Pest Facts from HomeTeam

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

Common Ants
Found Inside Homes

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants have wings that are unequal in size (hind wings are shorter than front
wings), elbow-shaped antennae and a constricted waist. Click here to find
out more about the difference between termites and ants.

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

Odorous house ants can live up to several years. These ants make their homes in exposed soil
and wall cracks.

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

Pharaoh ants, also known as the sugar ant, can feed on almost any type of food including
jellies, honey, peanut butter, corn syrup, fruit juice baked goods, soft drinks, cereals and

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.

Treating Ants Inside Your Home

  1. Like all pests, ants are looking for food and water. Complete a thorough inspection in and around your
    home for leaking water and food sources, and eliminate them.
  2. Keep your kitchen especially clean and quickly take care of any water leaks.
  3. All ant species have different characteristics so the type of ant will determine how they should be
    treated in your home. If eliminating food and water sources do not stop ants from returning, consult
    with a local box retailer for pest treatment products and follow the instructions carefully.
  4. If the problem persists after eliminating food and water sources, as well as using DIY treatment
    products, contact a local pest professional to identify the ants and plan appropriate treatment.
  5. If you are building a new home, consider Taexx, a
    built-in-the-wall pest control system that keeps common household pests out of our home including ants.
    Many of the nation’s top builders are installing as a standard feature. If your builder isn’t already
    installing Taexx, you can ask for it.

Common Ants
Found Outside Homes

Fire Ants

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.

Crazy Ants

Crazy ants have multiple queens and very large colonies, making them very difficult to

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.

Treating Ants Outside Your Home

  1. Identify which kind of ant you are dealing with to determine the best type of treatment. Consult with a
    local box retailer for pest treatment products and follow the instructions carefully.
  2. Use patience and treat as many mounds as possible at the same time. If you treat just one mound, they
    will move to satellite mounds.
  3. Trim back bushes, shrubs and trees that brush against your siding or roof to eliminate possible bridges
    for ants to reach your home. Avoid stacking firewood next to the house and maintain a healthy lawn to
    discourage ants from returning.
  4. If you have crazy ants, treatment can be difficult. You should consult with a local pest control expert
    to talk about treatment options.

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.

Frequently Asked Questions
About Ants

What can I do, as a homeowner, to help eliminate or control an ant infestation?

To achieve long term control and prevention of ants, some steps include:

  1. Eliminating the food source.
  2. Trimming bushes and hedges that are near or touching your house in the affected area.
  3. Caulking or closing potential entry points.
  4. Chemically treating with the appropriate insecticides either on your own or using a pest control

What are considered the top pests in the U.S.?




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