Welcome to the All Pest Ants Page!

Let All Pest Exterminator Richmond deal with these little soldiers.

Common ants:  Carpenter Ants, Citronella Ants, Odorous House Ants, and Pavement Ants .

Ants are scavengers and, under normal circumstances, are great for the environment. When they hunt for food they will kill other insects such as earwigs and flea and fly larvae, for example. Ants vary in size from 2 to 7 mm long, although Carpenter Ants can get up to 2 cm.  They come in all colors, like brown, black or red.  They can have wings, or not. Scientists think there may be more than 10,000 species of ants and they represent about 0.1% of the entire insect population. All ants are sociable insects that care for their young.

Most ant problems are a result of insect infestations in trees and other plants.

Aphids, Scale Insects and Mealybugs eat plant sap. They cannot metabolize all the sugar so they excrete “honeydew”, which the ants then collect to feed the colony. Ants actually transport Aphids from plant to plant and take the eggs into their colony for the winter. Ants will also perform protection services for Aphids from insect predators, such as Lady Beetles or Lacewings.  Crazy huh?

Where there’s this sort of temptation, there will be ants to take advantage of and protect their source of food.  But ants will also look for food inside your home. When they find your kitchen, they lay down a scent and return to their nest. Once they report back to home base, the race is on and all the other ants follow the trail right back into your home to their new source of food.

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter Ants are black or reddish black with large jaws and are among the largest ants that you will ever find in your home. Most nests in houses are called “satellite nests,” which are nothing like the size of home nests. Ants prefer moist, softer wood that has begun to decay but may also infest new structures. Nests can be found in ceilings, eaves, walls, or  in attics and crawlspaces.

Carpenter Ants don’t actually eat wood, but dig into it to create space for nesting. You might notice piles of sawdust containing parts of ant bodies spilling out of cracks in walls.

Carpenters can also be winged ants at certain times of the year.  Carpenter ants are most active at night.

Citronella Ants

Citronella ants are about 1/8″ to 3/8″ in length, and yellowish in color. They emit a distinct citronella-like scent, especially when they are crushed. They live underground, under slabs for example, and might swarm inside homes once or twice a year. These ants don’t need to be controlled chemically as they die soon after emerging from underground.  They like sugar, so keeping a clean kitchen and dining area will keep these ants from becoming interested in swarming your home.

Citronella ants swarm like termites in the spring or fall and are often mistaken for termites. Not to worry, because Citronella ants are harmless. When this happens on the inside, you can vacuum them up for a non-toxic solution to the problem. This problem can also be “historic,” and happen each year. Be sure to let us know if you have continuing swarming problems.

Odorous House Ants

This native species is found throughout the United States and produces a foul stench when crushed. Some say it smells like a “rotten coconut”.

The workers are about 1/16-1/8″ (2.4-3.25mm)long.  Their bodies are brown to black. Females lay an egg per day and young ants take about 24 days to reach adulthood.

Inside, these ants usually construct their nests in wall voids especially around hot water pipes and heaters, in crevices in sinks, cupboards,etc. Outside they are found in exposed, shallow soil, often beneath boards, bricks , or walkways.  They are most likely to enter buildings when their food supply outside is low and they are looking for sweets.

Pavement Ants

Pavement ants were introduced to the United States from Europe and occur throughout the eastern United States. They can become a serious pest in the midwest. They are small ants, about 3/16″ long, and are dark brown in color. They build nests along sidewalks, building foundations, and under stones, boards, bricks, and mulch or leaf piles.

These ants readily make trails to and from food sources and often forage along the edge of carpeting or baseboards. They are also common around the base of toilets. They often nest in protected areas so the nests may be hard to locate, but this is essential to manage infestations of this species. There can be several thousand in a colony.  Pavement ants are found in moist to dry areas.

Return to the Bugs Page