Ant Identification & Prevention Guide

What are ants?

Ants are highly social insects and work closely together to care for their colony. All ants have three distinct body regions: head, thorax, and abdomen. They also have a pair of bent antennae, and reproductive members of the colony have wings. Although they vary in size, behavior, food preferences, and nesting locations, ants are one of the most prevalent and easy-to-identify pests living in and around homes and businesses here in our great state of Texas.

an ant crawling outside of a home in austin texas

Listed below are five of the most common species of ants living throughout to our area of Greater Austin, Texas:

Acrobat ants
Acrobat ants have heart-shaped abdomens and vary in color from light brown to black. When disturbed, acrobat ants raise their abdomens over their thoraxes and heads.

Little black ants
As their name suggests, these ants range in color from dark brown to black, though they are typically jet black, and are very small compared to many other ant species.

Carpenter ants
These large ants can be black, red, yellow, or a combination of these colors. Carpenter ants build tunnels and nests inside of wood, preferring decaying or water-damaged wood.

Rover ants
Rover ants are very small and range from pale yellow to brown or black. These ants are especially problematic as they are known to invade homes, businesses, and hospitals.

Fire ants
These small, reddish-brown ants are easily agitated and will attack anything they view as a threat. Fire ants received their name from the painful bites and stings they deliver.

Are ants dangerous?

Most ants, like acrobat ants, rover ants, and little black ants, are considered nuisance pests and pose no significant risks to people or property. However, other ant species, like the carpenter ant and fire ant, are considered dangerous due to the threats they can pose to your home and family. Carpenter ants, for example, tunnel through and nest inside structural wood, causing significant structural damage to your home over time, resulting in costly repairs. Fire ants deliver painful stings, and their venom can trigger serious allergic reactions. These ants also invade and damage farm equipment, along with air-conditioning and heating units. No matter what type of ants are living on your property, nuisance or dangerous, they need to be eliminated as quickly as possible. Ants invade in large numbers, are difficult to control, and contaminate food sources.

Why do I have an ant problem?

Ants travel in large groups and can easily take over your property. If ants are invading, it’s because your home or business provides them with food. Ants will travel from their nest to food sources daily, gathering a variety of proteins, starches, and sweets to feed the entire colony. Ants often forage for food in trash cans, compost bins, pet food bowls, and gardens. Once foraging outside, it is usually a short time until they find their way indoors where they will often create a satellite nest near their new food source.

Where will I find ants?

Ants build their nests in a variety of locations, depending on their species. Fire ants like to nest in open sunny areas, where their flattened, irregular-shaped nesting mounds can grow to between two and four feet in size. Carpenter ants prefer to nest in wood that is wet or has mold damage. Outside, they nest in fallen trees, rotting fence posts, tree stumps, and in old piles of wood. Inside, they nest in structural wood above ceilings, behind walls, and below floors. Acrobat ants make their nests outside under rocks, logs, piles of firewood, or fallen trees. These ants often find their way inside properties when traveling along wire or pipes. Little black ants typically nest under rocks, inside logs, under piles of wood or other debris when living outdoors, and nest inside woodwork, wall voids, decaying wood, and behind facades. Rover ants can be found in your yard nesting in leaf litter and under rocks and landscaping ties. Inside, they often nest in moist, damp areas like bathrooms, kitchens, inside wall voids, in potted plants, or in similar areas.

How do I get rid of ants?

At Roberts Termite & Pest Control, we have been providing high-quality pest control here in Austin, TX for over 55 years. Our technicians use environmentally friendly products and advanced techniques to get rid of ants and other common household pests. Through quality customer service and flexible scheduling, we work with you to meet your unique pest control needs. Learn more about our ant control services or schedule a free consultation by reaching out to Roberts Pest Control today!

How can I prevent ants in the future?

In addition to our professional services, the following prevention tips will help you to prevent problems with ants in your home or business:

  • Reduce water sources by maintaining gutters and downspouts and fixing leaky outdoor fixtures.

  • Keep ants out of your property by sealing cracks in the foundation and exterior walls.

  • Replace torn window and doors screens and install door sweeps on doors.

  • Make sure weatherstripping is in place around windows and doors.

  • Remove trash from your home or business daily.

  • Pick up uneaten pet food between feedings.

  • Store food inside the refrigerator or containers with airtight lids.

  • Trim back trees and bushes from the sides of your home or business.

  • Clean up vegetables and fruits that have fallen to the ground in garden areas.

  • Remove woodpiles, rock piles, fallen trees, and other excess debris from your property.

  • Remove easy access to food sources by keeping tight-fitting lids on trash cans and compost bins.

 

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