ants in a plastic bag with cookies

Top 4 ants you may encounter this summer

Ants! They are tiny but mighty creatures, with colonies ranging from a few dozen to super colonies containing more than 300 million. And, because they are found in every continent on Earth, except Antarctica, one thing is for sure—you are not alone in your quest to be free from the #1 nuisance pest in the world! So, what’s the key to defeating ants? Understanding the different species and how they react to pest control treatments.

Ants are a pest problem year-round. With more than 700 species of ants in the nation, you’re likely to encounter a few in your area. Check out the chart below for common ant species you may recognize.

Common ant species

ant identification chart

  • Carpenter AntsCamponotus species
    • Destroy wooden structures
    • Do not eat wood
    • Excavate wood to nest in
    • Prefer damp wood
    • Damage structural integrity of buildings
    • Populations can reach large numbers over time
    • Satellite nests will form and branch out from the original colony
    • Swarm to mate and establish new colonies
    • Winged, flying ants are a sign of an infestation
  • Field Ants – Formicidae
    • Build nests outside
    • Large mounds 3’ to 4’ wide and 2’ to 3’ tall
    • Nests are common near sidewalks, masonry walls, lawns, gardens, fields
    • Do not seek food indoors
    • Feed on insects and honeydew produced by aphids
    • Will bite if nest is threatened
  • Pavement AntsTetramorium caespitum
    • Nest beside and under sidewalks, foundations and driveways
    • Small mounds of dirt can be seen where they build their nests
    • New colonies are established in mid-summer
    • Attracted to sweet and greasy substances
    • Will search indoors for food
    • Seek heated buildings in the winter
    • Can bite
    • Will spread out, forming satellite nests
  • Odorous House AntsTapinoma sessile
    • Known for infesting homes
    • Large colonies
    • Two or more queens
    • More than 100,000 workers
    • Forage for foods rich in sugar and proteins
    • Prefer moist areas for nesting

Understanding ant treatments

When people discover ants in their home, they either set out bait hoping that the colony will ingest it and perish. Or, they blast them with an ant spray, killing them in their tracks. Both might work temporarily, but inevitably the ants will return. People consistently reach out to Western for assistance because these solutions aren’t working in the long run. Meanwhile, ant colonies begin to divide and grow larger.

Why are ants so difficult to get rid of?

  1. Ant colonies can spread and grow in size quickly.
  2. Nests can be located in hard-to-reach or inaccessible areas.
  3. Treatments can cause ants to flee and build satellite nests, making the issue worse.

Different ant species are attracted to different baits, this is why it’s so important to properly identify the species of ant before you apply a treatment.

Cleaning Dust On Tile Floor With A Brush And Dustpan

Preventative ant control tips

  • Select the correct bait based on what type of any you have. Avoid over the counter sprays, they may cause ants to scatter.
  • Trim shrubs and trees so they do not touch your home. Ants can gain easy access on branches.
  • Seal any entry points; caulk windows and install door sweeps.
  • Keep food particles swept up and floors and counters clean and dry.
  • Store pantry and pet foods in airtight containers.
  • Ensure areas around your home do not collect moisture.

Western Exterminator technician inspecting underneath a sink

When to call Western

It’s time to call if you:

  • Have followed all the preventative ant control tips, but you’re still seeing ants.
  • Suspect carpenter ants and would like to avoid damage to your home.
  • Do not like insects invading your home and need pest control help.

If you are noticing ants in or around your home, Western’s year-round pest control program – pestfree365 – eliminates infestations and provides ongoing prevention for ants and 36 other common pests.

Ants can be extremely difficult to exterminate, requiring several treatments over a period of time. However, with patience and perseverance, and the help of an expert ant control specialist, you can achieve peace of mind knowing you are not alone in the ongoing battle against ants. Our effective ant control treatments are guaranteed to take care of your ant problems and will help prevent them from coming back. Call us today!

Nancy Troyano

Nancy Troyano, Training Manager / Entomologist at Rentokil North America, is responsible for leading and supporting the development and training of Rentokil technicians throughout North America. Nancy works closely with Technical Field Trainers and Line-of-Business Managers to develop and implement a comprehensive training program for new and existing technicians. Nancy joined Rentokil after receiving her PhD from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) in 2009. Follow Nancy on Google+

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