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Have ant problems? Learn all about ants, including the may different species of ants you may find in your home and the way they operate as a colony, as well as your options to fight them. Get ant habitat information.

All ant species members live in colonies with one or many queen ants, numerous sterile female workers, and occasionally males. The workers are wingless and are characterized by jointed antennae and constricted first one or two abdomen segments.


Health Issues

The presence of ants under certain situations can pose a severe risk to human health. In hospitals, health care facilities, food processing plants, food packaging plants, and food preparation areas, ants’ presence should not be tolerated because of the potential for disease transmission.

Ants are frequently annoying and sometimes dangerous because of their bites and stings, though not all ants sting. The sting has practically disappeared in many ants, but venom may be injected into a wound made from a bite. Many ants produce a toxin secreted by glands in the head, which is deposited in the bite. The substance is called formic acid and is the source of the scientific name of ants: Formicidae.


Plant and Structural Damage

Ants can damage crops and ornamental plants. The red imported fire ant is known to remove seeds from seedbeds and feed on the seeds of corn, peanuts, and beans. Workers of the red imported fire ant will chew on the roots, stems, and plants’ leaves. In some cases, seedlings are girdled and die.

Ants can spoil rangeland for grazing by building mounds and clearing sites for their nests. Harvester ants clear large areas of all vegetation near their nest structures. These ants have a potent sting, which may further discourage grazing near their nests. Fire ants pose a special problem for harvest operations in hayfields as their large, hardened mounds are known to damage harvesting equipment.

Carpenter ants often damage shade trees. Telephone poles are also not immune to ant attack.

Carpenter ants are the major group of ants that cause damage to wooden structures. These ants tunnel through the wood but do not consume it for food, as is the case with termites.


More than 12,500 species may exist worldwide. Approximately 570 species occur in the United States, and of these, fewer than 30 species may regularly infest homes and other buildings - with only ten species considered major pests. Ants have succeeded in replacing other types of structural pests as the number one pest in homes in many parts of the United States. In Texas, pest control companies have deemed the imported fire ant as the number one structural pest. In the Pacific Northwest, carpenter ants are responsible for most homeowner calls to pest control operators.

These ants are named for their ability to bend their abdomen over their head and thorax. This acrobatic pose is used by ants as a threatening display. While these ants don’t cause structural damage as other ant species do, they can sometimes bite or release a bad odor when disturbed.

Find a solution to your ant control problem.

What You Need To Know About Acrobat Ants

  • What do acrobat ants look like?

    • Light brown to black color

    • Heart-shaped abdomen

    • Six legs

    • Less than 5.4 mm in length

  • What do acrobat ants eat?

    • Other insects

    • Honeydew (a sugary substance)

    • Sugary foods

    • Meat

  • Where do acrobat ants live and make nests?

    • Trees

    • Water-damaged wood

    • Can be found in wall voids and insulation

What You Need To Know About Acrobat Ant Infestations

  • What are the signs of an acrobat ant infestation?

    • Seeing a line of worker ants as they forge for food sources

    • Debris consisting of insulation and dead ants are present

  • Why do acrobat ants invade my home or business?

    • Building a nest in moisture-damaged wood

    • Found a food and water source

  • How do I get rid of acrobat ants?

    • Locate the nest

    • If inside the walls, drilling holes in the wall and placing insecticide dust treatments may help eliminate the problem

    • If outside, utilize spray treatments on the nest and around the building perimeter

    • Use Kness Ants-No-More® bait station

Tips To Prevent Acrobat Ant Infestations

    • Don’t leave food lying around in the open

    • Clean up food crumbs from different surfaces around the home/business

    • Check for moisture damage around the home (window’s, doors, behind the dishwasher, etc.)

    • Use Kness Ants-No-More® bait station

Known for their mound making abilities, the Allegheny mound ant can build large nests in the ground (as much as 3-feet deep). These mounds act as a heat trap, warming in the sunlight. Allegheny mound ants use the solar energy to stay warm and incubate their eggs. To get more sunlight on their nest, these ants will remove plants and foliage that create shade. This can make a problem for residential landscaping.

Find a solution to your ant control problem.

What You Need To Know About Allegheny Mound Ants

  • What do Allegheny mound ants look like?

    • Red-orange head and thorax with a black-brown abdomen

    • Six legs

    • Size ranges from 2.2 to 2.8 mm in length

  • What do Allegheny mound ants eat?

    • They feed on other insects

  • Where do Allegheny mound ants live and make nests?

