While there are more than 10,000 ant species worldwide, only about 25 species commonly infest homes. Ants can range in size form 1/12 to 1 inch (2 to 25 mm), depending on the ant species. A close relative of bees and wasps, ants can be identified by their three distinct body regions: head, thorax and abdomen, as well as antennae. Ants have a narrow "waist" between the abdomen and thorax, large heads, elbowed antennae, and powerful jaws.
Ants are social insects, which mean they typically live in large groups or colonies. These colonies can consist of millions of members, depending on the species of ant, and can be located underground, in ground-level mounds, or in trees.
Let's take a look at the most common ant species impacting the Phillips & Grand Island area:
Acrobat ants get their name from their ability to acrobatically raise their abdomen over their thorax and head as if they were performing a balancing act, especially when disturbed. This ant is best identified from above, as it gives the best view of the telltale heart shaped abdomen.
Field ants are one of the most diverse types of ants in the world, boasting over 150 species worldwide. These insects subsist primarily off of a sweet substance known as honey-dew, derived from insects such as mealy bugs and aphids. As there are a wide variety of field ants in the world, it is not possible to make many generalizations. They tend to construct their colonies in the ground near trees, fences, sidewalks, rocks and other lawn and wood debris, and some species are known to use leaves, stems and pine needles in the construction of their nest.
ODOROUS HOUSE ANTS
The odorous house ant is a common ant throughout North America and frequently considered a nuisance in homes. They can build nests in a wide variety of places and their colonies can contain as many as 100,000 works and numerous queens. They are also highly tolerant of other ant species and occasionally live in compound colonies with other ant species. Worker ants can follow long foraging trails and feed on sweets, meats, fats, and grease. The most obvious identifier, however, is the odor of rotten coconuts when the ant is crushed.
Pavement ants get their name because they often choose to build nests underneath and inside the cracks of sidewalks, driveways, and slab foundations. They are aggressive colonizers, often waging war against nearby ant colonies and leaving hundreds of small, dark ant corpses across concrete surfaces in the aftermath of a conflict. Pavement ants are capable of building large nest with up to 30,000 individuals. They feeds on small seeds, grease, and, at times, other insects. They are strongly attracted to sweets and fruits and will forage as far as 30 feet away from their nest in search of food.
Thief ants are like tiny, subterranean conmen that set up shop near other ants’ nests in order to pilfer the other ant colony’s food. Mighty but minuscule, these mobsters will stoop to stealing another ant colony’s eggs for tasty treats and will discreetly dispose of the carcasses of dead and dying ants when an ant colony goes south. Thief ants love dead insects and help control lawn and golf course pests like cutworms and scarab beetles. Thief ants are so tiny they may go unnoticed in your home, munching on greasy foods, such as potato chips and proteins. Showing a preference for proteins, these tiny interlopers are also drawn to sweets.
Click here to learn more about our Four Seasons Pest Control Service Program and how Truly Nolen of Phillips & Grand Island can help rid your home of pesky ants.
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