COMMON ANTS FOUND INSIDE HOMES
Carpenter ants invade homes and build their nests in dead, damp, hollow wood. Larger than the average household ant, they are 5/8 and can be identified by worker ants or swarmers (winged ants which can often be mistaken for termites). Carpenter ants are usually red, black or a combination of both. They can give a painful bite when disturbed. They can also cause structural damage to your home. Controlling them often requires the help of a professional.
Odorous house ants get their name from the odor they emit when crushed. Indoors, they are usually found near moisture and prefer sweet things to eat. You may see worker ants or swarmers (winged ants) in your home. They do not bite, sting or cause structural damage, and are primarily a nuisance. These ants are much smaller than a carpenter ant and range in size from 1/16″ – 1/18″. They are usually brown or black in color.
Pharaoh ants feed on almost any type of food, even toothpaste and shoe polish. They do not sting or swarm, and rarely cause structural damage. They can, however, spread very quickly and are difficult to treat. They can spread diseases and are of particular concern for hospitals. Pharaoh ants are 1/16″ in size and their bodies are usually pale, varying from yellow to red with their abdomen often darker to black.
COMMON ANTS FOUND OUTSIDE HOMES
The most common, bothersome outdoor ants are fire ants. Fire ants will sting anything that comes in their way or disrupts their mound, including children and pets. For more information on fire ants, visit our fire ants information page.
Another common outdoor species is crazy ants, a relatively new invasive outdoor ant in the U.S. They get their name from their fast-moving erratic behavior. They are typically found in the Gulf Coast region and southeastern U.S., and prefer warm temperatures and humidity, which means they do not prefer to be inside cool homes.
Crazy ants have multiple queens and hundreds of thousands of individuals, which make for very large colonies. Their colonies are found under and around rocks, leaf litter, the base of trees and naturally shaded areas. They can monopolize food sources – causing them to drive out fire ants and other insects, which can impact the ecosystem. Crazy ants will bite, but their bite is not as painful as the sting of a fire ant. They range in size from 1/16 1/8 and are typically brown or black. They often require the expertise of a pest control professional to treat them.