    • They build their nests outside in direct sunlight

    • Rarely venture into buildings.

What You Need To Know About Allegheny Mound Ant Infestations

  • What are the signs of an Allegheny mound ant infestation?

    • The foraging trails (ants moving in a line)

    • Dying vegetation around a large mound

  • Why do Allegheny mound ants invade my space?

    • They are nesting in an area with direct sunlight

    • Very rarely enter structures, unless other insect prey is inside

  • How do I get rid of Allegheny mound ants?

Tips To Prevent Allegheny Mound Ant Infestations

Across the United States, there are many different bigheaded ant species.

Big Headed Ant

What You Need To Know About Bigheaded Ants

  • What do bigheaded ants look like?

    • Varying color from yellow to reddish-brown coloring

    • Very large head compared to the rest of the body size

    • Size ranges from 2.4 to 3.8 mm in length

  • What do bigheaded ants eat?

    • They’re omnivores

    • Plants

    • Insects and arthropods

    • Look for seeds, sugary foods, and high-protein foods

  • Where do bigheaded ants live and make nests?

    • Outside in areas of loose soil

    • Under a patio, next to concrete slabs, or structure foundations

What You Need To Know About Bigheaded Ant Infestations

  • What are the signs of a bigheaded ant infestation?

    • Foraging ants are spotted indoor areas (kitchen, bathroom, etc.)

  • What are the signs of a bigheaded ant infestation?

    • Found a food and water source

    • A large population of insects inside or outside

  • How do I get rid of bigheaded ants?

Tips To Prevent Bighead Ant Infestations

    • Remove potential nesting places near the home

    • Firewood piles and plant scraps should be as far from the house as possible

    • Maintaining a gap between the building and any mulch or vegetation will help discourage these ants from invading the home

    • Use Kness Ants-No-More® bait station

Carpenter ants are named for their ability to build nests, or galleries, in wood. They don’t eat wood. Instead, the ants bore very smooth tunnels in timber by chewing away wood fibers and moving it out of the nesting area.

Carpenter Ant

What You Need To Know About Carpenter Ants

  • What do Carpenter ants look like?

    • Red or black coloring

    • Antennae that extend from the head at a 90-degree angle

    • Oval shape, some have narrow wings

    • Size ranges from 3.4 to 13 mm in length

  • What do Carpenter ants eat?

    • Meats, fats, other insects, and sugary foods

  • Where do Carpenter ants live and make nests?

    • Indoors, in damaged or moist wood structures (windows, doors, and wall voids)

    • Outdoors, in moisture-damaged trees, and woodpiles

What You Need To Know About Carpenter Ant Infestations

  • What are the signs of a carpenter ant infestation?

    • Indoors, ants traveling in and around windows, doors, and baseboards

    • Wood shavings or sawdust material near baseboards or outside foundation is a sign they may be in the wall

    • Outside, piles of sawdust near trees or woodpiles

    • The foraging trails (ants moving in a line)

  • Why do carpenter ants invade my home or business?

    • Moisture present in wood structure

    • A food and water source is nearby

  • How do I get rid of carpenter ants?

Tips To Prevent Carpenter Ant Infestations

    • Identify areas of moisture leaking into the home or business

    • Repair those areas of moisture

    • Keep woodpiles away from the building

    • Continue to monitor for any signs of ants

    • Use Kness Ants-No-More® bait station

These ants are known to have a strong smell when crushed that is akin to the scent of lemon or citronella, hence the name. While these ants don’t cause structural damage, they can swarm into a building with adequate food sources. Their small appearance is similar termites, and they can sometimes be mistaken for them.

Citronella Ant

What You Need To Know About Citronella Ants

  • What do citronella ants look like?

    • Yellow coloring

    • Approximately 4 mm long

    • Wings on some ants

  • What do citronella ants eat?

    • Honeydew

    • Surgery substances

  • Where do citronella ants live and make nests?

    • They will build their nests outside next to concrete slabs and foundations

    • Will move indoors to seek shelter from colder weather (commonly in basements)

What You Need To Know About Citronella Ant Infestations

  • What are the signs of a citronella ant infestation?

    • The foraging trails (ants moving in a line)

    • Swarms of ants coming in a once

  • Why do citronella ants invade my home or business?

    • Food and water availability

  • How do I get rid of citronella ants?

