What do ants look like?
Ants are social insects living together in large colonies. An ant colony has three castes, each with its role to play to help the colony succeed (queens, workers, and males). Queens and males are responsible for reproduction. Workers are responsible for basically everything else, including foraging for food, maintaining the nests, and protecting it from predators. Worker ants are the ants we come into contact with regularly.
Ants have three body segments, a defined waist, short antennae, and chewing mouthparts. An ant’s color and size depend on the exact species, but most are either black, brown, red, or yellowish.
Ants that regularly take over Arizona yards and homes include the following:
- Southern Fire Ants: These are small ants with an amber-colored head and thorax and black abdomen, and golden hairs cover their body.
- Carpenter Ants: These ants are the largest house invading ants in the U.S. and are black, brown, red, or a combination of those colors.
- Harvester Ants: Named for gathering seeds for food, these ants are dark red, and workers have an enlarged head.
- Odorous House Ants: These small black ants are identified by the rotten coconut-like odor they emit after being crushed.
- Rover Ants: These small ants vary in color from pale yellow to dark blackish-brown; they live in small colonies.
- Pavement Ants: These small black or brown ants use the soil next to or under pavement, sidewalks, and foundations as their favorite nesting spots.
Are ants dangerous?
Ants are small creatures that move by traveling along the ground and over and under objects. As they travel, they pick up bacteria on their body and legs, and when they end up in our homes, they bring the bacteria with them. Most ants we come across are nuisance ants; this means despite their ability to contaminate food and surfaces with bacteria, these ants don’t pose a significant threat to people or our property.
Dangerous ants are those that pose a bit more of a threat either to people or our property. Take, for instance, carpenter ants; these large ants nest inside wood. If they decide to move into our homes to nest, they invade and tunnel through structural wood. Over time, they cause significant and costly damage. The southern fire ant protects itself and the colony by delivering painful, venom-filled stings.
Why do I have an ant problem?
Ants communicate using pheromones. They lay down chemical trails to alert the members of its colony to new food sources. If ants discover food in your yard or after wandering into your home, they will communicate this to the rest of the colony.
The ability to effectively communicate is why you may only see a few ants one day, and the next day you find hundreds trailing through your yard or home. Once ants have discovered a reliable food source, they will keep returning.
Ants are also problematic because they don’t just have one nesting site. Most colonies have a main outdoor nesting site and many satellite nests. After moving into your home to forage for food or escape unsuitable weather, ants often stay and create a satellite nest, usually near pipes or other moist areas behind walls, under floors, or above ceilings.
Where will I find ants?
Ants are one of the most common pests to live near people. As our habitats have merged, ants have become comfortable living in outdoor areas near homes and commercial properties. They have no problem taking advantage of the food, water, and shelter our properties more often than not provide.
Some places that you will find ants nesting include:
- Open fields or yards
- Under or next to concrete slabs or foundations
- Under or next to pavement or sidewalks
- Inside of structures behind walls voids, in crawl spaces, behind appliances, inside electrical equipment
- Under mulch, landscaping ties, rocks, woodpiles
How do I get rid of ants?
Ants are difficult to prevent and even more challenging to get rid of once they have become comfortable on your Arizona property. To eliminate ants and stop them from re-infesting, partner with the local professionals at Green Home Pest Control. Using eco-minded pest control solutions, we solve pest problems using products and methods safe for pets, children, and the environment. We are committed to providing you with fast action and the best pest control services possible.
Call Green Home Pest Control today to learn more about our ant control solutions.
How can I prevent ants in the future?
Use the following prevention tips to avoid problems with ants:
- Like most pests, excess moisture and sources of water attract ants. Repair leaky pipes and fixtures, place weatherstripping around windows and doors and utilize dehumidifiers to eliminate excess moisture in your home.
- Eliminate an ant’s ability to find food on your property. Place lids on trash cans and recycling bins, make sure trash is removed from your property each week, pick up uneaten pet food, and clean up food after eating.
- Routinely vacuum and wipe down counters, tables, and other surfaces in your home.
- Regularly inspect your home’s exterior, noting any cracks or crevices in walls or the foundation, gaps around windows, or open vents or spaces around utilities. Go back and seal any openings using an appropriate material.
- Get rid of debris from your yard, excess wood, fallen trees, and brush that ants could nest under.
Learn more about our home pest control and commercial pest control offerings.
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