Ant Identification & Prevention

What are ants?

Ants are highly social insects that work closely together to care for each other and the colony. Ants are split up into casts with distinctive jobs. The queens are responsible for laying the eggs that expand the colony. Males only have one job: to mate with the queens. The worker ants are the members that most come into contact with. Worker ants are females who do not reproduce. They are responsible for gathering food for the colony, caring for the young ants, repairing the nest, and defending the colony.

many ants drinking spilled water on the floor in a home in memphis tennessee

Listed below are some of the most common ant species living throughout the Memphis area of Tennessee:

Carpenter ants
These ants are big and have strong mandibles that they use to tunnel through wood to build their nests. Most species of carpenter ants are black, though some may be a combination of colors including red or yellow.

Odorous house ants
These small ants range from brown to black and are often found invading homes and other structures. As their name describes, they produce a foul, rotten coconut-like odor when crushed.

Pavement ants
Adult pavement ants are small in size, dark brown to black in color, and eat almost anything they happen upon. Pavement ants place their nests in cracks next to or in foundations, pavements, or sidewalks.

Pharaoh ants
These are small ants; adults grow to about 1/8 of an inch long. Their bodies are yellow to light brown and are almost transparent. Pharaoh ants prefer to establish their extensive colonies inside, and they often become a huge problem in hospitals and in other structures where food is handled.

Thief ants
These ants build their nests near other species of ants – stealing their stored food, larvae, and eggs to feed their colony. They are very small, and their bodies range in color from pale yellow to dark brown.

Are ants dangerous?

Don’t be fooled by the ant’s small size – they are capable of causing big problems for property owners. Ants invade in large numbers and are hard to eliminate, creating multiple nesting spots. While most species of ants are nuisance pests, there are others that create significant problems for people. The carpenter ant causes structural damage by tunneling through and nesting inside structural wood. The pharaoh ant is very dangerous because it can contaminate food and spread disease, and is also known to invade IV lines and the wounds of patients in hospitals. Ants, no matter the species, should be eradicated from any property as soon as you discover them.

Why do I have an ant problem?

If your property is offering ants easy access to their basic needs, they will take full advantage. Ants are usually first attracted to the food sources they find on a property. Most ants forage for food in compost bins and trash cans, gardens, and outdoor eating areas. Once on your property, if the weather becomes harsh or while they are out foraging for food, ants make their way inside your home, business, or other structures through cracks in the foundation, under exterior doors, or through spaces around windows and doors.

Where will I find ants?

People usually see ants outside traveling back and forth from their nest to a food source through the grass, mulch, or garden areas. They are also often seen on sidewalks, driveways, and decks. Ants that nests outdoors usually build their nests in the soil, in tree stumps, under fallen trees, under woodpiles, or next to foundations or sidewalks. When ants find their way inside a home or other structure to nest, they usually build them in out-of-the-way locations like insulation, behind walls, under floors, or in crawl spaces. Carpenter ants build their nests inside structural wood, preferring water-damaged wood. Inside, ants forage for food in kitchens, pantries, and eating areas.

How do I get rid of ants?

If you are looking to get rid of ants from your Memphis property, the professionals at Dart Pest, Lawn & Wildlife are here to help. Our EPA trained and certified technicians will solve your ant problems once and for all! Our affordable on-going services protect people, homes, and yards from ants and our area's most common pests. To learn more about our exceptional residential or commercial pest control services, reach out to Dart Pest today!

How can I prevent ants in the future?

Utilize the following tips to help keep ants out of your Memphis area home or commercial building:

  • Keep food inside the refrigerator or in airtight containers, not out on counters or tables.

  • Cut back overgrown vegetation from the outside of your house.

  • Place garden areas away from the perimeter of your home.

  • Make sure window and door screen are intact.

  • Seal up cracks in your foundation.

  • Seal up cracks in your driveway.

  • Repair holes along you’re your roofline.

  • Routinely vacuum and wash kitchen floors.

  • Reduce moisture levels in and around your property.

  • Wash dishes and remove trash from your home or business daily.

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

  • Leave a stone or rock barrier between mulch or soil and the foundation of your property.

 

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