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Ants are a common problem in most households and yards. It can begin with just a few finding their way into your yard or garden – and then before you know it, a whole colony has invaded. Any property with a source of food, water, and shelter can fall victim to an ant colony.

Ants are eusocial insects that belong to the family Formicidae, which is a part of the order Hymenoptera. There are over 12,000 described species of ants, each with its unique characteristics and behaviors. The Latin name for ants, Formicidae, is derived from the Latin word ‘formica,’ which translates to ant.


Ants have a distinct anatomy, with bodies divided into three parts: the head, thorax, and abdomen. They possess two antennae, six legs, and often, but not always, wings.

Ant species can be distinguished by the size and shape of their bodies, color, behavior, type of colonies they form, and habitats they prefer.

Common Ants Species

Acrobat ants

Scientific name: Crematogaster

Description: Light red to brown ants known for raising their abdomen over their thorax and head when agitated.

Habitat: Widely distributed throughout the United States.

Pest Potential: Can enter homes in search of food and moisture.

Allegheny Mound Ants

Scientific name: Formica exsectoides

Description: Renowned for constructing large mounds. Colors range from reddish to dark brown or black.

Habitat: Primarily in fields and forests in eastern North America.

Pest Potential: Can damage ornamental plants.

Argentine Ants

Scientinfic name: Linepithema humile

Description: Small, light to dark brown ants known for forming vast supercolonies.

Habitat: Originally from Argentina, but now found globally.

Pest Potential: Displacement of native ant species, infestations in homes.

Bigheaded Ants

Scientific name: Pheidole

Description: Named for the disproportionately large heads which are often two to three times larger than the rest of the body. Colors range from reddish-brown to dark brown.

Habitat: Worldwide distribution.

Pest Potential: Common household pests.

Army Ants

Description: Aggressive foraging behavior, with species varying in size and color.

Habitat: Global distribution.

Pest Potential: Not known for infesting homes but can be a nuisance when in large numbers.

Carpenter Ants

Scientific name: Camponotus

Description: Large ants that can cause structural damage by excavating wood to form nests. Colors are predominantly black but may have reddish or yellowish tints.

Habitat: Found worldwide.

Pest Potential: Wood damage in structures.

Citronella Ants

Scientific name: Lasius

Description: Named for the lemon or citronella scent they release when crushed. Typically yellow to light brown.

Habitat: Damp, wooded regions.

Pest Potential: Not generally a household pest but can be a nuisance if found indoors.

Cow Killer Ants

Scientific name: Dasymutilla occidentalis

Description: Actually a wingless wasp with a very painful sting. Also referred to as Velvet Ants because of their dense, often bright red or gold hair.

Habitat: Found in various environments, but primarily grassy or sandy areas.

Pest Potential: Their sting is painful, but they're not common household pests.

Elongate Mexican Twig Ants

Scientific name: Pseudomyrmex gracilis

Description: Slender ants, colors range from orange-brown to dark brown.

Habitat: Thorny vegetation, native to Mexico but now also present in the southern U.S.

Pest Potential: Not significant, but may enter homes occasionally.

Field Ants

Scientific name: Formica

Description: Variable colors including black, brown, red, and bicolor combinations. Known for constructing mounds in open fields.

Habitat: Open fields.

Pest Potential: Can bite or sting if disturbed.

Crazy Ants

Description: Known for erratic and rapid movements. Species may vary in appearance.

Habitat: Predominantly in southern U.S.

Pest Potential: Significant pest in homes.

Fire Ants

Scientific name: Solenopsis

Description: Aggressive ants with a painful sting, reddish-brown in color.

Habitat: Often found in open areas constructing mounds.

Pest Potential: Destroys crops

Ghost Ants

Scientific name: Tapinoma melanocephalum

Description: Tiny ants with a dark head and thorax. The abdomen and legs are translucent, giving them a ghostly appearance.

Habitat: Prefer warmer climates, but can be found indoors worldwide.

Pest Potential: Nuisance in homes, attracted to sweet foods.

Grease Ants

Scientific name: Solenopsis molesta

Description: Very tiny ants that are attracted to high-protein foods.

Habitat: Global distribution.

Pest Potential: Pests in homes and eateries.

Harvester Ants

Scientific name: Pogonomyrmex

Description: Typically red, known for collecting seeds to eat later.

Habitat: Arid regions.

Pest Potential: Their sting is excruciating, but they're not typically household pests.

Leafcutter Ants

Description: Known for cutting leaves to cultivate fungus gardens inside their colonies. Brown or reddish in color.

Habitat: Predominantly in South and Central America.

Pest Potential: Not typical household pests but can be agricultural pests.

Moisture Ants

Description: Range from yellow to dark brown, prefer moist environments.

Habitat: Damp regions and wood.

Pest Potential: Structural damage by nesting in damp wood.

Odorous Ants

Scientific name: Tapinoma sessile

Description: Small, dark ants emitting a rotten coconut-like odor when crushed.

Habitat: Often trail along sidewalks, baseboards, and walls looking for food. 

Pest Potential: Devour sugary foods and dairy products in food storage areas.

Pavement Ants

Scientific name: Tetramorium caespitum

Description: Brown to black ants that nest in or under pavement cracks.

Habitat: Often trail driveways, sidewalks, and other concrete sections

Pest Potential: Can infest homes and gardens.

Pharaoh Ants

Scientific name: Monomorium pharaonis

Description: Tiny ants, light yellow to red in color.

Habitat: Found globally, especially in warm regions.

Pest Potential: Major indoor nuisance, can spread pathogens.

Pyramid Ants

Scientific name: Dorymyrmex

Description: Typically reddish-brown or black with a pyramid-like projection on the thorax.

