How to Prevent and Treat Common Indoor Ants


More than 80% of homeowners experience problems with ants, making ants the most common pest problem in America. There are more than 12,000 species of ants, but only a few types cause major problems for homeowners in the U.S. For more facts about ants, check out our ant infographic.

The three most common ants that can make their way inside your home are carpenter, odorous house, and Pharaoh ants.

Carpenter Ant Image

Carpenter ants are usually red, black, or a combination and enter buildings and homes to nest or forage. Their common name, “carpenter” refers to the way they make their nests in wood, creating smooth tunnels and galleries. They are typically found in wood that is structurally sound. Colonies are normally formed during the first warm days of spring through June, depending on the climate. Carpenter ants often build a parent nest and multiple satellite nests, which can be found in neighboring trees or adjacent structures. If a parent nest is found indoors, it’s often associated with a water leak or other source of moisture.

Odorous House Ant Image

Odorous house ants are native to the U.S. They are typically brown or black and they get their name from the rotten, coconut-like odor emitted when crushed. They are attracted to moist and shady areas or areas near food. Their nests are found near materials such as lumber, firewood, bricks, rocks, and cardboard. If you find odorous house ants inside your home, the source of the problem could either be outside, or near a moisture problem inside your home, problem areas are near pipes and heaters, or beneath toilets.

Pharaoh Ant Image

Pharaoh ants are yellowish, light brown, or reddish in color. They have a stinger but are unable to sting, unlike fire ants. They nest indoors in temperate regions, but nest outdoors in more tropical regions. Pharaoh ants are attracted to warmer temperatures with high humidity. They are typically found in kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, around toilets, sinks, pipes, or any area near a source of moisture.

If you find any of these ants inside your home, you can try to treat the problem yourself by first identifying and eliminating any food and water sources. You can also purchase a pest treatment product from your local retailer. However, our survey of U.S. homeowners* found that two-thirds of homeowners were unable to solve the problem on their own.

If your ant problem persists, it’s best to contact a local pest control professional who can easily identify the type of ant, find their nest, and treat the source of the problem.

Once ants are established, it’s often difficult to treat the infestation. Therefore, it’s best to prevent ants from invading your home by following these tips:

  • Rinse jars and containers before throwing them away
  • Clean up food spills as quickly as possible
  • Frequently wipe down counters
  • Remove garbage bags from the kitchen often and keep trashcans 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

To learn more about ants and how to prevent them from making your home their home, watch our video about ants with one of our leading entomologists.

Call HomeTeam Pest Defense today at (877) 461-7378 or visit

*HomeTeam Pest Defense National Survey of U.S. homeowners, 2012

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