Ants

Red Imported Fire Ants (Solenopsis invicta)

Red Imported Fire Ants (Solenopsis invicta)

Red imported fire ants nest in soil and build mound nests.

Color: Dark reddish brown

Legs: 6

Shape: Segmented; oval

Habits

These ants will build large mound nests, and will sting humans who come across a nest.

Habitat

Red imported fire ants will build their nest mounds outdoors in landscape areas or near a structural foundation. The ant will gain entry to a building through holes or cracks.

Threats

The sting of a red imported fire ant is painful and often results in a raised welt that becomes a white pustule. Often, a person stung by a red imported fire ant receives multiple painful stings from more than one of the ants. Persons allergic to insect stings will react more severely.

Prevention

Red imported fire ants and their telltale mound nests should be actively avoided. To prevent entry into a structure, seal all internal and external cracks and crevices.

Pharaoh Ant (Monomorium pharaonis)

Pharaoh Ant (Monomorium pharaonis)

The Pharaoh ant is polygynous, meaning its colonies contain many queens (up to 200).  An individual colony normally contains 1,000-2,500 workers but a high density of nests gives the impression of massive colonies. Colonies lack nest mate recognition so there is no hostility between neighboring colonies, which is known as unicoloniality.

Color: yellow or light brown, almost transparent

Legs: 6

Shape: Segmented; oval

Size: 1/16 inch

Habits

Pharaoh ants engage in a behavior pattern known as “satelliting”, “fractionating”, or, more commonly, “budding”. Part of the colony migrates to a new location. Nests can be very small, located between sheets of paper, in clothing or laundry, furniture, foods, etc.

Habitats

Nests usually occur in wall voids, under floors, behind baseboards, in trash containers, under stones, in cement or stone wall voids, in linens, light fixtures, etc.

Threats

Pharaoh ants are a serious pest in hospitals, where their small size means they can access wounds, drip lines, and instrumentation, causing the spread of infection and electrical interference. They can gnaw holes in silk, rayon and rubber goods.

Prevention

Pharaoh ants feed on insects that are dead or alive and sweets. General good sanitation, reducing insect populations and keeping sweets in gnaw proof containers.

Odorous House Ants (Tapinoma sessile)

Odorous House Ants (Tapinoma sessile)

This ant gets its name from the strong, rotten coconut-like smell it gives off when crushed. These tiny insects range in size from one-sixteenth of an inch to one-eighth of an inch long.

Color: Brown or black

Legs: 6

Shape: Segmented; oval

Habits

Odorous house ants like to eat sweets, especially melon.

Habitat

Typically living for several years, these ants make their homes in exposed soil and wall cracks.

Threats

These ants do not pose a health risk; but they can contaminate food and should be avoided.

Prevention

Eliminate standing water. Pests such as odorous house ants are attracted to moisture. Keep tree branches and other plants cut back from the house. Sometimes pests use these branches to get into your home. Make sure that there are no cracks or little openings around the bottom of your house. Sometimes pests use these to gt into your home. Pests like to build nests in stacks of wood.

Little Black Ants “Sugar Ant” (Monomorium minimum)

Little Black Ants “Sugar Ant” (Monomorium minimum)

The little black ant is one of our most common house-infesting ants. We regularly see them in kitchens and bathrooms around the sink; this ant is most often seen during summer months.

Color: Black

Legs: 6

Shape: Segmented

Size: 1/16-1/8 inch

Habits

Indoor ant infestations are not typically the result of indoor colonies. Usually the ants are nesting outside and coming into the house or building to forage for food. The ants eat honeydew, grease, meats, oils, fruits, and sweets.

Habitat

It has highly adaptive nesting habits; nests can be found in the soil in open areas of lawn or under objects such as debris, stones, bricks, wood, and logs. In buildings, they nest in wood-work, wall voids, masonry, and under carpets. At high population densities, little black ants may become widely dispersed throughout a structure and invade nearly every crack and crevice. They are highly visible on established foraging trails, particularly when they invade food cabinets and pantries.

Threats

Little black ants are omnivorous. Workers forage on sweets, meats, bread, cheese, oils, cereal, fruits, and fruit juices. The threat of food contamination is high.

