ACROBAT ANT Crematogaster spp.

Size:

Ranges from 1/8-inch to more than 1/4-inch in length. The most commonly encountered species are found at the smaller end of this size scale.

Color:

Ranges from black to dark brown to red and black. The smaller species are typically uniformly dark in color. A larger species, common in Texas, is red and black.

Behavior:

When excited or disturbed, the acrobat ant workers run about with their abdomens held high above their heads. Like most ants, acrobat ants establish well-defined trails between the nest and food and water sources. They feed on a wide variety of foods, but the workers are partial to the sweet honeydew produced by aphids, scales and mealybugs found feeding on many trees and plants. Fruit trees, roses and many shrubs serve as hosts for aphids and may contribute to ant infestations in buildings. Most infestations inside are the result of workers searching for food.
Acrobat ants are like carpenter ants in that they prefer to nest in moist or rotted wood. Colonies are most often found in tree holes, dead limbs, stumps and logs. Rotting areas in fences, decks and railings may also be nesting locations. Most infestations of acrobat ants originate from outdoor nests; however, if moist or rotted wood exists inside because of water leaks, this ant will readily nest indoors. Such interior nests are typically found around the perimeter — in soffits, door frames and skylights.
Acrobat ants are controlled by finding and treating wood where the ant colonies are located. Often, the nest may be located far above the ground in a tree where it is inaccessible to direct treatment. In such cases, limiting interior invasion of ant trails is critical. Repairing water leaks and drying out moist wood inside will help prevent infestations of both acrobat and carpenter ants. Improving attic and crawl
space ventilation is also important in limiting acrobat ant infestations. General tips for limiting ant infestations include:

Eliminating piles of lumber, bricks or other debris that could serve as a nesting site for ants.
Keeping landscape mulch less than 2 inches thick and at least 12 inches away from foundations.
Ensuring the sprinkler system does not spray directly onto the foundation.
Sealing as many cracks in the building’s exterior as possible.
Keeping tree and shrub branches trimmed to prevent them from touching the building.
ALLEGHENY MOUND ANT Formica exsectoides

Size:

Workers of this species measure about 3/8-inch in length.

Color:

Red head and thorax with black abdomen

Behavior:

The name of this ant derives from the way it constructs mounds, which usually measure up to three feet in diameter. The large mounds have resulted in occasional “fire ant scares” in northern states, although the Allegheny mound ant cannot sting. The ants feed on insects and the sweet honeydew produced by aphids and similar insects.

Allegheny mound ants are found throughout the upper Midwest and northeast U.S. They are typically seen in yards located next to fields or wooded areas. Allegheny mound ants do not invade houses but their large mounds can make lawns unattractive. Typically, individual mounds will require direct treatment with an appropriately labeled pest control product.

ARGENTINE ANT Linepithema humile

Size:

Workers of this species are about 1/8-inch in length.

Color:

Varies from dark brown to black, and the body is often shiny in appearance.

Behavior:

The colonies of Argentine ants can grow quite large and contain tens of thousands of workers and numerous queens. Each colony will be divided into subcolonies located in various suitable harborages connected by established trunk trails. These subcolonies will number from a few hundred to thousands of individuals. Since members of two separate colonies are not aggressive toward each other, colonies will often combine with one another. This creates huge super-colonies that may extend over several properties. Argentine ants are very aggressive and will drive out native species of ants, creating an environment where they are literally the “king” of the anthill, so to speak. Their primary food source during the warm months is the sweet honeydew produced by aphids and mealybugs. The presence of fruit trees, roses and other plants that attract aphids often contributes to Argentine ant infestations. Argentine ants reside outdoors, usually in shallow nests in the soil beneath a stone, board or any other item that provides protection. Small, medium or large subcolonies will locate themselves in piles of lumber, bricks or debris; in landscape mulch; behind brick and stone veneer; within and under insulation; and in wall voids or any other suitable void. Argentine ants are the most common invaders of homes in Southern California. This ant is also very common in homes throughout most of the Gulf Coast states.

