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Types of Ants in Ohio & How to Prevent Them

Pavement Ants on white background

Ants may be one of the least threatening varieties of pests that might find their way into your home, but they are also one of the most frustrating for homeowners. This is because an infestation of ants is notoriously difficult to get rid of. One or two ants may not seem like a big deal; but where there is one ant, there are usually hundreds or thousands more just out of sight. Check out everything you need to know about the following ants and ant prevention tips!

Pavement Ants

Pavement ants are named for their penchant for building homes in the soil beneath your driveway or sidewalks. They can also build nests beneath your foundation, meaning they don’t have very far to wander to wind up inside your house. If you’re tired of battling pavement ants in your home, only to have them return a few weeks later, it’s time to learn what might be attracting them to your home and what it will take to get rid of them for good!

How Do They Get In?

Pavement Ants take up a residence under the concrete slab underneath your home during the winter season where they go dormant. When the warm spring air wakes them up, they begin their search for food. These insects find a crack in the concrete and wiggle themselves into your home. Next thing you know there’s a large colony of ants invading your pantries and cabinets. 

Pavement ants are usually on the hunt for food with fat and sugar in them. If they find a reliable food source in your home, they’ll likely return with more worker ants. Although these ants don’t usually create a health risk in your home, they can contaminate open food containers or food preparation areas.

They may take advantage of cracks in your foundation, floors, or walls, sneaking into your home in search of food, water, or shelter from outside weather. They won’t typically cause damage to the structure of your house, but a particularly large nest under your foundation or by a window bay could excavate enough dirt to be a problem.

How To Spot Pavement Ants

  • Pavement ants are small ants that are about 1/8-1/16th of an inch long.
  • They are brown to blackish in color with lighter antennae and legs.
  • They are segmented with an oval shape and have a stinger that they rarely use.
  • Queen and male ants will have wings so if you happen to see a worker ant with wings, it’s best to assume it’s either a queen or a male ant.

Where Do Pavement Ants Live?

Pavement ants are found throughout the United States and primarily reside on ground-level walls, under floorboards, inside insulation, on curbs and you guessed it, inside pavement cracks. Pavement ants are attracted to homes by the smell of food. These insects eat anything from honeydew and seeds to cheese and meat.

Getting Rid of Pavement Ants

Controlling pavement ants on your own can be difficult due to the nature of ant colonies. A pavement ant colony typically has multiple queens and thousands of workers to protect it and gather food and water.

Many homeowners turn to sprays or baits to deal with ant invaders as a first step, but these can be dangerous to use around areas where food is prepared in your home, and they often don’t reach the source of the colony. Without effectively exterminating the queens, they will continue to reproduce new worker ants; meaning surface treatments won’t cut it.  You need to team up with the best exterminators in Ohio!

Ghost Ants

Have you ever seen a ghost ant before? Don’t worry–ghost ants are not the spirits of deceased Formicidae, returning to haunt your kitchen cupboards and basements at night. Ghost ants are common to Florida, although they can be found in northern greenhouses and other controlled environments. They are quite small, and their name comes from their milky-white, almost transparent, color.

Where Do Ghost Ants Live?

These little guys love warm weather. They’ll be outside if the temperatures are nice, although they are equally happy indoors if it’s too cold outside. If they do live indoors, you’ll find them in the bottom of potted plants or behind baseboards.

How to Avoid Ghost Ants

Take care not to step on ghost ants! When crushed, they stink up your room with the smell of rotten coconuts. Consider it a gift from beyond the grave. The best ways to avoid these ants are the same ways you can avoid ants of any kind, by keep your home clean. Don’t let crumbs stay on the floor. Wipe up sticky residue.

How to Treat Ghost Ants

If you have to treat for ants, don’t use chemical sprays indoors. These can be harmful to your environment, and they won’t solve your problem. They eliminate active, adult ants that are out in the open, but they do nothing to eliminate the ant colony.

To solve the root of the problem, you need to invest in some ant baits. These devices contain substances that the ants will carry back to their colony. The substance eliminates both symptoms and source, without exposing children and pets to harmful chemicals.

Pharaoh Ants

What are those little black ants and why can I not get rid of them? This is a question so many homeowners have and the answer is very simple: pharaoh ants. With the unseasonably warm winter we are having in Northeast Ohio, you might be seeing these sooner than normal. Since we haven’t had a thorough freeze, but we are running our heat continuously in our homes, the ants will wake up and think it is Spring.

How to Spot Pharaoh Ants

Pharaoh ants are small, mostly black (can be tan, yellow, reddish-brown) ants that prefer to nest indoors, which is why most homeowners and business owners may experience an ant problem. It is of course best to avoid letting these ants in your house at all because once they are in it can be difficult to get rid of them.

How Do Pharaoh Ants Get In

Pharaoh ants can get in through tiny cracks and are attracted to sweet and oily food but will eat pretty much anything, including other insects. Once they are in your house they could multiply rapidly. They are different than other ants because they have multiple queens. They also move frequently if in contact with a repelling odor.

How to Get Rid of Pharaoh Ants

Getting rid of Pharaoh ants can prove to be very difficult and is usually done best when left to a professional pest exterminator. A lot of homeowners will think it is best to get an insecticide when in reality that is making the problem worse. The insecticide will kill off the ants that you can see, but because they can detect a hazardous smell they will report back to the queen who will then move the nest. It is also very probable that they would move to a couple of different spots resulting in your house becoming increasingly infested by pests.

Avoid Attracting Pharaoh Ants

To avoid the attraction of Pharaoh ants you should practice cleanliness and make sure there is never any open food lying around. If you do happen to become infested by them your best option is to call a pest control professional, like Epcon Lane, so that they can eliminate them efficiently. We will also bait in the appropriate places, which is a far more effective solution than spraying the insecticide.

Fire Ants

If there’s one ant that can strike fear into a grown adult’s heart, it’s the fire ant. Unless you’re allergic, these little pests won’t kill you, but as a member of the “stinging ant” fraternity, they will bring some water to your eyes. If you are allergic, you should take fire ants bites as seriously as bee stings and seek immediate medical attention.

Fire Ant Bites

All ant bites have the potential to become irritated. Fire ant bites have an extra kick because they inject tiny amounts of venom into your body, in addition to the regular pinching and piercing associated with any animal or insect bite.

If you are bitten, the bite will swell into a painful little bump. It’s important not to scratch because scratching can cause further irritation which may lead to infection. Scratching and irritation may also lead to scarring. Apply topical ointments, internal medicines, and other over-the-counter remedies to expedite the recovery process. Leave the bump alone and it will clear up after a few days.

Where Do Fire Ants Live

Fire ants also have a tendency to appear out of nowhere. They typically live in large colonies that are hidden in soft soil, by riverbanks, under rocks, or on the shoulders of highways. If you’re not looking, you could step in one without realizing it.

The good news for Ohioans is that fire ants prefer warm climates. Typically, they remain in the warmer states down south and out to the west. However, they can adapt to cold climates. It’s best to avoid an ant problem with any species by following our general tips for pest prevention.

How to Prevent Ants

The best way to keep the ants away is ant bait and keeping your floors, counters, and cabinets clean. Checking for cracks in your floorboards and walls will help you identify an infestation and sealing them right away will prevent these insects from getting in. The following are some great tips that you can use in cooperation with your pest management technician to help control and prevent ants indoors and out.​

Indoor Ant Prevention

  • Store food in sealed containers
  • Keep fruit in the refrigerator
  • Resist the temptation to leave dirty dishes in the sink
  • Keep countertops clean
  • Sweep and mop floors regularly

Outdoor Ant Prevention

  • Caulk around windows, doors, and where pipes and wires enter the house.
  • Fix faulty screens
  • Keep trees & bushes trimmed away from the house
  • Clean gutters & spouting in the spring; keep free of debris
  • Keep moisture out of crawl spaces
  • Check attics for leaks & condensation
  • Keep vegetation away from the foundation
  • Inspect mulch for pest activity

If you find yourself battling a losing fight with the pests, your best bet would be a call to Epcon Lane and have a professional pest exterminator come take a look.

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Ants