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an ant stands on a wooden tableAre you suffering from an ant infestation?

If you have ants in your house, you may be wondering where they came from, how to eliminate them, and how to prevent them from returning.

Unfortunately, there’s no one simple answer. Each common ant species behaves differently and may require a separate approach when it comes to removing them from your property. Read on to learn about the 3 most common ant species, so that you can make a more informed decision about your next steps.

Carpenter Ants

How They Are Characterized

Carpenter ants refers to several ant species found across North America that are known for structurally damaging homes. These insects hollow out wood to use as nesting sites. They’re commonly found in crawl spaces, attics, or under insulation. Colonies of carpenter ants typically feature a parent nest on the outside of the structure, where the queen ant lives, and several satellite nests inside the structure. These ants are known to eat honeydew producing insects, such as aphids. They don’t eat wood, but they will burrow through it to create trails and nests.

How to Spot Them

You’ll know if you have carpenter ants if you see them crawling through your home, usually in search of food. These ants are large and black, though some species have a red tint to their color. Another sign of a carpenter ant infestation is if you can hear the insect activity inside your walls or floor. These ants like to burrow into rotted wood, so keep an eye out for areas like that on the outside of your home, especially under broken rain gutters.

How to Prevent Them

If you already have carpenter ants, call a professional to exterminate them to prevent further damage to your home. To avoid future infestations, be sure to seal up any entry points and to keep your house clean. Ants come in search of food, so if they can get into the pantry or the pet’s food bowl, a whole colony will come to explore your house. If you notice ant trails in your home, wash them down with soapy water and spray with vinegar. This will make it more difficult for the ants to follow the trails to the food.

Odorous House Ants

How They Are Characterized

Odorous house ants are another common nuisance in the home. They get their name from the odor they produced when crushed, which is sometimes described as smelling like rotten coconut. These ants aren’t dangerous; they don’t bite or sting, and they don’t produce structural damage. But if they’re infesting your kitchen in search of food, they can become quite a problem.

How to Spot Them

Like carpenter ants, odorous house ants forage for honeydew from aphids. They are typically found outdoors under debris and wood, or indoors in basements and crawl spaces. They also like to build their nests around hot water pipes and heaters, near sinks, or in cupboards. They enter and explore the home in search of food during rainy weather or seasons when their usual food supply is reduced. They can feed on practically anything, but prefer sweets.

How to Prevent Them

These ants find their way into the house through contact with vegetation. Take special care with your landscaping and seal cracks which might provide them with access into your home. It’s also important not to leave food and trash around so they aren’t attracted to your home in the first place.

Pavement Ants

How They Are Characterized

Pavement ants are known for nesting under the pavement or rocks. They have a stinger, but it’s not common to be stung by these ants. The trouble they cause is by mining sand and soil form under driveways, sidewalks, patios, and basements. They’re also known to nest in walls and under floors, and commonly enter the home in search of food, which they can then contaminate.

How to Spot Them and Prevent Them

Like other ants, pavement ants are attracted to moisture and can enter the home through vegetation that’s in contact with cracks or small openings in the structure of your home. Keeping the house clean from bits of food, such as spills or empty food containers, will help avoid attracting them inside.

Next Steps

Though this list of ant species is not exhaustive, it covers the 3 most common pest ants which you should keep an eye out for in your home.

If you’re already experiencing an ant infestation or would like an expert inspection, contact Adios Pest Control today.