The Argentine ant can be nearly impossible to control, especially during midsummer in areas such as Southern California. At best, regular treatments keep as few ants as possible from entering the home or business. General tips for limiting ant infestations include:
• Eliminating piles of lumber, bricks or other debris that could serve as a nesting site for ants.
• Keeping landscape mulch less than 2 inches thick and at least 12 inches away from foundations.
• Ensuring the sprinkler system does not spray directly onto the foundation.
• Sealing as many cracks in the building’s exterior as possible.
• Keeping tree and shrub branches trimmed to prevent touching the home.
• Considering re-landscaping to avoid using plants that are prone to aphids and similar insects. At the very least, treat such plants for aphids regularly. A tree/shrub company, such as TruGreen, can be helpful with this task.

BIG-HEADED ANT Pheidole spp.

Size:

This type of ant has two distinct sizes of workers. The larger ones, called major workers, typically range in size from 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch in length, depending on the species. The major worker is easily identified by the extremely large size of its head in comparison to its body. The head of the minor worker is in proportion to its body.

Color:

Most are reddish brown in color.

Behavior:

Big-headed ants, like all ants, establish well-defined trails between the nest and food and water sources. They feed on a wide variety of foods including dead insects, plant materials, and garbage. The workers are partial to the sweet honeydew produced by aphids, scales, and mealybugs found feeding on many trees and plants. Fruit trees, roses, and many shrubs serve as hosts for aphids and may contribute to ant infestations in homes and other buildings. One species, Pheidole megacephala, establishes large “supercolonies” consisting of dozens, if not hundreds, of subcolonies connected by interlocking trails.
These supercolonies have been found to extend over large portions of a city block, making control efforts on a single property quite difficult to achieve. This species is more common in Florida and Hawaii but can be encountered all along the southeast Gulf Coast. They have been known to construct mud tubes that can resemble those made by subterranean termites, although this behavior is not common.

Big-headed ants are soil-nesting ants, most commonly found nesting outdoors beneath stones, logs, and landscape timbers. These ants also are commonly found inside the soil of potted plants, and many inside infestations may be traced to planters. In addition, big-headed ants may be found nesting beneath slab foundations and entering through cracks in the slab. On occasion, these ants will nest inside rotted wood or will excavate old termite-damaged wood to make a nest.
Because big-headed ants are soil nesters, their colonies are often easy to see due to the piles of displaced soil formed as they excavate tunnels in the ground. Most colonies are relatively small and easy to treat, but treating infestations involving multiple colonies requires experience. General tips for limiting ant infestations include:
• Eliminating piles of lumber, bricks, or other debris that could serve as a nesting site for ants.
• Keeping landscape mulch less than 2 inches thick and at least 12 inches away from foundations.
• Ensuring the sprinkler system does not spray directly onto the foundation.
• Sealing as many cracks in the building’s exterior as possible.
• Keeping tree and shrub branches trimmed to prevent touching the home.
• Considering re-landscaping to avoid using plants that are prone to aphids and similar insects. At the very least, treat such plants for aphids    regularly. A tree/shrub company, such as TruGreen, can be helpful with this task.

CARPENTER ANT Camponotus spp.

Size:

Up to 5/8-inch long.

Color:

Varies from black, brown and black, red and black, to light brown depending on the species.The two
most common pest species are black in color.

Behavior:

Carpenter ants feed on a wide variety of foods, especially other insects. The favored food of adults is the sweet honeydew produced by plant-feeding insects, such as aphids, scales, and mealybugs. In the spring, mature colonies produce winged reproductive ants, called swarmers, that fly out to start new colonies. These swarms often occur from satellite colonies within homes, so homeowners may see large flying ants in their homes at night. Carpenter ants can be very difficult to control, so most homeowners employ the services of a professional company. Carpenter ants are the most common pest ant seen in homes throughout the northern United States. The main colony must have a constant source of moisture to survive, so it is usually located in dead wood outside. This includes dead limbs, tree holes, stumps, landscape timbers, and so forth. Indoors, a main colony will have to be associated with a water leak or an overly wet, poorly ventilated crawl space or attic.The main colony may establish satellite colonies that are the primary source of ant activity inside homes.These satellite colonies may be located in any suitable void (e.g., hollow doors, curtain rods, shower rods), under attic insultation, etc.These ants set up trunk trails between the main colony to satellite colonies and between satellite colonies. Foraging ants can most easily be seen along these trunk trails at night when the ants are most active. Sometimes, the trunk trails occur beneath the ground following tree roots.

