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Types of Ants

Types of Ants: Identification and Control

There are numerous types of ants, such as cornfield ants, pavement ants, yellow ants, Alleghany mound ants and crazy ants.

Seeing an ant at home often pops a question in the head, which type of ant is this, and how can I get rid of it? Knowing the type of ant can also help to determine the best ways to get rid of them. Properly identifying ants can help you to avoid painful stings and bites and get rid of the ant infestation effectively. This is essential if you want to protect your wooden stairs, decks and firewood. 

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We have listed the top types of ants, their identification and control to help you manage an ant infestation better. 

Common Types of Ants: How to Control Ants

Here is the list of the commonly seen ants in houses and outside:

1. Cornfield Ants

A cornfield ant is light to dark brown and is commonly found outdoors. These insects are rarely seen indoors as they prefer to nest out in fields. These ants feed on dead insects as well as honeydew. Studies have shown that cornfield ants inhabit numerous regions across North America and are found in abundance on the entire continent. 

Cornfield ants create crater-like nests. These nests are usually found underneath or near rocks, stones, bricks, pavement cracks, rotting logs and sidewalks. These ants occasionally scavenge for food in homes, especially for sweets. The bite from a cornfield ant is not as aggressive as fire ants but it can still sting.

Ants

Control method 

You can pour boiling water on top of the mound/nest which often kills up to 60% of the ant population within the colony. You can also choose to apply diatomaceous earth (crushed marine animal shells) to cause dehydration in the ant colony

2. Pavement Ants

Pavement ants are black to dark brown in color, wingless and have segmented antennae. These ants have tiny, parallel ridges on the thorax and head. They are easy to identify by their bead-like segments between the abdomen and thorax. Pavement ants are more social than most other types of ants and can create enormous colonies inhabited by over 10,000 worker ants. These ants are also territorial and can fight effectively against rival ant colonies. 

These ants nest outdoors and are mostly found under bricks, stones, logs, curbs or in pavement cracks. You can identify their colonies with the small mound of dirt on the pavement, usually beside a crack or hole. Though pavement ants don’t sting often, they do so when provoked. These ants are also known to forage for food indoors and often end up establishing colonies in the home’s walls or under floors. 

Control methods

There are several solutions to control pavement ants. You can choose to place baits along their usual route of travel to control outdoor and indoor pavement ant infestation effectively. You can also reduce the moisture level of the building and the soil as these ants prefer moist areas. You can even move soil away from your house to prevent moisture from collecting in the foundation of your house. Else, you can simply seal the cracks and holes with caulk to prevent these ants from entering. 

3. Yellow Ants

Yellow ants are often known as foundation ants. These are pale orange or tan in color, with small, beady eyes. These ants often give off an odor similar to lemon when crushed. Yellow ants usually make their colonies under rocks, logs, porches, patios and open areas. They can excavate a large volume of dirt to build their nests. 

These ants often move indoors for warmth during winter, and usually establish a new colony in the basement. Remember, yellow ants rarely enter your house as they prefer to live outdoors. These ants usually don’t forage for food in the house. However, you may find large mounds of dirt near their indoor nest entrance. Though large yellow ants do not have a stinger nor do they bite, they are often seen as a nuisance as they move in large swarms. 

Control method

Large yellow ants do not cause any significant damage to your home or yard but their presence indoors can become an annoyance. You can simply sweep or vacuum any ants that you find indoors. If you locate their indoor nest, you can spray the area with an indoor ant insecticide

4. Alleghany Mound Ants

Alleghany mound ants are identifiable by their reddish head and thorax. The abdomen and legs are either black or dark brown in color. These ants are known to build noticeable anthill mounds, thus their name. The tunnels of the ant colony can extend deep underground. For instance, a 5-month old Alleghany mound ant’s mound can be as high as 8 inches tall and 2 feet wide. The mound can reach a height of over 3 feet in just 2 years. 

Alleghany mound ants inject formic acid into the plants near their mounds. They can also kill small-sized trees and shrubs, usually within 50 feet of their mound. Hence, these ants can effectively kill your yard by destroying the grass, once they establish a colony.

Alleghany Mound Ants

Control method

Landscaping experts, such as Eden highly recommend using a residual insecticide on the mound to get rid of Alleghany mound ant infestation. Make sure to scrape away the top of the hill with a shovel and expose the tunnels below before applying the insecticide. 

5. Crazy Ants

Crazy ants are called as they have a tendency to never march in a straight line. They have an erratic way of moving which is caused due to their long legs being able to push them quickly. These ants create tunnels in loose soil and are considered to be a nuisance, economic and ecological pest in the United States. These ants are around 1/8 inch long, with reddish-brown color. The worker ants are identified by their 12-segmented antennae and the fine hairs covering their body. These ants are truly ingenuous and cover themselves with the formic acid produced in their mouths to protect against fire ant venom. 

Crazy ants usually nest near moist places, especially shaded locations that offer protection from rain. These ants can infest leaf litter, mulch piles, debris, pots, loose tree bark, landscape objects and similar structures. Though they prefer to nest outdoor, you may often see them foraging for food indoors. These ants do not build a proper nest or mound, preferring to tunnel burrows. Though these ants do not bite or sting, they can be a great nuisance as large colonies of these ants tend to have worker ants numbering in the millions. These ants are able to expand their territory by an astonishing 800 to 1,300 feet per year.

Crazy Ants

Control method

As crazy ants have enormous-sized colonies you will need to call in professional pest control services. Else, you can simply remove the debris, leaf litter, trash and outdoor clutter from the yard and also remove any possible food sources of the crazy ants. At times, you can effectively remove crazy ant infestation by simply getting rid of honeydew producing insects. You can effectively manage new population using the bait method and cull the growth of the ant colony successfully before it has a change to grow and become a nuisance. 

Conclusion

The most popular types of ants that inhabit the North American continent include the crazy ants, Alleghany mound ants, yellow ants, pavement ants and cornfield ants. There are different control methods for different types of ant. To ensure the best result, it is highly advised to consult with expert landscaper and pest control professionals, such as Eden for effectively removing any ant infestation from your property. 

Enjoy a beautifully manicured lawn with our timely yard work services that care for your yard according to the season. Call us today!

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