Ant – Identification and Treatments
Carpenter ant, field ant, moisture ant, harvester ant
How to Identify:
Ants are six-legged insects with elbowed antennae and a narrow “waist” between the abdomen and thorax. This waist sets them apart from termites, which homeowners sometimes confuse them for. There are more than 10,000 species of ants which range in size from 2-25 mm and come in a variety of colors. Some, but not all, species of ants have wings.
All ants live in colonies which can range in size from 100 workers to 100,000 workers, so if you see one ant there are likely others near by. Some species, such as the fire ant, have the ability to sting or bite. While these can be very painful, they are rarely deadly unless the person who was bitten has an allergic reaction.
Ants can live indoors or outdoors and each species has its own preferred habitat. Some species cut tunnels into wood, while other prefer to create their colonies in the ground. Entrances to outdoor colonies are typically covered by a mound of dirt called an ant hill. Most ants are scavengers and will eat a variety of things like other insects, vegetation, and human food.
Ant communities center around their queen or queens, who lay thousands of eggs which hatch into new workers. All workers are females who never reproduce, but rather forage for food, caring for young, building the nest, and guarding the colony. Colonies only have a few males whose job is only to mate with the queen. Ants communicate using chemicals, which help them create trails to lead other workers to a food source.
How to Stop Them:
Some ants, such as carpenter ants, pose a threat to the structure of the buildings that they live in. This is why catching and treating an infestation early can save a homeowner a lot of money. When dealing with ants it can be useful to locate the nest so that it can be removed or treated with chemicals.
The best way to rid your home or property of an ant infestation is to contact a pest control professional because using improper pest control techniques can allow the ant colonies to rebound and never fully go away.