Successfully controlling carpenter ants requires certain skills, knowledge and experience. Carpenter ant control involves tracking down and treating as many satellite colonies as possible inside and outside of the home as well as attempting to find and treat the parent colony. Accessing the parent colony may be difficult because it might be located high in a tree or on a neighboring property. In such cases, your service professional may use carpenter ant baits, but these may have varying results because of the carpenter ants’ finicky feeding habits. If conditions on your property (such as a large number of trees) create a high risk for reinfestation, your service professional may recommend regular pest management services to help prevent new infestations. These tips will help you limit carpenter ant infestation:

• Store any firewood away from your home and remove any dead wood or wood scraps from around the foundation.
• Trim dead limbs from trees and remove stumps. Rid your yard of these potential nesting sites.
• Make sure that all plumbing or roof leaks are sealed, and check crawl spaces for excess moisture.
• Water from rain gutters should be directed away from your home and not be allowed to accumulate close to the foundation.

CITRONELLA ANT Acanthomyops interjectus

Size:

Workers of this species measure about 1/4-inch in length. Two closely related species are smaller. The winged females and males that swarm to start new colonies may measure up to 5/8-inch and 3/8-inch, respectively.

Color:

Citronella ants and their relatives are golden yellow in color. The winged female swarmers are also golden yellow while the winged males are black.

Behavior:

The citronella ant is actually named the “large yellow ant,” but it derives its nickname from the strong citronella odor emitted from its body. These ants are subterranean in nature. They feed on the honeydew produced by subterranean aphids and mealybugs, which feed on the roots of trees and other plants. The workers are not seen foraging in homes and buildings; rather it is the winged reproductives, called swarmers, that enter buildings in early- to mid-spring. These males and females enter the home from cracks in the foundation or through subslab heating ducts. The sudden appearance of hundreds of these swarmers is often disconcerting to homeowners. The swarmers also have the strong, characteristic citronella odor.

Citronella ants locate their colonies within the soil under items such as stones, logs and landscape timbers. They also may be found in the soil under mulch next to building foundations, or they may locate colonies in soil underneath slab floors and in crawl spaces.
Colonies do not require control unless the swarmers are entering the home or building. Even then, treatment may not be possible because it is difficult to know exactly where the colony is located under the foundation. Sealing the cracks in the floor where the swarmers enter may stop the swarm from entering a home or building, but the ants may find other cracks. Any treatment will involve drilling and treating beneath the slab, thus requiring the services of an experienced professional.

FIELD ANT Formica spp.

Size:

Workers of this genus measure about 3/8-inch in length.

Color:

The color varies depending on the species. Black field ants are more common, but red, brown, red and black, and golden yellow species may also be encountered around homes and buildings.

Behavior:

A group of about a dozen species of ants in the genus Formica are known as field ants. They rarely enter homes, but are commonly seen crawling on porches, foundations and decks where they may be confused with carpenter ants, because they are similar in size and coloration. (The thorax of a carpenter ant, when viewed from the side, is evenly rounded while that of a field ant is clearly uneven in shape.) The ants feed on insects and the sweet honeydew produced by aphids and similar insects.
Field ants are common in yards, landscaping, fields and wooded areas. They build medium-sized mounds up to 12 inches in diameter, but more often nest under stones, logs, landscape timbers and porch slabs.

CRAZY ANT Paratrechina longicornis

Size:

1/8-inch long, with extremely long legs and antennae.

Color:

Black.

Behavior:

Crazy ants may develop huge colonies containing thousands of workers and numerous queens. Crazy ants are common in all the Gulf Coast states from Florida to Texas and can be found in parts of Arizona and in commercial buildings in a few northern cities, such as Philadelphia and New York. These ants nest outdoors under items on the ground, within landscape mulch, beneath loose bark on trees, under ground cover, in potted plants, and within piles of items, such as lumber, firewood, or bricks. Nests may readily be established inside homes in walls, beneath carpeting, and in other suitable voids or spaces.

