What are ants?
Ants are one of the most common insects in the United States and are prevalent pests that regularly invade homes, businesses, and other structures. They are social insects that live and work together in large groups. They typically nest outdoors but often make their way inside foraging for food or looking for shelter. Keeping ants out of homes and other structures is difficult because due to their small size, they enter in through the tiniest cracks and crevices. Ants are identified by their three distinct body regions; their head, thorax, and abdomen. They also have antennae and the reproductive ants are winged. Ants that are common in our region include:
Carpenter ants are one of the largest species of household invading ants living in the United States. Most carpenter ants are black, but some are red, yellow or a combination of those colors. Workers have large, strong mandibles that they use to chew and tunnel through wood. Carpenter ants are highly attracted to wood that has been damaged by water, moisture, or that is decaying.
Fire ants, despite their small size, are known for being extremely aggressive. Fire ants are quick to anger and will attack any animal or person that comes in close contact with their nest. Fire ants are a reddish-brown color and create their large (2-4 square ft), flat, irregularly shaped nests in open, sunny areas.
Pyramid ants are named for a unique pyramid projection at their top of the thorax. These ants thrive in warm weather and found in the Southern portion of the United States. They are a reddish-brown color and are fairly small in size. Pyramid ants eat aggressive fire ants, helping to control their populations.
Pharaoh Ants (Sugar Ants)
Pharaoh ants are pale red or yellowish-brown in color. The workers have abdomens that are dark in color than the rest of their body. Workers are small only growing to 1/16th of an inch in length while queens are about double their size. Pharaoh ants are more than just nuisance pests as they carry and transmit serious diseases to people, such as salmonella and Streptococcus.
Rasberry Crazy Ants
Also known as tawney crazy ants, this species was introduced to the United Stated from South America and named after the exterminator, Tom Rasberry. They breed rapidly, create extremely large colonies, and are difficult to control. These ants are referred to as "crazy" for how they randomly move about, seemingly without rhyme or reason. They are small to medium-sized ants, a golden-brown to reddish-brown color with dense hairs covering their glossy bodies.
Argentine ants are attracted to areas of high moisture and their presence inside a home or structure can indicate that there is an underlying moisture issue that needs to be addressed. Argentine ants are shiny dark brown to shiny black in color. The most common sign of an Argentine ant infestation is seeing large, wide trails of ants traveling up buildings, trees, and walls, or along utility lines.
These ants get their name from harvesting seeds as their primary food source. Harvester ants are 1/4 to 1/2 of an inch long and are red, brown, or black. Many species also have long hairs on the underside of their heads, making it appear as though they have a beard. These ants damage to lawns by removing all the grass and other vegetation from around their nests, causing large bare spots.
Are ants dangerous?
Most species of ants that invade homes are nuisance pests and don’t post any threats to people or property. However, some species like carpenter ants, fire ants, and Pharaoh ants do pose serious threats. Carpenter ants damage the structures of homes, fire ants bite and sting people, and pharaoh ants transmit bacteria and diseases.
Why do I have an ant problem?
There are many reasons why you may have an ant problem. One of the biggest reasons why ants are living in and around your home is because it is providing them with food and water sources. Pet food, gardens, grill areas, compost piles, leaky fixtures, and crumbs in the kitchen can all attract ants.
Another reason you have ants is that they have chosen to nest on your property or inside of your home, moving inside through any cracks and crevice they discover. Decaying wood in or around your home can also attract ants. Many species of ants, including carpenter ants, are highly attracted to moisture and decaying wood.
Where will I find ants?
Ants are living both indoors and outdoors. Some species like pharaoh ants prefer to live inside, while others like fire ants and pyramid ants prefer the outdoor life. Outside ants nest in the ground underneath the soil, in piles of wood, in the cracks of pavement, under mulch, along fence lines, under fallen trees, or inside tree stumps. Inside, they typically nest in hard to reach areas like underneath floors, behind walls, above ceilings, in structural wood (carpenter ants), and behind appliances.
How do I get rid of ants?
To get rid of ants from your property or structure, partner with the Texas pest control experts at Romney Pest Control. Our experienced professionals provide reliable and comprehensive pest control services that eliminate ants and then the routine services needed to prevent their return. If you are looking for high-quality pest control services to keep your Dallas/Ft. Worth, San Antonio, Austin, or Houston area home or business free of ants, reach out to Romney Pest Control today.
How can I prevent ants?
Keep ants out of your home with the help of the following ant prevention tips:
Inspect the exterior of your home, foundation, siding, windows, doors and seal any entry points found.
Reduce moisture in and around your home by fixing leaky pipes and fixtures, maintaining gutters, properly ventilating crawl spaces, and using dehumidifiers.
Remove structural wood from your home that has been damaged by water.
Make sure outdoor trash cans and compost bins have tight-fitting or locking lids on them.
Remove fallen trees, tree stumps, and similar items from your property.
Place a stone or crushed rock barrier between mulch or grass and the foundation of your home.