Most Common Types of Ants

Identifying characteristics

  • Workers are all the same size, small, 1/8-inch long
  • Dark brown to shiny black
  • Petiole with 1 node, hidden by abdomen
  • Thorax uneven in shape when viewed from side
  • Very strong odor when crushed


  • Feed on both dead and living insects, favoring aphid and scale honeydew
  • In homes, forage primarily for sweets
  • Travel in both wandering patterns and set trails
  • Trails common along branches of trees, foundations, sidewalks, baseboards, and edges of carpets
  • When disturbed, become erratic with their abdomens raised in the air

Nest type and size

  • Live in shallow nests in soil under stones, wood, or debris
  • May nest in various habitats including wooded areas, beaches, wall voids, and around water pipes and heaters
  • Large colonies, with up to 10,000 workers and many queens
  • Overall strategy for control is to focus efforts on keeping ants out of the house. Follow good sanitation practices to make your home less attractive to ants. Spraying ants inside the home will not prevent more ants from entering. Use baits to control the ant colony.

Odorous House Ant

  • Fire Ants are a significant health threat due to their stings. Regular applications outdoors to lawn and foundations are often necessary because re infestation from neighboring properties is common. The key is location and treatment of all mounds. Mounds can he treated by drenching or with baits. Application of fire ant bait to the entire lawn helps limit re-infestation of treated areas. A perimeter treatment helps to prevent their entry into homes.

Argentine Ants

  • Argentine Ants aggressively re infest treated areas from surrounding properties. After finding and treating colonies, a perimeter treatment in a 6-10 foot hand needs to he applied along the foundation and at the edge of the property. If colonies cannot be located, Argentine ants can he controlled using commercially available baits.

Pharaoh Ants

  • Pharaoh Ants can only be effectively controlled through a comprehensive baiting program. Treatment with residual insecticides actually makes the infestation worse. Perimeter treatments outdoors, however, are often necessary in southern states to prevent re infestation from outside sources.

Carpenter Ants

  • Carpenter Ants can only be controlled by finding and treating their colonies located in voids and wood. In areas where carpenter ants are abundant, perimeter treatments help prevent ants from entering. Applications to the base of trees where colonies are located are also helpful.

Basics of Ant Control

Control of an ant infestation depends on finding and treating the colony. Different ants have different preferences on where to live. This is why identification is so important. Knowledge of an ants biology provides clues on where to look.Usual Ant

Ant are wondrous creatures and one of the most successful animals on earth. In nature, ants are a prime food source for many animals.

They aerate more soil than earthworms, they have taken advantage of every conceivable environmental niche and can he found in every region of the world except the polar caps.

Ants are successful because they are social insects often forming complex colonies. Certain species of ants are specialized in their behavior, for example, living on only one type of tree. Many other species are very adaptable and exploit numerous different living environments and food sources.

The presence of ants in nature ensures the health of the natural environment. In homes and other buildings, however, ants are not so welcome. The same reasons ants are successful in nature makes them very well suited to sharing man’s living quarters.

Structures can he threatened by damage from carpenter ants. Pharaoh ants can carry disease organisms.

Controlling ants in structures need not be so difficult. To he successful, one must follow a few basic rules:

  • Identify the ant or ants involved.
  • Perform a thorough inspection.
  • Determine where the ant colonies are located.
  • Treat the ant colonies directly.
  • It is not always possible to find where the ant colony is located. In this case, bait insecticides can he effective.

The pharaoh ant is controlled almost exclusively with baits. Other ants, such as carpenter ants and crazy ants are very difficult, if not impossible, to control using baits.

Too much reliance on baits to control ants can often lead to failure which can result in customers dissatisfied with the service. Finding and treating ant colonies directly provides the best results.