More than 12,000 species of ants live throughout the world. Thankfully, only a few of them frequently become pests in California homes. If you find ants in your home, you should be able to identify them so you know what risks they present and how to best go about getting rid of them. Read on to learn the basics about four common types of ants seen in homes in California.
1. Pavement Ants
If the ants in your home are less than 4 mm long and black-brown in color with parallel lines on their heads, they are probably pavement ants. This species of ant usually builds nests outside under sidewalks and building slabs. However, the ants may move inside when food is scarce. They prefer to feed on sweet substances like sugar, fruit, and syrups.
Pavement ants do not bite, but they can cause damage to your insulation and floorboards because the ants often nest beneath these materials. The nest is probably located somewhere outside the home and the ants you're seeing are foraging for food indoors. Your pest control expert can place baits throughout the home. The ants will gradually carry the bait back to their nest, eventually eliminating the colony.
2. Southern Fire Ants
Are the ants in your home amber brown and about 1/4 inch long? They are probably southern fire ants, a species of ant known for its painful bite. Southern fire ants are most active in the morning, and they will lash out and bite you if you disturb them. When you find them in a home, it's often because they've built a nest under or next to your home.
Do not attempt to eradicate southern fire ants yourself, even if you're able to locate their nest. Their stings can cause intense burning, nausea, and even serious allergic reactions in some people. Your pest control company can treat the fire ant mound with insecticides and also use baits to ensure all ants are eliminated.
3. Carpenter Ants
If the ants are about 5/8 inch long and black or dark red in color, they are probably carpenter ants. Though carpenter ants are harmless to humans, they can cause serious damage to your home as they burrow inside wooden structures to create their nests. Carpenter ants are particularly attracted to moist wood and standing water.
To get rid of carpenter ants, take a multi-factorial approach. Your pest control expert can use insecticides and baits to kill the existing ants, but you must also take measures to keep your home dry and seal any entry points that may be providing access to your home.
4. Pharaoh Ants
Pharaoh ants are only about 2 mm long, and their bodies are yellowish with black marks on the abdomen. Their thorax may be black in color. Pharaoh ants are often seen in kitchens. They build nests behind cabinets, in the insulation within refrigerators, and even within walls. They do not typically bite, but they can contaminate food with various bacteria and viruses.
Pharaoh ants are hard to get rid of, so your pest control company may need to apply baits and insecticides to your home several times over a period of a few weeks. The ants are particularly attracted to sweets, so keep sugar, honey, and other sweet items well-sealed to avoid attracting pharaoh ants.If you find one or two ants in your home, take them outside and try not to worry. They might be scouts looking for food. Keep your home clean, and you may not have any further issues. When you see multiple ants over a period of several days, however, call Cliff's Pest Control, Inc. We will work with you to identify and remove the ants from your home.