Ants are social insects that belong to the family Formicidae. There are more than 12,000 known species of ants, and they are found on every continent except Antarctica. Ants are known for their ability to work together in highly organized colonies and are often considered beneficial to the environment as they help in soil aeration and pest control. However, ants can also be pests and cause problems for humans. In this article, we will provide general information about ants, the most common types of ants in the USA, their harmful effects, and ways to control them.
Discover Different Ant Species
There are numerous ant species. Below are critical facts about each of the mentioned species. The genus names are given where applicable, but note that some of these names may apply to several species within a genus.
Acrobat ants get their name from their habit of raising their abdomen over their thorax and head when disturbed. They are often light red to brown and are found throughout the United States. They can be a pest when they enter homes in search of food and moisture.
Allegheny mound ants are recognized for constructing large mounds in fields and forests. They are reddish and dark brown to black and primarily found in eastern North America. They can cause damage to ornamental plants.
Argentine ants are small, light to dark brown ants notorious for forming supercolonies. Native to Argentina, they have now spread to many parts of the world. They can displace native ant species and become a significant pest in homes.
Bigheaded ants get their name from the larger size of the soldiers’ heads in comparison to their bodies. These ants are typically reddish-brown to dark brown and are found worldwide. They are common household pests.
Army ants are known for their aggressive foraging groups. They don’t construct permanent nests, instead forming living bivouacs. Species of army ants are found in many parts of the world and can vary greatly in size and color.
Fire ants are known for their aggressive behavior and painful sting. They are reddish-brown and often build mounds in open areas. They can cause significant damage to agriculture and are a health risk to humans and pets.
Harvester ants get their name from their behavior of collecting seeds, which they store in the colony to eat later. They are generally red and are often found in arid regions. Their sting is excruciating.
Leafcutter ants are famous for their unique behavior of cutting leaves and using them to cultivate fungus gardens inside their colonies. They are typically brown or reddish and are found primarily in South and Central America.
Pyramid ants are usually reddish-brown or black and get their name from the pyramid-like projection on the top of their thorax. They prefer dry, sandy areas and are often found in the southern United States.
Winged ants are the reproductive males and females of the colony. They engage in a nuptial flight, often called the “ant wedding,” during which they mate. After the flight, males die, and females lose their wings and go on to start new colonies.
The High Noon Ant (Formicidae meridiana) is an extraordinary species of ant native to desert environments. This sun-loving insect is named for its unique behavior of foraging for food at the peak of the day when temperatures are at their highest.
Harmful Effects of Ants
While ants are often considered beneficial to the environment, they can also be pests and cause problems for humans. Some of the harmful effects of ants include:
- Damage to Property: Certain types of ants, like carpenter ants, can cause significant damage to wood structures in homes and buildings.
- Health Risks: Ants can carry bacteria and other pathogens that can cause health problems in humans.
- Painful Stings: Some types of ants, like fire ants, can cause painful stings that can be dangerous for people who are allergic to their venom.
- Food Contamination: Ants can contaminate food and other items with their waste, which can lead to health problems.
Facts About Ants
Here are some interesting facts about ants:
- Ants can carry objects up to 50 times their body weight.
- Some ants can swim, and others can glide through the air.
- Ants have a highly organized social structure, with each individual performing specific roles to benefit the colony as a whole.
- Some ants farm aphids and other insects for their honeydew, a sugary liquid produced by these insects.
- Ants communicate with each other through pheromones, chemicals that they release to send messages to other ants.
How to Get Rid of Ants
If you have an ant problem, there are several ways to get rid of them, including:
- Keep your home clean and free of food debris.
- Seal any cracks or gaps in your home’s foundation or walls.
- Use bait traps or ant baits to lure ants away from your home and into the trap.
- Use insecticides to kill ants directly.
- Contact a professional ant control company like Arete Pest Control for effective and long-lasting ant control solutions.
The best way to prevent ants from entering your home is to eliminate any potential food sources. This includes storing food in airtight containers, wiping down surfaces regularly, and taking out the trash frequently. You can also seal any cracks or gaps around windows, doors, and foundations to prevent ants from finding entry points.
Yes, many species of ants are attracted to sweet scents. This is because they are seeking out sources of sugar, which is a key component of their diet. If you notice an ant infestation in your home, it’s important to avoid leaving sugary foods or beverages out in the open, as this can attract more ants.
Some species of ants can be harmful to plants. For example, carpenter ants can hollow out trees and cause damage to the wood, while fire ants can damage the roots of plants. However, many species of ants can also be beneficial to plants by aerating the soil and controlling pests like aphids.
Signs of an ant infestation include seeing large numbers of ants in or around your home, finding ant trails leading to a food source, and noticing small piles of dirt or debris that ants have pushed out of their nests. If you’re unsure whether you have an ant infestation, it’s best to contact a professional pest control service for an inspection.
While there are many DIY methods for getting rid of ants, such as using vinegar or borax solutions, these methods may not be effective for all species of ants or for severe infestations. Additionally, some DIY methods can be harmful to pets or children if not used properly. If you’re dealing with a persistent ant problem, it’s best to contact a professional pest control service to ensure that the problem is properly identified and treated.
Contact us for professional ant control services and bid farewell to these pesky pests. Our team of experts is well-versed in ant behavior and habits, allowing us to implement targeted treatments that eliminate ants at the source.