6 Kinds of Ants and Why It’s Important to Identify Them

Did you know that using the wrong product to treat for an ant species can make the problem worse? It’s true!

Some ants respond to baits while others respond to sprayed products. In fact, the wrong kind of product can accidentally barricade the ants inside your home rather than keeping them out.

We’ve outlined six common ants—how you can identify them and how they’re different. Arming yourself with this information can help you quickly determine the type of intruders you have and prevent them from crashing your next BBQ.

1. Argentine Ant

A dull brown color, the Argentine ant can be found in mounds in your yard. They’re attracted to sweets and love feasting on fruit, so be wary if you have fruit trees. Look out for ant mounds and be careful to thoroughly clean up food remnants after entertaining in your backyard. Regularly clear debris, mulch, and dead wood from your yard and make sure to trim your bushes—all these chores will help rid your yard of places for Argentine ants to take up residence. If we find you’ve already been invaded by these guys, Joshua’s typically controls the situation by using bait for the ants to take back to their nests. Left untreated, these ants will take over your yard and may try to infiltrate your home.

2. Odorous House Ant

The odorous house ant gets its name because it emits a strong odor when crushed (gross, we know). Dark brown or shiny black in appearance, odorous house ants are attracted to sweets and some proteins. They make their homes in soil mounds and hollow walls or near water pipes and heaters. Note that some colonies may include 10,000 ants and several queens—not something to take lightly. Caulking entry points to your home and cutting back nearby shrubs will help prevent these ants from invading. If odorous house ants have already swarmed your home, you may need an indoor wall void treatment, best administered by a professional.

3. Velvety Tree Ant

Hidden in dead wood and old trees, the velvety tree ant feeds on sweets and insects. Like the odorous house ant, they also emit an odor when crushed. They can be distinguished, however, by a brownish head, red body, and black abdomen. These guys will bite and can get aggressive, so you want to steer clear. You can best avoid being invaded by velvety tree ants by cleaning up any food particles and regularly clearing wood, debris, and mulch from your yard. Because velvety tree ants bite aggressively, use caution if you suspect there might be some in your yard. A trained pest professional can best deal with these feisty intruders.

4. Pavement Ant

As their name suggests, pavement ants can be found along your walkways, sidewalks, and house foundation. They’ll also hide in your lawn or near water. They’re attracted to sweets, proteins, and grease. To help avoid getting infested by these ants, clean up after your BBQs or any other outdoor cooking. If you have fruit trees, you may be especially susceptible to these ants, so keep a close eye out and clean up fruit from the ground. Caulking your home around windows or other gaps in the walls can also help prevent these ants from invading your home. Pest professionals will usually employ bait to bring down pavement ant colonies.

5. Pharaoh Ant

The yellow-colored pharaoh ant loves to take up residence in kitchen cabinets, baseboards, and outdoor debris. They’re attracted to fats, proteins, and sweets, and their colonies can be up to 300,000 ants with multiple queens. Yes, you read that right. Help prevent these ants from invading your home by keeping your kitchen clean and removing debris and mulch from your yard. You should also seal your garbage and put away pet food. A pest professional (like one from Joshua’s) can help battle a pharaoh ant invasion with bait and exclusion practices. These ants can quickly multiply and seize your kitchen, so you don’t want to delay treatment.

6. Thief Ant

The thief ant lives outdoors in the soil or hides under rocks and decaying wood. Indoors, you may find thief ants in your home along wall boards or baseboards. They’re attracted to grease and fat, and they get their name because they steal food and larvae from other ants’ nests—eww! You can help prevent thief ants from invading by caulking entry points to your home and cleaning up food messes. If you’ve already been infiltrated by thief ants, it can be difficult to find their trails and nests, so it’s best to rely on a professional pest expert to locate the nests and apply pest control formulas as needed.

When it comes to ants, take preventative measures to help avoid invasion. But if you’ve already been inundated by ants, it’s best to trust a professional to treat your home or yard. At Joshua’s Pest Control, our Field Experts understand how to identify the right ant, find their food source, determine nest locations, and eliminate the problem accordingly. For more information on how Joshua’s can help you prevent and battle ants, fill out the linked form to receive a free quote and more information.

 

 

Sources:

https://www.pestworld.org/news-hub/pest-articles/ants-101/

https://citybugs.tamu.edu/factsheets/household/ants-house/ent-2013/

http://cisr.ucr.edu/argentine_ant.html

https://www.pestworld.org/news-hub/guest-columnists/the-three-most-common-ant-species/

https://pestworldforkids.org/pest-guide/ants/