What are ants?
Ants are social insects that live in large colonies made up of reproductive females, reproductive males, and non-reproductive (or worker) females. These colonies can have millions of members. Ants have three body sections - the head, thorax, and abdomen. They have six legs and are exceptionally strong insects, able to lift items that are far above their body weight.
There are many types of ants, but two that are common in Utah are pavement ants and odorous house ants.
Pavement ants are usually black and about ⅛ inch long. They get their name from the way they usually build their nests under cracks in the pavement.
Odorous house ants
Odorous house ants are typically brown or black in color and are quite small, growing no larger than 1/8 inch. They get their name from the rotten coconut smell they emit when squished.
Are ants dangerous?
The answer to this question depends on the type of ant. For example, fire ants pose a serious risk because of the painful stings they deliver, and pharaoh ants are dangerous because they spread disease. Pavement ants and odorous house ants are not dangerous, but they are a nuisance. Furthermore, if they get into your home, they can contaminate food supplies.
Why do I have an ant problem?
Ants usually end up in your home while foraging for food. They enjoy sweet foods as well as greasy foods, but pavement ants will eat almost anything. If they find something to eat when they get inside, they’ll continue to use your home as a food supply. Although it’s more common for ants to nest outdoors, they do sometimes build their nests within the walls of homes. If this happens, you could end up with millions of ants in your house.
Where will I find ants?
Ants live in nests, usually built underground. However, as mentioned above, they sometimes build their nests in wall voids, usually near a water source. Once inside your house, ants may be observed crawling across your counters or inside your cabinets on their way to a food source. Outside your home, you’re likely to find ants under rocks or wood piles, or simply walking across the ground.
How do I get rid of ants?
How can I prevent ants in the future?
Ants are drawn to moisture and food, so eliminating those two attractants will go a long way in protecting your home. Here are some helpful ant prevention tips:
- Ensure that you have no leaking pipes, dripping spigots, or faucets in or around your house.
- Keep moisture and humidity levels low inside your house.
- Eliminate excess moisture outside your home.
- Store food in closed containers or in the refrigerator.
- Clean up spills and messes as soon as they occur.
- Wipe up crumbs, and don’t leave dirty dishes out on the counter or in the sink.
- Seal cracks and holes around the outside of your house to make it more difficult for ants to get inside.