Ants are one of the most common household pests and ranked as the number one nuisance pest in America time and again. With more than 12,000 types worldwide, Arizona has the most ant species – more than 300 – due to the variation in climate and terrain. That’s why effective management approaches vary depending on the species.
While there are dozens in Arizona, here are those found most often:
- Odorous house ant: These ants are dark brown or black and only grow to 1/8 of an inch. They can be further identified by the smell of rotten coconuts they emit when crushed.
- Pavement ants: Pavement ants are also brown or black, but they prefer to stay outside and nest in between the cracks and crevices of the sidewalk and stones.
- Carpenter ants: This ant species is quite large and likes to make its home in wood damaged by moisture. If left unchecked, this can result in significant structural damage.
- Pharaoh ants: Very small with light yellow bodies, pharaoh ants are vrey distinct. They are drawn inside in the winter for heat and are drawn to areas with lots of food, especially sweets. While these ants don’t bite, they do present a real threat to your health. Not only do they love eating your food, but they’re also known to carry a host of pathogens that can make you ill.
- Acrobat ants: These ants normally stay outside, but they will come inside when they feel like doing so. If you see acrobat ants, it’s a sign that decaying wood is present, which could indicate structural damage.
- Argentine ants: Argentine ants are small, dark brown, and smell musty when crushed , which is why they are often confused with the Odorous House Ant. They eat a wide variety of foods but prefer sugary things as well as oils. They nest in soil, logs, mulch, shrubs and trees, and travel in trailing fashion.
Ants are extremely intelligent insects, each species displaying different behaviors, strengths, and weaknesses. For example, did you know that ants can lift and carry more 10-15 times their own weight?! Also, all the ants of the world weigh as much as all the people in the world, which is pretty impressive considering the average ant is about one-millionth the size of a human being. That tells you there’s a crazy number of ants in the world!
Short of treatment after finding groups or trails of them in your home, there are a number of things you can do to prevent a potential ant infestation, including:
- Always put food away.
- Keep kitchen counters and floors clean.
- Fix any leaks to reduce moisture in and around the home.
- Trim the branches, bushes and plants near the foundation.
- Stack firewood away from exterior walls.
- Seal gaps around vents and utility lines.
There are many do-it-yourself methods for dealing with ants; however, professional ant pest control experts have the full scope of knowledge on what sort of treatments work best in each situation.
If the ants are marching two-by-two in your home, don’t sing along – get a free inspection from an ant control expert and march them right out!