Have an Ant Problem?
The Three Most Common Ant Species
Carpenter Ants: They pose additional concern to homeowners because these ants can be structurally damaging. They do not actually ‘build’ like carpenters but they will excavate wood and can be damaging over time if not managed. Carpenter ants like many ants feed on honeydew producing insects such as aphids. These ants will forage outside the structure and will find avenues to nesting sites within structures such as under insulation, in voids, in crawlspaces, or in attics. These ants do not feed on wood but will excavate space for nesting sites and trails to foraging arenas. A mature carpenter ant colony often includes a parent nest with the queen and brood plus satellite nest(s) with mature brood, workers, and often winged forms in preparation for the next mating flight. Parent nests are often located outside the structure and satellite nests are located within structures. There are a number of species of carpenter ants found in North America. These will vary in color but all have the same nesting behavior of excavating wood. Carpenter ants also have a variety of sizes within one colony but can be recognized in profile by the smooth thoracic dorsum.
Odorous House Ants: They are an important nuisance ant, have colonies with many queens and many homes. These homes are often temporary and will be found under pieces of wood or debris in landscaping. Again, as with carpenter ants, these ants will forage on honeydew from aphids living in vegetation. If there are landscaping problems and trees, shrubs, or plants are in contact with the structure, this will provide an easy access between the structure and foraging arenas. Structures need to be completely free from any contact with vegetation where the ants can trail from the vegetation into the structure. With the multiple queen aspect of this ant plus its temporary nesting sites, this ant is difficult to control. Workers of this ant are all of one size. They do not cause structural damage but because of the large numbers that are often present they can be particularly obnoxious to homeowners. These ants are not known to bite and they do not sting.
Pavement Ants: They also have many queens but these ants will nest under rocks or pavement. Homeowners are aware of these ants as they mine the sand and soil from under concrete slabs, patios, sidewalks, driveways, or in basements. Some refer to this ant as a mason ant because of its nesting behavior of moving the substrate. These ants are one size but do possess a stinger. A person is not stung easily unless the ant is caught in close circumstances such as resting an arm or leg over an infested area as in a lawn. These ants will also forage into structures on food items and will feed anything sweet or greasy. Because these ants next underground and have multiple queens, there have been problems with management.