Ants are one of the most successful groups of insects. They are social insects that live in colonies which are usually located in the ground but may enter buildings for shelter and/or food. Ants feed on practically every kind of food, but those entering homes are looking for sweets and/or protein-containing substances.
About 700 species of ants occur in the United States and Canada. Of theses, only about 25 species commonly infest homes.
Pest ants are usually divided into two groups based on their typical nesting preferences, either wall-nesting or ground-nesting ants. The biology and habits of each species are different, so a detailed knowledge of these for each species is necessary for effective control.
The five most common wall-nesting ants are the carpenter ant, crazy ant, odorous house ant, Pharaoh ant, and the thief ant. The most commonly encountered ground-nesting ants are the Argentine ant, pavement ant, little black ant, velvety tree ant, and the fire ant.
Ants have three body regions (head, thorax, and abdomen) defined by distinct constrictions. Antennae elbowed (workers and queens; males sometimes straight) with last 1-4 segments usually enlarged, forming a club. Abdomen connected to the thorax by 1 or 2 slender abdominal segments called nodes which from the pedicel (ant’s waist); enlarged rear portion of abdomen is the gaster.
NON-CHEMICAL CONTROL STEPS TO HELP YOU WITH ANTS
Depending on the ant species involved, these may include one or more of the following: sanitation to remove ant food, removal of plants attractive to ants, changing landscaping to discourage ants and/or plants attractive to aphids (plantlice), tree and shrub trimming to eliminate entrances via branches, reducing moisture sources including condensation, sealing pipe and utility line entrances, and replacing outside hollow-core doors with solid doors.