APPEARANCE: Among the largest ants, from one-fourth to three-eighths inch long; most common species are black, but some have reddish or yellowish coloration; workers have large mandibles.
HABITS: Normally nest in dead portions of standing trees, stumps or logs, or burrow under fallen logs or stones; invade homes in search of food; nests inside homes can do great damage; hollow out "galleries" in wood that are so smooth they appear to be sandpapered.
DIET: Do not eat wood; will feed on nearly anything people eat, particularly sweets and meats; also feed on other insects.
REPRODUCTION: Queen lays fifteen to twenty eggs the first year, and up to thirty eggs the second year; eggs complete their life cycle in about sixty days; worker ants can live up to seven years, while a queen may live up to twenty-five years.
OTHER INFORMATION: All kinds of houses, regardless of age or type of construction, are vulnerable to infestation and damage by carpenter ants; very difficult to control; colonies can contain up to three thousand workers.
Odorous House Ant
CHARACTERISTICS: Size: About one-eighth inch long Color: Brown. If crushed, the workers give off a rotten coconut odor, hence their name.
BEHAVIOR: Odorous house ants may develop huge colonies containing thousands of workers and numerous queens. This species may be difficult to control. The keys to control are finding the colonies and subcolonies and treating them directly. Long term use of Terro® bait is also helpful. Terro® Liquid Ant Baits and Terro® Ant Killer Spray work well against these ants.
HABITAT: This species is common in California north to Washington and is the most common pest ant in the mid-south region of Arkansas and West Tennessee. They may be encountered occasionally throughout the Midwestern United States. These ants nest outdoors under items on the ground, within landscape mulch, beneath loose bark on trees, under groundcover, in potted plants, and within piles of items, such as lumber, firewood, or bricks. Nests may readily be established inside homes in walls, beneath carpeting, and in other suitable voids or spaces.
BEHAVIOR: This ant is the most difficult ant to control. The colony may have hundreds of queens, and each colony will be divided into a number of subcolonies. Since members of two separate colonies are not aggressive toward each other, colonies will often combine with one another. This creates huge super-colonies that may extend over several properties. Argentine Ants are very aggressive and will drive out native species of ants Their primary food source during the warm months is the sweet honeydew produced by aphids and mealybugs. The presence of fruit trees, roses, and other plants that attract aphids often contribute to Argentine Ant infestations.
HABITAT: Argentine Ants reside outdoors, usually in shallow nests in the soil beneath a stone, board, or any other item that provides protection. Small, medium, or large subcolonies will locate themselves: in piles of lumber, bricks, or debris; in landscape mulch; behind brick and stone veneer; within and under insulation; and in wall voids or any other suitable void. Argentine Ants are the most common invaders of homes in Southern California. This ant is also very common in homes throughout most of the Gulf Coast states.
TIPS FOR CONTROL: As mentioned earlier, this ant can be nearly impossible to control, especially during midsummer in areas such as Southern California. Regular treatments hold the ants at bay, keeping as few ants as possible from entering the home or business. Without such efforts however, the numbers of ants seen inside can rise into the thousands. You can help avoid these ants with the following steps:
- Eliminate piles of lumber, bricks or debris from the property.
- Keep landscape mulch to a minimum of 2 inches thick.
- Ensure that the sprinkler system does not spray directly onto the home's foundation.
- Seal up as many cracks on the outside as possible.
- Treat the perimeter with a liquid or dust insecticide monthly.
- Use Terro® Ant Liquid Baits indoors on colonies that are invading.
- Use Terro® Ant Killer Spray around door frames and window sills to kill and repel invading ants.
- Enlist the help of a Pest Control Operator to treat the perimeter of the structure during the summer.
APPEARANCE: Very small; light yellow to red, with black markings on abdomen; about one-sixteenth inch long.
HABITS: Depends on artificial heating in human dwellings to survive; infestations commonly occur in food service areas; will nest in any well-protected and hidden areas throughout a structure; can nest outdoors in lawns or gardens.
DIET: Food of all types, but especially sweets; will also eat other insects.
REPRODUCTION: Grows from egg to adult in about forty-five days; females live as long as thirty-nine weeks and can lay about four hundred eggs; workers only live up to ten weeks.
OTHER INFORMATION: The most persistent and difficult of all household ants to control; very large colonies, with up to several million workers and thousands of queens.
CHARACTERISTICS: Size: About one-eighth inch long Color: Brown. Pavement ants are regular pests of buildings throughout the northeast to the midwestern United States. This ant is also found along the west coast from California to Washington.
BEHAVIOR: Individual pavement colonies can often be controlled using ant baits, but perimeter inspection and treatment is commonly necessary for long term relief. Pavement ants readily set up trails to and from food sources. Inside the house they are commonly found foraging under the edge of carpets and at the bottom of baseboards. Pavement ants will always hit on Terro® Ant Killer.
HABITAT: This ant's name is derived from its preference for nesting in soil next to and beneath slabs, sidewalks, patios, and driveways. Colonies are usually easy to find due to the piles of displaced soil next to and on top of pavement. Indoors, pavement ants nest under the foundation and within hollow block foundation walls. Occasionally, a colony may carry soil up into a wall to form a nest. When piles of soil appear from under baseboards or on top of a basement or garage floor, it is a good sign that pavement ants may be present.
TIPS FOR CONTROL: These tips will help you to prevent a Pavement Ant infestation:
- Seal cracks and holes in the exterior of the home to prevent ants and other pests from entering.
- Keep vegetation cut away from the foundation of the home.
- Avoid using items such as stones and landscape timbers next to the home's foundation. Pavement ants nesting under these items are likely to infest the home.
- Keep layers of mulch in landscape beds no more than two inches thick and keep it pulled back away from the foundation.
- Ant Dust sprinled around the perimeter of the foundation often will stop ants from entering the structure.
- Place Terro® Liquid Ant Baits in areas where ant activity in seen. Allow 7 days of continuous exposure the the bait.
- Colonies inside walls can be treated by drilling a small hole and injecting Terro® Ant Killer Spray using the extension tube that comes with the product.