Ant Identification Guide

What are ants?

Ants are social insects, with each species looking or behaving differently from the next. Ants do share some physical characteristics, including three body segments, a narrow waist between the abdomen and thorax, elbowed antennae, and powerful chewing mouthparts. Ants belong to the same order as bees and wasps, which are other social insects.

Ants are small in size, so the only way they can survive and be successful is to work together as a group. Each member of the colony is either a queen, male, or worker. Worker ants do the bulk of the work required to maintain a colony, queens produce new ants, and the male's only job is to mate with the queen. A single ant colony can have thousands upon thousands of members and multiple nesting sites. An ant colony that has set its sites on your property is difficult to eliminate without a professional's help.

ants in a row

Three of the most common ants our pest professionals deal with regularly include carpenter ants, pavement ants, odorous house ants, and pharaoh ants. 

Are ants dangerous?

Most of the ants living in our area of Massachusetts wouldn't be described by people as dangerous. While pavement ants and odorous house ants are unpleasant and annoying to have in your home, they don't pose significant health risks to people or damage to our property. However, the downside of having any ant species in your home includes their ability to contaminate food, and create unpleasant odors.

The pharaoh ant is an example of a dangerous ant that lives in our area. Responsible for spreading more than a dozen pathogens that can make people ill, they are not critters you want to share your home with. Pharaoh ants prefer to live indoors and invade homes and businesses in extremely large and difficult to control numbers. They have high moisture needs and invade people's mouths and eyes. As you can imagine, these ants are very problematic in healthcare facilities.

Carpenter ants are also a dangerous species of ant to allow into your home or business, as they are responsible for destroying wooden structures inside your home.

Why do I have an ant problem?

Ants produce chemicals called pheromones to communicate with each other. Once a worker ant discovers a source of food, it will create a chemical trail that alerts its other colony members. Pheromone trails are why you often see ants traveling together in long lines. 
 
The ant's diet varies, but most eat plants, seeds, proteins, small insects, nectar, and honeydew. Food in our gardens, trash cans, and pet bowls is highly attractive to ants and often initially attracts these intruders to our properties. Once foraging for food next to our homes, it is common for them to move inside through cracks and crevices they discover.

Where will I find ants?

Ants nesting outside usually place their nests in the ground under leaf litter, fallen trees, tree stumps, woodpiles, or lawns. As their name tells us, pavement ants prefer to nest in the soil of cracks found in pavement, sidewalks, and driveways. They also nest next to the soil around foundations.

After meandering into our homes searching for food or areas to build a nest, homeowners often seeing ants walking around the kitchen, bathroom, or basement floors. They also crawl across counters and along walls moving back and forth from their nest to food source. Most ants like to place their nests in warm, damp locations like masonry walls and wall voids near water pipes, sinks, and heating units. 

How do I get rid of ants?

One of the most difficult and frequent pest problems people living throughout Massachusetts deal with are ant infestations. At Assurance Pest Solutions, we understand the frustration that comes with having ants in your home. We will provide the prompt and reliable solutions needed to eliminate these pests from your property!

Our locally owned and operated company has over 41 years of experience in the industry, and we are dedicated to solving pest problems. To learn more about working with our knowledgeable staff to solve your pest problems, reach out to Assurance Pest Solutions today!

How can I prevent ants in the future?

If you live in Waltham, Newton, Needham, or surrounding areas, Assurance Pest Solutions can help you maintain a property free of ants. In addition to our pest control solutions, the following tips will help you prevent ant problems:

  • All outdoor trash cans, recycling bins, and compost bins should have locking lids on them.
  • Keep your kitchen clean. Ants will see any crumb or sticky spill as an open invitation to make themselves at home.
  • Regularly check underneath sinks to inspect for leaky pipes.
  • Store food in sealed containers.
  • Store fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator.
  • Keep pet eating areas neat and tidy, and pick up leftover pet food each evening.

Learn more about our home pest control and commercial pest control services.

 

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