Ants 101: Common Questions About Ants – Answered


Ants are the No. 1 pest “bugging” Americans.* To help you control this bothersome insect, we’ve compiled answers to your most common questions.


Ants in the home
   Ants enter homes in search of food and shelter.

Why are ants in my house?

Ants enter homes in search of food, water, and shelter, and more than 80% of homeowners experience ant problems.* There are approximately 12,000 species of ants in the world, but only about 25 commonly infest homes. Identifying which type of ant is in your home is one of the first steps in determining how to treat them. The most common ants found inside the home are carpenter ants, odorous house ants, and ghost ants. These household pests are difficult to control and even more challenging to treat once they establish a base.


Image, difference bertween winged ants and termites
Learn the difference between winged ants and termites.

Can ants fly?

Not all ants can fly, but most can. Flying ants are often mistaken for termites. Homeowners are most likely to encounter flying ants, or “alates,” during spring and summer months. While most ants are wingless, mating ants grow wings in order to swarm and spread their colonies during breeding season. Winged ants normally swarm after heavy rain. Here’s a quick guide on how to know if you have ants or termites.


Will ants hurt my yard or garden?

Mostly, an ant infestation in your yard is just a nuisance. Many outdoor ants build their nests under the grass, resulting in an uneven lawn. Anthills kill the grass under the mounds and make mowing lawns difficult due to lumps of soil getting caught in the mower blades. The most common outdoor ants are fire ants, argentine ants, pyramid ants, and crazy ants.

Can ants bite or sting?

All ants can bite, but not all can bite humans. Some ants are so tiny that their mouthparts are too small to bite us! Some stings can be very painful. When ants feel threatened or disturbed, they can swarm by the hundreds to sting any person or animal they perceive to be a danger.

Video, Fire ant prevention and treatment
Watch our video to learn how to keep fire ants out of your yard.

Fire ants can actually bite and sting. Worker fire ants will attach to the skin using their mandibles and will subsequently lower the tip of the gaster to inject the stinger into the victim. Alkaloid in the venom is responsible for both the pain and white pustule that appears approximately one day after the sting occurs. For some people an allergic reaction may occur.

If you find fire ants in your yard, you should start implementing a program for fire ant control at the first sign of an infestation.

The best way to prevent bug bites from occurring is to take preventive measures in and around your home.

What can I do to help control ants?

Prevention is the best pest defense. You can prevent ants and other common home insects from entering by following these tips:

  • Rinse jars and containers before throwing them away.
  • Clean up food and drink spills as quickly as possible.
  • Frequently wipe down counters.
  • Remove garbage bags from the kitchen often and keep trash cans clean.
  • Pick up pet food and store in tight containers.
  • Trim bushes and hedges that are near or touching your house.
  • Caulk or close potential entry points.

If you suspect that you have a pest infestation, don’t wait to take action! The problem is likely to continue without proper pest control methods. Call HomeTeam Pest Defense today at 877-461-7378, or visit

*Survey of national homeowners by HomeTeam Pest Defense, 2011

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