This species may be difficult to control and does not feed much on ant baits. The keys to control are to find the colonies and subcolonies and treat them directly. Regular inspections and service are necessary to find and treat new colonies as they move from neighboring properties. The services of a professional, are very helpful when encountering these ants. General tips for limiting ant infestations include:
• Eliminating piles of lumber, bricks or other debris that could serve as a nesting site for ants.
• Keeping landscape mulch less than 2 inches thick and at least 12 inches away from foundations.
• Ensuring the sprinkler system does not spray directly onto the foundation.
• Sealing as many cracks in the home’s exterior as possible.
• Keeping tree and shrub branches trimmed to prevent touching the home.
• Considering re-landscaping to avoid using plants that are prone to aphids and similar insects. At the very least, treat such plants for aphids regularly. A tree/shrub company, such as TruGreen, can be helpful with this task.

FIRE ANT Ssolenopsis invicta

Size:

There are many sizes of workers in the colony, ranging from 1/8-inch to almost 3/8-inch in length.

Color:

Reddish brown.

Behavior:

Fire ants pose a health risk to anyone venturing into areas where the ants are found. Although the vast majority of stings result only in a raised welt that may develop a white pustule, a person allergic to insect stings could experience a more serious reaction. Additionally, a person seldom receives just one sting. Rather, dozens or even hundreds of stings can be inflicted quickly on a person accidentally kneeling or standing next to or on a fire ant mound.
The red imported fire ant was brought into this country during the 1920s and has spread to cover most of the Gulf Coast states and most of eastern Texas. It is now established north into parts of Tennessee and North Carolina. These ants nest in the soil and construct large mounds that are easily seen in lawns and pastures. A single lawn may contain a dozen or more mounds. This ant will also locate nests within landscape mulch and beneath items on the ground, such as landscape timbers. The mounds of such colonies may be shallow and poorly structured, making them difficult to detect for the less experienced eye. Fire ants may construct mounds next to the foundation and enter homes through weep holes or other exterior cracks and holes. Once inside, workers forage in trails beneath the edge of carpeting. On occasion, the ants will bring soil up into walls or beneath first floor bathrooms and construct a nest. Because of the health threat posed by fire ants, it is important to take steps to control the ants around the home and in the yard. Over-the-counter fire ant baits can be effective if properly used, but regular applications are necessary because the ants readily reinvade from neighboring properties. Many homeowners employ the services of a professional company to provide fire ant services.

GHOST ANT Tapinoma melanocephalum

Size:

Tiny, usually less than 1/16-inch in length.

Color:

Pale, with a dark head and abdomen.

Behavior:

Ghost ants may develop huge colonies containing thousands of workers and numerous queens. This species may be difficult to control and does not feed much on ant baits. The keys to control are to find the colonies and subcolonies and treat them directly. Regular inspections and service are necessary to find and treat new colonies as they move from neighboring properties. The services of a professional are very helpful when encountering these ants.
This ant is now a major pest throughout most of Florida and several of the Hawaiian Islands. It occasionally is found in apartments and greenhouses in northern states. These ants nest outdoors under items on the ground, within landscape mulch, beneath loose bark on trees, under ground cover, in potted plants, and within piles of items such as lumber, firewood, or bricks. Nests may be readily established inside homes in walls, beneath carpeting, and in other suitable voids or spaces.
This species may be difficult to control and ant baits may not be effective against it. The keys to control are to find the colonies and subcolonies and treat them directly. Where the colonies cannot be found, baits may be attempted; however, several baits may be required before positive results are seen. Regular inspections and service are necessary to find and treat new colonies as they move in from
neighboring properties. The services of a professional are very helpful when encountering these ants. General tips for limiting ant infestations include:
• Eliminate piles of lumber, bricks, or other debris that could serve as a nesting site for ants.
• Keep landscape mulch less than 2 inches thick and at least 12 inches away from foundations.
• Ensure the sprinkler system does not spray directly onto the foundation.
• Seal as many cracks in the home’s exterior as possible.
• Keep tree and shrub branches from touching the house.

HARVESTER ANT Pogonomyrmex spp.

Size:
Harvester ants range from 3/8-inch to 1/2-inch in length.

Color:

The color varies from red to reddish brown to black, depending on the species.

