Ants are nuisance pests that can take over your lawn, damaging beautiful foliage and gardens by creating mounds and even destroying vegetation. If not controlled, some ant species can quickly move into home structures where they begin setting up colonies and contaminating food. The following are a few types of ants that are common to New England, along with defining characteristics that can help you to identify the ants when to contact your residential pest control services.
Pavement ants are very common in New England and generally make their homes between cracks in the pavement, which can cause damage to sidewalks, driveways, and landscaping. These ants are dark brown to black and generally less than 1/10 of an inch long. They will eat almost anything and will aggressively attack other ant colonies to set up a new colony. Pavement ants are identifiable by the bristly spines on their backs, as well as their small size and aggressive nature.
Odorous House Ant
Odorous house ants are hard and resilient, so they often survive adverse weather conditions, injuries, and food shortages. The ants are identifiable by their unique 12 segmented antennae, brown or black color, and 1/16 to 1/8 inch size. Odorous house ants are also identifiable by the foul odor that is released when they are crushed. These ants can be found indoors or outdoors, so it is best to stop infestations outside of the home before the ants begin colonizing indoors.
Ghost ants are a tropical ant species, so they are more commonly found in New England lawns during the moist and warm summers, moving indoors when weather becomes cold and dry. Ghost ants are most identifiable by their translucent white abdomen and legs, although this makes them more difficult to spot. Ghost ants are 1/16 of an inch or less. These ants can be difficult to control once they have begun to infest, because they quickly separate to form new colonies from the one original colony.
Carpenter ants are large, about 1/3 of an inch to an inch long. Carpenter ants form colonies inside of trees, logs, and wooden structures and buildings, causing damage to the colonized location. There are many varieties of carpenter ants, so they can range from black to red to yellowish in color. Carpenter ants may have wings or be wingless, depending on the position in the colony. Carpenter ants do not actually eat wood, opting for proteins and carbohydrates instead.
Sugar ants are very small, generally less than 1/16 of an inch. Sugar ants can range from black to light brown, red, or yellowish. The species opts for sweeter foods such as honey, fruit, meats, and of course sugar. This makes sugar ants a threat to fruit and vegetables gardens. Sugar ants also commonly gravitate indoors to feed on spilled or improperly stored human foods.
Pharaoh ants are a tropical species that are known to gravitate indoors and quickly cause major infestations. These ants are identifiable by their yellow or light brown color and antennae that end in a club. Pharaoh ants can quickly overtake a lawn or building because the colonies have several queens that do not compete, can lay many eggs at one time, and have a very short time from birth to maturity.
Cornfield ants are light to dark brown and are more commonly found in fields or lawns than indoors. These ants can range in size from 1/10 inch to ¼ inch and create large, crater-like nests. These ants emit an acid odor when crushed and seek similar food sources to sugar ants.
If you find ants in your home, call Bain Pest Control Services today to help you eliminate them!