The Most Common Types Of Ants + How To Control Them

07/17/2014


Ants   

With over 14,000 ant species in the world, many of us in Northern Virginia are dealing with ants on the home front. They can be found in your home, in your yard and just about anywhere! While most common ants don't pose any major health threat, that doesn't make them any more acceptable. Even the most common and docile ants are a nuisance that can contaminate food sources and surfaces.

Probably the most common ants found in NOVA homes and buildings is the odorous house ant. These tiny, dark colored ants are also known as ‘sugar ants’. These are the ones usually found in the house. When you crush these guys they emit a strong and distinct smell of rotten coconuts.

Pavement ants are also pretty tiny. These brownish ants are usually found in cracks and crevices of pavement and blocks. These ants build huge underground nests. The nest entrances are mounds that look like a volcano. While predominantly found to be a nuisance outside, they will also to go into buildings with concrete slabs.

The largest and most destructive of the common ants is the carpenter ant. Carpenter ants come in different sizes and styles. The queen ants grow wings and get up to an inch in size. The smaller worker ants are about ½ that size. These ants like to build their homes inside wet and damaged wood. They will bore into a damaged wood structure and then create their own trails and chambers in which to travel and build their colony. These colonies can go from a few dozen ants up to thousands of them. Carpenter ants cause a lot of damage to homes and structures each year. Be on the look out for any of the following signs of carpenter ants:

  • wood debris from tunneling in wood

  • small winged ‘worker’ ants foraging for food

  • sounds of activity inside wood as they tunnel

  • ‘hollow’ sounding wood

These are the three most common ants. While you may come in contact with other types of ants, chances are the encounter is happening for a few simple reasons. Mostly, that the ants are looking for food, water and possibly a new nesting area. Ants are attracted to certain areas and circumstances. Here are a few simple steps that may make a difference on the amount of ants attracted to your home or property:

  • Keep all trash, returnables and recyclables in a sealed container and remove them on a regular basis

  • Keep your food crumbs and spills cleaned up

  • Promptly rinse dishes and do not keep dirty dishes on the counter

  • Do not allow pet food dishes to sit around with food in them

  • Regularly check plumbing for any leaks that may attract ants

  • Repair or replace window and door screens that are damaged or torn

If you think that you have an ant infestation in Arlington, Great Falls or elsewhere in Northern Virginia, you should contact American Pest. The only way to completely rid yourself of ants is to remove the whole colony. This is almost impossible to achieve with do-it-yourself methods. Ants are everywhere. But they don't have to be in your home. Call American Pest today to keep them out for now and for good!






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