Tips To Prevent Citronella Ant Infestations

Tips To Prevent Carpenter Ant Infestations

    • Identify areas of moisture leaking into the home or business

    • Repair those areas of moisture

    • Keep woodpiles away from the building

    • Continue to monitor for any signs of ants

    • Use Kness Ants-No-More® bait station

These are very large ants and are sometimes incorrectly thought to be carpenter ants. The field ant, sometimes mistaken for the highly aggressive fire ant, is relatively docile in comparison.

Field ants do not sting, but they can bite when disturbed.

Field Ant

What You Need To Know About Field Ants

  • What do field ants look like?

    • Size Ranges 4 to 8 mm in length

    • Coloration includes yellow, red, black or a combination of red and black

  • What do field ants eat?

    • Field ants eat honeydew

    • Field ants eat other insects, and some are attracted to meats

    • Many species of field ants are scavengers

  • Where do field ants live and make nests?

    • These ants make mounds in the ground in lawns, gardens, fields, and parks

    • Usually nest in trees, rocks, sidewalks, fences, or foundations of buildings

    • Sometimes people mistake these mounds for fire ant activity

What You Need To Know About Field Ant Infestations

  • What are the signs of a field ant infestation?

    • If the activity of workers is present

    • The most likely encountered types of field ants–sometimes called thatch ants–produce distinct mounds made of grass or other plant materials

  • Why do field ants invade my home or business?

    • Inadequate weather stripping and cracked windows can let the pests indoors

    • Mounds built close to the foundation may also enable the ants to enter a home more easily

  • How do I get rid of field ants?

Tips To Prevent Carpenter Ant Infestations

    • Look for things that the ants might use as nesting sites

    • Place firewood on racks off of the ground and store it away from the house

    • Move mulch away from the foundation to discourage ants from nesting

    • Replace weather-stripping where it is missing

    • Use Kness Ants-No-More® bait station

Very active and aggressive, they will sting any intruding animal repeatedly.

Field Ant

What You Need To Know About Field Ants

  • What do fire ants look like?

    • Reddish coloring

    • Size ranges from about 1.6 to 5 mm in length

  • What do fire ants eat?

    • Fire ants are omnivorous

    • Known to eat other insects, plants, meats, greasy and sweet materials

  • Where do fire ants live and make nests?

    • Fire ants favor warm, sunny conditions

    • They prefer dry fields and avoid shady areas such as woods

    • Typically nest in the ground

    • Mounds can grow up to 61 cm in diameter and 18 cm high

What You Need To Know About Fire Ant Infestations

  • What are the signs of a fire ant infestation?

    • The foraging trails (ants moving in a line)

    • Other signs can be their sandy earthen mounds, which are usually more visible after recent rainfall

  • Why do fire ants invade my home or business?

    • Red imported fire ants may move into yards as a result of infested nursery plants or grass sod being used in the home’s landscaping

  • How do I get rid of fire ants?

    • Move mulch away from the foundation to discourage ants from nesting.

    • Replace weather-stripping where it is missing.

    • Look for things that the ants might use as nesting sites

    • Use Kness Ants-No-More® bait station

Tips To Prevent Fire Ant Infestations

    • Move mulch away from the foundation to discourage ants from nesting.

    • Replace weather-stripping where it is missing.

    • Look for things that the ants might use as nesting sites

    • Use Kness Ants-No-More® bait station

Ghost ants do not sting and usually do not bite unless their nest is threatened. Most ghost ant bites incidents result in a little discomfort and little or no evidence of a reaction to the bite. The ghost ant can become a serious household pest because it will build nests both inside and outside homes. This ant is a sweets eater, but also feeds on greasy foods and insects.

Ghost Ant

What You Need To Know About Ghost Ants

  • What do ghost ants look like?

    • Pale colored legs and abdomen, dark heads and thoraxes

    • Size ranges from 1.3 to 1.5 mm in length

    • Ghost ants are related to odorous house ants and give off a coconut-like odor when they are crushed

  • What do ghost ants eat?

    • Once inside, they feed on sweets like sugar, cereal, and syrup

    • These ants eat honeydew that they collect from plant-feeding insects (often using aphids to collect the honeydew)

  • Where do ghost ants live and make nests?

    • In northern states, these ants have been known to survive only in heated buildings and greenhouses

    • Outdoors, ghost ants make their nest in the ground. They often nest beside stones, logs, and firewood piles. They enter buildings on trails that they make along the ground.

    • When ghost ants make nests indoors, it is usually in flowerpots, behind baseboards, and inside wall voids. The colony may split into several nests. It is normal to find ghost ants trailing between multiple nesting sites.

