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ANT IDENTIFICATION & PREVENTION

(Formicidae)
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What are ants?

Ants are insects and are identified by having three distinct body regions: head, thorax, and abdomen. They also have antennae, and the reproductive members are winged. Ants are common household pests throughout Central Maryland and all of the United States. These pests live and work together in large groups, making them difficult to control.
close up of a fire ant

Some of the most common species of ants found living throughout our area of Greater Baltimore include the following:

Carpenter ants
Carpenter ants are wood-destroying pests and make up one of the largest species of property-invading ants living throughout the U.S. Most carpenter ants are black but some can be red, yellow or a combination of those colors. Workers have large, strong mandibles that they use to tunnel through the wooden structures they invade. Unlike termites, carpenter ants tunnel through wood to create nesting areas and don’t feed on the wood they have invaded.

Fire ants
Fire ants are known for being extremely aggressive pests. They swarm together to attack any animal or person that comes into close contact with their nest. Fire ants are reddish-brown in color and grow to between 1/8 and 3/8 of an inch. A fire ant colony can easily be identified by their large, flat, irregular-shaped nests that they create in open, sunny areas – making yards a place that they commonly invade.

Harvester ants
Harvester ants harvest seeds as their primary food source. These ants are about 1/4 to 1/2 of an inch long and are brown, black, or red in color. Many species also have long hairs on the underside of their heads which makes it look like they have beards. These ants are known for causing damage to lawns by removing all grass and vegetation from around their nests, causing large and unsightly bare spots.

Odorous house ants
Odorous house ants are a small species of ants that range from brown to black in color and look very similar to most other species of ant. The best way to distinguish this species from others is by its smell; as their name suggests, odorous house ants produce a very foul smell when they are crushed that is likened to that of rotten coconut.

Pharaoh ants
Pharaoh ants are pale red or yellowish-brown in color. Workers have abdomens that are darker in color than the rest of their bodies. Pharaoh ants are quite small, only growing to 1/16 of an inch in length. Pharaoh ants create serious health concern for people by carrying and transmitting serious diseases like salmonella and Streptococcus.

Pyramid ants
As their name suggests, pyramid ants have a unique pyramid projection at the top of their thorax regions. Their heads and thoraxes are brown to reddish-brown in color, and their abdomens are darker. Adults grow to between 1/16 and 1/8 of an inch. Pyramid ants live together in small to medium-sized colonies. These ants thrive in warm weather and can live successfully indoors in northern parts of the U.S., although they are most prevalent in the south.

Raspberry crazy ants
Raspberry crazy ants are referred to as “crazy” for the manner in which they quickly and randomly move around. They are small to medium-sized ants, growing to about 1/8 of an inch. Their bodies are golden-brown to reddish-brown in color and are covered with dense hairs.

Are ants dangerous?

Most ants are merely a nuisance to deal with and pose no real threats, other than contaminating food sources. Other species, however, do pose more of a danger to both people and property. Fire ants and pharaoh ants both cause serious health concerns for people. Carpenter ants will cause costly and significant damage to the structural integrity of a home or commercial property. Other species, like harvester ants, cause damage to lawns. Ants are also known for invading electrical equipment, causing shorts and fires.

Why do I have an ant problem?

The most common reason that ants become a problem for you is that your property or home is providing them with food, water, and shelter. Ants that have their basic needs met will thrive and become very difficult to control and eliminate from your property. Compost piles, crumbs in the kitchen, decaying wood, gardens, leaky fixtures, outdoor eating areas, pet food, and any suitable nesting sites will all attract ants to your home or business.

Where will I find ants?

You will find ants nesting and foraging for food both inside and outside your property. Depending on their exact species, ants will nest outside between rocks, in tree stumps, in woodpiles, under fallen trees or landscaping ties, or in any open, sunny areas. Inside, ants like to nest in secluded areas that are near food sources. Above ceilings, behind large appliances, behind walls, inside of structural wood, under floors, and any areas around pipes are all common nesting sites for ants inside your home or commercial property.

How do I get rid of ants?

To get rid of ants, we recommend contacting a pest control company that has the experience, knowledge, and tools required to completely eliminate the infestation. Phenom Pest Protection is a local, family-owned business committed to offering phenomenal service and results. We customize our treatment process to ensure your property’s specific needs are met. To learn more about our effective ant control services offered to your property throughout Greater Baltimore, contact Phenom Pest Protection today!

How can I prevent ants in the future?

In addition to our home pest control and commercial pest control services, protect your property from pests with the following prevention tips:

Exterior tips

  • Inspect the doors, exterior, foundation, siding, and windows of your property and seal any entry points found.

  • Outdoor trash cans and compost bins should have tight-fitting or locking lids on them.

  • Place firewood piles a distance away from the exterior of your home or business.

  • Remove fallen trees, tree stumps, and similar items from your property.

  • Place a barrier of crushed rock or stone between any mulch or grass and the foundation of your home.

  • Reduce areas of moisture around your home or business by maintaining gutters and repairing leaky pipes and fixtures.

Interior tips

  • Vacuum, wash dishes, and wipe down counters and tables daily.

  • Store food inside the refrigerator or in air-tight containers.

  • Remove trash from your property daily.

  • Remove any water-damaged structural wood from your property.

  • Use dehumidifiers to reduce humidity levels in your home or business.

Got my first service done today and was happy to see that not only did I get a great deal, but they did everything they told me they were going to do, and they were right on time!! Heather did my service and she did a great job! Highly recommend this company if you like working with organized and reliable people who have a vision for growing a company through customer service! “PHENOMenal!!”

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Phenom Pest Protection received an average rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars from 354 reviews.

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