Carpenter Ants

Carpenter Ants

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Odorous House Ants

Odorous House Ants

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Pavement Ants

Pavement Ants

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Antopia




Antopia® Spill Resistant Refillable Outside Ant Bait Station

Ant on Finger

Ants - General

Ants are one of the most successful groups of insects. They are social insects that live in colonies which are usually located in the ground, but they may enter buildings for shelter and/or food. Ants feed on practically every kind of food, but those entering homes are looking for sweets and/or protein-containing substances. About 700 species of ants occur in the United States and Canada. Of these, only about 25 species commonly infest homes. The biology and habits of each ant species are different, so a detailed knowledge of these for each species is necessary for effective control.


General Ant Identifying Characteristics

  • The body of an ant is clearly divided into three sections: the head, the thorax, and the gaster.
  • Ants can range in size from 2mm to about 25 mm long.
  • The color of ants varies. They tend to come in dark or earth tones. Different species are black, earth-tone reds, pale tans, and basic browns.
  • Ants are social insects, living in colonies comprised of one or a few queens, and many workers. The queen generally stays deep and safe within a nest. Most ants that you see are workers, and these are all females. Depending on species, workers may be similar in size, or come in a range of sizes.
  • Different ant species vary greatly in their physical characteristics, behavior, and food preferences.


Habitat

  • Most ant species live in the soil. Some, like carpenter ants, also live in wood (they excavate, but do not actually eat the wood). Some ants live in cavities made inside plants, tree stumps, wall cracks and pavement cracks.
  • There are three kinds of ants in a colony: The queen, the female workers, and males. The queen and the males have wings, while the workers don’t have wings. The queen is the only ant that can lay eggs. The male ant’s job is to mate with future queen ants, however, they do not live very long afterwards. Once the queen grows to adulthood, she spends the rest of her life laying eggs! Depending on the species, a colony may have one queen or many queens.
  • Ant colonies also have soldier ants that protect the queen, defend the colony, gather or kill food, and attack enemy colonies in search for food and nesting space. If they defeat another ant colony, they take away eggs of the defeated ant colony. When the eggs hatch, the new ants become the "slave" ants for the colony. Some jobs of the colony include taking care of the eggs and babies, gathering food for the colony and building the anthills or mounds.
  • They are social insects and generally live in large colonies below ground or in trees. An ant colony may have one or many queens, depending on the species, developing immatures, and many wingless workers.
  • Most of the ants we see are worker ants, foraging for food that will be brought back to the nest to feed the queen, immatures, and other workers.


Food

  • Ants are tireless scavengers and will feed on a wide range of foods, including liquid sugars such as nectar and honeydew, sugary sweets, greases and oils, starches (breads), cheese, nuts, seeds and plants, insects and other sources of protein.
  • They need a balance of carbohydrates and protein. Protein is especially needed for the queen to make eggs and for the larvae to grow.


Interesting Ant Facts

  • When foraging, ants leave a pheromone trail so that they know where they’ve been.
  • More than 20 varieties of ants invade homes throughout North America during the warm months of the year. Worldwide, there are more than 12,000 species, but only small number cause problems.
  • Destructive ants include fire and carpenter ants.
  • Fire ants are vicious, unrelenting predators with a powerful, painful sting.
  • Carpenter ants range in size from one-quarter inch for a worker ant to up to three-quarters inch for a queen.
  • An ant can lift 20 times its own body weight. If a second grader was as strong as an ant, she would be able to pick up a car!
  • Ants don’t have ears. Ants "hear" by feeling vibrations in the ground through their feet.
  • Ants don’t have lungs. Oxygen enters through tiny holes all over the body and carbon dioxide leaves through the same holes.


Information from the National Pest Management Association

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter Ant

Description

Carpenter ants get their name because they excavate wood in order to build their nests. Their excavation results in smooth tunnels inside the wood. Carpenter ants range in size from one-quarter inch for a worker ant to up to three-quarters inch for a queen.


Pest Facts

Color: Varies depending on species, from red to black or a combination. The two most common species are black.

Legs: Six

Shape: Segmented; oval

Size: 5/8 inches

Antennae: Yes

Flying: No

Region: Canada and USA


Habits

All species mainly attack wood that is or has been wet and damaged by mould. Even though these ants first invade wet, decayed wood, they may soon begin building paths through dry, undamaged wood. They usually come into buildings through cracks around doors, windows, or through holes for wires. They will also crawl along overhead wires, shrubs, or tree limbs that touch the building far above the ground.


Habitat

Carpenter ants build their nests outdoors in various wood sources, including tree stumps, firewood or landscaping. They need a constant water source to survive. They will enter homes through wet, damaged wood.


Threats

Carpenter ants damage wood through their nest building. If they gain entry to a structure, they pose a property threat.


Prevention

Because carpenter ants require a water source, eliminate sources of moisture or standing water. Keep tree branches and other plants cut back from the house. Sometimes pests use these branches to get into your home. Make sure that there are no cracks or little openings around the bottom of your house. Sometimes pests use these to get into your home. Make sure that firewood and building materials are not stored next to your home. Pests like to build nests in stacks of wood.


Information from the National Pest Management Association

Odorous House Ants

Odorous House Ants

Description

This ant gets its name from the strong, rotten coconut-like smell it gives off when crushed. These tiny insects range in size from one-sixteenth of an inch to one-eighth of an inch long.


Pest Facts

Color: Brown or black

Legs: Six

Shape: Segmented; oval

Size: 1/16-1/8 inches

Antennae: Yes

Flying: No

Region: Canada and the USA


Habits

Odorous house ants like to eat sweets, especially melon.


Habitat

Typically living for several years, these ants make their homes in exposed soil and wall cracks.


Threats

These ants do not pose a public health risk, but they can contaminate food and should be avoided.


Prevention

Eliminate standing water. Pests such as odorous house ants are attracted to moisture. Keep tree branches and other plants cut back from the house. Sometimes pests use these branches to get into your home. Make sure that there are no cracks or little openings around the bottom of your house. Sometimes pests use these to get into your home. Make sure that firewood and building materials are not stored next to your home. Pests like to build nests in stacks of wood.


Information from the National Pest Management Association

Pavement Ants

Pavement Ants

Description

Pavement ants get their name because they make their nests in or under cracks in pavement. They can infest structures.


Pest Facts

Color: Dark brown to blackish

Legs: Six

Shape: Segmented; oval

Size: 1/8 inches

Antennae: Yes

Flying: No

Region: Canada and the USA


Habits

These ants will eat almost anything, including insects, seeds, honeydew, honey, bread, meats, nuts and cheese.


Habitat

These ants live in or under pavement cracks.


Threats

These ants do not pose a public health risk, but they can contaminate food and should be avoided.


Prevention

Eliminate standing water. Pests, such as ants, are attracted to moisture. Keep tree branches and other plants cut back from the house. Sometimes pests use these branches to get into your home. Make sure that there are no cracks or little openings around your house. Sometimes pests use these to get into your home. Make sure that firewood and building materials are not stored next to your home. Pests like to build nests in stacks of wood.

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