Pavement ants are found near paved areas like driveways, sidewalks, and foundations. They can be identified by their small size, dark brown coloration, and large heads. Signs of pavement ant activity are the small piles of soil left behind where they surface and the tendency to create large “boiling” swarms. Swarms are created when multiple colonies overlap and begin to fight over resources. Pavement ant colonies can include as many as 4,000 members and have multiple queens. Colonies have been known to migrate from paved areas into home interiors, including insulation and under floors. These ants are adept at finding and moving through existing spaces like cracks, masonry joints, and flooring seams.
Carpenter ants are commonly found near rotten, moisture-damaged wood and wood-based products. They are one of the larger species of ant found in North America. Carpenter ants are polymorphic, meaning they come in various sizes. The size of the ant is typically determined by its caste, or specific job in the colony. Carpenter ants are usually black but can also have maroon coloration. Carpenter ants don’t actually consume wood. Instead, they mine the material to create honeycomb-like tunnels known as galleries. This tunneling technique is the reason carpenter ants prefer damaged wood, which is softer and easier to mine. Signs of carpenter ant activity include the fine wood dust they leave behind referred to as frass. Carpenter ant colonies release swarms of reproductive ants in the spring and summer, usually after rainy weather. These “swarmers” can be identified by their wings and can spread out over large areas. Swarmers have been observed traveling more than one acre from their colony. Swarmers are a common occurrence and do not indicate an infestation when they are found on or in a home.
Odorous House Ants
Odorous house ants emit a foul, rotten citrus odor when crushed. They are the second most common species of ant found worldwide. Odorous house ants are monomorphic, meaning they come in one size. Colonies are usually found nestled in dark, moist areas around the exterior of the home but have been known to move into wall voids or under flooring. These ants usually operate out of a central colony with a secondary satellite colony based close to a food source. Due to their ability to detect repellent products, these ants are known to bud and fracture their colony causing them to spread and be more difficult to contain. Using the appropriate products and scheduling follow-up appointments is essential to properly treating these ants.