Behavior:

Harvester ants are farmers in the sense that they gather seeds as their primary food source. They generally clear large circular areas completely free of any vegetation around the nest entrance hole. A few species are known to clear an area up to 30 feet or more in diameter. Other species may only clear a few feet. Some species construct mounds, while others carry the excavated soil away from the nest and discard it. These ants become pests only when they invade a lawn from a neighboring field. These ants aggressively defend their nests and will bite vigorously; some species will sting. Several dozen species of harvester ants occur in the United States, but most are desert dwellers and do not come into contact with humans very often. Only one species is found east of the Mississippi River in Florida; the remaining species are found in the Southwest. Nests occur in the soil with a single entrance hole.
Harvester ants are controlled through the use of ant baits. In some cases, however, getting the ants in a particular colony to take the bait may require persistence and possibly the use of different baits.

LITTLE BLACK ANT Monomorium minimum

Size:

Workers of this species measure about 1/8-inch in length. Colonies contain multiple queens who are 2
to 3 times larger than the workers.

Color:

Black

Behavior:

Little black ants are usually seen around homes following well-defined trails between the nest and food and water sources. They feed on a wide variety of foods, but the workers are partial to the sweet honeydew produced by aphids, scales, and mealybugs found feeding on many trees and plants. Fruit trees, roses, and many shrubs serve as hosts for aphids and may contribute to ant infestations in homes and other buildings. Most infestations inside are the result of workers searching for food. On occasion, a colony or part of a colony may establish itself inside a wall, behind brick veneer or beneath the carpet by a doorway.
This ant will take advantage of any suitable, moist space to locate its colony. It is commonly found infesting rotted logs, stumps, and fence posts and may be found in tree holes and dead tree limbs far above the ground. Nests are also commonly located within piles of lumber, rocks, bricks, and similar items.

Infestations of little black ants often require patience and skill to follow the trails back to the nest. The type of treatment used depends on the location of the nest (e.g., inside wood, within a brick pile, etc.). Baits can be effective but require persistence and follow-up to achieve results. General tips for limiting ant infestations include:

• Eliminating piles of lumber, bricks, or other debris that could serve as a nesting site for ants.
• Keeping landscape mulch less than 2 inches thick and at least 12 inches away from foundations.
• Ensuring the sprinkler system does not spray directly onto the foundation.
• Sealing as many cracks in the building’s exterior as possible.
• Keeping tree and shrub branches trimmed to prevent touching the building.
• Considering re-landscaping to avoid using plants that are prone to aphids and similar insects. At the very least, treat such plants for aphids regularly. A tree/shrub company, such as TruGreen, can be helpful with this task.

MOISTURE ANT Lasius spp.

Size:

1/8-inch in length.

Color:

Dark brown, similar in appearance to a number of different house-infesting ant species.

Behavior:

Moisture ants will invade homes from nests in the yard while foraging for food. Occasionally, an outdoor colony will relocate inside in the bathroom or kitchen where a water leak is present. This ant often carries soil into the building which it uses to construct a “carton” nest. Carton nests resemble hard clods of soil and may be fashioned around a water pipe or onto a wooden sill plate or wall stud. The correct name for moisture ant is actually the cornfield ant. This species most commonly nests in the soil of lawns and fields. Once inside, nests are typically established near water leaks, hence the nickname “moisture” ants. The appearance of this ant inside homes most commonly occurs in the
Pacific Northwest states of Washington and Oregon, although the cornfield ant is found throughout the north and midwest parts of the country. For those situations involving foragers invading from outside, sealing exterior cracks and holes in the foundation and around windows and doors is helpful. Indoor colonies are best controlled with treatment by a professional combined with steps to repair the water leak and dry out the moist area.

ODOROUS HOUSE ANT Tapinoma sessile

Size:

About 1/8-inch long.

Color:

Brown.

Behavior:
Odorous house ants may develop huge colonies containing thousands of workers and numerous queens. This species may be difficult to control and does not feed much on ant baits. The keys to control are to find the colonies and subcolonies and treat them directly. Regular inspections and service are necessary to find and treat new colonies as they move in from neighboring properties. The services of a
professional, such as CiMEX, are very helpful when encountering these ants. his species is common in California north to Washington and is the most common pest ant in the midsouth region of Arkansas and West Tennessee. They may be encountered occasionally throughout the
Midwestern United States. These ants nest outdoors under items on the ground, within landscape mulch, beneath loose bark on trees, under ground cover, in potted plants, and within piles of items, such as lumber, firewood, or bricks. Nests may readily be established inside homes, in walls, beneath carpeting, and other suitable voids or spaces. This ant can be difficult to control because it establishes multiple sub-colonies and may nest in such a wide variety of sites. The keys to control are to find the colonies and sub-colonies and treat them directly. Where the colonies cannot be found, baits may be attempted; however, several baits may be required before positive results are seen. Regular inspections and service are necessary to find and treat new colonies as they move in from neighboring properties. The services of a professional, are very helpful when encountering these ants. General tips for limiting ant infestations include:

