Argentine Ants

Argentine Ants
  • Color: Dark brown to black; shiny
  • Legs: Six
  • hape: Segmented, oval
  • Size: 1/16th - 1/4 inch
  • Antennae: Yes
  • Flying: Rare winged swarmers
  • Region: AL, AR, CA, FL, GA, IL, LA, MD, MO, MS, NC, OR, SC, TN, WA
  • Description: Argentine ant colonies can grow to monumental size. Their colony borders sometimes cover entire habitats. Argentine ant queens also assist with foraging for food. The ant gives off a musty odor when crushed. Worker argentine ants are about one sixteenth of an inch long. Queen argentine ants are one eighth of an inch to one quarter of an inch long.

    Habits: Argentine ants deposit trails continuously, instead of just from nest to food source. This habit ensures they do not waste time visiting the same area for food. They prefer to eat sweets but they will eat almost anything including meats, eggs, oils and fats.

    Habitat: Argentine ant colonies are located in wet environments near a food source.

    Threats: Argentine ants do not pose a health threat, but they can contaminate food.

    Prevention: Eliminate standing water. Pests, such as Argentine ants are attracted to moisture. Keep tree branches and other plants cut back from the house. Sometimes pests use these branches to get into your home. Make sure that there are no cracks or little openings around the bottom of your house. Sometimes pests use these to get into your home. Make sure that firewood and building materials are not stored next to your home. Pests like to build nests in stacks of wood.


    Carpenter Ants

    Carpenter Ants
  • Color: Varies depending on species, from red to black or a combination. The two most common species are black.
  • Legs: Six
  • hape: Segmented, oval
  • Size: 5/8 inches
  • Antennae: Yes
  • Flying: Winged swarmers
  • Region: Contiguous states
  • Description: Carpenter ants get their name because they excavate wood in order to build their nests. Their excavation results in smooth tunnels inside the wood (formicarium). Carpenter ants range in size from one-quarter inch for a worker ant to up to three-quarters inch for a queen.

    • Size ranges from one-fourth inch for a worker ant to up to three-fourths inch for a queen in the most common species.
    • May range from red to black in color.
    • Build nests in deteriorating, moist wood; often the colony will extend its nest into adjacent, sound wood.
    • Are commonly found in porch pillars and roofs, window sills, telephone poles, live and dead trees, rotting logs and stumps and wood in contact with soil.
    • Do not actually eat the wood removed during nest-building activities; rather, deposit it outside entrances to the colony in small piles.

    Habits: All species mainly attack wood that is or has been wet and damaged by mold. Even though these ants first invade wet, decayed wood, they may soon begin building paths through dry, undamaged wood. They usually come into buildings through cracks around doors, windows, or through holes for wires. They will also crawl along overhead wires, shrubs, or tree limbs that touch the building far above the ground.

    Habitat: Carpenter ants build their nests outdoors in various wood sources, including tree stumps, firewood or landscaping. They need a constant water source to survive. They will enter homes through wet, damaged wood.

    Threats: Carpenter ants damage wood through their nest building. If they gain entry to a structure, they pose a property threat. They can convey a painful bite with pronounced mandibles and injection of formic acid into the wound.

    Prevention: Because carpenter ants require a water source, eliminate sources of moisture or standing water. Keep tree branches and other plants cut back from the house. Sometimes pests use these branches to get into your home. Make sure that there are no cracks or little openings around the bottom of your house. Sometimes pests use these to get into your home. Make sure that firewood and building materials are not stored next to your home. Pests like to build nests in stacks of wood.


    Odorous House Ants

    Odorous House Ants
  • Color: Brown or black
  • Legs: Six
  • Shape: Segmented, oval
  • Size: 1/16-1/8 inches
  • Antennae: Yes
  • Flying: Winged swarmers
  • Region: All 50, AR, CA, KY, MS, NJ, OR, TN, VA, WA
  • Description: This ant gets its name from the strong, rotten coconut-like smell it gives off when crushed. These tiny insects range in size from one-sixteenth of an inch to one-eighth of an inch long.

    Habits: Odorous house ants like to eat sweets, especially melon.

    Habitat: Typically living for several years, these ants make their homes in exposed soil and wall voids.

    Threats: These ants do not pose a public health risk, but they can contaminate food and should be avoided.

    Prevention: Eliminate standing water. Pests such as odorous house ants are attracted to moisture. Keep tree branches and other plants cut back from the house. Sometimes pests use these branches to get into your home. Make sure that there are no cracks or little openings around the bottom of your house. Sometimes pests use these to get into your home. Make sure that firewood and building materials are not stored next to your home. Pests like to build nests in stacks of wood.


    Pavement Ants

    Pavement Ants
  • Color: Dark brown to blackish
  • Legs: Six
  • Shape: Segmented, oval
  • Size: 1/8 inche
  • Antennae: Yes
  • Flying: Winged swarmers
  • Region: All 50
  • Description: Pavement ants get their name because they make their nests in or under cracks in pavement. They can infest structures.

    Habits: These ants will eat almost anything, including insects, seeds, honeydew, honey, bread, meats, nuts and cheese.

    Habitat: These ants live in or under pavement cracks.

    Threats: These ants do not pose a public health risk, but they can contaminate food and should be avoided. They are not aggressive, but can bite and sting.

    Prevention: Eliminate standing water. Pests, such as ants, are attracted to moisture. Keep tree branches and other plants cut back from the house. Sometimes pests use these branches to get into your home. Make sure that there are no cracks or little openings around your house. Sometimes pests use these to get into your home. Make sure that firewood and building materials are not stored next to your home. Pests like to build nests in stacks of wood.


    Red Imported Fire Ants

    Red Imported Fire Ants
  • Color: Dark reddish brown
  • Legs: Six
  • Shape: Segmented, oval
  • Size: 1/8-3/8 inches
  • Antennae: Yes
  • Flying: Winged swarmers
  • Region: Southeastern U.S. from Virginia to Texas
  • Description: Red imported fire ants nest in soil and build mound nests. They can infest garages.

    Habits: These ants will build large mound nests, and will sting humans who come across a nest.

    Habitat: Red imported fire ants will build their nest mounds outdoors in landscape areas or near a structural foundation. The ant will gain entry to a building through holes or cracks.

    Threats: The sting of a red imported fire ant is painful and often results in a raised welt that becomes a white pustule. Often, a person stung by a red imported fire ant receives multiple painful stings from more than one of the ants. Persons allergic to insect stings will react more severely.

    Prevention: Red imported fire ants and their telltale mound nests should be actively avoided. To prevent entry into a structure, seal all internal and external cracks and crevices.

    Source: National Pest Management Association