Habitat: Dry, sandy areas, often in the southern U.S.

Pest Potential: Not significant.

Queen Ants

Description: Reproductive females responsible for egg laying in a colony. Larger than worker ants.

Habitat: Found in virtually all ant colonies.

Pest Potential: Not typically a direct pest, but essential for colony proliferation.

Rogers Ants

Scientific name: Dorymyrmex bicolor

Description: A species of pyramid ants found mainly in the southwestern U.S.

Habitat: Dry regions.

Pest Potential: Not significant.

Rover Ants

Scientific name: Brachymyrmex

Description: Rover ants are small ants, ranging from pale yellow to dark brown, often mistaken for pharaoh ants. They are attracted to various food sources, including sweets. 

Habitat: Adaptable and may invade homes, searching for food and moisture. 

Pest Potential: Can be nuisance pests indoors when they reach your food storage.

Honey Ants

Scientific name: Myrmecocystus

Description: Honey ants have specialized workers, repletes, that store food in their abdomens for the colony. These ants serve as living food reservoirs. 

Habitat: Often found in arid regions where resources may be scarce. 

Importance: Vital for colony survival during periods of scarcity.

Sugar Ants

Description: "Sugar ants" encompass several species attracted to sugary foods. Camponotus consobrinus is one such species drawn to sweets. 

Habitat: Found in various environments, particularly near human settlements. 

Pest Potential: Can invade homes for sugary foods.

Thief Ants

Scientific name: Solenopsis molesta 

Description: Tiny, yellow to brown ants known for their parasitic behavior, stealing food from other ant colonies. 

Habitat: Found throughout the United States, often near other ant nests. 

Pest Potential: Not major pests, but can disrupt other ant colonies.

White-Footed Ants

Scientific name: Technomyrmex difficilis 

Description: Small, dark ants with whitish leg tips. They form large colonies with multiple queens. 

Habitat: Primarily in subtropical climates. 

Pest Potential: Nuisance pests that forage in kitchens, bathrooms, and building exteriors.

Winged Ants

Description: Winged ants are the reproductive males and females of colonies. They have pale wings. 

Habitat: Found within their colonies. 

Pest Potential: Can become a nuisance if they infest your property.

Wood Ants

Scientific name: Formica

Description: Wood ants are known for mound-building behavior and preference for wooded habitats. They are found mainly in Europe and Asia. 

Habitat: Thrive in wooded areas, constructing mounds using twigs and leaves.

High Noon Ant

Scientific name: Forelius pruinosus

Description: An omnivorous ant species with a preference for live and dead insects, and honeydew produced by hemipteran plant pests. These ants are distinctive for their aggressiveness, and while they do not possess a sting, they are known to bite when disturbed.

Habitat: They often nest outdoors in both natural and human-disturbed areas. However, they are also known to forage within homes and buildings, and in some instances, might even choose to nest inside these structures.

Pest Potential: High noon ants pose a significant nuisance, especially as a household pest in the southern regions of the USA. Their aggressive nature and tendency to bite make them less than ideal house guests, and their adaptability means they can be found in a variety of environments, from natural settings to human-disturbed areas.

How do I know if I have an ant problem?

You’ll generally know quickly if you have an ant problem – you will notice large swarms, multiple hills, or often see trails of ants in your home or on your property. Ants will quickly adapt to areas that have food and shelter – and there are a few reasons why they may be infiltrating your property:

  • Abundance of food – ants love spills, crumbs, garbage, and more. They can easily smell and detect even a small amount of food.
  • Overgrown environment – ants are often attracted to overgrown vegetation, debris, or stagnant water. Check your yard for any of these issues.
  • Structural home issues – if your home has small gaps or cracks in the walls and floors, ants can enter more easily.
  • Weather – when there is heavy rain or ongoing drought ants will seek shelter. If your home is readily available, there’s nothing stopping them from coming in!

How to eliminate Ants

The most effective method of ant control is to identify the species and target the nest. Ant baits are commonly used as they allow worker ants to carry the poison back to the colony, eliminating the queen and other ants. Additionally, preventative measures, like sealing entry points, keeping your home clean, and ensuring food items are securely stored, can help in reducing the chances of an infestation.

Ants can be hard to get rid of for any homeowner. There are a variety of traps and poisons sold in most grocery stores, but help from an experienced professional is the best way to ensure they are gone once and for all. Using our high-quality treatments, we provide reliable solutions that last through all types of seasons and weather.


What attracts ants into my home?

Ants are typically drawn to homes in search of food and water. They're particularly attracted to sweet substances, proteins, and greasy items. Other factors that can attract ants include a moisture source, like leaks or damp areas, and sheltered spots for nesting, such as cracks, crevices, and wall voids.

How do I differentiate between flying ants and termites?

While both flying ants and termites have wings, there are distinct differences between the two. Flying ants have a pinched waist, and elbowed antennae, and their front wings are longer than the back wings. Termites, on the other hand, have a straight waist, and straight antennae, and both sets of wings are equal in length.

Are all ants harmful?

No, not all ants are harmful. While some species, such as carpenter ants, can damage wooden structures, others like the common pavement ant are more of a nuisance than a threat. Additionally, some ants, like the pharaoh ants, can contaminate food, while others are beneficial for the environment by acting as natural decomposers.

Why do I see ants in a line or trail?

Ants use pheromones to communicate with each other. When an ant finds a food source, it releases a pheromone trail on its return to the nest. This acts as a guide for other ants to follow. As more ants walk this trail and find the food source, they reinforce the pheromone trail, leading to the formation of a well-defined line or path.

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