Ants are the most common pest problem in America, with more than 80% of homeowners experiencing ant problems.
There are more than 12,000 species of ants in the world, but only a few types typically pose the greatest
problems for homes in the U.S.
Ants are easy to identify because they have three distinct body regions: a heart-shaped head with large jaws and
elbowed antennae, a smooth round midsection, and a ridged tail end. Some ants grow wings in order to swarm and
spread their colonies. Winged ants and termites can look similar, but the main difference is that a termite has
two body segments and does not have a constricted waist. Termites also have smooth antennae instead of elbowed,
with four wings of equal size that extend far beyond the end of their bodies. Winged ants have four wings, but
two are much smaller than the others.
Ants can be a problem in or outside a home, where they can contaminate food, bite and damage property. They can
be difficult to control and treat once they are established. Many species are hard to identify to the untrained
eye. Here are some that are common inside the home, including carpenter
ants, odorous house ants and Pharaoh
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
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″ – 1/8″. 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.
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
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.
If you need help figuring out what type of ants you have and the best treatment for your situation, you can
consult a local HomeTeam pest expert. Contact our
nearest branch office.
To achieve long term control and prevention of ants, some steps include:
Learn how to identify common ants, how to prevent ants and pest proof your home, and how to treat ants.
HomeTeam Pest Defense provides traditional pest control services including treatment for ant infestation. Keep these tips in mind to protect your home.
HomeTeam Pest Defense, a leading pest management service, discusses the crazy ant species and tips to prevent crazy ant infestation.