There are some 22,000 known species of ants. Knowing the type of ant infesting your home is important in getting rid of them as there are many key differences in the species. There is such a variety, that they can be found nearly every place the world over (ANT-arctica ironically has no ants!). The most common types of ants found in and around homes include the acrobat ant, Argentine ant, ghost ant, fire ant, thief ant, harvester ant, carpenter ant, citronella ant, moisture ant, and odorous ant. Each has a different color, size and shape.
The argentine ant can be one hard insect to get rid of! They tend to be dark brown and one tenth of an inch in length. They typically have massive nests as they have multiple queens, sometimes as many as a hundred queens at a time. They can break off into new nests, but connect them so that they can share workers. Unlike many other ants that have a particular taste for certain foods, these ants really do eat anything. These ants have been known to infest entire areas as they spread quickly and can be hard to destroy due to multiple queens and the spreading out of multiple nests over vast areas.
The carpenter ant is an easier species to get rid of. They are typically black in color and large in size some as large as three eighths of an inch long. Their diet is fairly open; typically if people eat it, these ants will eat it too, which is why they love to find a human home with lots of food sources and make themselves comfortable. These ants can cause structural damage to a home, as they like to burrow into wood, so it is important to get rid of them quickly. Once their nest is found, eradicating them can be fairly quick, though all issues which welcomed them, such as moisture problems in the home must be addressed if they are not to return.
The first step to identifying your ant is to capture one if possible and identify the species. We do not have enough pages to cover all 22,000 species here, but a look online or at your local library will often provide you with information on the ants most prevalent in your specific area. Identification can also be done most successfully by a professional that has been trained to spot the slight variations in ants. Once you know the type of ant you can research their habits and learn the best way to get rid of your particular pest.
Other Insect Pests
- Amphipods (found in gardens and other moist locations)
- Beetles (many varieties, including the ladybug, some of which are helpful and many of which are destructive)
- Centipedes (carnivorous and venomous—who would have thought?)
- Crickets (fun to look at until they fill your house with incessant ringing at night! Crickets usually enter the house by accident and rarely mate in a home)
- Earwigs (not actually proven to burrow into one’s ears, but tend to hide in cracks inside damp areas)
- Flies (Flies are believed to carry 100 pathogens that cause disease in animals and humans. For that matter, for every fly you do see, statistically speaking you’re missing 19 more!)
- Fleas (disease carrying, parasitic troublemakers that can also make life miserable for a constantly scratching pet)
- Lice (Can infest clothing as well as a head of hair. Can cause skin infection)
- Millipedes (Likes the outdoor, damp areas, but is migrational)
- Mosquitoes (Carriers of deadly disease, transmitted through bites)
- Moths (pretty but destructive; can destroy clothing, crops, plant life and so on)
- Snails and Slugs (they may move at, well, a snail’s pace, but they can cause major damage to plants)
- Sowbugs/Pillbugs (attracted to damp, dark locations—like wet moldy, carpet; they are actually land living crustaceans, not insects)
- Ticks (feeds off the blood of mammals and can pass disease)