What You Need To Know About Ghost Ant Infestations

  • What are the signs of a ghost ant infestation?

    • Sightings of the workers are the usual sign of their presence

  • Why do ghost ants invade my home or business?

    • Ghost ants are extremely small and can get into houses through openings around doors and windows, as well as cracks in foundations, plus these ants are sometimes accidentally brought inside on infested plants

    • Ghost ants often appear on kitchen or bathroom counters and sinks.

    • These intrepid pests also build nests indoors and out, even in wall voids or spaces between kitchen cabinets

    • They are easily transported in boxes, crates, potted plants, and even in household goods that are being shipped

    • They also enter houses by trailing on utility lines or by following limbs of trees and shrubs that touch the house

  • How do I get rid of ghost ants?

Tips To Prevent Ghost Ant Infestations

    • A thorough inspection is the first step in preventing ghost ant problems

    • Around the outside of the house, look for places that might attract ghost ants

    • Move firewood piles away from the house

    • Pull mulch away from the foundation to create a “dry zone” that the ants (and other insects) will avoid

    • Make sure exterior doors close snugly

    • Replace weather-stripping where it is missing

    • People who live in brick houses often place small squares of a plastic screen into weep holes to keep ants from using them as entrances

    • Use Kness Ants-No-More® bait station

Unlike many other ants that infest indoor structures, all species of harvester ants prefer not to invade houses and buildings but will establish their nests around gardens or yards, often destroying vegetation. The red harvester ants can be aggressive. They deliver a painful sting. Sometimes, the stings of harvester ants can cause allergic reactions, especially to those sensitive to their venom. Aside from their powerful stings, harvester ants also bite viciously.

Western Harvester Ant

What You Need To Know About Western Harvester Ants

  • What do western harvester ants look like?

    • Red coloring

    • Size ranges from 6.5 to 10 mm in length

  • What do western harvester ants eat?

    • Workers harvest seeds and pollen directly from plants and gather fallen seeds

    • Some seeds are sometimes stored in chambers within the nest and are depleted during winter

    • Other insects

  • Where do western harvester ants live and make nests?

    • Make nests in the ground

What You Need To Know About Western Harvester Ant Infestations

  • What are the signs of a western harvester ant infestation?

    • Aside from the ants themselves, the large mounds, almost 53 inches across in some cases, and denuded vegetation near to the nest are the most visible signs of harvester ant activity

  • Why do western harvester ants invade my home or business?

    • Flat, open and sparsely shaded lawns give harvester ants room to build their mounds, plus these ants generally prefer to build their nests in sandy soil

    • Harvester ants tend to avoid indoor areas, but sometimes enter homes by accident through cracks and gaps around windows or doors

    • Since seeds are a major part of the harvester ant diet, gardens or bird feeders may also attract these insects

  • How do I get rid of western harvester ants?

Tips To Prevent Western Harvester Ant Infestations

    • Move mulch away from the foundation to discourage ants from nesting

    • Replace weather-stripping where it is missing

    • Look for things that the ants might use as nesting sites

    • Use Kness Ants-No-More® bait station

These ants can invade a home and cause issues. The most distinguishable characteristic of odorous house ants is the smell of rotten coconut emitted when their bodies are crushed. Odorous house ants have an unevenly shaped thorax when viewed from the side.

Odorous Ant

What You Need To Know About Odorous House Ants

  • What do odorous house ants look like?

    • Size measuring 2.4 to 3.3 mm in length

    • They have dark brown or black bodies with one node on their petiole, which is hidden by their abdomens

    • Odorous rotting-coconut smell

  • What do odorous house ants eat?

    • Outdoors they prefer honeydew from aphids and mealybugs

    • When the honeydew supply is reduced in autumn, they may move indoors for food

    • Indoors, they eat meats, sugary foods, dairy products, pastries, cooked or raw vegetables, and fruit juices

  • Where do odorous house ants live and make nests?

    • Indoors and outdoors

What You Need To Know About Odorous House Ant Infestations

  • What are the signs of an odorous house ant infestation?

    • The most likely sign of odorous house ants is the foraging worker ants, although winged swarmers also might be observed.

  • Why do odorous house ants invade my home or business?

    • These insects create nests in wall or floor voids when indoors. Odorous ants enter homes in search of food, preferring sweets and meats.

    • Kitchen pantries and cupboards are common targets for these pests and they prefer to build their indoor nests near locations that are warm and close by to moisture.

