Spring’s just around the corner, and that means the ants have begun marching again. Believe it or not, not all ants are a like – even though they might look like it. In our service area, we come across ants all the time. Some of those ants cause more damage than others.
Knowing how to identify them could save you money in the long run. There are 12,000 species of ants all over the world, but here are six of the most common species found in and around Fredericksburg.
Allow us to introduce them to you.
Acrobat ants get their name from their habit of acrobatically raising their abdomen above their head when alarmed or agitated. Acrobat ants are small; most species are less than 5.4 mm in length. Acrobat ants are easily identifiable by their heart shaped gaster and shiny bodies. They infest moisture-damaged wood by building nests and tunneling out small to large areas in the wood.
Argentine ants are an invasive species known for displacing native ants. Argentine ants kill other insects and invade human dwellings. Moist areas, like mulch, under debris on the ground, under piles of refuse and home foundations, attract Argentine ants. When the weather cools, Argentine ants invade your home looking for warmth. They seek out gaps and cracks around the house to take shelter. Over time, the network of interconnecting colonies could become a massive infestation. Each colony of Argentine ants can contain millions of insects and multiple queens.
Carpenter ants are very large ants, very dark or even black in color, so they are fairly easy to identify. While they are generally outside ants, they may invade a home when searching for a source of available food. Carpenter ants do not eat wood, but they build their nests by excavating corridors and chambers in living and dead trees, rotting logs, and stumps. The presence of moist wood in a home is like a magnet for a carpenter ant.
Odorous house ants are tiny, about 3 mm in length, and are dark brown to black in color. Odorous house ants scavenge for food in large numbers and they possess a behavior trait much like the acrobat ant. Odorous house ants will nest in both outdoor and indoor habitats. Outside, they usually are found just underneath the soil surface in mulch, plant debris, and rocks. Indoors, nests are usually found in wall voids, around water pipes and heaters.
Pavement ants are small, brown to black ants with a black abdomen. Pavement ant colonies are known to conquer new areas, and attack nearby colonies. Sidewalks are often the battle ground for these attacks. Pavement ants are soil nesting species. They usually nest underneath stones, concrete patio, and sidewalk slabs at the edge of pavement.
Pharaoh ants are very small, have light yellowish colored bodies with red and black markings on the abdomen. They are omnivores and will eat practically any type of food, preferring greasy foods, meats, and sweets. Pharaoh ants build nests inside walls, cabinet voids, behind baseboards, refrigerators, and insulation. Pharaoh ants are a major nuisance pest, especially in hospitals.
What should you do if you find ants in your home?
Call Sigma Pest Control for a FREE inspection – (540) 94-SIGMA. Getting an inspection is the most important first step you can take.
Inside the home, we’ll inspect along the carpet edges, doors, windows, and all areas of the kitchen. The easiest way to find a trail to the nest is to watch where ants go after reaching the food source.
Outside the house, we’ll inspect around foundation walls, areas of vegetation, and mulch. Any vegetation found near patios and walls may hide some ant nests or their trails. We’ll also check under items that are on the ground. Some ant nests are well hidden.
Ants are active year-round, that means you need protection year-round.
Sigma’s Quarterly Pest Control Service (QPCS) covers ants, spiders, roaches, wasps, fleas, centipedes, crickets, mice, rats, and much more. Once we solved any issues on the inside of your home, we will focus our efforts on the outside to keep your home pest free. Exterior services will occur once every three months, and will include a foundation treatment, removal of wasp nests and spider webs using a telescopic tool that reaches up to 30 feet, a perimeter band around the home. And crack and crevice service. However, if the bugs don’t listen, we will come back and take care of it at no additional charge to you.