Ants are probably the most common nuisance in homes throughout the country. They enter houses in droves, spoiling food and (with some species) causing structural damage. But not all ants are the same, and the approach to exterminating them differs according to the species. This means that, if your home has an ant problem, you first have to know the type of ant before you can deal with it.
Keep reading to determine which type of ant you have and how to get rid of it.
Tip: Are you sure you’re dealing with ants? Here’s how to tell winged ants and termites apart.
Odorous House Ant
The odorous house ant has a small dark brown or black body measuring around 2.5-3mm in length. The most obvious sign of this type of ant is the rotten coconut smell it emits when crushed.
Odorous house ants will most often enter a home after it rains. They typically eat sweets but will also eat meat and grease. You can see them day and night when they are foraging for food or when they are swarming to create a new colony (in the summer). Their nests, however, are harder to find: they can be behind walls and under floors, though they are often found in moist areas.
While odorous ants don’t carry diseases, they can contaminate food.
You’ve surely seen a pavement ant before: they’re extremely common in Ohio. Pavement ants range in color from light brown to black, with their legs and antennae lighter in color than their body. They are similar in size to the odorous house ant.
This type of ant nests outdoors under stones and mulch or indoors within walls and under floors. If their nest is outside, they’ll come inside to forage for food, leaving a trail to the food source from the colony. They eat a wide variety of items, though they prefer greasy foods. Pavement ants also swarm in the summer, reproducing and forming new colonies. While they are not aggressive, they can bite if threatened.
Like odorous ants, they can spoil any food they come into contact with.
Pharaoh ants are small, only about 2mm long. Their bodies are light yellow in color, with red and black markings on the abdomen.
This type of ant is considered a serious pest, as it is able to survive in winter using a building’s artificial heating. Worse still, pharaoh ants will move their nest if disturbed, making them a difficult pest to locate and kill. The nest can be found behind walls, under floors, in cabinets, and any other dark, undisturbed place. Pharaoh ants eat a large number of foods but prefer sweets.
Like the ants above, pharaoh ants are a problem due to their ability to contaminate food.
Carpenter ants are much larger than many other species of ants, ranging from 3.5 to 13mm long. They are commonly black but can also be reddish in color.
This type of ant can be found indoors and outdoors in areas with moist or decaying wood. They will eat sweet foods as well as other insects.
As the name suggests, carpenter ants like wood. However, they don’t eat it: this is a common misconception. Instead, carpenter ants tunnel through the wood in order to create their nests. It’s important to deal with carpenter ants as soon as possible. Left unchecked, an infestation can cause significant damage to a wooden structure, like your house or deck.
All ants, no matter the type, are social creatures: they live in colonies numbering in the hundreds to thousands and can reproduce quickly. Ants will actually leave chemical trails to lead other ants to a food source. In addition, ants are fairly intelligent pests. They will not always consume bait, and they may avoid an area with pesticides until the chemical has dissipated. Because of this, an ant problem should never be ignored, and it should be handled by a pest professional. A pest control expert is best equipped to eliminate an ant problem.
However, you may be able to avoid an ant infestation by following these 3 tips.
Concerned you might have an ant infestation on your hands? Contact Scherzinger Pest Control, a trusted pest control company in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky areas, including Dayton, OH, and now Columbus, OH. We’ve been pioneers, engineering new standards for ways of eliminating and controlling bugs and pests. Contact us by phone at 1-877-748-9888 or through our website, Facebook, or Twitter.