Prevention

At the end of each day make sure to rinse and wipe down the entire sink to make sure you haven’t left residual sweets, food or moisture behind. It also helps each night to pour bleach down the drain to make sure any odor of decaying food doesn’t attract ants to your kitchen. Wiping down your counter top with bleach will help break down the pheromones that ants use to follow each other to a food source.

Crazy Ants (Paratrechina longicornis)

Crazy Ants (Paratrechina longicornis)

Its common name arises from its characteristic erratic and rapid movement, and habit of not following trails as often as other ants. Many times, they will be found in and around human dwellings because they are attracted to light.

Color: Black

Shape: Segmented; long

Size: 1/8 inch long with extremely long legs and antennae

Habits

Crazy ants are common in all Gulf states from Florida to Texas and can be found in parts of Arizona and in commercial buildings in a few northern cities, such as Philadelphia and New York. These ants nest outdoors under items on the ground, within landscape mulch, beneath lose bark on trees, under ground cover, in potted plants, and within piles of items such as lumber, firewood, or bricks. Nests may readily be established inside homes in walls, beneath carpeting, and in other suitable voids or spaces.

Prevention

This species may be difficult to control and does not feed much on any baits. The keys to control are to find the colonies and subcolonies and treat them directly. Regular inspections and service are necessary to find and treat new colonies as they move from neighboring properties. General tips for limiting ant infestations include:

Eliminating piles of wood, bricks or other debris that could serve as a nesting site.

Keeping landscape mulch less than 2 inches thick and at least 12 inches away from

Foundations

Ensuring the sprinkler system does not spray directly onto the foundation.

Keeping tree and shrub branches trimmed to prevent touching the home.

Sealing as many cracks in the home’s exterior as possible.

Carpenter ants (Camponotus species)

Carpenter ants (Camponotus species)

Carpenter ants get their name because they excavate wood in order to build their nests. Their excavation results in smooth tunnels inside the wood. Carpenter ants range in size from one-quarter inch for a worker ant to up to three-quarters inch for a queen.

Color: Varies depending on species, from red to black.

Legs: 6

Shape: Segmented; oval

Habits

All species mainly attack wood that has been wet and damaged by mold. Even though these ants first invade wet, decayed wood, they may soon begin building paths through dry, undamaged wood. They usually come into buildings through cracks around doors, windows, or through holes for wires. They will also crawl along overhead wires, shrubs, or tree limbs that touch the building far above the ground.

Habitat

Carpenter ants build their nests outdoors in various wood sources, including tree stumps, firewood or landscaping. They need a constant water source to survive. They will enter homes through wet, damaged wood.

Threats

Carpenter ants damage wood through their nest building. If they gain entry to a structure, they pose a property threat.

Prevention

Because carpenter ants require a water source, eliminate source of moisture or standing water. Keep tree branches and other plants cut back from the house. Sometimes pests use these branches to get into your home. Make sure that firewood and building materials are not stored next to your home. Pests like to build nests in stacks of wood.

Argentine Ants (linepithema humile)

Argentine Ants in Baton Rouge, LA and Denham Springs

Argentine ant colonies can grow to monumental size. Their colony borders sometimes cover entire habitats. Argentine ant queens also assist with foraging for food. The ant gives off a musty odor when crushed. Worker argentine ants are about one sixteenth of an inch long. Queen argentine ants are one eighth of an inch to one quarter of an inch long.

Color:  Dark brown to black; shiny

Legs: 6

Size: 1/16-1/4

Habits

Argentine ants deposit trails continuously, instead of just from nest to food source.  This habit ensures they do not waste time visiting the same area for food. They prefer to eat sweets but they will eat almost anything including meats, eggs, oils and fats.

Threats

Argentine ants do not pose a health threat, but they can contaminate food.

Prevention

Eliminate standing water. Pests, such as Argentine ants are attracted to moisture. Keep tree branches and other plants cut back from the house. Sometimes pests use these branches to get into your home. Make sure that there are no cracks or little openings around the bottom of your house. Sometimes pests use these to get into your home. Make sure that firewood and building materials are not stored next to your home. Pests like to build nests in stacks of wood.