Ant control can be difficult, but if you know a few things about different ant species and their behavior it can become easier. There are more than 12,500 species of ants that have been classified, and colonies can number up to 300,000–500,000. Worker ants may live seven years while the queen may live for 15 years. They nest almost anywhere in and around your house, so proper ant control is important during warmer months.
Workers are about 2.5–4 mm long and vary in color from dark brown to black. They have antennae and paler legs. Pavement ants are noticeable by one pair of spines on the back, grooves on the head and thorax, and by two nodes on the petiole. While searching for food, these ants invade buildings and homes. They can build soil nests under stones, along curbs, and in cracks in pavement. These ants feed on a wide range of food, including dead and living insects, greasy food, and seeds. As all ants do, pavement ants undergo complete metamorphosis from egg, larval, and pupal stages before becoming adults.
The workers have a strong citrus smell when they’re crushed, which is where their name originates. These ants are commonly confused with termites because of their yellow-orange color. They’re approximately 4 mm long, and their nests can be found under rocks and logs since they nest in soil. Inside homes, they like to nest in areas of high moisture.
The pharaoh ant is only 2 mm long and yellow or light brown in color, but still it’s almost transparent. These ants survive the winter by taking advantage of artificial heating inside homes and buildings. In warm climates, they nest in lawns and gardens. Infestations usually occur in kitchens and other areas where food is served. Their favorite food is anything sweet, but they can also feed on insects. The workers only live up to ten weeks.
Flying ants are black garden ants that are sexually mature; their only purpose is to mate. When mature, males and females fly out of their colonies and gather in large clusters known as a swarm. They enjoy swarming in conditions that include low winds, bright sunlight, high humidity, and warm temperatures. Shortly after mating, the males die. The swarms can vary in number from hundreds to thousands, depending on how many colonies join.
Carpenter ants are large and range in size from 3–13 mm. They’re usually black in color, but some species have yellow or reddish coloration. They can build nests indoors and outdoors, usually inside wood; however, they don’t consume wood. When they infest a building or home, they can cause a structural damage. They will feed on a variety of food people eat, like sweets and meats. Spotting carpenter ant workers and swarmers are the first sign of an infestation. Swarmers are produced when a colony matures and it’s ready to form a new colony. This is a sign that you have a large colony somewhere inside your household and you should call a professional immediately.
Proudly serving the greater Chicagoland area in Illinois and southeast Wisconsin, the professional exterminators at Aerex Pest Control understand the habits of different species of ants and use that knowledge when developing an ant control program that is best suited to your home and your particular problem. Our technicians are professional, state certified, licensed applicators. Call today for your free consultation 847-255-8888 or click here for a free quick quote.