Pest Guide : What Is an Ant?

What You Need to Know About Ants

Ants are some of the most common insects. Scientists estimate there are around 1 quadrillion ants around the world. That is a 1 followed by 15 zeros. As such, these tiny insects can be found everywhere, including around your home and yard.

If you see one or two ants around your property, there are likely thousands of others. ants are incredibly social insects. They live in a colony and depend on each other to survive. Their colonies are typically underground and include complex tunnels and chambers. The colony is where they store food, lay eggs, and raise their young. On average, there are thousands of ants in one colony.

To make the matter even more problematic, there is often more than one colony in an area. So, you may have two or more colonies lurking below your ground.

All of these facts make it difficult to eradicate ants if they are infiltrating your property. If you are struggling with an ant problem around your home, it’s best to leave the extermination to the professionals.

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How to Identify an Ant Infestation

The most common ants that can invade your home include House Ants and Carpenter Ants.

A household ant

If you believe that ants are on your property, it’s important to identify the species first to ensure it really is an ant swarm you are dealing with. An ant is an insect that belongs to the order “Hymenoptera.” Bees and Wasps also belong to this order.

Ants have three body segments, including the head, thorax, and abdomen. The thorax is the middle portion, whereas the abdomen is the end portion of the body. The thorax creates a pinched waist appearance. You can also identify ants by looking for the elbowed antenna and two pairs of wings. These wings are of unequal size with veins.

Ants are most commonly confused with termites. Both ants and termites have similar social behaviors, and they often swarm. You can tell the difference between an ant and a termite by looking at the body. The termite is about twice the length of the ant. It also has two sets of wings that are equal in size and veins are not visible.

Ant Behavior and Patterns

Ants live to protect and care for the colony. As such, all ants will work together in order to get needed food and moisture. They will also work together to provide any physical protection the shelter may need. Because ants are social, there are typically thousands of ants in a single colony.

These colonies can be placed in a wide range of locations. Some colonies are underground, whereas others are in or around water-damaged wood. Urban ants have also been known to build colonies under brick patios, garden stones, and wall voids.

The vast majority of ants spend their time in the colony in order to maintain the nursery and care for the colony. About 10% of ants will venture out in search of food. These foraging ants will track where they’re going by using pheromones. The pheromone trail allows them to go to and from the nest with food.

These pheromone trails explain why ants often walk in lines. They are all following the same pheromone trail. The more ants walk the trail, the stronger the scent will be, making it easier for the foraging ants to find their way back home.

A strong scent is required because foraging ants will go great distances to find food. They will try to get just about anywhere to find a food source, including in your home. If you spot an ant in your house, you most likely are looking at a foraging ant.


Common Questions About Ants

You may have ants for one of two reasons: the area may be a suitable environment for the colony or foraging ants may be on the lookout for food. People can have ants for both reasons.

If you live in an area with a lot of wildlife, grasses, and foraging spots, ants may deem your area a great location for a colony. As such, ants may swarm to the area and live underneath your soil, wood piles, were in other areas around the home.

Even if you do not have a great environment or ant colonies, you may still have ants. More than likely, you have foraging ants. The foraging ants are the ants that are on the lookout for food. Foraging ants are normally found around bird feeders, dog food bowls, trash cans, and the kitchen.

Whether or not an ant is dangerous depends on its classification. Most ants fall into one of two categories. They are either nuisance pests or wood-destroying pests.

Nuisance ants can be annoying, but they aren’t particularly dangerous. Wood-destroying pests are not dangerous to you, but they are dangerous to your home. Carpenter Ants are the most notable wood-destroying insects.

Note that some ants are dangerous in terms of their bite. Technically speaking, all ants can bite, but not all ants are ferocious or devoted to fighting. Others are. Fire Ants, for instance, can pose serious health threats in certain states because of their bite. Ants do not sting.

Tips for Preventing Ants

  • Wipe up crumbs and spills immediately.
  • Use vinegar-based cleaning products. They effectively eliminate the pheromone trails that ants leave behind.
  • Remove garbage from home frequently.
  • Store food in airtight containers.
  • Put away food—including any uneaten pet food.
  • Repair any holes or gaps around the exterior and interior of your home.
  • Mow the lawn and trim trees around the house.
  • Keep foundation, mortar, and weather-protective measures up to date and repaired.

How My Pest Pros Helps Eliminate Ants

With over ten years of experience in this industry, we know what it takes when it comes to ant control, prevention, and protection. We use effective methods in Northern Virginia, Washington D.C., and Maryland.

Many products will eliminate the problem but not the source of the problem—the colony. Our trained professionals deal with various ant infestations. Their experience and expertise allow them to form an effective treatment plan. Our professional team not only eradicates current problems but also provides preventative care. With our protection plan, the tiny household invaders will be eradicated both now and in the future with regular treatment visits. These visits are effective at treating and preventing ant infestations.

For ultimate protection, our professionals will work with you to find a customized solution for your ant problem, today and tomorrow.

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