Ant Identification Guide

What are ants?

Ants are unwanted pests that commonly wander around our yards and homes. Because they frequently invade our properties, they are an easy insect for most people to identify. Ants have three body regions, two antennae, six legs, and chewing mouthparts. Depending on their species, ants are usually black, brown, yellowish, red, or a combination of those colors. Species of ants that are common in Central New York are Carpenter Ants, Argentine Ants, House Ants, and Acrobat Ants.

close up of ant

Living together in colonies, ants divide their members into three different groups. Ant larvae develop into workers, reproductive males, or queens. Only the reproductive males and queens have wings, and as their name suggests, are the only members of the colony able to reproduce. Workers are sterile females that perform most of the duties of the colony. They gather food, care for the larvae, and defend the colony from threats.

Are ants dangerous?

Ants can be dangerous, depending on their species, behaviors, and feeding habits. However, most ant species that invade our properties are nuisance ants, and while they don’t cause us any real harm, they can contaminate food and spread bacteria.

The Carpenter Ant is a dangerous species of ant living in our area. These ants cause damage to buildings by nesting inside its structural wood. Other ant species cause harm to people either by biting or spreading diseases.

Why do I have an ant problem?

Ants are a challenge to control because they live together in extensive colonies and often have multiple nesting sites, both indoors and outdoors. They can become a problem on any property but particularly gravitate to properties where they can forage for food in various locations. Things like garbage cans, recycling bins, pet food bowls, and gardens attract ants.

Additionally, as ants travel around your yard while foraging for food, they are likely to find their way into your home through cracks in the foundation, vents, and spaces around windows and doors.

Where will I find ants?

Ants make their nests in a variety of indoor and outdoor locations, depending on their species:

  • Carpenter Ants prefer to nest in pieces of wood previously damaged by water. Outside, they nest in tree stumps, in fallen trees, woodpiles, and old fences. Inside, they choose structural wood behind walls, under floors, and above ceilings to create their nests.

  • Argentine Ants build nests in the damp soil next to sidewalks and foundations of buildings. They also nest under logs or landscaping ties, woodpiles, and rock piles. Inside, they place their nests behind walls, behind large appliances, or under floors.

  • As their name suggests, House Ants like to live inside homes and other structures. They place their nests in secluded areas near food sources. Common nesting sites include spaces behind wall voids, under floors, and above ceilings.

  • Acrobat Ants make their nests outside under rocks and logs, in dead trees, and woodpiles. They also use the abandoned nests of Carpenter Ants and termites. Inside, these ants prefer to nest near areas of high moisture or fungal growth. Spaces behind walls, under floors, and inside crawlspaces are common nesting spots.

How do I get rid of ants?

Get rid of ants from your Central New York property with the help of local, experienced professionals. At Sweeney’s Pest Elimination, we have been protecting people and properties from our area’s most common pests for over 20 years.

If you are experiencing problems with ants, our professionals will take care of the problem and put into place the services needed to stop them from returning. To learn more about our residential or commercial pest control solutions and eliminate ants from your Central New York property, contact us at Sweeney’s Pest Elimination today!

How can I prevent ants in the future?

In addition to our professional ant control services, avoid future problems with ants by putting into place the following prevention tips:

  • Use caulk to seal cracks in the foundation and exterior walls of your home.

  • Place weatherstripping around windows and doors and seal spaces around wires and pipes entering your home.

  • Cut back branches and overgrown shrubs or bushes from your home’s exterior.

  • Prevent ants from foraging for food in trash cans, recycling bins, and compost bins by keeping tight-fitting or locking lids on them and storing them up off the ground.

  • Eliminate standing water from your property.

  • Reduce humidity levels in your home by using dehumidifiers and air conditioners.

  • Repair leaky pipes.

  • Replace wood in your home that becomes damaged by water.

  • Vacuum floors and wipe down counters.

  • Store any food in the refrigerator or in airtight containers.

 

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