Ants

Ants

What are ants?

Ants are some of the most common pests that invade homes and properties. They are identified by their three distinct body regions: head, thorax, and abdomen. Ants also have antennae; the reproductive members of a colony are the only members that are winged. The most common ant species living in northern New Jersey has been provided below.

Argentine ants
Argentine ants are a small species of ant and are usually either shiny dark brown or shiny-black in color. A single Argentine ant colony may have hundreds of thousands of workers and hundreds of queens living in it. These ants are often spotted traveling together in well-defined trails. These ants can also be identified by the musty smell they give off after they are crushed.

Carpenter ants
Carpenter ants are among the largest species of ant to invade homes in the United States. They are typically black in color, with some having reddish or yellowish markings. Workers have large, strong mandibles that they use to tunnel through wood. Carpenter ants do not feed on wood as termites do. Instead, they create tunnels and nesting galleries in it.

Citronella ants
Citronella ants are golden yellow in color, except for the winged males, which are black. These ants are also identified by the potent, lemony odor that they give off when they feel threatened. This odor becomes even stronger when these ants are crushed.

Odorous house ants
Odorous house ants are often identified not by how they look, but rather how they smell. These ants give off an unpleasant rotten coconut-like smell when they are crushed. Odorous house ants are a small species of ant that are dark brown to black in color.

Pavement ants
Pavement ants are dark brown or black in color. Their heads, bodies, and thorax are covered in grooved parallel lines, and their thorax has a small pair of spines extending from the back of it. Pavement ants are most often identified not by how they look, but by where they are nesting. Pavement ants are often found nesting in the cracks and crevices found next to areas of pavement and cement.

Pharaoh ants
Pharaoh ants are a small species of ant that live together in large colonies. They have the potential to establish multiple colonies throughout a structure that they have invaded. Their bodies are light yellow to red in color and they have red or black colored abdomens. Queens are slightly darker in color than workers.

Sugar ants
Sugar ants are small, black, household-invading ants that are highly attracted to sugar. They are usually found living outside foraging for good in garden areas, but often find their way inside while foraging for food. Sugar ants can enter homes in large numbers, and once inside, are difficult to control and eliminate.

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Are ants dangerous?

Most ant species that you come across are nuisance pests and pose no threat to people or property. For example, odorous house ants, while unpleasant to smell and an annoyance to deal with, don’t pose a significant danger to you, your home, or your family. However, it is important to understand that some species of ants do have the potential to be dangerous or damaging. For instance, pharaoh ants carry and transmit a number of dangerous pathogens that can make people sick with salmonella, Streptococcus, and more. Carpenter ants are also a dangerous species. These ants can cause enough damage inside homes to eventually weaken their structural integrity. If ants have invaded your home and property, it is always important to partner with a professional to have the infestation accurately identified and treated.

Why do I have an ant problem?

Ants are common pests and have the potential to make themselves at home on almost any suburban, urban, or rural property. Ants are attracted to any property that provides them with food, water, and shelter. Outdoor garbage cans, gardens, compost piles, grill areas, fallen trees, and leaky outdoor fixtures can make your property attractive to ants. Ants also have a habit of moving indoors when the weather outside becomes too hot, dry, or wet for them to live comfortably. Ants also sometimes find their way inside when out foraging for food.

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