Ant Identification In South Florida
What Do Ants Look Like?
The most common species of ants in the West Palm Beach and South Florida areas include ghost ants, fire ants, acrobat ants, Argentine Ants, bigheaded ants, and pavement ants. Below is a quick description of each species. All of these ants, with the exception of fire ants, are considered by many to be sugar ants.
Being able to identify the ants living on your property is key to effective elimination. For the most accurate identification of ants, always consult with a professional!
- Ghost ants: Ghost ants are tiny, with average sizes ranging from 1.3 to 1.5 millimeters long. Ghost ants have a dark head and body with a lighter-colored abdomen. The most common areas of homes we treat for ghost ants are near kitchen countertops, sinks, baseboards, and cabinets.
- Fire ants: Fire ants are uniform in color and are reddish-brown. They are a small species of ant, with workers ranging in size from 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch in length. These ants create dome-shaped nests that they furiously protect. Fire ants are very aggressive and will attack any person or animal they view as a threat.
- Acrobat ants: Known for their circus-like antics, you can identify acrobat ants by their ability to hold their heart-shaped abdomen up over the rest of their body. They also emit a foul-smelling odor when they feel threatened.
- Argentine ants: Argentine ants are shiny and dark brown to black in color. Workers grow to about 1/16 of an inch in length. When crushed, they produce an unpleasant musty odor. They live together in extensive colonies and move along in wide trails while foraging for food. Argentine ants are not native and often drive native species of ants out.
- Bigheaded ants: Bigheaded ants are small ants whose workers are either minor workers or major workers. The minor workers' body regions are proportionate in size, whereas the major workers' heart-shaped head is much larger than the rest of the body.
- Pavement ants: Pavement ants are brown to black in color. They are a small species, with adults growing a little over 1/16 of an inch long. Pavement ants invade properties in large numbers and have multiple nesting sites. They like to nest in cracks of sidewalks, pavements, and cement. They also nest in the soil next to foundations.
Do Ants Bite?
Ants, no matter the species, should never be allowed to live in our yards or homes. Any species of ant can find their way into our homes to forage for food, contaminating surfaces with bacteria. The only ants you need to worry about in South Florida when it comes to ants are fire ants. Fortunately, fire ants usually prefer living outside around yards and landscapes and aren't the most common ants to get inside of area homes.
That said, as you likely know, fire ant bites hurt. Fire ants actually have venom that is strong enough to elicit an allergic reaction that varies from mild to severe, depending on the person.
How Do I Get Rid Of Ants?
At Native Pest Management, we understand the annoyance that ghost ants and other species of ants cause within your home. If you believe that you have an ant infestation, please don't hesitate to contact us today to get started with our fire ant control or general pest control services.
Ants are known to be very persistent, creating multiple colonies within your home, and being difficult to eliminate. We look forward to providing our local pet-safe ant control at your home. If you find ghost ants or any other ants or pests in your home, be sure to contact the professionals today at Native Pest Management to schedule your free pest control inspection!
As residents of South Florida, odds are you've seen a fair number of ants around your home. While people usually think ants are after sugary foods, they are actually mainly entering our homes in search of water. The most common areas ants first appear in are in kitchens and bathrooms. Even a spotless home can easily have sugar ants due to the presence of moisture.
Before calling us, many people try over-the-counter products such as Terro or Home Defense spray. While baits like Terro are fine to try, we highly discourage using any type of spray-on ants. Most sprays give the illusion they are working since the ants will die on contact, but these products have no residual so that the ants will be back the next day.
How Do Ghost Ants Get Inside My Home?
One of the most common questions that we get upon our arrival for a pest control service appointment is, "How did I get ghost ants?" Well, luckily, it is not your fault. Ghost ants are tough to keep out of your home or business because their size allows them to enter through even the smallest cracks.
Once these pests are inside, they seek food in large numbers. Sugar and sugary products like cereal and syrups are the primary attractants of ghost ants - making a clean kitchen and food storage areas imperative in limiting the risk of ant infestations.
By getting in touch with your local ant control company in South Florida, Native Pest Management, you can relax knowing that we will eliminate your ant infestation quickly and effectively.
Any ant that is attracted to sugar, starches, and other forms of food can be considered to be "sugar ants", making virtually any nuisance ant in your home a sugar ant. That said, ghost ants are commonly referred to as sugar ants because they are the most common ant that we see in homes or businesses in Palm Beach, Martin, and Broward County areas.
Ghost ants (Tapinoma melanocephalum) are among the most common ants that we see inside homes in the southern Florida area. Ghost ants get their name from their pale-colored legs and abdomen that act as a camouflage of sorts.
Often, when we receive a call from a customer saying that they have a sugar ant infestation, the culprits usually end up being ghost ants, as, like most sugar-eating ants, the ghost ant is tiny.
Ghost ants range in size, with the most common sizes being within 1.3 to 1.5 millimeters long. What makes this pest especially invasive is their ability to redistribute and move entire nests quickly in response to a threat, so, if you believe you've gotten rid of them, they may have just moved.
Ghost ants, being extremely small, can quickly enter your home by hitching a ride in on a houseplant, or even by crawling through the openings around your doors. Once inside, ghost ants will feed on sugary foods like sweets, cereals, syrups, and whatever else they can find easy access to in your pantry. Ghost ants are troublesome pests to get rid of because once they find a food source, they will establish multiple colonies close to the food source.
(Disclaimer: Sugar ants and ghost ants are the same.)
How Can I Prevent Ants?
The following tips will help to keep ghost ants and other species of ants away from your West Palm Beach area yard and out of your home:
- Check the outside of your home carefully and use caulk to seal cracks in the foundation and exterior walls.
- Seal up cracks that have developed in sidewalks, walkways, or your driveway.
- Create a barrier between the soil and your home's foundation.
- Place missing weatherstripping around windows and doors.
- Seal spaces around wires and pipes entering into your home. Place covers over vents.
- Cut tree branches and shrubbery away from your home's exterior.
- Eliminate standing water from your property and repair leaky pipes to get rid of water sources.
- Stop ants from foraging for food in trash cans, recycling bins, and compost bins by keeping locking lids on them.
- Make sure outdoor eating areas are free of leftover food and drink containers.
- Never store food out in the open on counters or tables.
- Remove trash from your home and wash dishes daily.
- Make sure to vacuum regularly and wipe down counters to eliminate crumbs and spills.
- Only eat in the kitchen or dining room of your home to limit crumbs.
- Schedule quarterly preventative pest control applications to be applied to the exterior foundation of your home
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