• Eliminate piles of lumber, bricks, or other debris that could serve as a nesting site for ants.
• Keep landscape mulch less than 2 inches thick and at least 12 inches away from foundations.
• Ensure the sprinkler system does not spray directly onto the foundation.
• Seal as many cracks in the home’s exterior as possible.
• Keep tree and shrub branches trimmed to prevent them from touching the building.

PAVEMENT ANT Tetramorium caespitum

 

Size:

About 1/8-inch long.

Color:

Brown.

Behavior:

Individual pavement colonies can often be controlled using ant baits, but perimeter inspection and treatment are commonly necessary for long-term relief.
This ant’s name is derived from its preference for nesting in soil next to and beneath slabs, sidewalks, patios, and driveways. Colonies are usually easy to find due to the piles of displaced soil next to and on top of pavement. Indoors, pavement ants nest under the foundation and within hollow block foundation walls. Occasionally, a colony may carry soil up into a wall to form a nest. When piles of soil appear from under baseboards or on top of a basement or garage floor, it is a good sign that pavement ants may be present.
Individual pavement colonies can often be controlled using ant baits, but perimeter inspection and treatment are commonly necessary for long-term relief. Pavement ant colonies are controlled by direct treatment of nests in the soil. Where colonies are located under slabs, ant baits may be successful in controlling an infestation. If baits are unsuccessful, the slab may need to be drilled and treated underneath. These tips will help prevent a pavement ant infestation:

• Seal cracks and holes in the exterior of the home to prevent ants and other pests from entering.
• Keep vegetation cut away from the foundation of the home.
• Avoid using items such as stones and landscape timbers next to the home’s foundation. Pavement ants nesting under these items are likely to infest the home.
• Keep layers of mulch in landscape beds less than two inches thick and at least 12 inches away from the foundation.

PHARAOH ANT Monomorium pharaonis

Size:

Very small, about 1/8-inch in length and may easily be confused with several other types of pest ants.

Color:

Yellow

Behavior:

This pest ant can be very difficult to control and eliminate. When foraging worker ants are killed by residual treatments, the colony will fracture or split into two or more colonies to ensure part of the colony survives. If such treatments are continued, the infestation is spread throughout the building. Pharaoh ants typically establish themselves in areas near moisture, such as the kitchen or bathroom. They travel from room to room within the walls via plumbing pipes and electrical wires. Pharaoh ants will nest in virtually any site that provides protection. Colonies have been found nesting in walls, furniture and appliances, but they have also been discovered in unique locations such as between the folds of sheets in closets, hollow curtain rods, inside irons, in small boxes and under roofing shingles. They are extremely opportunistic in their selection of nesting sites. Pharaoh ants can only be controlled by effective placement of ant baits. The type of bait that is ultimately successful is one on which the colony or colonies involved will feed for an extended period of time. The foraging workers return the bait to the colony, feeding it to other workers, larvae and queens.

TEXAS LEAF CUTTER ANT Atta texana

Size:

Leaf cutter ant colonies contain a dozen or more different worker sizes ranging from 1/8-inch to 5/8- inch in length.

Color:

These ants are reddish brown in color.

Behavior:

Leaf cutter ants are true farmers because they harvest the leaves of plants. They use leaves as fertilizer to grow the specialized fungus that serves as the colony’s food source. Workers forage at night, and when a suitable tree or shrub is found, the workers swarm over it, cutting circular-shaped pieces from leaves. These pieces are dropped to the ground where other workers pick them up and return to the colony. There, the leaf pieces are cut into tiny bits and carried into the colony to add to the fungus gardens. Foraging trails may extend several hundred feet from the nest site, so a colony located on one property can be preying on the trees and shrubs of another. A small tree or large shrub can have all its leaves stripped in a single night.
The Texas leaf cutter ant is found in south-central Texas from San Antonio to Dallas. It may occasionally be found eastward from there through east Texas and into Louisiana. Nests are constructed in the soil and can be quite large if located in an undisturbed field or wooded area. Nests covering 1,000 square feet in size, and numbering more than one million ants, have been recorded. Nests may also extend 15 or more feet underground and are recognized by the crater-shaped mounds surrounding the entrance holes.
Leaf cutter ants are controlled through the use of ant baits, although in some cases, getting the ants in a particular colony to take the bait may require persistence and timing. Treatment of vulnerable trees and shrubs with a product labeled for such plants may help deter ants from attacking the leaves. A licensed tree/shrub professional should handle such treatments.

