How to Identify the Different Types of Common Household Ants
Ants are among the most common of household invaders, and while they are also technically among the least dangerous to humans – you still don’t want to be seeing lines of them scurrying across your countertops. Even if they haven’t made their nest inside your home, they often venture indoors to forage for food sources. And once they find one, they will keep coming back! Of course, there are several different types of ants out there, and the key to solving any problem is to know exactly what species you’re dealing with. Check out these common species and identifiers to get started.
These sneaky little guys can be found nesting both indoors and outdoors, but are most commonly found inside homes along both of the coastal regions of America – they are not unheard of in the midwest, but they prefer climates that are rich in moisture, making them particularly prevalent in the southeast. In size, they are typically within 2 to 3 millimeters long with only one node – or “hump” – making up their abdomen and are a medium shade of brown. They do not sting, but they emit a telltale musty or mildew smell when stepped on.
The breed is particularly tricky due to the number of sub-species belonging to this category. They are relatively common all over the United States but can vary greatly in color and size. They are known to cause structural damage, but unlike termites – they don’t actually eat wood, but rather excavate around it to create their nests and tunnels. As such, homes that are made primarily of wood or that reside in heavily wooded areas are more likely to have issues with these critters. Some species are also aggressive and will sting if provoked – so beware!
Yes, that is their real name – and it has been well earned due to both their indiscriminate nesting preferences and the sporadic way in which they move once they have been disturbed. They are identified by their extremely long antennae and legs and are typically 2 to 3 millimeters with one node and a black/brown color. These little guys will make their homes pretty much anywhere – dry, moist, indoor, outdoor – wherever there is food to be found. This makes them particularly prevalent home invaders and while they don’t sting, they are also prolific breeders.
EUROPEAN FIRE ANT
Don’t let the name fool you – these nasty little critters are frequently found in the United States. They are mostly a reddish brown color and can be anywhere from 5 to 8 millimeters long – always with two abdominal nodes. As you have probably guessed, these are among the most aggressive species of ant and are most known for their painful stings that cause a burning, itching sensation at the site. If you find one or more of this species in your home, it is best not to wait until they have invited all of their friends and family in order to protect your own.
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