Ants are one of the most commonly thought of and seen insects in the world. This is due in part to how many there are and in part because of their role as a common home pest. They are small, six-legged insects with powerful jaws, jointed antennae and a “waist” between the abdomen and thorax that sets them apart in physical look from a termite. Ants are also fairly sophisticated creatures with a well-developed social and work structure. Here’s what you need to know about ants in your home.
How Do Ants Communicate?
Ants are known for their complex social structure, and have developed a reliable way to communicate. They do this through the use of pheromones, or scented chemicals that they produce and spread. When they have found food, they communicate its location by laying down unique scent trails for their comrades to follow. This pheromone communication is highly advanced, and ants can tell which trails lead to food and which lead back to the nest. They can also sense the smell of pheromones from rival nests, which helps them determine which ants to stay away from or fight off. They also communicate through touch and sound, bumping into each other, rubbing each others’ antennae and making sounds with their legs to pass along information.
How Do Ants Reproduce?
Ants have a colony and caste system, at the top of which is the queen ant. She lays eggs that hatch into worker ants, which are primarily infertile females, and drones, which are fertile male ants. The female ants are the food finders, locating sustenance for the queen and her young, while the male ants primarily serve as mates for the queens.
How Do Ants Get In the House?
Ants are burrowing creatures, so they can fairly easily find their way into any place that has gaps in it. If you are trying to keep an ant problem at bay or prevent it from occurring at all, it’s best to look for holes and cracks in your home and seal and caulk them, both inside and out. You can also keep them away by keeping tree branches trimmed and away from your house. Ants are most commonly found in kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms and basements. They settle anywhere that they can find food or moisture. So if you want to prevent them from gathering in a particular place in your home, it’s a good idea to keep that area clean.
What Do Ants Eat and How Do They Find Food?
Ants often eat nectar, seeds, fungus and even other insects. In addition, they are attracted to sugar and damp places, which provide them sources of both food and water. Ants have an incredibly strong sense of smell, which is related to the pheromones they produce. Therefore, they find food by following its distinctive odors.
What Are the Most Common Kinds of Ants In the Home?
Carpenter ants, usually 6 to 13mm long, don’t build structures, but they burrow into and excavate wood to create their nests. They usually do this outside in trees and wooded areas. But if they are in your house, they will often create structural damage near wooden beams and in the roof, especially near moisture.
Crazy ants are typically about 2.2 to 3mm long and black-brown in color. They are not picky about where they nest, and may be found under carpets, in cracks in walls and near houseplants. They are one of the most common and widespread species of ants in the United States.
Tiny creatures at only about 1.6mm long, rover ants are medium to dark brown in color. Indoors, they are typically found in bathrooms and kitchens. They are attracted to sweet liquids and produce large colonies.
About 4 to 5mm long, fire ants are usually fairly recognizable by the reddish-brown color that in part lends them their name. When indoors, they typically live near areas of moisture, such as water heaters, bath tubs and sinks. They also have the ability to sting (another reason for their name).
If you think you have an ant infestation, Dodson Pest Control can help. With 75 years of experience in exterminating household pests, we have the solutions you need to keep your house ant-free. Contact us today for a free inspection!