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What’s That Ant in My Kitchen?

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ant on a rock

Ants. We’ve all seen them, and whether you find them inside or outside your home, it is always helpful to be able to identify which type of ant you are observing. With fall now upon us, several species of pests—including ants—are actively seeking out shelter from the cold. When ants invade your home, you can typically divide them into one of two categories—nuisance ants or destructive ants. Nuisance ants don’t pose any threat to you or your property other than causing mild annoyance, while destructive ants can threaten the integrity of your home. Let’s take a look at the most common types of ants that infest homes.

Odorous House Ants and Pharaoh Ants

These two species of ants are nuisance pests, and both typically prefer areas that are humid and near a food source. Nuisance ants generally seek out foods that are high in sugars and proteins, and can often be found in large numbers when a food source has been discovered in kitchens or pantries. These types of ants may often be spotted going to and from food sources and their nests which they have built within your walls.

Odorous house ants, in particular, are the most common ant found in households, and they get their name from the strong scent of rotten coconuts they produce when crushed. These insects are native to the United States and usually build their nests next to sources of water—often around leaky pipes in the kitchen, water heaters, and in wall voids where a faucet is attached.

Pharaoh ants, on the other hand, are an invasive species hailing from Africa. What makes pharaoh ants unique is the fact that they take advantage of having more than one queen in their colonies, giving them the capability to reproduce and spread several times faster than most other ant colonies. This species of ant may also spread diseases such as streptococcus and Salmonella, which can be quite dangerous when infesting hospitals or other areas where people’s immune systems are already compromised. Due to the pharaoh ant's tiny size (about 1/16”), if it ends up invading a hospital, the results can be dire due to their ability to enter wounds, IV bottles, and any open orifices.

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants are in the category of ants that can do massive structural damage to your home, which can be very costly to repair if their colony is not discovered in its earliest stages. These large black ants prefer damp or moist wood instead of dry wood because wet wood is a more easily accessible entry point, meaning that wood piles, brush, and other areas that attract moisture on the exterior of your home provide a bridge for carpenter ants to start burrowing into your home. Often, carpenter ant damage is confused with termite damage, but there are a few distinguishing features that can help you to know which pest is creating your problem. Unlike termites, carpenter ants don’t actually eat the wood they are burrowing through, and will instead push any droppings, wood they have excavated, and soil out of entry tunnels in a pile of what is called “frass.”

The Best Way to Deal With Ants

No matter what type of ant you find in your home, the best solution is always to secure professional pest control services—especially with carpenter ants. When ants invade your home, Aiken Pest Control is just one call away. No longer do you have to worry about your home’s structural integrity being tampered with or your food being contaminated. With Aiken’s residential pest control plans, you are guaranteed our year-round protection services. Contact us if you suspect you have an ant problem, or to schedule an inspection right away!

 

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