Homeowners encounter a variety of insects and pests, among which are ants.
Homeowners encounter a variety of insects and pests, among which are ants. There are dozens of ant species found in New England, many of which can be a source of nuisance for homeowners. In this article, we'll discuss New England's most common ant species and the problems they can pose for homeowners.
Carpenter ants are the most well-known ant species in the region. While they don't eat wood, creating nests and galleries can cause significant damage to wooden structures like decks and fences. Carpenter ants infestations can be difficult to treat, so addressing them early is important.
Carpenter ants are among the largest ants in North America, typically measuring between 1/4 and 1/2 inch in length. The queen can be as long as 3/4 inch.
Carpenter ants are usually black or dark brown but can also be red or tan.
Carpenter ants have a three-segmented body with a distinct thorax (middle section) and a rounded head. Their mandibles (jaws) are very strong and can be used to chew through wood.
The antenna of a carpenter ant has 12 segments ending in a club shape.
Carpenter ants typically nest in damp or rotting wood, commonly found in outdoor structures like decks, fences, and trees. They can also be found indoors, particularly in areas with moisture problems, such as behind walls or underneath floors.
Suppose you spot large ants with distinct head shapes and strong mandibles, followed by sawdust-like frass near wooden structures. In that case, it is possible that carpenter ants have taken up residence, and it's essential to take steps to address the problem before significant structural damage occurs. Seek out a licensed pest control professional for assistance.
Pavement ants are common in the region and are often seen scurrying about on sidewalks and driveways. They're not typically a source of structural damage, but they can be a nuisance when they invade homes. They're attracted to sugary foods and can infest kitchens and pantries. Here are a few characteristics that can help you identify pavement ants:
Pavement ants are relatively small and measure between 1/16 and 1/8 of an inch long.
Pavement ants are usually dark brown or black but sometimes have a reddish tint. Their legs are typically lighter in color than their bodies.
Pavement ants have a segmented body with three distinct parts. Their heads are narrow and have small hairs growing around the edges.
Pavement ants are relatively small and highly mobile, which makes them capable of entering structures easily. These ants are attracted to sweet foods, which can pose problems for homeowners when they invade pantries and kitchens in search of food.
If you've spotted small, black ants crawling along your floors or colonies of ants nestling around the cracks in your pavement, it may be a sign of a pavement ant infestation. While these ants typically don't cause significant structural damage, they can still be a nuisance and should be treated to prevent large populations.
When crushed, odorous house ants emit a strong odor. They're often mistaken for pavement ants, but their colonies are typically larger. They're attracted to sweet and greasy foods and can infest kitchens and pantries. Here are a few characteristics that can help identify odorous house ants:
Odorous house ants are typically very small, measuring between 1/16 and 1/8 of an inch in length.
Odorous house ants are usually dark brown or black; their bodies are shiny and somewhat translucent.
Like other ants, odorous house ants have a segmented body with three distinct parts. Their heads are rounded and don't have any apparent features like hairs or spikes. When viewed from above, their thorax is uneven, with the back part of the thorax elevated.
As their name suggests, when crushed, odorous house ants give off a distinctive odor, described as a strong, sweet, or rotten coconut-like smell.
Odorous house ants are attracted to sweet and sugary foods and are known to invade kitchens and pantries in search of a meal.
If you've spotted small, dark ants in your home and detect a strong, pungent odor when you crush them, you are more than likely dealing with an odorous house ant infestation.
Pharaoh ants are small and difficult to detect but can quickly become a significant problem. They're known for nesting in hard-to-reach areas like behind walls and electrical equipment. Pharaoh ants are tiny ants that are native to the tropics but have spread to all corners of the world through human activity. Here are some characteristics that can help you identify pharaoh ants:
Pharaoh ants are one of the smallest ants in the world, typically measuring between 1/16 and 1/32 of an inch in length.
Pharaoh ants are usually yellowish to reddish-brown in color, with their thorax being darker than the rest of their body.
Pharaoh ants have a segmented body with three distinct parts like other ants. They have two nodes, or bumps, on the petiole, the narrow part of their body between the thorax and the abdomen. They don't have stingers.
Pharaoh ants can multiply quickly and their colonies tend to be very large, with multiple queens. Colonies can migrate easily, simultaneously creating several nests spread over a building.
If you spot tiny, yellowish ants in or around your property, there is a possibility that you've come across a Pharaoh ant infestation. These ants can be hard to control on your own, as they are fast and can multiply rapidly. It is advisable to seek the assistance of a licensed pest control professional to identify and eliminate any Pharaoh ant infestation before it becomes uncontrollable due to their reproductive biology. In addition, DIY Pharaoh ant control can worsen the problem by causing the ants to disperse, fracturing the colony, and becoming even more challenging to eradicate.
No matter how many ants you remove yourself, more and more will keep showing up without professional intervention. We know because we’ve been there before. With over 40 years' worth of tried and true experience in protecting homes and businesses from even the most persistent pests, we’ve developed a process that works.
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