Ants

Apex treats a variety of ant species to ensure that your location is ant free!

There are a number of ant species that can invade your living space. Some are just foraging for food and water while others are looking to establish a satellite colony in the timbers of your home, thereby causing costly property damage. If suitable conditions are found, a pheromone trail is left behind for other ants to follow. Hence, it is important to tackle the problem as soon as you start seeing them.

Inside your home, it is important to inspect baseboard cracks, carpet edges, window and door frames, water sources, areas where plumbing leaks have occurred, and all areas of the kitchen. Outside your home, it is important to inspect the perimeter landscaping, trees, tree stumps and rotten wood, mulch areas, and woodpiles to name a few.

Depending on the species, it is important that the homeowner does not try to tackle the problem with over-the-counter products. In most instances, the use of the wrong product will make the problem worse (process called budding where the colony separates and multiple colonies are formed). When it comes to wood infesting ants like carpenter ants, spraying or baiting alone will not do it. You need to locate where they are nesting in the home and treat it directly to eliminate the threat.

Ants can be very tricky. Call our professionals at Apex today for a customized treatment plan.

Call Apex Pest Control Today! 1-800-MUG-A-BUG (1-800-684-2284)
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Ants Identification

Identifying the pest is the first step of eradication. The carpenter ant, odorous house ant, pavement ant, pharaoh ant, large yellow ant, and thief ant are common ant species that may be plaguing your property.

Carpenter Ant

Identification Tips:

  • Color: Usually black, red, brown, or a combination of red and black
  • Legs: 6
  • Size: Workers range from 1/8 to 1/2 inches long
  • Identifying Characteristics: 3-segmented body; one node; elbowed antennae; constricted waist; reproductives have forewings larger than hind wings

Characteristics of this insect:

  • Main colony may be located outside the structure with a number of satellite colonies located within the structure
  • Nests are usually established in soft, moist (not too wet), decayed wood, or in an existing wall voids that may be completely dry
  • Does not consume wood. Workers excavate irregular, smooth and clean galleries usually along the grain of wood, but sometimes across the grain in softer portions of wood. Homeowner may see piles of sawdust and fragments of insects expelled from galleries
  • Diet consists of both plant and animal origin such plant juices, fresh fruits, insects, meats, syrup, honey, jelly, sugar, grease, fat, and honey dew (aphid excrement)

Odorous House Ant

Identification Tips:

  • Color: Dark brown to black
  • Legs: 6
  • Size: Small workers ranging from 1/16 to 1/8 inches long
  • Identifying Characteristics: 3-segmented body; one node; 12 segmented antennae not terminated with a club; bitter odor when crushed, which is similar to the pungent odor of decaying coconut husk

Characteristics of this insect:

  • Considered a scavenger that will eat most household foods, but prefers those that contain sugar
  • Outside they construct shallow nests in soil underneath objects such as stones, patio blocks, and debris. Inside, they prefer areas with moisture such as around hot water pipes, heaters, or insulation to name a few
  • Colonies range in size from 100 – 100,000 with multiple queens
  • Workers actively forage along trails when temperatures are cool, even down to 50 degrees Fahrenheit

Pavement Ant

Identification Tips:

  • Color: Light to dark brown to blackish
  • Legs: 6
  • Size: Workers range from 1/12 to 1/4 inches long
  • Identifying Characteristics: 3-segmented body; two nodes; 12 segment antennae (ends in 3 segmented club):head and thorax furrowed with deep grooves; piles of dirt/concrete indicative of this ant

Characteristics of this insect:

  • Individual colonies may contain thousands of workers, multiple queens and is usually located at one particular site
  • As the name implies, this ant earns its name by building nests beneath and along sides of pavement: patios, driveways, sidewalks, and foundation of homes. Inside, may be found in kitchens, bathrooms, basements, baseboards, and wall voids to name a few
  • Swarming of reproductives (which look nothing like the picture above) can take place any time of the year, but usually takes place in the Spring (based on favorable heat, humidity, etc.)
  • Diet consists of a variety of foods, including grease, sweets, seeds, honeydew produced by aphids, and dead insects. Pet foods or any food dropped on the floor will be quickly engulfed with this ant

Pharaoh Ant

Identification Tips:

  • Color: Yellowish to orange/reddish, with shiny dark abdomen 
  • Legs: 6
  • Size: Workers are about 1/16 inch long
  • Identifying Characteristics: 3-segmented body; two nodes; 12 segmented antennae with 3-segmented club; males 1/16 inch long, black in appearance, possess wings, and have a stinger (although seldom used)

Characteristics of this insect:

  • Form trails and are attracted to grease, meats, insects, and sweets. Prefer warm areas (80 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Active year round in houses and portions of larger buildings such as hospitals, food handling establishments, office buildings, and apartments to name a few. Can be found in wall voids, behind baseboards, stack of papers, bed linens, and bandage packs
  • Colonies are large, have multiple queens, and increase by “budding” – one portion of colony goes with each queen
  • Believe it or not, these ants have turned up in IV tubes, medicine droppers, and bandage stacks

Large Yellow Ant (Citronella Ant)

Identification Tips:

  • Color: Yellowish to orange
  • Legs: 6
  • Size: 1/8-3/16 inches
  • Identifying Characteristics: Antennae 12-segmented with segments gradually enlarging towards tip; compound eyes small in relation to head; one-node

Characteristics of this insect:

  • The large yellow ant smells of lemon when crushed and also goes by the name: Citronella.
  • The species burrows beneath the ground to build their colony. A large amount of soil is excavated as the species digs holes to form their tunnels in the colony. The colony is usually found underneath decks, logs, rocks and outdoor patios.
  • The ants swarm any time of year, indoors or outdoors. The ants will not reproduce once inside or attack stored goods or structures.
  • Often forming colonies in wood that has been previously damaged by termites, the presence of this ant may be a sign of moisture issues or termite damage.

Thief Ant

Identification Tips:

  • Color: Yellow to orange red in color with a dark abdomen
  • Legs: 6
  • Size: 1/16 inch long
  • Identifying Characteristics: Antennae has 10 segments and ends in a two-segmented club; stinger at tip of abdomen so small that it is rarely used effectively; most often confused with the Pharaoh ant.

Characteristics of this insect:

  • Inside, theses ants nest in small crevices and masonry and move between rooms via wires and conduit. Outside, they nest in exposed soil or underneath objects, in trash, rotten wood, and cavities in trees.
  • Colonies are composed of a few hundred to several thousand workers with many queens.
  • Thief ants will feed on insects and dead rodents. It is possible for pathogens from this matter to be transmitted to humans if the insect comes into contact with food products. The insect also enjoys feeding on protein, sweets and other greasy foods like peanut butter.
  • The ants’ namesake is derived from its habit to steal food and larvae from neighboring colonies.

*Image courtesy of The photographer and www.antweb.org. Licensed under Creative CommonsAttribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported.