There are several types of ants commonly found in and around New Jersey homes and businesses. They include:
Little black ants
Little black ants are a small species of ant that can easily invade homes through small cracks and crevices in foundations and around windows and doors. Adults are dark brown or dark black in color and grow to be about 1/16th of an inch in length. Little black ants have a distinctively uneven body shape and a two-segmented waist; they do have a stinger but it is too small to create much of a threat to people. These ants are omnivores and will feed on insects, vegetables, sweets, other insects, and greasy or oily foods.
Pavement ants are dark brown to black in color, their legs are a lighter color than their body and they have lighter colored parallel lines running down their head and thorax. Adult workers grow to be about 1/8th of an inch in length. Pavement ants are known for creating their nests under concrete structures like sidewalks, patios, and slabs. These ants will invade homes, patios, and decks in large numbers and have the ability to bite and sting.
Argentine ants are dark brown in color and have a segmented, oval shaped body. Adult workers range in length from 1/16th to 1/4th of an inch. They are known for their massive colony sizes which sometimes contain hundreds of queens. These ants will eat anything that they come across but prefer to feed on sweet foods. Argentine ants can also be identified by the musty smell they give off when crushed.
Field ants rarely infest homes; they are mostly found invading gardens and other landscaped areas. They have an unevenly rounded shape to the upper side of their body and are pale yellow, reddish-brown, black, or a combination of these colors. Adult workers range in length from 1/8th- 3/8th of an inch. Field ants are scavengers but prefer to eat honeydew which is a sweet substance that insects like mealy bugs and aphids produce. These ants don’t sting but they can deliver a painful bite if they are disturbed or threatened.
Pharaoh ants have a yellow to red body, with the abdomen being darker in color. Adults grow to be about 1/6th of an inch in length. Pharaoh ants commonly invade buildings and can thrive year-round inside due to the artificial heat. They are problematic in the food service industry and hospitals because they spread disease and contaminate food and sterilized hospital equipment.
Odorous House Ant
Odorous House Ants are dark brown to black/brown ants that are about 1/16th of an inch in size with an oval, segmented body. While these pests are not known to carry diseases to humans, they do emit a very offensive ‘rotten coconut’ odor when crushed. These pests are particularly drawn to sweets and melons and are very good at contaminating food supplies in your pantry and cupboards.
To learn more about wood damaging carpenter ants, please visit our carpenter ant pest identification page.
Dangers Associated With Ants
While most of the ants mentioned above are considered nuisance ants and are more annoying than threatening, some ants will contaminate food and equipment. Ant bites are not typically dangerous and may not even be noticeable.
There are many things that you can do as a homeowner to stop any species of ant from invading your home. The best prevention step to take is inspecting the outside of your home and fixing the areas that may attract ants and/or allow them to get inside.
Trim back overgrown trees and bushes from the exterior of your home; make sure that outdoor trash cans have locking lids and that trash is regularly removed from your property. Seal any cracks and crevices in your home’s foundation or exterior walls, caulk any gaps that are found around exterior windows, and install door sweeps on all exterior doors. It can also be helpful to make sure there is a stone or rock barrier between any grass or mulch and the foundation of your home.
There are also steps that you can take inside your home to stop ants from being attracted to it to forage for food. Regularly remove trash, and make sure not to leave dirty dishes in your sink or on counters and stovetops overnight. It is important to store food in sealed containers or in the refrigerator and not out in the open on counters or tables; and, of course, clean up spills and crumbs quickly!
While there are many DIY treatments available at retail stores, they only treat the tip of the iceberg- the few ants that you see in your home. In order to truly eliminate an ant infestation all of the foraging ants and all of the nesting areas need to be found and eliminated. Also, if DIY ant products are not mixed or used properly, they are potentially very dangerous for you, your family and your pets to be around.
The best way to completely get rid of an ant problem, no matter what the species, is with the help of an ant control professional. At ChemTec Pest Control, our home pest control professionals will provide year-round safe and natural ant control services that include finding and eliminating all ants and their nests from your home and property and providing continued ant control services to prevent future problems with them.
For information on our PestGuard Home Protection plan and how it can help you get rid of ants, please contact us today!