Identifying Common Ants in South Florida
In South Florida, our tropical climate is perfect for ants. From big headed ants to ghost ants to carpenter ants, we have them all here. That’s why we specialize in ant control and extermination.
Below are the most common ants you may encounter in and around your South Florida home, how to identify them, and what we can do to help you get rid of them for good.
From Port St. Lucie to Delray Beach to Hollywood, the ghost ant, Tapinoma melanocephalum, is the most common ant we see in all of the four counties we service while providing ant control.
Ghost ants are often referred to as sugar ants because of their strong attraction to sugary and starchy foods.
Ghost ants are most commonly found in kitchens and bathrooms, since they are mainly searching for water. Ghost ants are extremely small (being why “ghost” is so fitting) and are most often found crawling along baseboards and kitchen countertops.
Identifying Ghost Ants
Ghost ants are extremely small, around 1/16th of an inch long. Ghost ants have dark heads and light colored legs and abdomens. Due to their size and coloration, ghost ants can be extremely hard to see and sometimes may appear to be baby spiders.
One trick we use to find ghost ant trails on kitchen countertops is to lay a flashlight down on the counter which lets us see these tiny ants as they follow a trail. Our experienced technicians will follow these trails to identify the area on the exterior of your home these ghost ants are entering from.
If you find ghost ants in your home or business, we urge you to call us to schedule your free inspection. While ghost ants are not dangerous in any way, they don’t belong in your home.
Let our team of South Florida ant exterminators keep your home ghost ant free — exactly how it should be.
White-footed ants, Technomyrmex difficilis, are similar to ghost ants. Much like the ghost ant, they enter your home in search of food and water.
The main difficultly in properly treating white-footed ants is their colony size. These are super colony ants, meaning they can range in size anywhere from 8,000 to 3 million individuals in one colony.
Whenever we perform an inspection for white-footed ants, we will check the attic of your home and also the exterior foundation. Locating the source of the ants will speed up the control process and allow our technicians to prevent them from entering your home in the future.
Identifying White-Footed Ants
White-footed ants are slightly larger than ghost ants, measuring around 1/8th of an inch long. As their name suggests, their distinguishing coloration is their lightly-colored feet. Additionally, white-footed ants have a one-segmented waist and a large abdomen.
If you notice the presence of white-footed ants in your home or business, it is important to not be alarmed since they will not bite. They are harmless and ant control treatments from our team will eliminate them and prevent future populations from foraging in the area.
Caribbean crazy ants (Paratrechina pubens) and black crazy ants (Paratrechina longicornis), while similar in foraging nature to ghost ants and white-footed ants, may not be as attracted to bait. Crazy ants are part of the “crazy ant” family because of their quick and erratic movements.
When foraging, crazy ants do so in the thousands. To make matters worse, they can have multiple queens in multiple locations — making their removal more difficult. They do not trail in a clear line like ghost ants do, they tend to rapidly move in random directions as they forage which is how they got their name.
Crazy Ant Identification
Caribbean crazy ants are easily distinguishable, since they are completely brown and tend to show up in large numbers. Caribbean crazy ants can range anywhere from 1/16th to 1/8th of an inch and have a wide abdomen that appears to be fused to the thorax.
Black crazy ants usually grow to lengths of around 1/8th of an inch and are dark in color.
If you believe that your South Florida home has crazy ants, please schedule a free ant control inspection with your best local pest control company at Native Pest Management.
Big-headed ants, Pheidole megacephala, are the second most common species of ants we see in South Florida, behind ghost ants.
Big-headed ants often thrive under the concrete slab of structures like your home, underneath sidewalks, and under piles of debris.
While big-headed ants are not harmful to humans, they can be a nuisance inside of your home when they forage for food and water.
Since big-headed ants usually can be found underneath a home, they can take longer than other types of ants to eliminate since the products applied take time to reach them.
Big Headed Ant Identification
Typically, big-headed ants are around 1/8th of an inch in length, but their head can be up to twice the size of their abdomen. While their name may imply they all have big heads, only about one in twenty of them actually have enlarged heads.
Big headed ants are one of the only ants that we find which may bring dirt into your home. If you notice dirt or sand near any doors or baseboards, there is a strong possibility you have big headed ants present. If you find ants in the pool behind your home, these are most likely big headed ants.
If you find big headed ants in your home, we urge you to schedule a free pest control inspection with our South Florida ant control service team.
Florida Carpenter Ants
In South Florida, there are two distinct species of carpenter ants, Camponotus floridanus and Camponotus tortuganus.
Carpenter ants bore into wood, often causing structural damage. If carpenter ants go untreated, they can end up boring thousands of holes in the structure of your South Florida home or business.
Carpenter Ant Identification
Florida carpenter ants are the largest of all ant species that you might see. Florida carpenter ants can grow to over ½ an inch long. They are orange and black in color, allowing them to stand apart from other common ant species in the area.
Since carpenter ants have satellite colonies, the main colony may not even be on your property.
During our inspection, we will look for dead trees, palm trees, and any other wood outside that may be the source of the main colony. We will also inspect the attic of your home to ensure no carpenter ants or other pests are finding harborage up there.
Carpenter ants rarely consume baits, so the professionals prefer to use non-repellent sprays to get control of them. These advanced products get on carpenter ants when they cross the sprayed area, allowing them to inadvertently carry the active ingredient to the queen.
If you see carpenter ants or other pests on your property, we urge you to contact us to schedule your free carpenter ant inspection today.
Fire ants, Solenopsis invicta and Solenopsis geminata, are the most dangerous ants in the South Florida area. We have received emergency calls before due to fire ants biting people in their homes,even while they were sleeping.
Solenopsis invicta, the more common of the two fire ant species in the South Florida area, is a non-native invasive ant. Known as the red imported fire ant (RIFA), this invasive ant is known for colonizing yards, horse stables, and other areas with sandy soil.
If disturbed, fire ants will produce a painful bite that may cause some people to have allergic reactions.
Fire Ant Identification
Both species of fire ants are similar in resemblance, with red and black being the two prominent distinguishing colors. Growing between 1/8th and ¼ of an inch in length, fire ants are comparable in size to most other native ants.
In addition to being easily recognizable in stature, fire ant nests are also easy to recognize — as they produce large mounds of dirt.
If your yard or property has fire ants or fire ant colonies, we urge you to get in touch with our ant control team at Native Pest Management.
Our team will treat existing colonies, as well as establish preventative measures to avoid future infestations.
As we are close to many equestrian areas such as Wellington, we are also experts in horse safe fire ant control and prevention.
For South Florida Ant Control, Think Native Pest Management
We offer a number of pet safe pest control treatments that are designed to eliminate ants from your home and keep them away for good.
At Native Pest Management, we believe in quality pest control at a reasonable price. If any follow up treatments are needed, we will return to treat again at no charge.
Contact us today to schedule your free ant control inspection!