Ant Identification & Prevention

What are ants?

Ants invade properties throughout Boca Raton and Southeast Florida, and their small size allows them to quickly sneak into your building through tiny cracks and crevices. Ants are social creatures that live together in large colonies and are rarely seen traveling alone. Despite their range of colors and sizes, these insects are among the most identifiable with their three distinct body regions: head, thorax, and abdomen. They have antennae, chewing mouthparts, and six legs; only the reproductive members have wings.

a big headed ant crawling on a leaf outside of a home in riviera beach florida

Some of the most common species of ants living throughout our area of Southeast Florida include the following:

Big-headed ants
Big-headed ants are small and vary in color from red, brown, or yellow. The workers are classified as majors or minors. The minor workers' bodies and heads are proportionate in size, while the major workers' heart-shaped heads are much larger than the rest of their bodies.

Carpenter ants
These large ants are one of the most significant, home-invading species of wood-destroying insects in the United States. Carpenter ants are usually black, red, or a combination of those colors.

Crazy ants
Crazy ants are most often identified by their behavior rather than by their appearance; workers move in an erratic, frenzied pattern – giving the impression that they are crazy and do not know where they are going. Crazy ants are dark brown to black in color and may also have a gray sheen.

Ghost ants
These ants have a unique color pattern that makes them difficult to see. Their heads and thoraxes are dark brown and their abdomens are a pale yellow color, giving them a ghostly appearance.

Sugar ants
"Sugar ant" is a term used to describe a variety of small ant species that commonly invade homes. These ants are typically black and are highly attracted to sweets and sugary liquids. Sugar ants' small size allows them to gain entrance to your property through any small opening.

Tropical fire ants
Tropical fire ants are a reddish-brown color and come in a variety of sizes, with the major workers having large, square heads. They are typically outdoor pests that create their nests in open, sunny areas.

White-footed ants
These ants brown or black in color and are very small in size. As their name suggests, their feet are a distinctive pale color.

Are ants dangerous?

The good news is that most ants we come across are nuisance pests. Nuisance ants don't cause any significant harm, but their presence around your home should never be allowed. Ants contaminate food, introduce bacteria, and once established, can be very difficult to eradicate. Ants are potentially hazardous to people and property, depending on their species. Carpenter ants are dangerous because of the destruction they cause when invading and nesting inside structural wood. Tropical fire ants are a danger to people because they are an aggressive species and will defend their colony by delivering painful stings.

Why do I have an ant problem?

Ants are in your home or business because of the sources of food, water, and shelter they offer. They gain access to food and water from gardens, compost piles and trash cans, pet bowls, outdoor eating areas, and leaky outdoor fixtures; all things that are common in most yards. Ants build nests in a variety of indoor and outdoor locations, often nesting in soil located very near or next to homes. Once they are nesting on your property, it is only a matter of before they find their way inside while out foraging for food and, once inside, it is common for ants to build satellite nests near their newly discovered food sources.

Where will I find ants?

Ants nest in a variety of locations, depending on their species. Common outdoor nesting spots include the soil along fence lines, sidewalks, and driveways. They also build nests under mulch, rocks, woodpiles, and landscaping ties. Some ant species, like the tropical fire ant, have their nests in wide-open areas like residential yards, parks, and golf courses. Ants that have decided to nest inside usually do so in hard-to-reach places. Spaces above ceilings, behind large appliances and walls, under floors, and around hot water pipes are all common nesting spots. Carpenter ants create nests inside structural wood and are initially attracted to water-damaged wood.

How do I get rid of ants?

The best way to eliminate problems with ants in your Southeast Florida home or business is to partner with an experienced professional. At Pest-Aside, we offer the professional residential and commercial services needed to get rid of ants and other common Florida pests at an affordable price. We are 100% committed to our customers and their pest control needs. To learn more about our pest control services, contact Pest-Aside today!

How can I prevent ants in the future?

Preventing problems with ants on your Lake Worth or Southeast Florida property is a difficult task, but here are some steps you can take to help avoid an infestation:

  • Inspect your house and seal openings in the foundation, exterior walls, and roofline.

  • Pick up fruits and vegetables in garden areas that have fallen to the ground.

  • Reduce areas of excess moisture in and around your property.

  • Keep outdoor eating areas free of food debris.

  • Regularly remove trash from your property.

  • Store food inside the refrigerator or in airtight containers.

  • Keep tight-fitting or locking lids on outdoor trash cans and compost bins.

  • Cut tree branches and overgrown vegetation away from the exterior of your property.

  • Leave a 12 to 18-inch stone barrier between your foundation and any mulch, soil, or grass.

 

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