There are multiple species of ants that inhabit the Midwest area year round. While some are more prevalent than others, there are certain ant pests that can be properly controlled with an ant treatment and control program, or a quarterly pest management program.
Arch Pest Services provides ant control for ants found in your home as well as ants found in your yard.
What Is An Ant?
Ants are social insects belonging to the order of insects known as “Hymenoptera”. This is the same order containing bees and wasps. Ant problems are difficult for homeowners to deal with because they live in large communities.
These ants in the house depend upon each other for the survival of the entire colony. Ant colonies tend to form underground nests comprised of chambers and interconnecting tunnels.
This is where ants store food, lay eggs and maintain nurseries. There can be tens of thousands of ants in a single colony. There can also be several colonies inhabiting the soil or landscape surrounding a property. For that reason, ants can be a particularly difficult pest to eradicate.
Why Do You Have Them?
All ants share one primary task: to protect and care for the colony. This means they need food, moisture and shelter. A colony of ants may range from a few dozen to tens of thousands.
Outside ant nests are under wood piles, flagstone or brick patios and under rocks and garden stones. Ants in the house may nest in wall voids, behind insulation, or in or around wood already damaged by moisture.
You are most likely to find ants in the kitchen or invading your property elsewhere when they are foraging for food. Foraging ants account for only a small percentage (typically 10% or less) of the colony’s size.
It is important to understand that ants will travel extremely long distances in search of food or harborage. Once these foragers locate and establish a source of food, ants will produce a scent trail (by way of pheromones). The pheromone trail leads to and from the nest and provides direction for the ants to follow between the nest and food source. This is why you will often see ants like the odorous house ant, marching back and forth along one line with little or no deviation.
Carpenter ants are large (.25 to 1 inch or 0.64 to 2.5 cm) ants indigenous to many parts of the world. They prefer dead, damp wood in which to build nests. They do not consume it, however, unlike termites. Sometimes carpenter ants will hollow out sections of trees. The most likely species to be infesting a house in the United States is the black carpenter ant (Camponotus pennsylvanicus). However, there are over a thousand other species in the genus
Odorous House Ant
Nests found in a great variety of situations. Inside buildings, they are often found nesting in the walls or beneath the floor. They are most likely to invade buildings during rainy weather. They travel in trails, foraging day and night.
Light brown to black with appendages lighter than rest of the body. About one tenth of an inch long. Parallel lines on head and thorax with a 12-segment antennae.
Omnivorous. Will eat many things, but prefers greasy and sweet foods.
Pavement ants also dwell in the undersides of logs, bricks, stones, patio blocks and boards. Pavement ants may also nest under mulching or open soil close to building foundations. They rarely nest indoors, but when pavement ants do enter buildings, they are seen under floors, inside insulation and within walls.
The Argentine ant is native to Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay. Colonies are prevalent in the southern states, as well as in California and Hawaii. Their bodies vary from light to dark brown and lack a stinger. Nests are shallow and are typically found in damp areas, such as under plants or stones. These ants invade buildings in large numbers when weather conditions are too cold, wet or dry.
Acrobat ants comprise several species that are found throughout the United States. They typically nest in high moisture, decaying areas including wooded areas, Styrofoam insulation and abandoned insect homes. These ants feed on live and dead insects, and have a moderate preference for sweets and protein-rich foods.
Little Black Ant
The little black ant is dark, tiny and found throughout the United States. They nest in woodwork, masonry and outdoor wooded areas, and often build trails along foundation walls and sidewalks. These ants primarily feed on grease, meats, produce and sweets.