THIEF ANT Solenopsis molesta

Size:

One of the smallest ants found infesting buildings, measuring less than 1/16-inch in length.

Color:

Golden-yellow

Behavior:

Thief ants derive their name from their habit of locating their colonies close to those of other ants to steal that ant’s food and even capture and eat the other ant’s eggs and larvae. Colonies are usually small and are difficult to find. In homes, trails are often seen in bathrooms and kitchens and in and around windows where the ants can find moisture and food.
This ant will nest in soil, in wood, in voids, and in just about any suitable location. Finding the nests is extremely difficult.
Thief ants can be difficult to control. Often they are mistaken for Pharaoh ants; unfortunately, the baits used to control that ant may not be effective for thief ants. Thief ants tend to prefer foods with higher protein and fat content. The experience of a professional with access to a number of different ant baits is likely to achieve better results.

VELVETY TREE ANT Liometopum occidentale

Size:

Velvety tree ants measure about 1/4-inch in length.

Color:

The head and thorax are red-brown in color while the velvety black abdomen gives this ant its nickname.

Behavior:

This ant typically lives outdoors where it primarily feeds on the honeydew produced by aphids, mealybugs and scales that infest trees, shrubs and other plants. Usually, foraging workers will only invade homes when they are searching for food, but they will nest indoors, in wet or rotting wood, or in moist wall voids. Often they are associated with leaks in soffits and around windows and showers.
Velvety tree ants may crawl onto and bite a person who is outside working in the yard. Velvety tree ants are most common in California, although they may be found in mountain foothills in other western states, as may related species. They nest outdoors in dead and rotting wood and are associated with tree holes and dead limbs in trees. Active trails of foraging workers easily can be found on the trunks of trees where these ants live.
Velvety tree ant colonies in trees may be difficult to control because the nest is located far above the ground. Nests within the wood or voids inside a home require drilling and treatment. These ants may accept sweet liquid or gel ant baits but success will vary. A professional should be consulted when encountering this species.

WHITE-FOOTED ANT Technomyrmex albipes

Size:

About 1/8-inch long

Color:

Black, with pale tarsal segments at the end of all six legs, giving it its name.

Behavior:

White-footed ants may develop huge colonies containing thousands of workers and numerous queens. A colony of white-footed ants can number up to one million individuals. This species may be difficult to control and does not feed much on ant baits. The keys to control are to find the colonies and subcolonies and treat them directly. Regular inspections and service are necessary to find and treat new colonies as they move from neighboring properties. The services of a professional are very helpful when encountering these ants. The white-footed ant is a serious pest in southern Florida and on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu. These ants nest outdoors under items on the ground, within landscape mulch, beneath loose bark on trees, under ground cover, in potted plants, and within piles of items, such as lumber, firewood, or bricks. Nests may also be readily established inside homes in walls, beneath carpeting, and in other suitable voids or spaces. The white-footed ant may well be the most difficult to control of all structure-infesting ants. In many situations elimination of ant activity is nearly impossible, especially during mid-summer in areas where this ant occurs (Florida and Hawaii). At best, regular treatments hold the ants at bay, keeping as few ants as possible from entering the home or business. Without such efforts, however, the numbers of ants seen inside can rise into the thousands. Regular pest control services by an experienced professional can help minimize the numbers of ants seen inside. It is especially important to seal as many cracks in the homes exterior as possible to exclude ants and other pests. General tips for limiting ant infestations include:
• Eliminate piles of lumber, bricks, or other debris that could serve as a nesting site for ants.
• Keep landscape mulch less than 2 inches thick and at least 12 inches away from foundations.
• Ensure the sprinkler system does not spray directly onto a building’s foundation.