Worldwide, there are about 12,000 species of ants, but only about 1,000 species are found in the United States. Surprisingly, only a few species of ants are considered to be nuisance pests.
When the weather starts to get warm, ants tend to get active. While you can have ants in your home any time of the year, they are more prevalent in the warmer months of spring and especially summer.
Knowing the type of ant you are dealing with is important in preventing infestations and in getting them out of your home. Different species are drawn to different things in the home and yard. They also respond very differently to extermination measures.
Know your enemy. That enemy isn’t just the ant, it’s the type of ant.
Types of Common House Ants
There are four common types of house ants in Virginia: Carpenter ants, pavement ants, fire ants, and odorous house ants. They are all classified as nuisance ants and are not something that you want in your home.
Each species has distinct characteristics that allow you to identify the type and treat infestations.
Carpenter Ants – Seek out moist wood to make their nests. This often causes damage to homes and other structures. They are larger ants, anywhere from 1/8 inch to ½ inch and are black with black and red combinations. They do not have a stinger but do have powerful jaws.
Pavement Ants – Are commonly found in cracks in the pavement but may make their nests in insulation and walls or under slabs and floors. They are around 1/16 inch to 1/8 inch and color ranges from light brown to black with lighter colored legs. The thorax and head have grooved or furrowed parallel lines running lengthwise. They do have a stinger but only bite or sting when provoked.
Fire Ants – Fire ants are one of the most dreaded species of ant in North America. They are one of the most common types of ants in a colony which means their sheer numbers can overwhelm your home- or you if you get too close to their nest. Their sting is very painful, and they are quite aggressive despite their small size. They are a dark reddish brown and are about 1/8 inch to 3/8 inch in length. They build large mounds outdoors but can get into homes via AC units and HVAC systems.
Odorous Ants – Are known for the rotten odor they emit when crushed. They are small, from 1/16 inch to 1/8 inch in length and are brown. They do not have a stinger but can invade a home in large numbers. They prefer to make their nests near sinks, water pipes, and other moisture sources and are drawn to sweets as well as greasy foods.
Types of Ants that Bite
All ants have the capacity to bite. They have powerful jaws, and some have a very painful bits. Only some types of ants are, like fire ants, able to sting and that can leave you with painful welts or blisters on your skin due to the venom the sting injects.
That is the danger of “ant bites,” the venom. Some people are allergic and that can cause a problem, including anaphylactic shock. Typically though, one or two stings isn’t that much of a concern. Depending on the person’s sensitivity to the venom, more stings could be dangerous.
Most of the time though, ant bites or stings are just a nuisance – and a painful reminder to avoid their nests.
Contact Pest Management
If you see ants in your home, don’t wait until it becomes a problem, call us right away. Our experienced, knowledgeable technicians will help you get rid of ants in your home and keep them out. Give us a call and let our pest professionals keep your home pest free!