telephone poles, and houses but can also be found in lawns. Generally, feed on other insects and juices and are fond of anything sweet. They are liquid feeders and unable to swallow solid foods.
This small non-stinging ant is about 1/8th inch and is a brownish color. They are the most persistent and troublesome ant that invades houses because they are small and can get through tiny cracks. Argentine Ants live in shallow galleries in the ground often only a few inches deep. A single colony has multiple queens and can grow quite rapidly, displacing other native types of ants. They also rapidly establish other colonies when a queen leaves and takes some of the workers with her.
1/4th inch in size and red colored. Nests are found underground with a small mound at the opening, which is littered with leftover food debris. They generally seek seeds as a main source of food. During the winter, the nest is sealed off and no activity is seen. The harvester ant is known for its ability to sting.
Odorous House Ant
This small non-stinging ant is about 1/8th inch and colored dark brown to black. They get their name from the rotten coconut-like odor that they produce when they are crushed. They routinely invade houses searching for food during the winter, when their usual honeydew food outside is gone.
Thief ants are tiny, only about 1/16th of an inch, and are a pale brownish color. Their size makes it easy for them to get into houses in search of food and water. They love meat, cheese, and greasy foods. They will also eat dead insects. The nests are in galleries in the dirt, and they often build near another ant colony – raiding it to steal food. This is how they got their name. The thief ant will also build inside walls, cupboards, cracks, and crevices of structures. They can host diseases and tapeworms as an additional problem for human food. A colony may contain from a few hundred to a few thousand ants.
Ants can be a nuisance at any time of year, but they are especially active in spring when they come out of their winter hibernation in search of food, and in fall, when they’re in search of shelter. While ants can be a major problem, you can fight back—and win. The key is not to wait too long before controlling them both inside and outside of your home.
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