Ants are located all over the world and are destructive to food and property. They can also bring diseases and health risks in your home. In some parts of the world ants can even sting and be dangerous. The first step in eliminating an ant infestation in your home is to identify the species of ant. Not all ants are created equal; therefore understanding their biology and the specific species differences is critical in order to develop the proper control strategy that must be used to get rid of ants from your home.
What Are The Different Types Of Ants?
There are numerous species of ants scattered across the world. Some of the more common ant species in the U.S. include:
- Carpenter ants - these ants do not eat wood, but they like to live in it. They burrow in and set up elaborate nests that can significantly damage wood structures.
- Fire ants - these are the small red ants that can create huge swarms when a nest is disturbed or destroyed. Red fire ants are one of the few species in North America that does sting and it can be quite painful.
- Argentine ants - found mostly in South America, these ants love to eat sugar and anything sweet. Once they get into your home they will leave trails to attract the rest of the hive and get into food, especially anything sweet.
- Pharaoh ants - an ant found in Africa that really loves to create nests indoors. They reproduce fast and can infest an entire office building in a matter of weeks. They eat nearly any kind of food and will even destroy fabrics like silk and rayon.
- Thief ants - these ants love to eat proteins like meat, blood, fats, other insects, etc. Once they end up inside a home they are hard to find because they are extremely small, meaning they can also get into areas that other ants do not and travel far to find food.
- Sugar ants - named for their tendency to feed sweet items, normally seen around a home kitchen, sometimes in bathrooms.
- Harvester ants - a "bearded" ant that is commonly found outdoors.
- Black house ants - these nuisance ants scavenge in kitchens, garbage and also dog excrement, therefore potentially spreading diseases such as salmonella.
How To Prevent Ants In The Future
Once you get rid of ants around your home and property, you will want to keep ants away. Ants will return unless changes are made around your property and within your home. If you remove the things which attract ants in the first place, you can prevent ants from returning and infesting your property again. Some of the things you can do include:
- Store food in safe and secure containers
- Sweep up food and dirt
- Remove unused pet food and secure pet food to keep ants away
- Seal up access points and holes
- Clean up food and liquid spills