Due to the crazy weather conditions we have here in Oklahoma, our state is home to a wide variety of ant species. Some are small and harmless, but hard to get rid of, like the Argentine Ant. Others are larger and potentially dangerous with painful bites and stings, like the Red Imported Fire Ant. But all of them, regardless of size and bite, are pests that need to be professionally eliminated. Here are some of the most common ant species that you are likely to find inside or around your home or business:
Argentine Ants: as the name would imply, this little guy is native to South America, but has been introduced to many other places including the continental United States. These invasive ants are tiny, with the workers typically measuring less than 1/10-inch long. They are not shy and will nest in and around human homes and offices, in cracks in foundation or siding, gaps in walls or in cluttered parts of homes. They’ll also frequently inhabit a nest that has been left behind by a former ant colony. Argentine Ants are often confused with a similar ant species, the Pharaoh Ant, which we will discuss further down the page. Unlike other ants, these little guys rarely fight with other colonies of their species and are highly social with other Argentine Ant colonies, which has made it easy for them to breed and expand rapidly. During hot, dry weather, they will often come inside homes looking for food and water. They will also come inside structures during and after heavy rains to try and escape flood waters. These ants can be very difficult to kill because they are immune to certain pesticides. In fact, some pesticides have been shown to make the queens of Argentine Ant colonies more fertile. The only way to eliminate the entire colony is with a specialized bait treatment. Because of this, it is best to call the pest control professionals at Arrow Exterminators when faced with an Argentine Ant problem.
Carpenter Ants: carpenter ants may vary in color from black to red to burnt orange, but they are easily recognizable by their large size and unique nests. These ants are the giants of the ant family and the largest ant species found anywhere in North America. Carpenter Ants do not have stingers and are not venomous, but their jaws are extremely large and if you are bitten it can be painful. Carpenter Ants are also extremely destructive pests, burrowing deep into the wood of various structures to make their nests and look for food. Many homeowners confuse Carpenter Ants with termites because of the destruction caused by both. However, unlike termites, they don’t eat wood and they don’t nest underground; Carpenter Ants chew through wood to make pathways for themselves and the rest of their colony. They primarily eat other insects and plant juices and they make their colony inside the structure, rather than underground like termites do. However, just because they don’t eat wood doesn’t mean they aren’t incredibly destructive. A carpenter ant infestation can ruin your home’s structural integrity and be pricey to fix. They are also sometimes confused with other ants, so if you see one it is best to call a pest control professional for identification. If you have a problem with Carpenter Ants, make sure to call the professionals at Arrow Exterminators right away. We’ll make sure to eliminate every last ant giving you trouble, including the Queen, so that you never have to worry about an ant infestation harming your home again.
Formica Ants: Formica Ants live in massive colonies and build huge mounds with entrances typically concealed under rocks or boulders for safety. These ants feed on the honeydew produced by aphids and often they guard aphids against other predators and help them find the juiciest part of plant leaves to feed on so their honeydew supply will be uninterrupted. They also prey on other small insects, such as caterpillars. In some countries they have been introduced into forests to eat sawflies and caterpillars that kill plants and trees. They are also known for their “slave-making” behaviors. Formica Ants often invade other, smaller colonies and force those ants to become the workers in their colony. They do not sting like other ant species. However, when disturbed, they will sometimes bite or spray formic acid, which can be very unpleasant and cause coughing, watery eyes and itchiness or burning if it comes in contact with broken skin or your nose, eyes, ears or mouth. Their bites can sometimes sting depending on the size of the ant, but are not dangerous. They are also known as wood ants or field ants because they commonly live in wooded areas with plenty of sunlight. So while these particular ants tend to favor pastures, open grasslands and farms, they can sometimes be found in homes, especially if you live in a rural area or on a farm or ranch. Make sure to call Arrow Exterminators to help you get rid of Formica Ants because it can be very difficult to locate the source of the infestation and exterminate the whole colony.
