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Most common wall-nesting ants:
Over 900 species of carpenter ants worldwide, 50 in the U.S. Are among the most troublesome ants found in and around homes. Colonies consist of up to 3000+ carpenter ants, 200-400 are winged in a mature colony. Most species are black or have very dark bodies and vary in size from 1/4-3/4 inches long. Carpenter ants hollow out wooded areas and use the wood to make their nests. Wood damage can be compared to that of termites but can be distinguished by its clean and sand-papered appearance. Feeds on insects (dead or alive), and anything that people eat.
Got its name, “crazy”, from the way they wander aimlessly about areas. Dark brown ant that is about 1/10 inch long. Their legs and antennae are longer than normal ants. Have become more abundant in homes in the southern states; in northern states, they are inside pests because they cannot survive cold temperatures. Nest in cracks and voids of walls and wander about buildings in search for food. Feed on grease, other insects, animal matter, and sweets.
Odorous House Ant
Brownish-black ant that may be 1/12-1/8 inch long. Very common household pest throughout the U.S. Often is confused with the Argentine Ant but can be characterized by their darker color. When crushed, gives off a very unpleasant smell. Nests are found inside and outside homes- usually under floorboards, wood, stones, and walls. Eating habits are same as Argentine Ants, feed on honeydew and other sweet foods.
The most common ground-nesting ants
Came to the US in the late 1890s. One of most common ants found in southern U.S in almost every home. Nests found in moist soil areas under buildings, beneath boards, plants, near food and water. Will invade homes in search for water. Very aggressive towards other ants; they attack in large numbers. Prefer sweet foods: syrups, candy, fruit juices, and honeydew.
Small blackish-brown ant 1/8-1/16 inch long. Antennae and back legs are light colored; abdomen is all black. Found in Atlantic Coast, Midwestern, and Southern US, mostly found in Sun City areas in AZ. Found under rocks and gravel areas, walls, insulation, under floors, and homes with slab-on-grade construction. Will get into houses through cracks in search for greasy and sweet foods.
Little Black Ant
Found in all states. Jet black and measures to be 1/15 inches long. Nests are found in open areas outside or in woodwork, rotten wood, and masonry of buildings. Feed mostly on plants, but will invade homes feeding on sweets, meats, breadcrumbs, grease, fruits, and vegetables.
Velvet Tree Ant
Mainly found in California. Homes are in old tree stumps, under tree bark, under stones, inside walls and attics. Tend aphids (honeydew-producing insects) but kill and eat other insects. Invade picnic / BBQ areas- could contaminate food. When squished produces bad odor like the odorous house ant. Bites people- its bite can be very painful and last a while.
Named for their stinger, which injects venom that created an intense irritation. Fire ants are very aggressive towards young wildlife and humans. There are 4 common species of fire ants: Southern fire ant most common in Arizona. Fire ants vary in color and can grow to be ¼ inch. Their nest can cover 2-4 square foot area including under houses, house boards, grass, concrete cracks, soil, and woodwork.