Ants are the most commonly encountered insects in both outdoor and indoor environments, and several professional surveys have found that ants are the most commonly managed insect pests within homes in the US. According to a recent nationwide survey of pest management professionals, the six most commonly controlled ant pests in homes throughout the country are carpenter ants, pavement ants, odorous house ants, Argentine ants, fire ants and Pharaoh ants.
Carpenter ants and fire ants are common names given to several closely related species. For example, 24 carpenter ant species in the US are known pests, and the two most common and economically significant carpenter ant species are the black carpenter ant in the east and the western black carpenter ant in the west. The notorious red-imported fire ant is what many people think of when hearing the term “fire ant,” but multiple native fire ant species can be found throughout the south, including southern fire ants, tropical fire ants and golden fire ant.
The southern fire ant is a very common pest in Arizona where it often establishes indoor nests and is capable of inflicting harmful stings. According to a 2007 study, the southern fire ant was the most abundant ant species in residential yards in Phoenix, and the third most abundant species in Tucson. The golden fire ant is not as abundant around Arizona homes, but it has caused potentially fatal envenomations in the state. According to a medical case report, in July of 2018, a woman was found unconscious and covered in ants within her car in Tucson. The woman was rescued and hospitalized, and the ants were later confirmed to be golden fire ants. The tropical fire ant has become scarce in the US, and they are almost never encountered in Arizona, but occasional encounters still occur in the southeast.
Have you ever sustained one or more ant stings within your home?