    • Odorous ants also nest outside and may crawl indoors through cracks in the foundation or openings around doors and windows.

  • How do I get rid of odorous house ants?

Tips To Prevent Odorous House Ant Infestations

Pavement ants don’t bite, although they do possess the ability to sting. Pavement ants are docile and not aggressive, preferring to avoid confrontation rather than stinging to defend themselves. Pavement ant workers enter houses to forage and become a nuisance when large groups infest a kitchen or garden patio. They get their name for their nesting habits.

Pavement Ant

What You Need To Know About Pavement Ants

  • What do pavement ants look like?

    • Light brown to black with appendages lighter than the rest of the body

    • Size ranging from 2.5 to 3 mm long, with parallel lines on head and thorax

    • They have 12-segmented antennae with a three-segmented club

  • What do pavement ants eat?

    • Pavement ants will feed on a wide variety of foods, including meats, grease, live and dead insects, seeds, and honeydew from aphids

    • They prefer to eat greasy foods and can eat many foods consumed by humans

    • They forage for food for their colonies and set up trails to food sources from their nests

  • Where do pavement ants live and make nests?

    • Nests are outdoors under stones, along curbs or in cracks of pavement

    • They can nest indoors in walls and under floors, inside insulation, and within walls.

    • Pavement ants also dwell in the undersides of logs, bricks, stones, patio blocks, and boards

What You Need To Know About Pavement Ant Infestations

  • What are the signs of a pavement ant infestation?

    • The presence of worker pavement ants

    • Small piles of excavated materials

  • Why do pavement ants invade my home or business?

    • Underneath and beside sidewalks, patios and driveways are ideal habitats for these pests

    • Because they live near homes, pavement ants often make their way inside looking for food sources such as sweets, proteins, and dead insects

    • While cracks in foundations, basement floors, and walls, plus concrete slabs may let them indoors initially, the crumbs, trash, and open food containers they find, encourage them to return and become a pest problem

    • Pavement ants like to feed on leftover pet food either inside or outside the home

  • How do I get rid of pavement ants?

Tips To Prevent Pavement Ant Infestations

    • Don’t leave food lying around in the open

    • Clean up food crumbs from different surfaces around the home/business

    • Keeping doors, windows, patio doors, and shutters closed and tightly sealed when not in use can limit their access

    • Use Kness Ants-No-More® bait station

A colony of pharaoh ants will scatter if a toxic substance disturbs it, creating multiple problems where there had been only one.

Pharaoh Ant

What You Need To Know About Pharaoh Ants

  • What do pharaoh ants look like?

    • Around 2 mm long

    • light yellow coloring on their bodies and red and black coloring on the abdomen

  • What do pharaoh ants eat?

    • Other insects

    • Sugary foods

  • Where do pharaoh ants live and make nests?

    • Pharaoh ants can take advantage of artificial heating in buildings to survive the winter

    • Infestations commonly occur in food service areas

    • They will nest in well-protected and hidden areas throughout a structure, but they can also nest outdoors in lawns or gardens in warm climates

    • These ants can build nests in walls, cabinet voids, behind baseboards, refrigerator insulation, the hollows of curtain rods, the folds of clothes, sheets and paper, and other undisturbed dark spaces

What You Need To Know About Pharaoh Ant Infestations

  • What are the signs of a pharaoh ant infestation?

    • The best sign is the small amber-colored workers as they forage along surfaces

  • Why do pharaoh ants invade my home or business?

    • Pharaoh ants enter homes to take advantage of crumbs, spills, moisture, dead insects, and other food sources

    • They can also be found infesting locations that have no food sources present (e.g., pharaoh ants are known to build their nests in pipe chases)

    • These pests typically make their way indoors through torn window screens, poorly sealed doors, windows, or other entryways

  • How do I get rid of pharaoh ants?

Tips To Prevent Pavement Ant Infestations

    • Don’t leave food lying around in the open

    • Clean up food crumbs from different surfaces around the home/business

    • Keeping doors, windows, patio doors, and shutters closed and tightly sealed when not in use can limit their access

    • Use Kness Ants-No-More® bait station

Most ant infestations originate from outside the building. Failure to inspect outside to find outdoor colonies or foraging trails is the primary reason most ant control services are unsuccessful. A pest management professional experienced in ant control can quickly locate the source of ant infestations. Placing a bait station such as Ants-No-More® near the colony can eliminate the infestation and help ensure the problem doesn’t come back.

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