Pest Identification – Ants

Despite their small size, it has been estimated that ants make up 15 to 20 percent of the global terrestrial animal biomass. As a comparison, that’s about as much biomass as humans comprise. Given the weight disparity between ants and humans, that’s a lot of ants.

There are over 12,000 species of ants in the world, and more are discovered each year. Widely studied for their complex social structures and incredible strength ratios, ant farms are fascinating to behold. But when it comes to pesky ants in Northern California and Nevada, it’s best to leave the observations to the scientists.

Common Ants in Northern California and Nevada

Argentine Ants

Argentine ants are considered an invasive species, and are known to displace other native ants in Northern California and Northern Nevada. They are unique in their ability to support multiple queens in a single colony, which helps them breed rapidly and sustain populations in the hundreds of thousands. Argentine ants are attracted to moist, decaying areas, and can contaminate indoor spaces like kitchens with bacteria they bring in from the outdoors.

Argentine ants have shiny, dark brown or black bodies, and grow up to ¼ inch long. They are omnivorous, meaning they’ll eat pretty much anything, but they have a preference for sweet, sticky substances. Your best bet to stop them from entering your home or business is to keep indoor spaces clean and free of excess moisture that could cause rot and decay.

Odorous House Ants

Like its name implies, when crushed, this species emits an odd, typically unpleasant rotten coconut-like odor and prefers human structures for nesting. Commonly known as the sugar ant, this particular species is especially attracted to sweets and moisture – you’ll usually find them in the kitchen or bathroom.

Odorous House Ants are very small, about an eighth of an inch long, with a shiny black body. They’ve been found to be very tough: Injured workers are known to continue work with little hindrance, while an injured queen can continue to lay eggs. Because of this durability and their large colony populations, they can be difficult to get rid of.

Pharaoh Ants

Thought to come from Africa, these ants can’t survive low overnight temperatures outdoors. That’s why they come inside to infest our homes and businesses. Almost half the size of the odorous house ant, pharaoh ants are less than one-sixteenth of an inch long, and use their small size to covertly enter your building via mail and other packages.

Pharaoh ants are a light brown to golden color, but because they’re so small, all you may actually see is a speck. With multiple queens per colony, this species can easily fragment into a large, widespread infestation, especially with their adaptation to chemical sprays. Using an extremely complex pheromone communication system, pharaoh ants are adept at helping each other for survival, even between two different colonies. Difficult to control, the wrong pest control methods could cause the colony to split into multiple groups.

Carpenter Ants

This dark-colored ant can reach nearly half an inch, and is one of the largest ant species you’ll find in the area. Still relatively small compared to humans, these ants cause considerable damage. Carpenter ants are so named for their wood-clearing habits. While they don’t eat displaced wood, they will burrow into wooden structures in order to build their nests.

Given large populations, carpenter ant nests could threaten the structural integrity of your patio, furniture, or even the walls of your home. Preferring sweet foods, this ant species is not only a danger to wooden structures, but your home and kitchen as well.

Ant Prevention in Northern California and Nevada

It’s imperative to maintain clean living and working areas in order to prevent ants. Clean up spills or crumbs as soon as you can, and seal cracks and gaps in your building’s exterior. Once a worker ant finds food in your home or business, it creates a pheromone trail for others to find, and you’ve been established as a food source. Many ant species will then create nests near their preferred food sources.

Don’t Let Ant Control Make You Antsy – Call Advanced IPM

As a common nuisance pest, ants aren’t just unsightly. They can bite, sting, and even carry some tapeworm species. They’ll infest your food items and potentially cause structural damage. They may be small, but their strength comes in difficult-to-control numbers.

If ants come marching into your home, take back control with Advanced IPM. Our effective, eco-friendly treatments range from state-of-the-art sprays to advanced baits. Our experienced technicians know when to apply which treatments, and where. Don’t let ants bother you, your family, or your employees. You can trust Advanced IPM’s ant control services to keep your home protected. Contact us today for more information.