Pharaoh Ants: these tiny nesters live throughout the United States and frequently nest in heated structures, such as homes or office buildings. In some very warm areas, they can be found nesting outside, however they generally prefer to nest in structures that provide a warm, humid environment close to food and water. These ants are particularly attracted to sugary and fatty foods, and entomologists have observed that they rarely feed on the same thing for a long time. So they look for areas with access to a wide variety of sugar, fat and protein-rich foods that they can flit between. They also prefer humid environments with easy access to water. Odds are, your kitchen fits this bill. Pharaoh Ants often build their nests in hard to reach areas, including inside walls and behind baseboards. Kitchens and bathrooms are frequent nesting places because these rooms tend to be more humid than the rest of the house. These tiny pests are about 1/16 of an inch long and can be yellow, red or brown. They are recognizable because their abdomen is slightly darker than their head and thorax. Pharaoh Ants are well known to entomologists and pest control professionals for being notoriously difficult to eliminate. They are tiny, reproduce and split colonies quickly and build their nests in hard to find places. They can track down exposed or spilled food and drinks quickly and often result in people having to throw away their food because of the ants’ presence. However, the professionals at Arrow Exterminators have decades of experience eliminating this particular pest. The key is to follow the worker ants from their feeding trail back to their colony, often along water pipes. Once the nest is found, it can be completely eliminated and the ant’s chemical trail can be eliminated so no future Pharaoh Ants can find their way to the same place.
Red Imported Fire Ants: this invasive species was brought to the United States from Brazil in the 1930s or 1940s and has been a nuisance to the southern half of the country ever since. Stretching from California to Maryland, these ants build medium sized dirt mounds to house their colonies. When these mounds are disturbed by other insects, animals or humans, the ants will swarm out to bite and sting whomever is disturbing their nest. These stings are very painful, and for people who have sensitivity to Red Imported Fire Ant stings can be extremely dangerous, causing extremely swelling and an allergic reaction. For those not allergic, a white pustule usually appears at the sting site the next day and remains sensitive for a few days. Red Imported Fire Ant is a reddish-brown color, ranging from an eighth of an inch to a quarter of an inch in length. It has a visible stinger at the end of its abdomen and four visible teeth. These ants are not shy and frequently build their mounds in backyards, lawns, playgrounds, soccer and football fields, golf courses, parks and other similar areas. Since they inhabit heavily trafficked areas, the risk of coming into contact with people and people being stung is high. They can also be confused with the native fire ant by those who are not familiar with ants. And since the two require different methods of elimination, professional management is essential to identify and get rid of this pest. If you see a Red Imported Fire Ant colony around your home or business, call the ant extermination professionals at Arrow Exterminators right away. We can come out and get rid of the entire colony before anyone gets stung and potentially injured.
Red Pavement Ant: the Red Pavement Ant is one of the most common ants in the United States and odds are you run into them almost every day without even noticing. Have your ever noticed the tiny ants swarming around cracks in the sidewalk or running to feast on food at a picnic or cookout? Those are probably Red Pavement Ants. These tiny creatures are social scavengers that live in large colonies, usually built around multiple queens. They are typically found in urban areas, are usually a dark brown or black and the largest Red Pavement Ants barely measure 1/8-inch long. Unlike some of the other ants here in Oklahoma, these little guys are harmless. If you provoke them by stepping on their mounds they will swarm and bite. However, since they are so small, the bites do no damage. Some people say they feel a small sting, others do not feel the bites at all. These ants generally nest outside, but their quest for food can take them just about anywhere, including into your home. While they will eat just about anything, they are particularly fond of sweet, sugary food and can track down spilled soda or ice cream from a long way away. Because of this, they are often attracted to homes, restaurants and other places with lots of food. The worker ants lay down a pheromone trail from the nest to the food source for the rest of the colony to follow and then feed. Once Red Pavement Ants have infested a building, their small size and large colonies make them extremely difficult to get rid of. Red Pavement Ant extermination is best left to pest control professionals, like those at Arrow Exterminators. We have decades of experience eliminate these tiny pests and we can put that experience to work for you, making sure your property is free of Red Pavement Ants.
Ask the Entomologist
Although some ants are carnivorous (meaning they eat everything, including their own kind), some ants actually have burial ceremonies for their dead! Ants can lift 20 times their weight, which is part of what makes them such great little architects. If I could do that, when my truck ran out of gas, I could just carry it to the gas station.
Why Arrow Exterminators?
We hope this information helps you identify different types of Oklahoma ants, prevent ant infestations and keeps your home free from any type of ant infestation all year long. And if you see any of these creepy crawlies—or any others—in your home, give us a call or visit our website to get started on a free, no-obligation ant evaluation. The talented technicians at Arrow Exterminators can identify any type of pest and identify the best course of treatment to get rid of it. We’ll create a custom pest control plan to make sure we eliminate every last one from your home and keep them away for good! You can call our trained pest control experts at any time with questions about pest control methods or pest prevention techniques. You can also find us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ for more pest prevention tips and tricks. Contact Arrow Exterminators and our ant control experts will get you the help you need right away. Whether it’s a private residence, dormitory, hotel or any other type of property, you can count on our experienced team to get the job done right. Arrow Exterminators has been eliminating ants all over Oklahoma since 1952. We know ant control.