Quick Ant Facts
- Ants species vary in size and color.
- Ants are one of the most successful groups of social insects. The social structure is necessary for shelter, feeding, and reproduction of the colony
- Carpenter Ant colonies may have more than 3 thousand workers, consisting of multiple satellite colonies
- Field Ants nest in the soil creating mounds up to 12 inches in diameter. They are commonly misidentified as carpenter ants
- Pavement Ant colonies can average 3 to 4 thousand ants, with several queens.
- Pharaoh Ants typically nest in heated buildings including hospitals, schools and apartments
- Thief Ants are the smallest ant in the region and are sometimes confused with Pharaoh ants, workers are 1/16” long
- Ants may become household pests by foraging for food indoors
- Carpenter Ants feed on living and dead insects, meat, fats, sweets, including honeydew from aphids and nectar from plants. They are mainly nocturnal and can forage up to 300 feet from their nest
- Unlike Termites, Carpenter ants do not digest wood
- The Carpenter ant “main” colony contains the egg-laying queen and will nest in a stump, log or tree
- Various “satellite” colonies contain the larvae and pupae only
- Pavement ants have an insatiable hunger for sweet and greasy foods
- Pavement ants commonly nest at ground-level, foraging in trails up to 30 feet from the colony
Ants are social insects, meaning they live in colonies that typically have three castes, workers, queens and males. In ant biology, the queens and males are reproductives.
- Worker Ants
In an ant colony, workers are sterile females. Workers seldom have wings and are constantly doing what their name implies–working. They construct, repair and defend the nest, and are also expected to feed and care for the rest of the colony including the young, the other adults and the queen.
The queen is usually winged until she first mates, at which time the wings are shed. The primary function of the queen is to reproduce, but in some species she will care for her first brood of workers until the colony’s numbers increase. A queen can live and reproduce for many years and may be replaced eventually by a daughter queen.
Males are typically winged and will retain those wings until death. The sole function of a male ant is to mate with an unfertilized female reproductive or queen. After fertilization occurs, the male dies. Once maturity is reached, males rarely remain with their original colony.
What can be done to prevent them from getting inside?
Reduce the number of entry points. For example; seal all cracks and holes with a silicone base product around the foundation, doors, pipes, wires, vents, and windows.
Do they cause damage?
Most ants are considered nuisance pests, mainly due to their large numbers and foraging habits. However, carpenter ants are a wood destroying insect. They are attracted to damp or decaying wood. If left untreated, over time they can cause serious structural damage to a home.
Ant identification is can be critical to solving the ant infestation. By identifying the ant, you better understand ant nesting sources, the size of the ant colony and what chemical and non-chemical treatments will best solve the ant problem.