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What Are Ants?

Ants are the largest, most ecologically diverse, and recognizable group of social insects. Because ants are insects, they have three body segments and six legs. Ants also have constricted waists and bent antennae; only the reproductive members have wings. In some species of ants, all members of the colony (workers, males, and queens) are the same size. In other species, workers will have specific characteristics that suit the unique requirements of their colony.

Ants live and work together in large groups, and each species can have a different appearance, food preference, and nesting habits. Pheromones play an important role in an ant colony; ants use pheromones to communicate with each other and lead colony members to food sources.

Are Ants Dangerous?

Most house invading ants are nuisance pests, but some can create significant problems. Species considered dangerous spread disease, bite or sting, or nest inside structural wood. Harmful or not, no ant species should live inside homes or businesses where they can contaminate food, nest in hard-to-reach places, and are tricky to find and eliminate.

Why Do I Have An Ant Problem?

Like most insects and household pests, ants are opportunistic and won’t pass up easy access to food, water, or shelter that our homes and businesses provide. The following attracts ants to our properties:

  • Compost and trash bins
  • Gardens
  • Fallen trees, woodpiles, and dense vegetation
  • Outdoor eating areas
  • Clogged gutters
  • Moist, loose soil

Listed below are five of the most common species of ants living throughout to our area of Albuquerque and Rio Rancho:

Acrobat Ants
Acrobat ants have heart-shaped abdomens and vary in color from light brown to black. When disturbed, acrobat ants raise their abdomens over their thoraxes and heads.

Little Black Ants
As their name suggests, these ants range in color from dark brown to black, though they are typically jet black, and are very small compared to many other ant species.

Carpenter Ants
These large ants can be black, red, yellow, or a combination of these colors. Carpenter ants build tunnels and nests inside of wood, preferring decaying or water-damaged wood.

Rover Ants
Rover ants are very small and range from pale yellow to brown or black. These ants are especially problematic as they are known to invade homes, businesses, and hospitals.

Fire Ants
These small, reddish-brown ants are easily agitated and will attack anything they view as a threat. Fire ants received their name from the painful bites and stings they deliver.

Frequently Asked Questions

About Ants

Why do I have ants in my house?

Most types of ants prefer to nest outdoors, but several types, such as carpenter ants and pavement ants, won’t turn down the opportunity to come inside your home to look for food. They send out workers to scavenge, then when they find a food source, they carry it back, leaving pheromone trails as they make their way back to the colony so that more ants can find the food. It doesn’t take long for this to happen; you might notice a few ants before bedtime and a crowd when you wake up!

How can I keep from getting ants?

There are many things you can do to keep ants away from your home, including the following:

  • Wipe every crumb from your countertops, cabinets, and pantry frequently. It doesn’t take much to attract them.
  • Don’t let even small spills remain on countertops or floors.
  • Store your fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator instead of leaving them out where ants can find them.
  • Check for sources of the water ants seek, such as a drippy faucet or leaking pipe.
  • Discard any uneaten food in your pet’s bowl every night and keep pet food in tightly sealed containers. Clean the area around your pet’s bowls, too.
  • Remember that ants love sugary foods, so store sweeteners in containers with tight lids and don’t leave empty soda or juice cans in the house.

You can also take the following steps around the exterior of your home to help keep ants away:

  • Look for spots that ants can use to enter your home. Check places where pipes, cables, and wires come through the walls and seal them up. You may not be able to seal up all potential entry points completely, but you can definitely reduce the number of paths that lead inside.
  • Trim any limbs from trees or plants that touch your house. These can be used as “bridges” by ants.
  • Push mulch well away from the foundation of your home (at least two feet, but more is better).
  • Don’t let wood, stones, and other types of debris touch your house. Ants love to gather anywhere where the soil is relatively moist.

Can I get rid of ants myself?

The problem with DIY ant extermination methods is that they only kill the ants you can see. Many more ants are nearby in their colony, perhaps even thousands. Finding and treating the source is key, but locating it is a challenge. Different types of ants live in various places around your property, such as in woodpiles or the soil. Most ants will also readily relocate their nests.

For the most effective ant control, contact Advantage Pest Control for a free quote. Our technicians can identify the specific type of ant you have and develop the best treatment plan for you. We’re licensed, certified, and insured, and we guarantee our ant removal services!

Do ants carry diseases?

Pests such as roaches and mosquitoes may come to mind first when you think about dangerous insects, but ants do pose some health threats. As worker ants search for food, they may pick up disease-causing organisms and spread them in your home. A trip from the bathroom or a waste receptacle, for example, could result in the transfer of pathogens to their new destination in your kitchen. In addition, some ant stings or bites can cause severe reactions, especially in individuals with allergies to ant venom.

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